Appearing in "Arachnophobia Too!"
- Alistair Smythe
- Max Young (Death)
- Charlie Shaddock
- Spider-Slayer Mark XVIII (Only appearance) (Destroyed)
Synopsis for "Arachnophobia Too!"
Following the failure of the various Spider-Slayer robots, Alistair Smythe refuses to let himself go into his impotent rages of past failures, as he has upgraded his body and become the Ultimate Spider-Slayer. The recent failure of the Spider-Slayer created by Max Young has deeply disappointed Smythe who responds by electrocuting Young as punishment. He tells his other captives to remember that here, he is god.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker and Felicia Hardy have returned to Queens after their recent battle at an upstate institution. Arriving at Aunt May's house, he spots the people claiming to be his parents being shown into the car of FBI agent Charles Shaddock.[Continuity 1] Unsure of what is going on, Peter manages to tag Shaddock's car with a spider-tracer in case he has to find them later. Peter is welcomed by his Aunt May when he enters her home, but she is less than enthusiastic to see Felicia Hardy. Peter calls the FBI to try and learn what he can about Agent Shaddock but gets the runaround. After suggesting to May that he and Mary Jane come over for dinner. On the way out, Peter tells Felicia that this situation is getting personal, and gives her a chance to bow out if she wants. However, Felicia insists on tagging along.
Changing into costume, Spider-Man and the Black Cat begin searching the city. Using his spider-sense he tracks the signal from his spider-tracer. To ensure that they are not interrupted by another Spider-Slayer attack, they are remaining vigilant for Smythe's miniature surveillance spiders. Unfortunately, as they pass over a construction site, they are attacked by a massive mechanical black widow spider. The Black Cat is able to cut it's web, sending it crashing to the ground below. On the steel girders, the pair remark how easy it was to defeat this Spider-Slayer when they are almost ambushed by two more robots, one fashioned after a tarantula and the other as after a scorpion. The pair split up to deal in order to deal with each threat. Spider-Man is followed by the tarantula robot and tricks it into leaping off the building. Although he thinks both it and the black widow were destroyed, the two find each other and the Black Widow climbs up on top of the tarantula. Meanwhile, the Black Cat is not having much luck damaging the scorpion robot with her talon-knives. She gets caught in the robot's clutches and it begins to squeeze until she screams in agony. Spider-Man comes to her rescue, striking the scorpion with a steel girder, freeing the Black Cat and knocking the scorpion to the ground.
As the Black Cat recovers from the attack, the pair are ambushed by the three robots, that have combined into a single gestalt form. While they fight, Spider-Man deduces that high voltage electricity might short out the robots. To this end, the Black Cat slices open the robot with her claws. This allows the wall-crawler to toss a live wire into the open circuitry. There is a powerful jolt of electricity and although Spider-Man leaps to safety, the Black Cat is jolted by it. The robot is destroyed, but the Black Cat still needs time to recover from the jolt she got and tells Spider-Man to continue going after his parents ahead of her. Following the spider-tracer signal, Spider-Man tracks Richard and Mary to an industrial park in Canarsie. By this point, he has changed back into Peter Parker in order to keep a low profile. He slips into the meat processing plant where Shaddock has taken his parents. From the rafters, Peter can see the people who allege to be his parents. They are being held at gunpoint by Shaddock, who reveals that he was one of the spies who worked by the Red Skull.[Continuity 2]
As Peter walks along the ceiling beams, his spider-sense warns him that the wood has gotten rotten. Unfortunately, when he leaps from one beam to the other, it breaks under his weight. Peter goes falling through some pipes, getting blasted with the freezing compound used to keep the meat at the plant fresh. His luck continues to work against him as he lands on a conveyor belt that leads to an incinerator. With his secrecy blown, Shaddock activates the conveyor, sending the stunned Peter Parker closer to the flames.
Appearing in "Punch... Counter-Punch"
- Hobgoblin (Jason Macendale) (Recap)
- Harrison Thompson (False Recollection) (First appearance)
- Pumpkin Bomb (Recap)
- Goblin Glider (Recap)
Synopsis for "Punch... Counter-Punch"
Peter Parker has agreed to a sparring match with Flash Thompson. As the two men climb into the ring, Flash can't help but remember the time that Peter "sucker-punched" him in a boxing match back when they were in high school.[Continuity2 1] Flash promises to go easy against Peter now that he has had a few professional fights under his belt. As they begin to fight, Peter is quick to dodge Flash's punches thanks to his spider-sense.
The pair begins to talk about the apparent return of Peter's parents. Peter explains that the entire experience has him freaked out. Flash tells him to see sense, wondering who would intentionally trick him, pointing out that Richard and Mary's story is plausible. Peter supposes Flash is right, but can't tell his friend about his fears that this is some kind of trick being played on him by one of Spider-Man's many foes. Realizing that he is letting his spider-powers make it too easy, Peter allows Thompson to land a few blows. Changing the subject, Flash asks Peter if he remembers the time he said that he never bullied Peter when they were in high school.[Continuity2 2] He admits that he wasn't telling Peter the full truth, and begins telling Peter about his father.
He explains that his father was an academic who had little interest in sports and thought they were a waste of time. Seeing the type of student Peter was, and how his father would have liked him, made Flash jealous and he targeted Parker because of it. He apologizes to Peter for all the torment he caused in high school. Peter accepts his apology and asks if Flash ever reconciled with his father. Flash explains that he never did, that his father died of a heart attack years before they first met.[Continuity2 3]
Using this as a comparison, Flash tells Peter to give his parents a chance before they're no longer around and he is left with nothing but regrets. With this, Peter allows himself to be knocked down by a punch. He agrees to give it a shot, and the two friends leave to get some sodas.
- The people claiming to be Richard and Mary Parker surfaced in Amazing Spider-Man #365. In reality, Peter's parents died years ago on a mission for the US government, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. This pair is later revealed to be impostors in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
- It was the Red Skull who eliminated Richard and Mary Parker, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. Shaddock refers to his employer as the "faux Skull", this is because this was not Johann Schmidt, the original Red Skull. In fact, he was in the employ of Albert Mallick, who operated as the Red Skull in the 1950s, as first seen in Young Men #24 until his death in Captain America #347.
- Peter knocked out Flash with a single punch years earlier in Amazing Spider-Man #8.
- Peter and Flash had this conversation back in Web of Spider-Man #11.
- The personality of Harrison Thompson and his apparent death by heart attack presented here turns out to be false. As first seen in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #19, Harrison was actually a police officer, alcoholic and an abusive parent. Further, in Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #9, showed that Harrison pushed his son to be athletic, often abusing him if he didn't make the cut. He is actually quite alive at the time of this story, and won't die until years later as seen in Venom (Vol. 2) #7. The first time Flash confronted his father after high school was in Spectacular Spider-Man #248 and 250. Marvel has not provided an official explanation for this discrepancy. However, Flash has been depicted as being ashamed of his abusive past while struggling with his own alcoholism, one could presume that Flash made up the story presented here. Furthermore, Peter was aware of Flash's abusive upbringing, as seen in Webspinners #9. Since he discovered this while using his spider-powers to break into Flash's home, Peter is likely accepting this story in order to preserve his double identity.