Appearing in "Cunning Attractions!"
- New York City
Synopsis for "Cunning Attractions!"
This story continues from Web of Spider-Man #59...
Spider-Man is testing out his newfound powers, discovering that he can shape his webbing into any form with his mind, creating a massive scale model of an atomic structure.[Continuity 1] His wife Mary Jane is surprised at Peter's new powers, but wonders where they came from.[Continuity 2] This isn't the least of Peter's worries as he has been attacked by villains that he has never fought before or haven't seen in quite some time.[Continuity 3] Still learning how to control his new abilities, Peter fears that he might seriously hurt or kill someone. Mary Jane scolds Peter for thinking that way, telling him that he was given these new powers for a reason and he will soon figure out why. She then goes about cleaning up Peter's webbing, while Spider-Man tries to comprehend a time he wasn't married to Mary Jane.[Continuity 4]
Elsewhere in Manhattan, the Wizard reads the front page story about Spider-Man's battle with Titania.[Continuity 5] He tells Magneto, the Kingpin, and Doctor Doom about Spider-Man's victory was due some newly discovered powers. The Kingpin, having had the most experience with the wall-crawler, confirms that the masked hero has never had such power in the past. For their "Acts of Vengeance" to work, they need to find an adversary that Spider-Man has never faced before, but also has the power to match Spider-Man's new abilities. Magneto offers to do so, much to the surprise to his fellow prime movers as they had all agreed not to get directly involved in this conflict. However, Magneto points out that an unusual move is required for such an unusual set of circumstances. He also tells them that he has a personal interest to investigate. As Magneto leaves, Doctor Doom thinks about his own interests and vows to destroy Magneto should their interests interfere with one another.
Meanwhile, Peter and Mary Jane have come to a gym to watch Flash Thompson's practice for one of his upcoming boxing matches. After practice is over, Flash introduces them to his newest girlfriend, a ditzy blonde named Blaze. When Peter asks Flash if he is worried about getting hurt, Thompson says he knows the risks and accepts them. When he goes off to hit the showers, Blaze attempts to hit on Peter, which isn't received well by Mary Jane. As Blaze rushes off to rejoin Flash, the Parkers worry about how Flash hasn't found a suitable girlfriend yet. However, their concerns go by the wayside as Peter has to report to class, giving Mary Jane hope that Peter will be too distracted in his work to worry about his new powers. At that moment, Magneto arrives in Central Park. He thinks about how the upcoming war between humans and mutants is fast approaching. He believes Spider-Man could be the key to mutant victory, believing his new powers might be the result of mutant abilities manifesting themselves at a later date.[Continuity 6] When a jogger mocks Magneto's costume, he uses his powers to press the man's headphones painfully to his ear. Worrying that any action might draw the Fantastic Four or the Avengers, Magneto decides to sit on a park bench and bide his time.
At that moment, at Empire State University, Peter Parker is going over Max Lubisch's lab to try and figure out how Max's experiment with an unknown energy source gave him his new powers. However, when Lubisch enters the lab, he is suspicious of Peter's intentions and kicks him out, leaving Parker with no answers. Changing into Spider-Man, the hero decides to go to an auto wrecking yard in Brooklyn to further test out his new powers. As he unleashes his powers on the wrecked cars, one of the employees calls it in his activities to one of the local news stations. At that same moment, Mary Jane is on set at the studio that films the soap opera "Secret Hospital". The scene she is in requires her to seduce and kiss another actor. After the director calls cut, MJ thinks about this is the first man she has kissed since she married Peter, but knows her husband won't feel threatened because he's strong. At that very moment, Spider-Man is testing out his augmented strength by lifting a garbage barge out of the water. His activities draw the attention of Magneto who arrives to battle the wall-crawler. Magneto uses his powers to hurl scrap metal at the hero. However, his new cosmic powers and enhanced spider-sense allows him to dodge the metal and blast the debris.
Magneto then takes control of a magnetic loading crane, boosting its power to the point magnetizes Spider-Man thanks to the metals in his bodily fluid. He is then tossed on a huge pile of broken glass, but the wall-crawler is unharmed. Magneto then tries to crush Spider-Man with some junked cars, but the hero is able to deflect these attacks by creating a massive web bat to knock them into the water. Spider-Man then leaps up into the air and attempts to blast Magneto, but the mutant terrorist deflects the blast with a magnetic shield. As the battle rages, Spider-Man's enhanced hearing alerts him to the fact that one of the cars he batted away has landed on a boat, endangering the passengers. Wondering how he can save them, the wall-crawler is amazed when he suddenly is capable of flight. As he flies away, Spider-Man wonders if there will be an end to these newfound powers. Witnessing the wall-crawler take flight, Magneto is convinced that Spider-Man is not a mutant as he is demonstrating multiple new powers when mutants typically only demonstrate one specific ability.[Continuity 7] Although this isn't the mutant he is looking for, Magneto departs and begins planning how he can manipulate Spider-Man's new powers for his own ends.
After Spider-Man brings the boat safely ashore, he notices that Magneto has departed and decides to leave himself. However, he is disturbed by his newly acquired ability of flight and heads off by web-slinging. Later, back at his Soho apartment, Peter tells Mary Jane about everything that happened. He is still worried about being able to control this seemingly limitless array of powers. Mary Jane points out that even with this great power, Peter was still able to save lives. Peter is still concerned, even though he saved lives this time, he fears that he might not be able to do so in the future.
Spider-Man's involvement in the Acts of Vengeance continues in Spectacular Spider-Man #159...
|Acts of Vengeance (Spider-Man Arc)|
|Amazing Spider-Man #326||Spectacular Spider-Man #158||Web of Spider-Man #59||Amazing Spider-Man #327||Spectacular Spider-Man #159||Web of Spider-Man #60||Amazing Spider-Man #328|
|Spectacular Spider-Man #160||Web of Spider-Man #61||Amazing Spider-Man #329||Web of Spider-Man #64||Web of Spider-Man #65|
- Spider-Man was exposed to an unknown source of energy that gave him enhanced powers in Spectacular Spider-Man #158. Unkown to Peter at this time, he has been endowed with the Enigma Force power of Captain Universe. Something that isn't fully realized until Amazing Spider-Man #329.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife in this story. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As a result, Peter and Mary Jane should be considered a common-law couple as opposed to husband and wife.
- These villains included: Graviton (last issue), the Trapster (Spectacular Spider-Man #158), and Titania (Web of Spider-Man #59). Spider-Man has stated that he hasn't seen some of these foes in "years". He is referring to both the Trapster and Titania, the villains he has faced in the past. The last time Spider-Man faced the Trapster was in Amazing Spider-Man #213–214. He last fought Titania back in Amazing Spider-Man #283. Based on the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, his last battle with the Trapster happened just about two years prior to this story, while the battle with Titania happened roughly a year earlier.
- Peter proposed to Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #291, and she accepted his proposal in the following issue. In the original timeline, the couple were married in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. However, after Mephisto erased their marriage in Amazing Spider-Man #545, Peter and Mary Jane no longer get married. As detailed in Amazing Spider-Man #638–639, Peter inadvertently stood Mary Jane up at the alter due to his activities as Spider-Man. As a result, MJ called off the wedding, however, the couple agreed to remain a couple.
- The date on the newspaper is mostly illegible, however, the year of publication is clearly stated as 1989. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- For the most part, mutants usually gain their abilities during puberty. In this story, Magneto states that his powers didn't manifest until "late in life". However, this is inaccurate as New Mutants #49 and X-Men: Magneto Testament #1–5 reveals that Magneto demonstrated mutant abilities while still a youth. The idea that Magneto didn't manifest his powers until later on in life was stated in Classic X-Men #12, X-Factor Annual #4 and Uncanny X-Men #304. Presumably, since Magneto's adolescence was spent in a Nazi concentration camp, it's likely that the earliest manifestations of his powers were suppressed due to the horrors he experienced in Auschwitz.
- Magneto's assessment on the range and variety of power mutants can have is incredibly naive here. However, his assessment is based on the lack of knowledge regarding Omega Level Mutants a term and measurement of mutant powers that was not identified until later in X-Men Forever #3.