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Appearing in "To The Death"

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Synopsis for "To The Death"

A gang of crooks is in the process of stealing a shipment of designer watches when they are suddenly interrupted by what appears to be Spider-Man. However, instead of firing webbing out of his web-shooters, the wall-crawler fires bullets, killing them all in cold blood. At the Daily Bugle, Joe Robertson is having a meeting with Ben Urich about a terrorist named Zoltaro who has procured a new weapon codenamed Death's Arrow. This meeting is interrupted by a phone call informing him that Spider-Man had allegedly murdered a bunch of thieves. Among the Bugle staff present, Peter Parker is the most disturbed to hear this news. A short time later, a meeting of a gang of mobsters is interrupted by this phony wall-crawler comes crashing in through the window and murders these crooks as well. This is the first of many murder sprees that are reported across the city. As the story makes front page news, J. Jonah Jameson is ecstatic, as this finally validates his long-held belief that the wall-crawler is nothing more than a menace.

The following evening when the real Spider-Man is out on patrol, he tries to stop a jewelry robbery and is shocked to discover the crooks are more afraid of him and surrender to the police than face him. Leaving the scene, Spider-Man wonders who has been framing him for these murders.[Continuity 1] The web-slinger's thoughts are interrupted when the Human Torch tries to ambush him. As it turns out, many of the heroes in the city are looking for Spider-Man, thinking that he has gone bad. After evading the Torch, Captain America, Mister Fantastic, Luke Cage, and members of the X-Men, Spider-Man manages to slip into an alley and change back into Peter Parker. On his way onto the streets, Peter is stopped by the Thing who asks him if he has seen the wall-crawler. After talking his way out of this interrogation, Peter realizes that he needs to find the real killer before and clear his name.

Meanwhile, the Kingpin is trying to reconsolidate his power after his recent return to New York City.[Continuity 2] That's when the phony Spider-Man enters the office and threatens to kill his employer when he suddenly drops dead onto the floor. The Kingpin is furious at Doctor Mindella, who has been administering the Death's Arrow drug to these Spider-Man impostors. Mindella tells the Kingpin that, unfortunately, while the drug boosts the natural abilities of his impostors, they all die six hours after they are injected with the drug, however, he figures that a stronger subject would be able to survive more than one dose. The Kingpin doesn't care how but wants Mindella to bring him results since Fisk stands to make a fortune selling it to Zoltaro, money he needs to rebuild his criminal empire. While at the offices of Sharpe, Nelson and Murdock, Rosalind Sharpe reads about Spider-Man's recent legal woes. Since her business partner, Matt Murdock, is friendly with Daredevil, she suggests he uses that connection so they can try and get Spider-Man on as a client.[Continuity 3] Matt agrees and slips away so he can change into Daredevil in private. Knowing the wall-crawler personally, he knows that Spider-Man couldn't have murdered all those people and is determined to try and help Spider-Man clear his name.[Continuity 4]

At the Parker household, Peter is having breakfast with his wife Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna.[Continuity 5] There, Anna expresses her concerns about the recent news about Spider-Man.[Continuity 6] Heading into the city with Mary Jane, Peter wonders how he is going to clear his name, and which one of his enemies is trying to frame him. When his spider-sense begins to go off, Peter tells Mary Jane he has got to go and follows the signal to an alley where he finds Daredevil waiting for him. Asking if Peter killed those men, Daredevil's senses confirm that Parker isn't lying when he denies the accusations and agrees to help him catch the real killer. Later, Spider-Man and Daredevil break up a dive bar for answers and learn that someone is hiring heavy muscle for something big going down. While at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson begins demanding new information about the Spider-Man case. However, Ben Urich thinks the story about Zoltaro is the more important one to follow.

By this time, Spider-Man and Daredevil have arrived at a warehouse where they catch Doctor Mindella is injecting his latest subjects with the Death's Arrow. In the confusion, Mindella manages to escape, and Daredevil is exposed to Dragon's Arrow. When the Man Without Fear slips away, he leaves Spider-Man with more questions than before. The doctor flees back to the Kingpin's office to tell him what happened. The Kingpin is furious, but his rage is interrupted by the arrival of Daredevil who ambushes his longtime foe. Back at the warehouse, the men injected with Dragon's Arrow begin to die, making Spider-Man realize that Daredevil could be in a lot of trouble. While at the Kingpin's, Daredevil is beginning to falter due to his exposure to his drug. Instead of killing his enemy outright, the Kingpin orders Mindella to inject the masked hero with another dose so they can see what happens. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has developed an antidote for Daredevil but time is running out. Having overheard his would-be impostors talking bout Zoltaro, Spider-Man decides to call Ben Urich to see what he has on the known terrorist. Thankfully, Urich has learned where Zoltaro has been hiding out and he rushes to the scene. He arrives just as the Kingpin is in the middle of making his deal with Zoltaro to sell the Dragon's Arrow.

Although there is an exchange of money, when the Kingpin goes back to his car he tells Mindella to inject Daredevil again so they can unleash him on Zoltaro. However, the terrorist had planted a bomb on the briefcase of money he gave the Kingpin and sets it off. Thinking that the Kingpin is dead, Zoltaro is unprepared when Daredevil ambushes his and his men and attacks them in frenzy. That's when Spider-Man arrives on the scene and wrestles Daredevil away, and after a brief struggle manages to inject him with the antidote. Meanwhile, Zoltaro tries to slip away and runs into the Kingpin, who survived the explosion. Furious over the attempt on his life, the Kingpin strangles Zoltaro to death and slips away in the darkness. In the aftermath of the battle, Ben Urich arrives on the scene and gets part of the story from Spider-Man who has to leave when the authorities arrive. With Mindella and Zoltaro's men being arrested, Peter Parker arrives on the scene and tells Ben that he got photos of the whole fight, and also got evidence that proves that Spider-Man was framed for the murders. With the evidence in hand, Ben rushes off to the Daily Bugle to file his story. Once they are alone, Daredevil thanks Peter for helping save his life. While not far away, the Kingpin watches the ruins of his latest scheme getting cleaned up and vows that his next plan will not fail.


Continuity Notes

  1. Peter refers to the "newly returned Norman Osborn". For quite some time everyone believed that Norman Osborn had died in Amazing Spider-Man #121. However, he survived as revealed in Osborne Journals #1. At the time of this story, Peter only recently discovered this in Spider-Man #75.
  2. The Kingpin has been a fugitive from the American authorities since Daredevil #300. He has been attempting to rebuild his criminal empire since X-Men (Vol. 2) #6264.
  3. Rosalind Sharpe compares a potential trial for Spider-Man would be as big as the OJ Simpson trial. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
  4. Daredevil refers to Spider-Man as "Peter" here as he knows Peter's secret identity. He deduced that Peter Parker and Spider-Man were the same person during the course of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107110.
  5. 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.
  6. Anna recounts how May Parker was always afraid of Spider-Man. At the time of this story, everyone believed that Aunt May had died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. However, as revealed in Spider-Man #97, that woman was an impostor.

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