Appearing in "Shrike Force!"
- Dr. Evan Swann (First appearance)
- Anne-Marie Baker (First appearance)
- Mr. Graff (Only appearance)
- Shelly Fisch (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Shrike Force!"
The costumed villain known as Killer Shrike is in the middle of robbing an armored truck. During his brazen theft, a security guard goes for his gun but the villain sees this. However, before he can harm the officer with his talons, Shrike is interrupted by the arrival of Spider-Man. Spider-Man's speed an agility make him a difficult target for Killer Shrike's energy blasts. Hearing police sirens, Killer Shrike picks up a dumpster and tosses it at the wall-crawler. As Spider-Man dodges the projectile, Shrike uses the opportunity to try and fly away. Unable to follow after his foe, Spider-Man recovers his automatic camera from the side of a building. He hopes that he has pictures good enough to sell to the Daily Bugle as he could use the money because he is going to be continuing his education. Although Peter was awarded a research grant and money is coming in from promoting his book, Webs, his post-graduate education could take years to complete. Returning to his condo apartment, Spider-Man's spider-sense warns him that his wife, Mary Jane is not alone in their home.[Continuity 1] After the man leaves, Mary Jane explains to Peter that she got the locks changed since Jonathan Caeser used a passkey to get into their home and kidnap her.[Continuity 2] When the couple begin to get romantic with each other, Peter remembers that he has to get to Empire State University and register for his courses, cutting this moment short. Mary Jane suggests that they go out for dinner after.
Later, at Empire State University, Peter manages to register for the two courses he will be able to manage at the time. He then looks for the lab of Doctor Evan Swann, who he will be working with as a research assistant. There he meets Ann-Marie Baker, who will also be working as an assistant for Dr. Swann. Peter and Ann-Marie get to know each other a little before they are joined by Dr. Swann, who hits it off with Peter immediately. The introductions are soon interrupted by the delivery of integrated geradyne. After Dr. Swann signs for it, Anne-Marie points out that they have exceeded their equipment budget and they had received a warning from the administration. Swann nervously assures her that everything will be fine and rushes out of the room. Anne-Marie explains to Peter that Evan has been acting strange since he started working on a secret project that he refuses to talk about. This concerns Peter, as his spider-sense went off briefly when Swann retreated to his lab, leaving him to wonder what it is.
That evening, Peter and Mary Jane are leaving a movie theater. Mary Jane has noticed that Peter's been lost in thought and asks what's on his mind. He tells her that he is depressed at the thought of having to do homework again. On their way back to their condo, Peter tells his wife that he is restless and tells her to go on up while he gets some ice cream. However, he stops and admits that he is lying to her. He then tells her about his real troubles, his spider-sense warning him earlier that day and that he wants to go back to Empire State University as Spider-Man to investigate. He kept this from her because he didn't want Mary Jane to worry. Mary Jane admits that she will, but tells her husband to do what he needs to do. Soon, Spider-Man arrives at Evan Swann's lab. He tells the Doctor that he has detected something suspicious coming from his secret lab and demands to be let in. As Swann warns the wall-crawler that he can't, the option is taken away from him when the reason for secrecy presents itself. It's Spider-Man's old foe the Tinkerer, who reveals that he has been forcing Dr. Swann into allowing him to use his lab to build a new device, which is now complete.
The Tinkerer explains that the device creates phantom electrons that can increase the speed and power of some weapons systems. Spider-Man is confused, as he believed the Tinkerer stopped fighting super-heroes. The villain confirms this but explains that he still earns a living modifying and creating weapons for other criminals and that his current client will be arriving shortly to pick up the module. No sooner is this said does Killer Shrike come crashing through the window. Both Spider-Man and Shrike are surprised to see each other again. Wanting to get the module, Shrike lashes out at the wall-crawler. Dodging Killer Shrike's energy blasts, Spider-Man orders Dr. Swann to run for cover. During the battle, Killer Shrike ignites some chemicals, causing a fire. With Evan in danger, Spider-Man focuses on saving the doctor from the flames. Meanwhile, Killer Shrike explains that he doesn't have the money to pay the Tinkerer for the module yet and asks to have it now and pay him later. The Tinkerer refuses at first but relents when Shrike threatens to harm him.
However, this was all a ruse on the Tinkerer's part, as he left an important component out of the device in the event that Killer Shrike attempted to double-cross him. When Shrike adds the module to his weapon's systems and tries to blast Spider-Man, the entire system short circuits stunning Killer Shrike. This gives Spider-Man to land a knock out blow, however, while he is doing this, the Tinkerer manages to make his escape. Still, Spider-Man is glad they caught Killer Shrike and that he will be going to jail. However, Dr. Swann fears that he will be joining the criminal as well. When the authorities arrive and take Killer Shrike away, Spider-Man asks Evan why he willingly helped the Tinkerer. Dr. Swann explains that the Tinkerer learned that Evan never graduated from high school and threatened to reveal the fact that the credentials he used to get his post-secondary education was a forgery. Not wishing to have his career ruined, Swann agreed to help the Tinkerer out. As the police take Evan away, Spider-Man thinks how both her and Evan have something in common, that they both wanted a higher education to get the careers they wanted. However, as Peter Parker did so legitimately, it sarcastically believes himself to be the lucky one.
Is it burglary? Is it blackmail? Or is it both? Spidey's late-night investigation of an Empire State University lab uncovers a high-stakes plot that pits him against both Killer Shrike and the Tinkerer!
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife in this story. However, years later their marriage was erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such, Peter and Mary Jane would be considered a common-law couple instead of a married couple.
- Mary Jane was kidnapped by Jonathan Caeser until she was able to break free. This occurred during the course of Amazing Spider-Man #307–309.