Appearing in "Dark Journey!"
- Tommy Byrnes
- Kevin Byrnes (First appearance)
- Philip Watson (Voice)
- Alice Larkin (Only appearance)
- Spider-Slayer Mark VIII (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Dark Journey!"
Peter Parker has just asked Mary Jane Watson to marry him. She responds by saying no at first, then admits she doesn't know. Peter asks if it is because he is Spider-Man, she reminds him that they were only friends. Peter points out that they are more than friends. He tries to explain to her how the events of the morning convinced him to propose to her, Mary Jane quickly changes the subject. She explains that her Uncle Spencer was by and with some family news and so Mary Jane is going to Pittsburgh to visit her sister Gayle. That's when Peter remembers that Mary Jane and her sister haven't seen each other in years, recalling how Gayle told Mary Jane she never wanted to see her again.[Continuity 1] Mary Jane responds by telling Peter that it is "girl stuff" that he wouldn't understand. Peter follows Mary Jane outside where she is hailing a taxi. He can tell that she is putting up a facade by acting like the "party girl", as she always does when something is bothering her. As she gets into the cab, Peter's spider-sense goes off, but he sees no danger. Thinking about how he has encountered someone who doesn't set off his spider-sense, he is left wondering if his powers are going haywire.[Continuity 2]
What set off Peter's spider-sense is a nondescript looking van which has no apparent driver. It pulls into the alley behind Mary Jane's apartment building where a robot emerges from the back. The robot then scales the wall of the building and blasts a hole into Mary Jane's apartment where it begins to search for someone. Overhearing someone outside going to call the police, the man piloting the robot makes a hasty retreat back into the van and drives away. Peter doesn't hear this because he is blocks away at this point. Mary Jane wouldn't let him get into the cab with him and he's left wondering what is going on. Meanwhile, the mysterious van pulls into a warehouse. From within the robot emerges the body of Alistaire Smythe, who is now confined to a wheelchair.[Continuity 3] Even though his body is disabled, his mind is still as sharp as ever, and he intends to use his intelligence and technical know-how to destroy Spider-Man and avenge the death of his father.[Continuity 4] Smythe then begins working on a better tracking device to hunt down Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Mary Jane is on a plane to Pittsburgh with a great deal of apprehension about going back home to her family and wonders what tomorrow will bring.
The next day in New York City,[Continuity 5] Peter Parker wakes up and wonders what he should do with himself. He briefly considers going after Mary Jane but decides against it since he doesn't think she wants him butting in. Meanwhile, Alistaire Smythe has completed a number of tracking devices and dispatches them all over the city so he can track down Spider-Man. While in Pittsburgh, Mary Jane arrives at the home of her sister, Gayle. There she meets her nephews Tommy and Kevin as well as their babysitter Alice Larkin. When Mary Jane asks where her sister is, Alice realizes that Mary Jane doesn't know what's going on. Back in New York, Peter decides to go out on as Spider-Man and get some exercise web-slinging. While he is out, Smythe's trackers give away his location. Alistaire then enters his Spider-Slayer in the hopes of destroying his hated for once and for all. Later, in Pittsburgh, Mary Jane goes to the county jail where her sister has been incarcerated. Visiting Gayle, Mary Jane asks what happened and offers to help. However, her sister is not happy to see her. Reminding Mary Jane how she abandoned her four years ago when she needed her most. She then tells Mary Jane to go back to New York and ends the visit. Mary Jane tries to put on a strong face, however, once she is outside she begins to cry.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man is attacked by the new Spider-Slayer at a construction site. Spider-Man is surprised to see that Smythe is out of prison and tries to blind his new robot with webbing. Unfortunately, it is covered with a non-stick coating and the webbing easily slides off. Smythe explains to the wall-crawler that not only is he coming to avenge his father, but himself. He tells the wall-crawler how a lack of insulation in his previous Spider-Slayer robot damaged his nervous system after his last defeat at the hands of Spider-Man. When Spider-Man dodges one of the Slayer's blows, he is caught off guard when the limb sprays ethyl chloride in his face.[Continuity 6] As Spider-Man struggles to shake off the effects of gas, Smythe captures him in one of his coils. This is witnessed by a construction worker in a bulldozer who saves Spider-Man's life by running over the Spider-Slayer's arm. Spider-Man then takes advantage of this assist to kick the pinned arm clean off the Spider-Slayer. With his robot damaged, Smythe blasts free of the bulldozer and makes a hasty retreat while the wall-crawler checks to see if the construction worker is safe. Later that evening, Mary Jane returns to her sister's home to find someone waiting for her. When she sees who it is she is instantly shocked.
The following morning, Alistaire Smythe is back on the road again, gloating over his genius. The ethyl chloride that he sprayed Spider-Man with the night before allows him track Spider-Man anywhere. As he follows the signal, Smythe has to suddenly swerve out of the way of a homeless woman crossing the street, crashing his van into a parked car. When a police officer comes to get the driver's information, Smythe emerges from the back of the van in his Spider-Slayer. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is watching television in his apartment trying not to think about Mary Jane. Suddenly, a news report comes on about Smythe's appearance in the city. Peter quickly changes into Spider-Man, but before he can leave the phone begins to ring. It's Mary Jane who tells Peter that she needs him to come to Pittsburgh immediately, and admits that she does love him. Peter finds himself conflicted between going to Pittsburgh or stopping Smythe. Just as the Spider-Slayer reaches Peter Parker's apartment, Smythe picks up that Spider-Man is moving. Much to his surprise, he discovers that Spider-Man is taking a taxi cab and decides to follow it. Smythe follows the signal all the way to Kennedy Airport where he follows Spider-Man's signal right up to the boarding gate of an airplane. However, he is too late to get on board as the plane is already taxiing the runway, but he learns where it is going.
Meanwhile, on the airplane, Peter Parker feels awful for not dealing with Smythe, however he thinks about how the city has various law enforcement agencies to protect them and Mary Jane only has him. He looks forward to finding settling something for Peter Parker without Spider-Man getting in the way. However, back at JFK, Alistaire Smythe is purchasing a first class ticket to Pittsburgh, intent on following Spider-Man there.[Continuity 7]
Mary Jane Watson's life is in turmoil— and Peter Parker is the cause! While Mary Jane tries to sort out what she will do next, Spider-Man finds himself face-to-face with a deadly new Spider-Slayer!
- Mary Jane had opened up to Peter about her troubled family life in Amazing Spider-Man #259
- Peter is referring to the events of Web of Spider-Man #18 and 24. Peter will discover that this mystery attacker is Edward Brock, who bonded with Spider-Man's old alien costume to become Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #299.
- His disability was the result of his previous Spider-Slayer crashing during a clash with Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19.
- Alistaire's father was Spencer Smythe, the inventor of the Spider-Slayer robots dating back to Amazing Spider-Man #25. Spencer eventually died of cancer due to exposure to radiation from his inventions, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #192.
- 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.
- Spider-Man recalls that Spencer Smythe also used ethyl chloride in one of his previous Spider-Slayer robots. That was in Amazing Spider-Man #106.
- The airline that Smythe buys his ticket from is Eastern Airlines. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale. Particularly since Eastern Airlines went out of business in 1991.
- No letters page is published this issue.
- Reprinted in Amazing Spider-Man The Wedding.