Alistair Smythe grew up as an only child in Brooklyn, New York. The son of Spencer Smythe, a single father whose work always took precedence over family, young Alistair grew up with no motherly influence as he adapted to a childhood of neglect. During his high school years, Alistair was surprised to find his father make a concerted effort to atone for his faults as a parent. Only months before dying of radiation poisoning (itself a lab accident gone awry), Spencer passed along all of his knowledge of robotics and technology to Alistair – years of research that Alistaire absorbed with full comprehension in mere weeks.
At Empire State University, Smythe was roommates and close friends with a young Curt Connors. The two geniuses shared a playful rivalry, frequently arguing over the merits of technology versus biology. But Smythe's beliefs were not as popular, and he lost several prominent grants to Connors. Their steadfast friendship started to show cracks...
As he struggled to gain funding for his work in robotics and nanotechnology, Smythe watched Connors join the prestigious Oscorp Industries, and rapidly rise through its ranks. Jealousy began to fester in his heart...
Smythe was devastated by the accident that turned Connors into the Lizard, but as fate would have it, it was also his greatest boon. After Connors’ inglorious dismissal from the company, Oscorp hired Smythe and funneled all of Connors’ resources to its new robotics division. Smythe became “the new face of Oscorp,” determined to change the world, and erase the stain of Connors’ biological freak show. But Connors' legacy would not be that easy to destroy. During the removal of the cross-species specimens, Smythe and his scientists were infected by their virus. The control of Smythe prided himself on began to slip away; his vengeance led him to program robots to destroy cross-species who esccaped the Oscorp quarantine. His greed led him to inject himself with an untested cure, a mistake that took the use of his legs.
The order Smythe built around himself collapsed into chaos. Instead of wasting time to develop a cure, he was more determined than ever to eliminate the infected, including Spider-Man. Smythe's robots caused more harm than good, and put many innocent lives at risk. He was ultimately dismissed from Oscorp and forced to take sole blame for the outbreak. This fueled Smythe's rage more, as he released his most deadly wave of robots on the city. It was an all out extermination.
Spider-Man and the Lizard formed an uneasy alliance to stop Smythe, and manufactured a successful cure capable of saving the city. At this point, all threats were ceased and the city was saved. Smythe was back inside one of his robot labs in Oscorp Tower and was almost completely infected from the virus, as he wasn't able to get the cure. It was too late, however, and so the regretful Doctor Alistaire Smythe commited suicide by way of programming one of his own hunter bots to shoot him.
In Other MediaAlistair Smythe appears as minor but important antagonist in The Amazing Spiderman 2 as much as Donald Menken's. In fact, he was catalyst of chains of events that led to Max's mutation into Eletro in the movie much like Donald did to Harry who he changed into Green Goblin, though Smythe's case was accidental.
He first appeared when he bullied Max to fix a broken power surge, and sarcastically wish him well. Unbeknownst to him, it led to Max being bitten by genetically altered eels, turned him into Electro. His eventual fate was unknown.