- I only hate... spiders!
- -- Venom
Appearing in "A Matter of Life and Debt"
- Kristy Watson
- Arthur Chekov
- Victor Palermo
- Rose Palermo
- Hugh Taylor (Only appearance; dies) (Prison Guard)
- Hal (First appearance) (Newsdealer)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "A Matter of Life and Debt"
At the Vault prison in Colorado, a guard notices someone passed out in the sonic cell that has been holding Venom prisoner since his capture. However, when he drops the sound wall, the guard realizes, much to his horror, that it was really Venom in disguise. Willing his symbiote to resume its normal form, Venom suffocates the guard. Still, Eddie Brock feels bad for killing an innocent person, however, in his warped sense of justice, it is a necessary evil to get revenge against Spider-Man.[Continuity 1] Meanwhile, the object of Venom's obsession is in the middle of a battle with Hydroman after the villain attempted to rob the payroll at a construction site. Spider-Man attempts to trick Hydroman into spraying an exposed electrical box, but the villain second-guesses him. However, Spider-Man manages to burst bags of cement powder on his foe, causing him to lose cohesion. Unfortunately, Hydroman manages to escape by turning into liquid form and leaking into a drain. With the battle over, Spider-Man recovers his camera, hoping the pictures give him some much-needed money now that they have been evicted from their condo and Mary Jane's investment is tied up in a legal battle.[Continuity 2]
Heading back to Queens, Spider-Man laments over the fact that he and his wife had to move back into his old room at Aunt May's house.[Continuity 3] The wall-crawler slips into a window into the basement where he has set up a dark room to develop photos and to cover for his comings and goings as Spider-Man. Changing back to his civilian identity, Peter Parker goes upstairs and learns from Mary Jane that the coast is clear. She asks him if he wants to accompany her to Manhattan as she has a photo shoot to do. Peter has photos to bring to the Bugle and agrees to accompany her. On their way out, Peter bumps into Aunt May's boarders Arthur Chekov and the Palermos who are going to see poetry in the park. The only person not attending is Nathan Lubenski who grumpily dismisses the idea of listening to "nursery rhymes". He goes into the kitchen to say goodbye to Aunt May and Mary Jane's cousin Kristy.[Continuity 4] On his way out the door, Peter passes by Aunt May's room and spies Nathan going through Aunt May's wallet.
While back at the Vault, Venom has broken into the security room and forces the guard to facilitate his escape.[Continuity 5] While back in New York City, Spider-Man is returning to Queens after selling his photos to the Daily Bugle. On the way, he spots Nathan Lubensky having a fit in front of a bank machine as he has maxed out the withdrawal limit from Aunt May's account for the day and he still needs more money. Changing back to his civilian guise, Peter confronts Nathan and demands to know why he has Aunt May's bank card, revealing that he Nathan going through her purse. Caught red-handed, Nathan admits that his gambling addiction has gotten the better of him. He reveals this was the reason why he was hospitalized some time ago.[Continuity 6] He explains that the people he owes money to now want a large sum repayment as a good faith measure. Peter promises to keep Nathan's secret but asks for Aunt May's card back. Worrying that Aunt May will check her balance, Peter deposits the money he made from the Daily Bugle into her account.
When Peter returns to Aunt May's house, he is surprised to see Mary Jane back already. She tells him that when she arrived at her shoot, the client decided that she wasn't quite what he was looking for. Peter then pulls Mary Jane aside to tell her what happened today. Meanwhile, Aunt May and Kristy catch Nathan in the kitchen, and May scolds him for sneak a snack. Nathan bashfully exits the kitchen, and that's when May notices flour on the counter, leaving both her and Kristy to wonder what's going on. That evening, Nathan goes to meet the loan sharks at a nearby basketball court, unaware that he is being followed by Spider-Man. When he tells them that he doesn't have the full amount they have asked for, they decide to rough him up some more. However, this time, Nathan is prepared for them and slashes one of the goons with a kitchen knife he swiped from May's kitchen, and sprays a can of bug spray in the face of another. One of the men pulls a gun, but Lubenski blinds him by throwing a bag of flour in his face. However, before the mobsteres can turn around his advantage, Spider-Man swoops in and quickly trounces the loan sharks and leave them webbed up to a basketball hoop.
As Spider-Man leaves, the mobsters vow to get revenge against Lubenski. However, Peter Parker soon arrives on the scene and tells them that he took photos of them while trying to get action photos of Spider-Man for the Daily Bugle. When Peter threatens to take the photos to the District Attorney, they relent. As both Peter and Nathan heads back to May's house, Peter gets Nathan to promise to quit gambling as it could lead to someone he cares about getting hurt. The next day, Nathan goes out for the morning paper, and once he is away from the others, Nathan buys a bunch of lottery tickets is immediately ashamed of himself. While in St. Louis, Eddie Brock has been picked up by a young family while hitchhiking. They have agreed to drive him to New York, and are fascinated with his story about traveling across America and sleeping in caves. When the husband asks Eddie if he is afraid of snakes, Brock smiles and tells them what he really hates are spiders.
- The guard who is murdered here is later revealed to be Hugh Taylor. Hugh's death later has repercussions in the life of Venom. Not long after this, Hugh's father Orwell Taylor vowed to avenge the death of his son. This was all revealed in Venom: Lethal Protector #3.
- Peter and MJ's condo was located at Bedford Towers, owned by Jonathan Caeser. The couple moved in circa Amazing Spider-Man #303. They were unaware that Caser orchestrated it so that the Parkers got into Bedford Towers because he was obsessed with Mary Jane. He kidnapped Mary Jane from Amazing Spider-Man #307–309 leading to his arrest. Last issue Caeser used his legal connections to get the Parkers evicted.
- Peter and Mary Jane are identified 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 in this altered timeline the pair are a common-law couple as opposed to husband and wife.
- Aunt May makes a passing comment on Kristy's ability to keep slim even though she is a voracious eater. Unknown to everyone at the time, Kristy suffers from bulimia. This is revealed in Web of Spider-Man #53. Peter also thinks about how Kristy is always flirting with him and how it makes him uncomfortable. Kristy has been doing this since she first came to stay with Peter and Mary Jane in Spectacular Spider-Man #145.
- The guard mentions that he hope he set his VCR to tape the latest episode of One Life to Live. This is a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 given that VCRs are an obsolete technology and One Life to Live ceased production in 2012.
- Nathan was beaten up by loan sharks in Amazing Spider-Man #271.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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