Dr. Curtis Connors was an Army surgeon whose right arm was amputated when it became gangrenous from a war wound. Unable to remain a surgeon, Connors undertook the scientific study of reptiles, soon becoming a leading authority. Reptiles still possess the ability to regenerate missing limbs whereas mammals have evolved away from that trait. Connors discovered the precise chemical substance that confers this ability, and administered it to himself. He succeeded in regenerating his missing arm but the mutagenic effects of the chemical did not end and caused a body wide transformation to a reptilian-humanoid form.
Possessed by a primitive but cunning reptilian mind, the Lizard intended to gather a reptile army that would supplant humanity as Earth's ruling species. But Spider-Man stopped the Lizard's schemes, using Connors' chemicals and scientific knowledge to create a serum that reversed the original formula's effects. However, the mutations the serum enacted remain part of Connors' genetic makeup. Though he has gone long periods without transforming into his reptilian alter ego, the scientist has never been able to fully free himself from the curse of the Lizard. In fact, the reptilian persona seems to be awake in Connors' subconscious, hinting at a larger agenda for the world and humanity than previously
At one point, the villain Calypso apparently put the Lizard under her control, but it was actually a clone of Connor's Lizard-form. He went on a killing spree in New York City, which ended only when he killed Calypso. Spider-Man and a bounty hunter named Warrant went looking for this Lizard and started a three-way battle. The Lizard jumped into quicksand and was thought dead. In reality, this Lizard in the quicksand mutated into a more reptilian monster. The first one destroyed the second Lizard when it tried to kill Curtis's son.
Powers & Abilities
The Lizard has superhuman strength, enabling him to lift (press) approximately 12 tons.
The Lizard possesses a number of superhuman powers endowed by his reptilian form, including his superhuman strength. His powerful leg muscles enable him to clear 12 feet in a standing high jump and 18 feet in a standing broad jump. His alligator-like hide is tougher than human skin, and is capable of resisting the penetration of small caliber bullets. His reaction time is about twice that of the normal human being and he can run at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
The Lizard possesses a 6.5-foot tail, which he can whip at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. Like a gecko lizard, his hands and feet have retractable 1-inch hooks growing from the base of his palm and the ball of his foot, and his fingers and toes are covered with scores of tiny claws to create adhesive pads. As a result, the Lizard can support his weight climbing up and down normally intractable surfaces.
When the Lizard, the R-complex of Connors' brain (the most primitive region of the human brain containing the most bestial drives) takes over the cerebellum, causing Connors' mind to become progressively inhuman. The Lizard gains a quasi-telepathic ability to communicate with and command all reptiles within about a one-mile radius of himself.
In his human form, Dr. Curtis Connors is a brilliant biologist and biochemist, and is a leading herpetologist (a scientist who studies reptiles).