Appearing in "Westward Woe!"

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Synopsis for "Westward Woe!"

The Black Fox is attempting to steal the Valencia Chalice from a Los Angeles gala. Having evaded capture from Spider-Man, the Black Fox thought he was going to make a clean getaway when he was stopped by the Prowler, who has come for the chalice himself. Where is Spider-Man in all this? He was on a book tour as Peter Parker to promote the release of his new book "Webs". While chasing the Black Fox as Spider-Man, he ended up running into the main ballroom of the gala and has been held back by autograph-hungry guests.[Continuity 1] Spider-Man suffers it long enough but eventually pulls himself away so he can go after the Black Fox. He drops in on the Prowler and the Black Fox just as the thief was agreeing to give the chalice over to the Prowler. The Prowler orders Spider-Man to stay out of the situation. As the two trade blows, the Black Fox tries to make his escape by tossing a smoke bomb allowing him to escape with the chalice. Spider-Man demands to know why the Prowler is trying to steal the artifact as well and learns that Transcorp put him up to this, and if he doesn't recover the chalice, his wife Mindy will end up in jail. He asks Spider-Man for his help, and Spider-Man decides to let the Prowler go as he has always been straight with him. He agrees to meet with the Prowler later at the Algonquin Hotel before departing himself.

Changing back into Peter Parker, the hero tells his wife about what happened and explains that he doesn't believe that the Prowler would willingly throw his life away. The next day, Spider-Man meets with Hobie Brown but learns that Brown had checked out of the hotel earlier in the morning and is chased out by the owner of the hotel. While at the commandeered mansion of Osgood Hempstead, the Black Fox wakes up after a good nights sleep. He is delighted that he managed to make off with the Valencia Chalice as it will secure the funds needed for him to retire. However, now that both Spider-Man and the Prowler are involved, he realizes that he can't fence the chalice in the United States, and laments over having to smuggle it overseas. While at the Sea Prince Hotel in Laguna Beach, Peter and his wife Mary Jane are taking in some sun on the beach.[Continuity 2] However, Peter can't get his mind off the Black Fox and the Prowler, but Mary Jane convinces him that he can't solve the world's problems and they two go for a swim in the ocean.

Later that day, Peter is attending a signing at the American Book Fair. There he is told by his publicist, Ginny Edwards, that he is going to appear on a popular late night television show.[Continuity 3] After an exciting interview on the show, Peter decides to turn his attention back to the Prowler and the Black Fox after he sees an advertisement for Transcorp. Changing into Spider-Man, Peter goes to the Transcorp building where he finds the Prowler on the roof. He ambushes the Prowler and demands to know what is going on. Hobie explains how his wife, Mindy, was a bookkeeper for Transcorp and discovered that they were involved in some shady business dealings. When the company discovered this, they framed her for the crime. They then copied the real books onto a storage device and hid it on the Valencia Challace in order to smuggle it into Europe. He has come after the chalice to recover the evidence that will clear Mindy's name. He explains that he is at the Transcorp building in order to eavesdrop on Troy Fishburn, the head of Transcorp's western division. Hearing this explanation, Spider-Man agrees to help the Prowler clear Mindy's name.

Listening in on Fishburn's conversation with his men, they learn that they have tracked the Black Fox down. With the thief trying to smuggle the chalice out of the country on a steamer leaving Long Beach, Spider-Man and the Prowler head off to intercept him. Meanwhile, at the docks, the Black Fox is surrounded by Transcorp goons but manages to get away using a flash bomb. Spotting a nearby cruise ship, he decides to stow away onboard the vessel.[Continuity 4] While the Prowler deals with the Transcorp thugs, Spider-Man tries to nap the Black Fox. However, when the wall-crawler lands on the deck of the ship, he is swarmed by fans who want him to sign his book. However, Spider-Man manages to catch up to the Black Fox and capture him. The elderly thief begs Spider-Man to let him go, complaining about a weak heart. Unable to bring himself to turn the Black Fox in, Spider-Man confiscates the chalice and warns the thief about stealing anything again. With the chalice recovered, the Prowler removes the data and the chalice is returned.

The next morning, as Peter and Mary Jane are waiting for their flight home, they catch a news report about Transcorp's shady business dealings and how Mindy Brown was cleared of all charges. Meanwhile, on a flight back to Europe, the Black Fox gloats about fooling Spider-Man once again, even going so far to swear on his mother's grave that he will never steal again. He thinks his mother will find this hilarious when he sees her next.

Solicit Synopsis

The Black Fox has stolen a valuable chalice. And if the wall-crawling wonder can't recover it, his wife will die!


Continuity Notes

  1. Among these guests is actress Glen Close. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
  2. Peter and Mary Jane are identified as husband and wife in this story. However, years later, the demon Mephisto erased their marriage from existence in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such, Peter and Mary Jane now have a common-law relationship, as opposed to being married.
  3. This late-night television show is identified as the Johnny Carson Show (a common misnaming of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson). That, the depictions of Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, and the fact that their intended guest, actor Charles Nelson Reilly had cancelled, and all the guests Johnny was having on the next evenings show should all be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Particularly since Carson died in 2005, McMahon died in 2009 and Reilly died in 2007.
  4. This ship is identified as the Queen Elizabeth, this should also be considered a topical reference, particularly since the ship was retired in 2008.

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