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Marvel Database

Appearing in "Wanted for Murder: Spider-Man"

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Synopsis for "Wanted for Murder: Spider-Man"

Spider-Man recalls how John Jameson vanished as he fell from the tower of the Brooklyn Bridge the day before, and how J. Jonah Jameson accused Spider-Man of killing his son. When he hears a speeding car in the street below, he spins a web-net to trap it, but the web is too weak to hold the vehicle. The car careens toward an old lady crossing the street. When Spider-Man rescues her, however, she hits him with her purse. She has read Jameson's latest editorial and thinks Spider-Man is a murderer. Spider-Man leaps away with her screams for the police ringing in his ears. Then he chases the out-of-control car and stops it by lifting its rear wheels off the pavement and anchoring himself against a curb. When the driver sees his rescuer, he begs Spider-Man not to hurt him. Then he quickly re-enters his car and speeds away. Spider-Man is perplexed by this reaction from a man he has Just saved. Then he sees the Daily Bugle headline. Enraged, he shreds the paper and heads for Blake Tower's office at city hall.

When the doorbell buzzes at Spencer Smythe's laboratory and the criminal scientist admits Jameson and Marla Madison, he cannot believe his good fortune. Jameson is the very person Smythe desperately wants revenge against, and here he is with an offer to pay an enormous sum of money for another Spider Slayer robot. Coughing frequently and swallowing the pills that keep him alive, Smythe agrees to build the machine. He tells Jameson to send Marla away before the work begins. Spider-Man tells Blake Tower that he is sick of Jameson's editorials and wants to know what can be done about Jameson's accusation. When Tower asks whether the accusation is true, Spider-Man replies that of course it is not. Then Tower recommends Spider-Man sue Jameson for defamation of character. But, he continues, Spider-Man will have to reveal his secret identity. Even Jameson has the right to face his accuser. This, of course, is unacceptable to Spider-Man, and he shatters Tower's desk in frustration. Tower accepts Spider-Man's apology and then tells Spider-Man that he cannot offer legal advice. Handing Spider-Man a letter addressed to him care of Tower's office, he requests that Spider-Man not use city hall as his mail box. Thanking Tower for everything, Spider-Man departs. The next morning, Smythe unveils his final Spider Slayer robot to Jameson. Resembling a large spider, the machine is built from shatterproof materials and responds instantly to Smythe's mental commands. Evidently having all the strengths but none of the weaknesses of Smythe's earlier models, it is the finest Spider Slayer Smythe has ever built. Talking fast and distracting Jameson, Smythe manages to lock a handcuff-shaped device on Jameson's wrist. As soon as the lock snaps shut, Smythe exults that Jameson has but 24 hours to live. He says that he hates Jameson for corrupting him with his mad schemes against Spider-Man, which have condemned Smythe to die from overexposure to radioactive material. Jameson pleads ignorance, but to no avail. Smythe promises that Jameson and Spider-Man will die together once Smythe lures the crimefighter there. Smythe says he will have his revenge on his deathbed.

Meanwhile, Peter mixes a fresh batch of web fluid in his apartment's makeshift chemistry lab. He has determined that pollutants in the air weaken the fluid, and he must mix smaller batches more frequently to keep the fluid from deteriorating. After briefly testing his superhuman powers, he opens the letter he obtained from Blake Tower. It is from Claredge Advertising, merchandisers of life-size Spider-Man punching-bag toys, informing Spider-Man that even if he is innocent of Jameson's charge, he is far too controversial for them to use on their toys. Furious at losing the contract because of Jameson's editorials, Peter kicks his couch across the room. Now there will be no money to pay for Aunt May's medical care, and he will have to continue to teach part-time to make ends meet. Donning his Spider-Man costume, Peter resolves to have a showdown with Jameson, and he leaps from his window and heads for the Daily Bugle. Unfortunately, his web fluid is not ready, and he has to leave without it. Thinking what a fool he has been for risking his life on several occasions to save Jameson, Spider-Man bounds across the rooftops. Suddenly his spider-sense tingles, but before he can turn to defend himself, he is wrapped up in a web of steel threads. Another Spider Slayer, thinks Spider-Man, as the device begins to reel him in. Pulling on the cable, Spider-Man flips the robot on its back, but its improved gyroscopes allow it to right itself instantly. Spider-Man finds that it can climb walls as well as he can, and when he tries to knock it off a roof, it twists around and takes him with it. Spider-Man and the robot plummet several stories, but fortunately he manages to maneuver the machine beneath him, so it takes the brunt of the fall. The robot smashes and Spider-Man is knocked unconscious. Then Smythe, coughing, carries Spider-Man to his van and drives to his laboratory.

When Spider-Man comes to, he finds himself in the middle of the lab shackled back-to-back to Jameson. The dying scientist informs him that the shackle is actually a powerful bomb set to explode in 24 hours. Furthermore, he says, they cannot remove it without blowing themselves up instantly. Tomorrow they will both be dead, says Smythe, and there is nothing they can do about it.


Continuity Notes

  • Spider-Man recounts how John Jameson suddenly disappeared in a flash of light. He was taken into the Microverse as seen in Savage She-Hulk #1314.
  • Spencer Smythe wants revenge against J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man for the terminal cancer he contracted from the isotopes he used to build his Spider-Slayers. These Slayers were built in Amazing Spider-Man #28, 58, and Amazing Spider-Man #105107.

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