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Appearing in "Caught in the Act..."

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Synopsis for "Caught in the Act..."

The Cobra has broken into a properties room at a police precinct. However, his arrival is heard by two officers who check out the source of the sound. Finding nothing, they lock up the room once more. The Cobra comes down from the roof then begins collecting evidence that was taken during the bust of a jewel theft ring. After taking a handful of the stolen loot, the villain makes his escape by contorting his body so he can slip into the drainpipe in the floor. Using the sewers, the Cobra travels back to his apartment where he gloats over his string of evidence thefts. Removing his costume, the Cobra then places his newly acquired jewels in a secret safe hidden beneath his apartment's fireplace. The Cobra remarks how he has had not had this level of success when he was partnered with Mister Hyde. Thinking of his old partner in crime gives the Cobra the shivers. He recounts how he heard that Hyde accidentally flash-froze himself during a battle against Captain America. Glad he is no longer working with the brutish Hyde, the Cobra toasts himself to living the good life.

Meanwhile, at his Chelsea apartment, Peter Parker puts the finishing touches on a new Spider-Man costume. This has become a necessity because his other costume has been damaged. After the costume is finished, Peter puts it on to see how it fits. He is impressed with his workmanship, particularly adding the underarm webbing that has been absent from his costume for such a long time. However, his mind quickly turns to the pile of bills that need to be paid. Peter decides not to let this get him down and goes out web-swinging for the fun of it. Little does Spider-Man know that a shadowy figure has appeared at the site where his recent battle with the Juggernaut had ended. This mysterious character vows to get revenge and storms off into the night.

At that moment, at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is meeting with his girlfriend Marla Madison. Marla questions if they are doing the right thing, but Jonah insists that being in the newspaper business is about taking risks. They are joined by reporter Ned Leeds, and the pair recount Marla's recent job offer with the Brand Corporation and that led to her being kidnapped by the costumed villain known as Killer Shrike. Marla knows that she was needed for some nefarious plot, but due to some hypnotic effect, her memories of her capture are clouded. Marla turned down the job offer immediately after and whenever she asked about the Brand Corporation to colleagues in the scientific community, they were afraid to talk. Leeds isn't surprised, as the Brand Corporation is a subsidiary of Roxxon Oil. He tells Marla and Jonah that he has an underworld connection who has some dirt on the Brand Corporation. Marla insists accompanying Ned to meet this contact, despite protests from Jameson. Before leaving, Ned stops by to tell his wife, Betty Brant, what he is up to. After he assures her that there is no danger with this assignment he leaves. However, Ned leaves behind his notebook by accident. When Betty sees that her husband is meeting with his contact in a bad part of town she begins to worry about it.

Betty calls the teacher's assistant office at Empire State University, looking for Peter Parker. The phone is answered by Debora Whitman and she tells Betty that Peter is no longer a teaching assistant, but transfers the call to one of the labs where Peter is working on an assignment. As Debbie transfers the call, she worries that this could be trouble, especially if what she suspects about Peter Parker is true. In the lab, Peter answers the phone and listens to Betty's concerns. He assures her that Ned can take care of himself and ends the call. When the experiment that Peter and Roger Hochberg is a success, Peter excuses himself so he can keep an eye on Ned to make sure he doesn't run into any danger.

Meanwhile, Ned and Marla arrive at a dive bar called Maxies where they meet with his contact "Nose" Norton. After paying Norton his fee, Ned and Marla follow him outside so he can get some "fresh air" and tell them what he knows. As they make their way out the Cobra, in disguise, arrives at the bar looking for Nose himself. When Norton is pointed out to him by the bartender, the Cobra recognizes Ned as a reporter and fears that Nose is selling him out. Outside, Ned begins to become impatient with Nose and demands the information about the Brand Corporation. As this heated exchange is going on, the mysterious figure is approaching Maxies. Not far away, Spider-Man is also heading in that direction when his spider-sense begins to go off, warning him of danger. Suddenly, the Cobra leaps off the building and grapples with Nose Norton. However, before the Cobra can silence the stoolie, Spider-Man arrives to stop him. The Cobra tosses two venom bombs at Ned and Marla, but the wall-crawler catches them in mid-air and tosses them onto a rooftop where they explode harmlessly.

Spider-Man then tries to trap the Cobra by webbing up the exit from the alley. When the Cobra attempts to fire poisoned darts at Nose Norton, Ned leaps in the way and takes the darts himself. As Spider-Man rushes to Ned's aid, he discovers that the reporter avoided harm because his pocket recorder saved him from the darts. By this point, the Cobra has grabbed Nose Norton and dragged him into the bar. Spider-Man quickly follows after them and the Cobra attempts to flee. Spider-Man manages to catch the Cobra with a web before he can slip away and knocks him out. With Ned and Marla safe, Spider-Man heads off to deliver the Cobra to the police. However, before he can get to them, someone throws a chunk of a building at the wall-crawler and his prisoner. Spider-Man narrowly avoids the debris and lands on a nearby roof. There he is confronted by Mr. Hyde, who demands that Spider-Man hand over the Cobra if he wants to live.


Continuity Notes

  • The Cobra recounts his partnership with Mister Hyde. The pair had been frequent partners since they first met in Journey into Mystery #105. He also recounts Hyde's recent defeat at the hands of Captain America, that happened in Captain America #252.


  • This issue marks Spider-Man's 20th anniversary.

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