Appearing in "Murder by Spider"
Synopsis for "Murder by Spider"
For the third time in an evening, Spider-Man finds himself drawn to an old mansion. Spider-Man gives into his curiosity and looks into one of the windows. All he sees is an elderly man sitting down to dinner. Dismissing the old man as threatening as his Aunt May, and swings away. No sooner is the wall-crawler gone, the man is suddenly swarmed with venomous spiders whose bite causes him a painful death. Not far away, Spider-Man spots some muggers attempting to rob a couple. Seeing how helpless their victims are put Spider-Man into a rage and he beats the crooks into submission. Seeing how frightened both the muggers and their victims have become, Spider-Man stops himself and walks away. He dismisses this outburst as a reaction to losing the Black Cat recently.
The next morning, Peter Parker goes to the Daily Bugle where he reads a front-page story about the elderly man who was killed by spiders. He is not surprised that his boss, J. Jonah Jameson, has used this story to continue his vendetta against Spider-Man, accusing the web-slinger of being responsible. He learns the elderly victim was a wealthy man by the name of Adlai Schmidt. It's then that Jameson emerges from his office with Joe Robertson in tow. He insists that Spider-Man is responsible for the murder, believing that the wall-crawler can somehow control spiders, even though the masked vigilante has never demonstrated these powers before. Joe apologizes to Peter for Jonah's outburst and tells him that since Schmidt had no living relatives his antique furniture will be auctioned off to pay off back taxes. This rules out money as a motive for murder, but it opens up another line of thought for Peter who decides to look in at this new angle. Since Debora Whitman has an interest in antiques, Peter decides to invite her along for the auction. Meanwhile, at a seedy bar in the warehouse district, a bespectacled man is paid for the job of recovering a necklace for his client, who claims that it is for his aunt.
The following week, Peter and Debora arrive at the auction. While Whitman finds the antiques amazing, Peter is lost in thought over why someone would kill Adlia Schmidt. When Debora picks up an antique quill pen, it is snapped out of her hands be a man who purchased all the French pieces and storms off. Taken back by the man's rudeness, Peter wonders who he is. One of the other auction attendees informs them that the man is Norman Junque one of the wealthiest antique dealers in Manhattan. Hearing that Junque purchased everything, Peter abruptly tells Debra that he needs to go. As he leaves, Debra questions why Peter is always running out on her, remarking that it is only pushing her to continue dating Biff Rifkin, even though she finds him obnoxious. Outside, Peter spots Norman getting into a cab, and quickly changes into Spider-Man in order to follow after him. Soon he finds himself at the Montana Apartments, one of New York's ritziest apartment buildings.
Suddenly, Spider-Man begins to detect the same feeling he did on the night the Schmidt was killed. Spider-Man then goes in through a window. His entry is witnessed by the doorman who calls the police. Following the signal, Spider-Man suddenly hears a scream and rushes to its source. He finds the police have arrived on the scene and are trying to get into the apartment. Spider-Man forces himself through the officers and finds a bunch of venomous spiders have bitten an elderly woman. Seeing that the woman is clinging to life, Spider-Man leaps out of the window with the woman in arm in order to take her to a hospital, dodging police bullets on his way out. Spider-Man drops the woman off, and the arriving paramedics figure that she will just barely make it. As the wall-crawler slips away, the elderly woman mumbles about Spider-Man taking her earrings.
Spider-Man had done precisely that, but only because he detected some kind of hidden circuitry inside the earrings. The hero decides to take a closer look at home and find out what is going on. Meanwhile, the man who sold the earrings happens upon the newspaper headlines and learns that this device not only attracts spiders but Spider-Man. This man decides to increase the power of this device in the hopes of taking full control of Spider-Man. Soon, Spider-Man is out trying to pick up the signal again in the hopes of bringing them back to their source. When he does, he finds himself walking into a trap set by the killer. The man has built a device that will affect Spider-Man's spider-sense causing him great pain. He explains that he was hired to kill the wealthy so his clients could collect what they wanted. The man tries to kill the wall-crawler with his gun, but Spider-Man manages to disarm him. Running out a door, he plants an explosive charge on the door to destroy his foe. Spider-Man sense the trap and sets off the bomb to trick his foe. When the killer goes to check if Spider-Man is dead, the wall-crawler easily defeats him.
It's then that the police arrive on the scene, prompting Spider-Man to flee. The killer, fearful of Spider-Man attacking him again, confesses his crimes. Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings away complaining about the new rips in his costume.
- The depiction of the original twin towers at the site of the World Trade Center should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
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