Who is Wraith? Powers & weaknesses in Marvel Comics explained

Christopher Baggett
The Wraith in Marvel Comics and Marvel's Spider-Man 2

Marvel’s Spider-Man set police captain Yuri Watanabe on a path to becoming The Wraith, but the character’s comic book backstory traces back to one of Spider-Man’s most devastating losses. 

One of the most interesting characters in Marvel’s Spider-Man has to be Yuri Watanabe. Introduced in the game’s opening sequences, Yuri is a police captain working with Spider-Man – seemingly begrudgingly – to take down the Kingpin. 

But Yuri’s story takes a huge twist. The second DLC campaign, Turf Wars, pushes Yuri to her breaking point, and she seemingly executes the mobster Hammerhead. A later mission has Peter discover Yuri’s dogged hunt of mobsters over the course of her entire career, and the follow-up campaign, Silver Lining, sees Yuri take the leap from hunting for justice to dispatching it with cold-blooded murder. 

It’s all seemingly in service of setting up her transformation into the comic anti-hero, The Wraith. Debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #663, The Wraith has been a friend as often as they’ve been a foe, but fans of the game may not realize the identity of the Wraith in the comics has a ton of baggage associated with it. 

Who is The Wraith in Marvel Comics?

Brian DeWolff, the first Wraith
The original Wraith, Brian DeWolff, was the brother of a long-time police captain and Spider-Man ally.

The original Wraith was a vengeful brother

The first Wraith was Brian DeWolff, the brother of police detective Jean DeWolff. Jean DeWolff was a stalwart Spider-Man ally and one of the few cops to work with him openly. Brian himself followed in his sister’s footsteps to become a police officer but was paralyzed in a shootout with criminals. 

His father, Phillip, arranged for Brian to receive an experimental treatment to allow him to walk again and appeared to give him some degree of psionic powers. An accident during the procedure merged Brian and Phillip’s minds, allowing Phillip to control Brian’s body telepathically. 

Brian eventually regained control of his body and is healed with the help of Spider-Man, Iron Man and Doctor Strange. Brian later suffered a mental break after his sister’s murder at the hands of the Sin-Eater, who was revealed to be a corrupt cop. Grief-stricken, he attempted to assault the NYPD, where he was killed by another villain, Scourge, who was there in disguise. 

Spider-Man recognizes the Wraith's tech
The Wraith’s supersuit used fear gas from Mr. Fear and equipment made by Mysterio

The second Wraith was a cop who lost their way

Much like Jean DeWolff, NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe supported Spider-Man. While DeWolff saw Spider-Man as a hero, Watanabe saw him as a means to an end. She was increasingly frustrated with the inability of the NYPD to take down criminals. She was trying to find new approaches, such as taking down the criminal hangout, The Bar With No Name, for not having a liquor license. 

Yuri would eventually adopt the identity of Wraith, building a suit using confiscated villain technology. To cap it off, she wore a mask created by Mysterio that looked like the late Jean DeWolff. This led some to believe the new Wraith was a resurrected Jean avenging her brother, but Spider-Man quickly uncovered the truth. 

As Wraith, Yuri was briefly an ally of Spider-Man and later proved instrumental in helping Carlie Cooper prove that Superior Spider-Man was not the real Spider-Man. A run-in with Mr. Negative unleashed her darker side, though. Once Yuri got a taste for murdering villains, she found she preferred it to incarcerating them. Spider-Man attempted to stop her, but Wraith escaped and has been at large ever since. 

The Wraith’s powers & weaknesses

The first Wraith demonstrates psionic powers
The first Wraith had psionic powers and could make someone believe they were in excruciating pain.

Psionic Powers

The original Wraith had some degree of psionic powers, but how strong they were is up for debate. Most often, this would manifest as reading or controlling minds, including being able to cloud Spider-Man’s spider-sense so he could not be detected. 

Wraith could also use these abilities to trick minds, such as casting illusions or making someone believe they were in excruciating pain. He also demonstrated some degree of telekinesis, being able to levitate objects. 

Yuri Watanabe disguises herself as Jean DeWolff
Yuri Watanabe used a mask and fear gas to make villains think she was the ghost of Jean DeWolff.

Fear Gas

Yuri Watanabe’s Wraith suit was made from confiscated villain technology. One such item she pilfered was Mr. Fear’s Fear Gas. 

Mr. Fear’s gas could instill terror in anyone — even the so-called Man Without Fear himself. Using the fear gas in conjunction with other tools, like a mask made to resemble the late Jean DeWolff, Yuri tricked her opponents into believing she was an otherworldly figure. 

The second Wraith, Yuri Watanabe
A disillusioned police captain, Yuri Watanabe used confiscated villain technology to become the new Wraith.

Elastic tentacle straps

Wraith donned a series of yellow elastic straps that served as tentacles. They were part of the Mysterio technology Watanabe stole from police impound. 

The straps themselves appeared to respond to thought and could take a variety of shapes. She could use them to slash at foes, wrap them up, and even cling to walls or swing through the city. 

Scourge kills The Wraith
Brian DeWolff had no powers that made him stronger, and died to a simple gunshot wound.

The Wraith is just an average human

Both Wraiths have one major downfall: they’re just regular humans. While Brian may have had telepathic powers and Yuri had a technologically advanced suit, neither had any degree of enhanced durability. 

This meant they could be taken out by anything that takes out a regular man. Brian himself is killed by a gunshot, while Yuri can be knocked out by any fighter skilled enough to land a good hit on her. 

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