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Appearing in "The Heat in Harlem!"

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Synopsis for "The Heat in Harlem!"

Peter Parker has gone out for lunch with his Aunt May and her fianceé Nathan Lubensky. En route to the subway, Aunt May is shoved by a purse snatcher who runs off with his stolen loot from below. Peter tells his Aunt that he is going to look for a police officer when suddenly his spider-sense begins going off. Suddenly, a bunch of young men in cowboy boots and hats -- a local vigilante gang calling themselves the Young Watchers -- come shoving their way through to chase after the purse snatcher. At least that's what it seems when suddenly Aunt May notices that her purse is missing as well. Peter offers to take the elderly couple back home and suspects that the Young Watchers were responsible for stealing Aunt May's purse.

Later, Peter pays a visit to the Daily Bugle where he meets with J. Jonah Jameson to suggest an investigative report on the Young Watchers. Much to his surprise, Jameson refuses because he believes them to be upstanding citizens. Peter finds this stance somewhat hypocritical given that Jameson has been writing editorials against Spider-Man for years. However, Jameson begins reading his latest piece, praising the Young Watchers, as they protect people without the use of masks or super-powers. Having heard enough, Peter walks out while Jameson continues to rant aloud, so he can go out and investigate things as Spider-Man.

Meanwhile, in Harlem, social worker Sam Wilson is warning one of his clients to stay away from the group he is hanging out with. He abruptly ends his meeting when he spots Spider-Man swinging by his building. Curious what the wall-crawler is doing in his territory, Wilson begins changing into the Falcon. At that moment, Spider-Man has located the Young Watcher's clubhouse, a renovated brownstone that sticks out among all the dilapidated buildings. The wall-crawler recounts how the Young Watchers are being funded by a mysterious philanthropist. Peeking inside a window, he sees a massive training window where the members of this gang are practicing their fighting skills. When the web-slinger is spotted, he enters the building and accuses the Young Watchers of stealing his Aunt May's purse. Not only do the Young Watchers deny this, they are unimpressed with being blamed for a crime. Their coach orders the youths to attack Spider-Man, and the wall-crawler soon finds himself swarmed by the youths.

As Spider-Man fights off his attackers, the scuffle is interrupted by the arrival of the Falcon. However, the hero hasn't come to help Spider-Man, but to tell him to butt out of his territory, pointing out that nobody cares about the fates of African-Americans in the ghettos. Not in the mood to argue against the Falcon, Spider-Man departs. The coach later reports to his employer, who is furious about the involvement of both Spider-Man and the Falcon and warns him to straighten out the Young Watchers to avoid this unwanted attention again. Later, Sam Wilson's nephew, Jim, pays a visit to his uncle to tell them that something about the Young Watchers is not on the up and up. He points out that the group has an easy time capturing criminals. Sam thanks Jim for the information and advises his nephew to stay out of trouble.

That evening, Spider-Man still can't give up on the Young Watchers and has returned to Harlem to investigate. No sooner has he arrived, he is approached by the Falcon, and the pair reconciles their differences and agrees to work together to uncover any criminal activity the Young Watchers might be involved with. However, as they watch the Young Watchers for any shady dealings, it appears that the group is on the level. The two heroes even find themselves helping them out during some of their citizen's arrests. They return to the Young Watchers' headquarters and spot a limo parked outside. Spider-Man is curious to know who is the benefactor of this organization, but the Falcon thinks that they've found nothing and need to end their investigation. Spider-Man grudgingly agrees, but as he swings away he happens upon a jewelry store robbery where the Young Watchers and the police are one the scene. When the wall-crawler inquires about what happened, the police are too interested in arresting him that he has to leave, unaware that one of the Young Watchers has the stolen jewels stuffed in his pocket. However, something sets off his spider-sense as the hero leaves the scene.

Elsewhere, the mobster known as Stoneface gloats over Jameson's recent editorial praising the Young Watchers. He is the secret backer of the Young Watchers, and he organized them following a series of defeats at the hand of the Falcon and his allies Captain America and the Black Panther. His scheme was to great the group and have them praised in the public eye for their vigilante activities that the crimes that they actually committed went on unseen. Stoneface hopes that he can use this scheme to make him a powerful crime boss in New York City. Meanwhile, the Falcon is tipped off to the fact that his nephew Jim has been kidnapped for asking too many questions. Searching Jim's apartment for clues, the Falcon is joined by Spider-Man who tells him about the jewelry robbery that the Young Watchers were involved in.

Spider-Man and the Falcon managed to track the group down to an abandoned warehouse where they are meeting with Stoneface. Before Stoneface can kill Jim as a lesson in loyalty, the two heroes come crashing in to stop him. While Spider-Man and the Falcon deal with Stoneface's thugs, the villain threatens to shoot Jim, but Spider-Man manages to disarm him. The two heroes round up the rest of Stoneface's men. However, the crooked members of the Young Watchers try to flee the scene, only to be stopped by the members who were altruistic. Later, Spider-Man tries to convince the Young Watcher to disband, but they insist that they are doing good. When the wall-crawler presses the issue, the Falcon points out that if Spider-Man is against vigilantes, they both should retire their masks and leave crime to the Avengers. Spider-Man still doesn't agree but decides to agree to disagree and they all sit down for lunch together.


Continuity Notes

  • Stoneface recounts his previous defeats at the hands of the Falcon. These encounters occurred in Captain America #138 and 171 respectfully.

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