The Tarantula is interesting in that everything that’s been done with him in the modern era is effectively unconnected to the Golden Age rendition of the character. After all, if you’ve read any of the Golden Age appearances of the character, he’s probably one of the most generic mystery men out there. A boring yellow-and-purple costume (which would later be adopted by the Wesley Dodds version of the Sandman in a weird coincidence), boring stories, boring name (come on, his name is literally “Johnny Law”), and token gimmick: suction cups on his boots so he could walk up walls.
And that was pretty much it. Unlike a lot of the Golden Age heroes DC bought over the years, the Tarantula was boring and one-note: he wasn’t that successful in the Golden Age (his run in Star-Spangled Comics was pretty brief) and didn’t do anything memorable, unlike for example the entire Justice Society, which really was an all-star assortment of characters back in the day.
So when he was brought into the All-Star Squadron in the 80s, he was effectively a blank slate. What Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway did was take the name and create an interesting story hook: John Law wanted to write a book about superheroes, so he became one. They added a “wirepoon gun” that fired “thin but superstrong” nylon cord as his version of a spider’s web-shooter: a joke on the fact that in Tarantula’s first Golden Age appearance, somebody called him a “spider man.”
The “why does he have the same costume as Sandman” thing was resolved by having Dian Belmont design a costume for Wes, and then when Wes initially rejected it John took it for his own use, but eventually decided to go his own route and thus Jerry Ordway (who, incidentally, had one of the best artistic runs on any superhero comic ever when he worked on All-Star Squadron) created one of the more memorable and successful costume revamps in comics: the Tarantula’s new outfit still feels “Golden Agey” but adds a welcome touch of modern complexity.
The result of all this was to take a character who was the definition of “fringe” and make him into a mainstay of one of DC’s more successful team books for about fifty issues. That’s the definition of a successful reintroduction of a character. Tarantula might not be a star player, but he filled his role in the Squadron very well.