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Quote1 Not to worry, my friend. The Undertaker always deals in strictest confidence. Quote2
-- The Undertaker

Appearing in "An Amazing World"

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Synopsis for "An Amazing World"

In Patchogue, Long Island, a young person flies across the street firing energy blasts from their hand in order to blow up mailboxes as part of a prank.[Continuity 1]

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Maxie Shiffman is in deep debt and tries to convince bill collectors that money is coming, pointing out that he has just taken on Spider-Man as a client.[Continuity 2] After getting off the phone, he checks with his secretary to see if Spider-Man has called back. Unfortunately, the only person who has called for Maxie is his bookie who is threatening to break his thumbs if he doesn't pay up. With no other choice, Maxie decides to put a classified ad in the newspaper in the hopes of reaching his arrant client.[Continuity 3]

While in Forest Hills, Peter Parker watches television with his Aunt May. They watch a news report about a sighting of the Human Torch, a member of the new group of super-heroes known as the Fantastic Four.[Continuity 4] It also recounts how the Fantastic Four's headquarters, the Baxter Building, was briefly pulled into space by Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner.[Continuity 5] This is also followed by reports about the Hulk on a rampage in the south-west, and rumors of an Asgardian god disposing of a South American dictator.[Continuity 6] Aunt May is disturbed by all of this violence and danger in the world, but notices Peter hasn't been very talkative.[Continuity 7] Peter tells her that he is thinking. Peter's is unimpressed about all of these stories about super-powered being, particularly since he became Spider-Man. This causes him to think about how he attempted to use his powers to make money, but his unwillingness to stop a thief led to that same burglar murdering his Uncle Ben.[Continuity 8]

Later at Uncle Ben's funeral, Peter Parker thinks about how he needs to find a way to use his powers in a way that will make up for the death of Uncle Ben. He thinks, his only saving grace in this regard, is that he still has his anonymity, and is glad that he did not reveal his true identity -- even to his agent Maxie Shiffman. After the burial, May tells Peter that her late husband was a good man and to never forget it, Peter assures her that he won't. The next day at school, Liz Allan gives Peter her condolences but quickly leaves to join her friends. Unsympathetic to his recent tragedy, Flash Thompson pushes past Peter to show his friends the classified ad that Maxie Shiffman put in the Daily Bugle looking for Spider-Man. Overhearing this, Peter is still determined to put that part of his life behind him. Meanwhile, Maxie Shiffman's ad has backfired. Instead of attracting the real Spider-Man, his office if flooded by impostors and fame seekers trying to convince him that they are the real wall-crawler. He tells the mob that they can prove that they are really Spider-Man by climbing onto the ceiling. When none of these phonies can comply, Shiffman orders them all out of his office. Once alone, Maxie breaks down into tears wondering what to do next.

After school, Peter Parker is still trying to figure out the best way to use his powers as he walks home from school. When he gets home, he finds his Aunt May talking to a salesman. He is telling her that Ben had purchased a new set of furniture for their home just prior to his death and he has come to collect the last of the payments. Unfortunately, May doesn't have the money to finish paying for the furniture. However, May doesn't want to pass up on this supposed "final gift" from her late husband and begs the salesman to give her more time to get the money. The salesperson understands and says he'll come by again in a week. However, May still doesn't know where she is going to get the money, as Ben's funeral cleaned them out. Peter assures his aunt that everything will turn out okay. However, when Peter goes up to his room he allows his true emotions to come out. He feels trapped, between wanting to use his powers responsibly in the memory of his Uncle, and how tight the money is since his death. Looking at a newspaper clipping about one of his performances, he thinks about the money he could bring in using his powers for entertainment. Still unable to think of a solution, Peter decides to go out web-slinging as Spider-Man in order to clear his head.

It is during this exercise, Spider-Man spots the salesman that was in his home earlier that evening at someone else's home. To his surprise, the web-spinner hears the salesman tell virtually the same story to another recent widow. Finding this incredibly suspicious, Spider-Man decides to follow after the salesman and is led to a warehouse in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Sneaking inside, he discovers that this is a fraud operation that has been taking advantage of the elderly by tricking them into buying insurance plans and purchasing shoddy furniture. This entire operation is run by Conrad Eisenstadt -- AKA The Undertaker -- who gloats over how easily he is bilking the elderly of their money. When Eisenstadt is alone in his office, Spider-Man confronts him and threatens to call the police. That's when the Undertaker summons his men. Before they can open fire, Spider-Man is warned when his spider-sense goes off for the first time, allowing him to leap to safety. Using this newfound ability in conjunction with his other powers, Spider-Man is able to overpower the armed men and web them up for the authorities. Hearing that Spider-Man called in the police, Maxie Shiffman arrives on the scene in the hopes of catching his client but just misses the wall-crawler as he leaves the scene. On his way home, Spider-Man spots a couple being mugged by a gang of men in an alley. He then swoops in and stops them as well, and as he resumes his trip home, realizes how he can start using his powers responsibly.

When the story about Spider-Man's recent activities reach the news, Aunt May believes that the wall-crawler's heroics are tarnishing the memory of her dear husband. When Peter returns home he sees how upset Aunt May is and suspects that she feels foolish for almost being swindled by Eisenstadt and his men. He then cheers her up by asking her to tell him a story about Uncle Ben.[Continuity 9] While in Manhattan, the strange teen from Long Island uses their power to lift a bulldozer and place it atop a building that is under construction.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. The identity of this individual is revealed next issue.
  2. Maxie Shiffman took Spider-Man as a client last issue.
  3. All of the technology depicted in this story: telephones, typewriters, black and white televisions etc. All appear to be commonly used technologies of the early 1960s. Although this story was published in 1995, it takes place shortly after the events of Amazing Fantasy #15, which was published in 1962. The creative team behind this story was going for a retro look for stylistic and nostalgia purposes. Modern readers, however, should consider all of these depictions as topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 in much the same way as they would for such depictions in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  4. The Fantastic Four gained their powers in Fantastic Four #1.
  5. Doom and the Sub-Mariner attempted to slay the Fantastic Four by pulling their headquarters into space in Fantastic Four #6.
  6. The Hulk's rampage is from Incredible Hulk #3, while the Asgardian is Thor, who had just recently disposed of Santiago "The Executioner" Rivera in Journey into Mystery #84.
  7. May wishes that these heroes could be non-threatening like the Wizard. This story takes place prior to the Wizard turning to crime in Strange Tales #102.
  8. Peter's dabbling in entertainment and the murder of Uncle Ben happened in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  9. May begins telling Peter about the day she first met Ben Parker. This story was depicted in detail in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #4.

Chronology Notes

Events in this story happen behind the scenes that affect the chronology of the following characters:

Spider-Man:

  • Previous Page 1-6 Next - Peter Parker reflects on how he got his powers and the death of his Uncle Ben.
  • Previous Page 7, Panels 1-3 Next - Peter and Aunt May attend Ben's burial.
  • Previous Page 7, Panel 4-5 Next - Peter and May leave the cemetary.
  • Previous Page 8-30 Next - Spider-Man takes down the Undertaker.

Maxie Shiffman:

  • Previous Empty Page 1-6 Next - Maxie struggles with debts and decides to try and get back in touch with Spider-Man.
  • Previous Page 7-30 Next - Shiffman tries to track down Spider-Man.

May Parker:

  • Previous Page 1-6 Next - Peter Parker reflects on how he got his powers and the death of his Uncle Ben.
  • Previous Page 7, Panels 1-3 Next - Peter and Aunt May attend Ben's burial.
  • Previous Page 7, Panel 4-5 Next - Peter and May leave the cemetary.
  • Previous Page 8-30 Next - May is almost ripped off by the Undertaker.

Trivia

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