Bret Leather was born to John Leather (the Dead Ranger, an analogue of the Lone Ranger) at midnight, January 1, 1900, making him a Century Baby. Specifically, he was the "Justice of the 20th Century" and possessed several superhuman abilities, like all other Century Babies did.
As the sole heir to his father's silver mine, Leather inherited a fortune and moved from Texas to Chicago, where he funded a newspaper and lived a millionaire lifestyle. Under the surface though, he believed himself to have an understanding of law and ethics outside that of mortal ken, and privately fought crime outside the law under the alias "The Spider".
Clad in long black leather coat (emblazoned with a silver spider design across the front) and donning a metallic mask that covered most of his face (exposing only his glowing red eyes), Leather terrorized the criminals of 1920s and 30s Chicago with his lethal brand of justice.
During this time, Leather married his assistant Miriam Langham, who gave birth to his only son William on one of the many nights Leather was out fighting crime. However, the son, who would eventually become one of The Four, was not biologically Leather's own, as Miriam had had an affair with one of his assistants, a loan shark named Danny Vincenzo. As a product of this illegitimate liaison, William Leather never inherited his father's powers, as the child of a Century Baby usually did.
Leather eventually came to work with Doc Brass and his group of fellow Pulp heroes, some of whom were Century Babies like himself and Brass. In January 1945, as the group tried to create a "corrected" version of the Earth in an attempt to end World War II, they inadvertently brought forth a group of super humans from another universe, and the ensuing battle between both groups claimed the lives of all involved, save for Brass's.
Immortality: He was born "with the century" - on the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve of 1900. As he grew he displayed certain superhuman abilities and skills, as well as immortality (not aging beyond his 30's). It has been theorised that they act as an immune system for the planet, his very existence protecting Earth. As such he supposedly represents an aspect of the century into which he were born.
- Justice of the 20th Century: Bret Leather is one of the Century Babies, a being produced by the multiverse for a specific task. In his case, this was to influence the 20th century. As such, his moods are tied directly to the world's status.
- Decelerated Aging: He also probably experiences the same retarded aging common amongst all Century Babies, though his constant use of a mask and his premature death leave this unclear.
Insect Horde: Leather has also shown the ability to disintegrate himself into spiders and other insects, and reconstitute himself at will.
- Ventriloquist: He possesses the ability to throw or transmit his voice around enclosed spaces.
- Turbo Guns: Leather wields a pair of "turbo guns" designed and cast from the silver he inherited from his father.
- The Spider is an amalgam of pulp fiction characters The Green Hornet, Harry Steeger's The Spider, and The Shadow.
- He also seems to speak in a hissing voice. ("Serious business in Chicago" comes out "SSSeriousss businessss in Chicago.")
- 3 Appearances of Bret Leather (Wildstorm Universe)
- 3 Images featuring Bret Leather (Wildstorm Universe)
- Quotations by or about Bret Leather (Wildstorm Universe)
- Character Gallery: Bret Leather (Wildstorm Universe)
- ↑ Planetary #22