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Appearing in "Beware the Black Tarantula"

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Synopsis for "Beware the Black Tarantula"

From his secret hideout, a man known as the Black Tarantula is briefed on the state of the New York City underworld. His assistant, Chesbro, informs the Tarantula that since the fall of the Kingpin, New York City's crime families have been at war for supremacy.[Continuity 1] The major players on the scene include Don Fortunato, who has managed to consolidate the underworld in recent times.[Continuity 2] However, Fortunato still faces opposition from the Rose and Hammerhead. Chesboro concludes his report by informing his master that the recent loss of most of New York's costumed defenders, the city is quite vulnerable.[Continuity 3] Hearing all of this convinces the Black Tarantula that the time is right to spread his operations into New York City.

In New York City, Peter Parker is on assignment with Ben Urich. When Urich goes to talk to an informant, he tells Peter to make himself scarce. Instead, Parker changes into Spider-Man and keeps an eye on the reporter from the shadows. There he overhears the stoolie telling Ben about the Rose working on a deal to smuggle emeralds into New York for the Black Tarantula. Ben doesn't know who the Tarantula is, and is told that he is a major player on the international black market. With the meeting over, Spider-Man slips away to change back into his civilian identity. On the way, he spots some men waiting to ambush Ben and stops them. After a quick battle, Spider-Man leaves the crooks webbed up and meets up with Ben as Peter Parker. Ben tells him what he has learned about the Black Tarantula and wants to go back to the Daily Bugle to make some calls to his connections at Interpol. At the Bugle, Peter tries to hit up Joe Robertson for some photo assignments because the paper is focused on the recent assassination of Presidential candidate Graydon Creed.[Continuity 4] However, Joe tells Peter to check in tomorrow as he may need a photographer to take pictures of an alleged street prophet that has been hanging around Washington Square Park.[Continuity 5]

Meanwhile, the Rose is exercising with his bodyguard Delilah and discussing the recent deal he brokered with the Black Tarantula. Delilah has detected that the Rose is reluctant to do business with this new player. This is because the Rose has learned, from his contacts in South America, that the Black Tarantula is not someone to be trusted. In addition, the man has a cult that worships him like a god. After his past experience with the Scrier, the Rose is reluctant to get involved with someone with a religious movement backing them.[Continuity 6] At that moment, in Queens, Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna are repainting the room that she and Peter were planning to use for their baby. Mary Jane is surprised to find herself able to enter the room so soon after the death of the baby.[Continuity 7] It's then that Anna tells her niece that she is taking adult education classes. It's then that Anna asks Mary Jane if she has given much thought about her future. Anna Watson is not the only one thinking about their future. Peter Parker is walking home, wondering what he is doing with his life. Not long ago he was working as a scientist in Portland, and now he finds himself living in his family home in Queens and working the same job he has had since high school.[Continuity 8]

Inside, Peter is greeted by Mary Jane and after learning that Aunt Anna is in the shower, that there are some issues with the three of them living together in Peter's old childhood home. However, they are stuck in this situation until Peter and Mary Jane can find an apartment in the city. That's when Mary Jane tells Peter that she is thinking about going back to school, taking inspiration from Aunt Anna. Peter likes the idea and the pair decides to take the opportunity to for some romance. Later that night, Peter tells Mary Jane to get a listing of the science courses when she goes to Empire State University as he has decided to consider going back to school and finally get his Masters Degree. Later that evening, Peter goes out on Spider-Man to look into the Rose's emerald smuggling operation. Spider-Man is not the only one out looking for answers, as Ben Urich hits up his informants for more information about the Black Tarantula. Eventually, Spider-Man learns where they deal is going down and calls Ben Urich. After being warned about how dangerous the Black Tarantula is, Urich tells Peter to let the cops handle it. Parker ignores this, prompting Urich to rush to the scene in order to make sure Peter doesn't hurt himself. Overhearing this conversation is Angela Yin, who finds it an odd coincidence that she overheard a call from Peter Parker just as she was looking through her photos of the night that Mary Jane lost her baby. When she happens upon the picture of Doctor Folsome, the man who helped deliver Mary Jane's baby, it somehow disturbs her.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings to the Stockbridge Shipping Pier happy that he can get some money making crime photos and make it home to spend more time with his wife.[Continuity 9] Spider-Man arrives on the scene at the same time as Ben Urich. After setting up his camera, the wall-crawler then begins to examine the situation and sees that Delilah, the Rose's bodyguard, is overseeing the transaction. They are greeted by El Uno, one of the Black Tarantula's men. El Uno is unhappy when Delilah refuses to pay for the emeralds until they can authenticate them. That's when El Uno orders his men to kill them all. This prompts Spider-Man to swing in and try to prevent as many deaths as possible. As the web-slinger deals with the gunmen, Delilah battles El Uno and quickly discovers that he is stronger than she is. Taking the bag that supposedly contains the money to pay for the emeralds, El Uno discovers that it actually holds a bomb that has been activated.

That's when Spider-Man swings in to try and stop the bomb. During the struggle, Spider-Man assumes he is battling the Black Tarantula because El Uno has a spider shapped tattoo on the back of his head. The web-spinner is unimpressed and strikes El Uno, but the blow hardly even phases the man. Recovering from her beating, Delilah arms the bomb while Spider-Man is busy. That's when Ben Urich makes his presence known and tells Spider-Man that Peter Parker is somewhere nearby. Assuring Ben that Parker is safe, Spider-Man swings himself and the reporter to safety, leaving El Uno to deal with the bomb. As the bomb goes off, Spider-Man realizes that he left his camera in the area and fears that it was caught in the blast. Examining the rubble, Ben asks Spider-Man if he thinks the Black Tarantula managed to escape. However, after isn't entirely convinced that he actually fought the Black Tarantula.

The wall-crawler's hunch is correct as in South America, Chesboro reports to his master. Upon hearing that El Uno failed, the Tarantula angrilly crushes a wine glass in his bare hand.


Continuity Notes

  1. At the time of this story, the New York underworld was in a power vacuum since the Kingpin's empire fell in Daredevil #300.
  2. Fortunato had recently gained power in New York following the events of Spider-Man #74.
  3. At the time of this story, everyone believes that the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were killed in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. In reality, they were shunted to a pocket dimension as seen in the Heroes Reborn event. They will ultimately return to their proper reality in Heroes Reborn: The Return #14.
  4. Graydon Creed began running for president in Uncanny X-Men #337. At the time of this story, he was just recently assassinated. Although the identity of the shooter is revealed in X-Men Forever #2
  5. The identity of this street prophet is revealed next issue.
  6. The Rose considered the possibility of working with Scrier between Amazing Spider-Man #416417. However, this never came to fruition as the Scrier was murdered for betraying his master.
  7. Some facts here about Peter and Mary Jane's relationship at the time of this story:
    • Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
    • Peter and Mary Jane had been expecting a baby since Spectacular Spider-Man #220. Tragically, the baby was stillborn thanks to the machinations of Norman Osborn as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #418.
    • The last time Mary Jane went into her child's nursery was in Spectacular Spider-Man #241. This story erroniously states that happened in Sensational Spider-Man Vol 1 241.
  8. The refernces Peter Parker is making here are:
  9. Peter makes comments about how he can make it home in time to watch ER with Mary Jane and muses how she has a crush on George Clooney. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. At the time of publication ER was a popular medical drama that also starred actor George Cloony. Cloony was among the primary cast of the series until 1999. ER ended its run 10 years later in 2009.

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