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Appearing in "Exposed Wiring"

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Synopsis for "Exposed Wiring"

Max Dillon is being strapped into an electric chair. As this is being done, he thinks how this was stunt they used to do during his time with the Steuben Carnival.[Continuity 1] Now, however, he is wracked with fear over what will happen next. Fearing that this might mean his death, Dillon's life flashes before his eyes. He thinks about his childhood in Endicott, New York. He and his mother lived under the abusive rule of Max's father, an accountant more focused on his career than his family. Ultimately, Jonathan Dillon grew tired of his wife and child and how they were dragging him down and walked out. His mother was left to raise Max alone and she soon became domineering and overprotective. As he sits in the electric chair, Max Dillon can forgive his mother for how she raised him, knowing full well that there are worse crimes to be accused of.

Meanwhile, at the Staten Island estate of Don Fortunato, Detective Garon Lewis informs the Don about the True Believers, an army of ninjas that have been attacking the Rose's business interests. Between this, and the Black Tarantula trying to get into the New York City underworld, the detective has decided to come to the mobster to find out what he knows. However, the Don insists that he is only a humble businessman and Lewis eventually gets fed up and leaves. Fortunato declines an offer for his bodyguard to kill the officer, as killing innocent people, policemen, and reporters only bring more unwanted attention. Instead, he tells his bodyguard to put in a call to the Rose. At that moment, Max Dillon continues to have his life flash before his eyes. He remembers during his final years in high school when he wanted to go to college and learn to be an electrical engineer. When he told his mother of his career aspirations, she insists that Max wasn't smart enough for the job and that it was too dangerous. Dumping his course catalogs out of the window of their apartment window, Antia Dillon even went so far as to suggests that Max become an accountant just like his father. He didn't blame his mother for wanting to keep him home, he was all she had.

While at Empire State University, Peter Parker struggles to keep notes during Professor Howard's class. The main reason is that he has been stricken with migraines ever since he was bitten by Morbius the Living Vampire.[Continuity 2] Professor Howard has seen that Peter has been struggling and pulls him aside. He explains that he got Peter a tutor to help him with his courses. Much to Peter's discomfort, this tutor turns out to be Paul Stacy. Peter has been uncomfortable with interacting with the Stacy family since the death of Gwen, years earlier. He also feels he needs to be careful around Paul as his father appears to be determined to have Spider-Man arrested for Gwen's death.[Continuity 3] As Paul leaves Peter, he runs into another student and yells at him for getting in his way. When Peter helps the other student up, he recognizes him as Phil Urich. Phil explains that he was recently let go from his job as an intern at the Daily Bugle and so started taking journalism courses at Empire State University.[Continuity 4] While elsewhere, Meiko Yin, the True Believer's operative known as Dragonfly, finishes a training session. She then asks her master, Madame Qwa, when they will go after their intended target. Qwa tells Meiko that those in the service of the Black Tarantula must be patient to do his bidding.

Electro's life continues to flash before his eyes. He thinks about how, after all the years of being by his mother's side, it was Anita Dillon who left him when she died on Max's twenty-fifth birthday. Finally free, Max was able to begin his own life and fell in love with Norma Lynn and the couple soon got married. The couple both worked for the electric company, and while Norma was a secretary for upper management, Max drifted from job to job. Eventually, he took the job of a lineman. This didn't sit well with Norma, who thought that Max should have more ambition. Eventually, Norma got fed up with Max's directionless life and left him. All Max had left was his job until the fateful day that one of his co-workers was endangered on the job. Max only agreed to save the troubled lineman if he was paid a substantial bonus. This is where things totally changed for Max Dillon. A freak lightning strike combined with the electricity in the power lines charged Max's body, giving him the powers he later used as the criminal known as Electro.[Continuity 5] Recalling all of this now, Dillon thinks about how that one moment ultimately led him being strapped into this electric chair. By this time, the Rose has arrived at Don Fortunato's mansion to discuss the rising tensions between his mob and the Black Tarantula. The Don makes it very clear that he does not want another gang war on his hands and offers the Rose his assistance.[Continuity 6] The Rose assures Fortunato that he has the situation under control and that he will soon have the power to deal with the Black Tarantula. The Don warns the Rose not to fail, reminding the masked man that he is one of the few people who know who he really is.[Continuity 7]

At Empire State University, Mary Jane has a session with her psychologist, Doctor Reandeau. The doctor asks Mary Jane to talk about her feelings about losing her baby.[Continuity 8] This is a painful subject, and when Mary Jane is asked if she thinks if she is worthy of the future, she explains that she doesn't know. Mary Jane then admits to Doctor Reandeau that she thinks she lost her baby because she wasn't good enough to be a mother. At that very moment, somewhere on the Aegean Sea, Alison Mongrain calls her employer Norman Osborn. She leaves a message to tell him that their project is going according to plan. However, she is concerned that she did not receive her regular payment and tells him to call her as soon as possible to straighten this out. After hanging out, Mongrain talks to her "precious", that is contained in a baby's crib. She tells her "precious" that if Norman Osborn doesn't get back to her soon, she will be forced to make some hard decisions as she doesn't want to lose her "precious".[Continuity 9] Electro continues thinking about his life, how he learned how to control his powers and became Electro and his first battle with Spider-Man. He then thinks about his most humiliating defeat to date. It was when he absorbed all the electricity in Manhattan on the "Top of New York" building and lost control forcing him to beg Spider-Man to save his life.[Continuity 10] He thinks about his time in prison shortly after that and how he felt like a complete loser and how he never wants to feel that way ever again.[Continuity 11] While at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker pays a visit to Joe Robertson to see if there are any freelance jobs available. After Joe gets off the phone with his wife, who is not happy with Joe for working late at the paper all the time, Joe regretfully informs Peter that there is no work for him. He explains that the Daily Bugle is struggling to keep afloat and he has been forced to use staff photographers whenever possible.[Continuity 12] As he walks out of the office, Peter is exhausted at the prospect of having to go out as Spider-Man in order to get photos.

Finally, Electro has finished reflecting on his life and Delilah -- her hand on the switch that will activate the electric chair -- asks Dillon if he is ready to proceed. He tells her to throw the lever, as his powers are all he has left. As she pulls the switch and his body begins to fill with millions of volts of electricity, Max suddenly gets second thoughts and as he screams in agony, he thinks to himself that he is going to die. While in Argentina, the Black Tarantula is connected to Madame Qwa and gives her True Believers a mission. He has decided to flex his might by ordering the assassination of a high-ranking member of the press. He tells Qwa to eliminate Joe Robertson, not only to send a message to everyone in New York, but a police investigation will put blame on the Rose.[Continuity 13] Back in New York City, the Rose returns to his headquarters and learns from Delilah that Max Dillon survived. Entering the next room, they find Dillon back in his Electro costume. With his powers boosted to even greater levels than ever before, he pity's anyone who crosses his path, especially Spider-Man.


Continuity Notes

  1. Electro worked for the Steuben Carnival in Spider-Man #38.
  2. Spider-Man got bit by Morbius in Spider-Man #77.
  3. Peter's referring to a lot of Spider-Man history here. These facts are:
    • Peter dated Gwen Stacy for years until she was murdered by the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, Gwen was murdered roughly six years prior to 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.
    • Arthur Stacy returned to New York City in Spider-Man #70 to investigate Spider-Man's involvement in the death of Gwen and her brother George (who died during a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus in Amazing Spider-Man #90). At the time of this story, Peter learned about Arthur's investigation in Spider-Man #77.
  4. Phil worked as an intern for the Bugle until he was laid off in Green Goblin #13.
  5. Electro's origins are recounted here as they were originally depicted in Amazing Spider-Man #9.
  6. The last gang war was depicted in Spider-Man #7071 and 7374
  7. The true identity of the Rose is revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #436.
  8. At the time of this story, Mary Jane was struggling from the loss of her and Peter's child during the Revelations story arc.
    Spectacular Spider-Man #240 Sensational Spider-Man #11 Amazing Spider-Man #418 Spider-Man #75 Spider-Man: Revelations #1 Osborne Journals #1

  9. As seen in the Revelations story arc, Alison Mongrain was depicted as removing the body of stillborn May Parker in Amazing Spider-Man #418. It is being implied here that somehow baby May Parker is still alive and in the care of Mongrain. However, this plotline is dropped in favor of moving away from a Parker baby. In Amazing Spider-Man #426, Alison's "precious" is revealed to be a cat that she treats like a baby. The secret she knows about the Parkers is revealed in the Final Chapter story arc.
    The Final Chapter
    Amazing Spider-Man #441 Spider-Man #97 Spectacular Spider-Man #263 Spider-Man #98

  10. Electro's Top of New York scheme was in Spider-Man #3840.
  11. This story implies that the events of Spider-Man #38-40 were Electro's last appearance. However, he was later seen in Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #13 and Spider-Man Unlimited #9. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #3 clarifies that Electro's reflection on past failures began after his arrest in Spider-Man Unlimited #9.
  12. Peter is depicted as taking a bunch of aspirin here. At the time of this story, Peter is still recovering from being bitten by Morbius the Living Vampire in Spider-Man #77.
  13. The Black Tarantula states that Joe Robertson is "an old colleague" of his. However, what the Black Tarantula means by this is never explained.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

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