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Quote1.png Evenin' Slick. 'Member me? I'm the Taskmaster! Quote2.png

Appearing in "Dread"

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Synopsis for "Dread"

Having returned from Chicago, Peter Parker discovers that his wife Mary Jane is missing.[Continuity 1] He calls the police who do a search of the Parker condo in Bedford Towers but find no clues as to where Mary Jane might be. Sgt. Frances Tork asks Peter to give yet another statement one more time. Tork then tells Peter to let the police handle finding his wife and to wait by the phone. When the police leave, Peter wonders if one of his old foes discovered his secret identity and kidnapped Mary Jane in order to get at him. This idea makes him furious and as he begins to put on his Spider-Man costume, he vows to make whoever is responsible pay for taking his wife. Unfortunately, Peter is unaware that his wife is closer than he thinks. She is being held prisoner in a secret room constructed by the owner of Bedford Towers, Jonathan Caeser. Caeser offers to get anything Mary Jane wants, and she sarcastically requests for a gun. When he caresses her face with his finger, he slaps Jonathan across the face. Angered, Caeser strikes back but then begins to cry, telling not to force him to hit her again. When she asks him what he wants, Jonathan explains that he only wants her. Showing off his shrine to Mary Jane, he reveals that he was never denied anything during his wealthy upbringing. Caeser explains that upon seeing Mary Jane in a magazine spread, he became determined to have her and manipulated events to get her into Bedford Towers so he can confine her to the secret room he has constructed. He then tells her that he will build her a second room, once they are married. Left alone, Mary Jane collapses to the floor praying for Peter to save her.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings out into the city and begins roughing up criminals in the hopes that he can learn what happened to Mary Jane. However, nobody has any information to give him regarding his wife. The following morning,[Continuity 2] Peter meets with his publicist, Ginny Edwards while ignoring phone calls for his wife. He has decided to cancel his appearance in Queens in the hopes he hears something about his wife. Ginny begs Peter to reconsider when suddenly Aunt May calls. When Peter answers the phone and hears how excited she is for the book signing in her neighborhood, Peter finally reconsiders, not wanting to disappoint Aunt May. Later in Queens, Peter appears at the book signing. There he is greeted by his Aunt May and the tenants of her boarding house. Everyone is excited about Peter's new book, except for Nathan Lubenski, who uses the opportunity to criticise Peter over his treatment of his Aunt. May tells Peter to ignore him, but notices that Peter looks a little tense. He assures his aunt that everything will be fine by the end of the evening. Later, at Bedford Towers, Felicia Hardy has finally tracked down Peter Parker's new address. However, when she tries to get into the building, the doorman refuses her entry as Peter Parker is not home. Hardy gives up, telling the doorman that she will be back later.

The Taskmaster faces Spider-Man in a graveyard in Brooklyn.

That evening in Brooklyn graveyard, Spider-Man arrives on the scene on information given to him by a stoolie named Chili Bono. Although he doesn't know who is responsible for Mary Jane's abduction, Spider-Man vows to make them pay. As he searches the graveyard, the wall-crawler is suddenly attacked by an army of well-armed men. Determined to find his wife, Spider-Man lashes into his attackers, easily trouncing them. Cornering one of the thugs, the masked hero demands to know where their boss is. Told to look behind him, Spider-Man turns and sees the Taskmaster.[Continuity 3] Spider-Man thought that the Taskmaster was in jail, but the villain explains that he cut a deal with the federal authorities.[Continuity 4] The wall-crawler isn't interested in explanations and hurls a gravestone at the Taskmasker. However, the villain manages to dodge the projectile and flee. Spider-Man is told by one of the Taskmaster's minions that he is hiding out in the nearby mausoleum.

Smashing his way into the mausoleum, Spider-Man discovers that it is a front for the Taskmaster's assassin school. The Taskmaster tells his trainees that there is a reward for killing the wall-crawler. While Spider-Man evades their shots, the Taskmaster flees into the other room. Having had enough, the wall-crawler rips off a large chunk of stone wall and threatens to throw it at the trained mercenaries. They all cower and flee the scene rather than face Spider-Man's rage. Following after the Taskmaster, the wall-crawler is ambushed in the training room. At first, the Taskmaster has the advantage, using his "photographic reflexes" to keep Spider-Man on the defensive. Ultimately, the hero smashes the Taskmaster's weapons, forcing the villain to ignite boxes of ammunition in order to cover his escape. As Spider-Man runs for cover, the Taskmaster reveals that he never had Mary Jane and only orchestrated this battle in order to test his minions out on a superhero. With the villain gone, Spider-Man leaves the burning mausoleum and returns home. Returning to his condo, Peter Parker looks out at the city from the balcony wondering where his wife can be, unaware that she is still imprisoned directly below him.

Solicit Synopsis

Mary Jane is missing! And the web-slinger finds more than he bargained for when his hunt for his wife leads him smack into the Taskmaster!


Continuity Notes

  1. This story states that Peter and Mary Jane are husband and wife. Years later, the demon known as Mephisto erased all history of their marriage in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such, Peter and Mary Jane are considered a common-law couple as opposed to being married.
  2. 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.
  3. The Taskmaster asks Spider-Man if he remembers their last encounter. That happened in Marvel Team-Up #103.
  4. Taskmaster cut this deal in Captain America #334.

Publication Notes

  • This issue features a letters page, The Spider's Web. Letters are published from C.M. Dymmel, Mathew Calhoun, Brian K. Curley, and Joe Allen.


  • The word kidnapped is incorrectly spelled "kidnaped" on the front cover.

See Also

Links and References


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