Appearing in "A Debt Repaid..."
- New York City
- Black Abbott's Island Base
- Black Abbott's Jet-Craft
Synopsis for "A Debt Repaid..."
Spider-Man is web-slinging across the city to clear his mind when suddenly his spider-sense begins warning him of danger. He spots two airships flying across the city, the source of the warning. He witnesses one fire a missile at the other, prompting Spider-Man to get involved. He webs up the missile and tries to redirect it, but the strength of its thrust pulls Spider-Man off the wall.[Continuity 1] Spider-Man manages to pull the missile off course, but he finds himself trying to figure out how to detonate the warhead without harming anyone. Meanwhile, not far away, the Human Torch is moving the last of his possessions into his new loft. He thinks about all the changes that Fantastic Four have undergone in recent times, including the Thing being replaced with the She-Hulk, and his sister Sue having a miscarriage.[Continuity 2] His thoughts are interrupted when he watches Spider-Man crash the missile into a nearby water tower. Seeing the masked hero stunned by the blast, Johnny flames on and comes to the wall-crawler's rescue.
Spider-Man points out the two crafts, just as the fleeing ship is shot out of the sky. While the Human Torch rescues the passenger of the ship, Spider-Man pulls people on the street to safety as the ship comes crashing to the ground. Although Spider-Man wonders what the entire situation was all about, he has too many of his own problems to worry about and leaves the Human Torch to solve the mystery. Web-slinging back to his apartment, Spider-Man thinks about his long relationship with the Human Torch. Although the two have always traded quips, Spider-Man considers him a friend, recalling how the Torch and Mister Fantastic helped him remove his new costume when it was discovered that it was an alien symbiote that was trying to permanently bond with him.[Continuity 3] He thinks about the first time he met the Human Torch back when he was in high school, and how a speech from the Torch at his school convinced Peter Parker not to give up being Spider-Man after his first defeat at the hands of Doctor Octopus.[Continuity 4]
Returning to his apartment, Spider-Man changes out of his costume just as there is as knock at his door. He is visited by a man named Mr. Abbot who wishes to recruit Peter and his scientific skill for the World Peace Association. This man triggers Peter's spider-sense, and he realizes that part of him is easily buying Abbot's sales pitch. Peter learns that he was recommended for the World Peace Project by his former classmate Steve Hopkins. Fighting off Abbot's influence, Peter decides to go along with it to learn what is really going on. Meanwhile, at the East Side hospital, the Human Torch learns that the man he rescued is not expected to survive his injuries. Told that the man wants to talk to him, Johnny goes to find out what he wants. The man explains that he was a scientist who was manipulated into working for a criminal named the Black Abbot. He was under the Abbot's hypnotic control until he was bitten by a snake while on the job. His natural fear of snakes allowed him to snap out of the mind control and learning that Black Abbot is plotting a massive break out at Ryker's Island, he tried to flee his facility and warn the authorities.
At that moment, Peter Parker has been brought to the World Peace Organization's island facility off the coast of New Jersey. He is given a tour of the facility, and Peter is disturbed by how the scientists a buying into his sales pitch. After Mr. Abbot leaves Peter to learn more about the work being done, the man changes back into his true form, that of Black Abbot. Meanwhile, Peter is reunited with Steve Hopkins and discovers that his old friend has been hypnotized as well. At that moment, the Human Torch arrives at the island, but his arrival is detected by the Black Abbot. Using his powers of mind over matter, he makes a mound of dirt fall on the Torch, smothering his flames. Two guards then come outside and blast the Human Torch with a stun blast. At that moment, Peter is going over the schematics for the device that the WPO is building and notes that it is some kind of energy amplifier. Suspicious of their intentions, Peter intentionally causes a short circuit and slips away while the other scientists and guards go to investigate the problem. Elsewhere in the facility, the Black Abbot is overseeing the Human Torch as he is being placed in a brainwashing device. At this point, Peter has changed into Spider-Man and sneaks into the facility's security monitor. Spider-Man webs up the guard monitoring the security cameras and witnesses the Torch being brainwashed on the monitors.
With the brainwashing complete, Black Abbot is convinced that the Torch will not interfere with his plans to stage a breakout at Rykers. He explains to his minions that he cannot force people to do things that they wouldn't normally do, and so he is staging the breakout so he can enthrall an army of superpowered beings to be is enforcers. When the Black Abbot leaves to carry out his plans, Spider-Man finds the Human Torch. After knocking the guards, he tries to snap the Torch out of his hypnotic spell. The Torch has been conditioned to give up on trying to stop Black Abbot, but Spider-Man goads the Torch, giving him a similar speech about not giving up as Johnny gave to a young Peter Parker all those years ago. When this doesn't work, Spider-Man plays into the Torch's insecurities by mocking him, angering him enough to snap out of the mind control.[Continuity 5] After regaining control of his mind, the Human Torch tells Spider-Man about Black Abbot's plan. The pair rush to the hanger where the Abbot's invasion fleet is preparing for launch. While the Human Torch deals with the fleet of aircraft, Spider-Man goes after the Black Abbot. While trying to stop the fleet, the Torch's flame is doused by a fire extinguisher used by one of Abbot's minions.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man confronts the Black Abbot and discovers that there are actually two Black Abbots and is caught in between their two mental blasts. While the Torch fights off the Abbot's men, he gains the power to flame on again and destroys the fleet. At that moment, the Black Abbot attempts to use a mental amplifier to finish off Spider-Man, but the hero manages to use his webbing to turn the amplifier up full blast, incinerating Black Abbot into nothing. When Spider-Man recovers from the mental assault, the Human Torch wraps up the Abbot's campaign. Among the scientists freed from the Black Abbot's control, Spider-Man can't find Steve Hopkins and suspects that he was taken away by the other Black Abbot. Spider-Man explains the situation to the Human Torch. Meanwhile, elsewhere, the real Black Abbot and his army of thralls vows to destroy those who stand against him. While at the Baxter Building, Spider-Man's alien costume struggles to break free from the containment cylinder it is imprisoned within.[Continuity 6]
The Human Torch against the menace of the Black Abbott and the Black Apostles! What they can do to your body and soul is unspeakable!
- ↑ Spider-Man laments that this is the second time he has been pulled loose from a wall in recent history. The first time was in Amazing Spider-Man #257.
- ↑ Johnny began renting his own loft in Fantastic Four #259. Following the events of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12, the Thing decided to stay on Battleworld, giving his place on the team to She-Hulk. She officially joined the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #265. His sister, the Invisible Girl, miscarried her second child in Fantastic Four #267. However, Valeria would be brought back to life years later in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #50.
- ↑ The discovery that Spider-Man's new costume was alive was detailed in Amazing Spider-Man #258.
- ↑ Spider-Man considered ending his career as Spider-Man early on after he was defeated in battle by Doctor Octopus. However, a speech from the Human Torch convinced him to not give up. These events happened in Amazing Spider-Man #3.
- ↑ Spider-Man mentions how he and Johnny fought the Beyonder recently. Those events were chronicled in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1-12.
- ↑ The sequence featuring the alien symbiote is a reprint of the sequence seen in Amazing Spider-Man #260.
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