Appearing in "A Child Shall Lead Them!"
- New York City
- Washington, D.C.
- Central America
- Black Abbott's Hovercrafts
Synopsis for "A Child Shall Lead Them!"Inspired by the costumed hero known as Nomad, a young boy named Tony has put on a costume fashioned after the hero and tries to stop some kids from spraypainting graffiti.[Continuity 1] Unfortunately for Tony, despite his noble intentions, he is no match when the other kids swarm him and strip him of his costume. Humiliated, Tony runs to a nearby beach where he falls through a hidden grate in the sand. Following the ventilation shaft, Tony comes to another grate that overlooks an underground hanger. There he overhears two men talking about killing their target if they can't bring them in alive. They then take off in their personal aircraft.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man has come to the Metropolitan Hospital in order to learn what he can about one of the men who was posing as the Black Abbot. The man has been in the hospital since Spider-Man and the Human Torch foiled their plan to stage a breakout at Rykers Island. The wall-crawler is particularly interested in learning what became of his old university classmate, Steve Hopkins, who was under the Black Abbot's thrall. In order to get past the guards stationed outside the prisoner's hospital room, Spider-Man knocks a nurses cart and sneaks into the room while the officers chase after it. Inside the hospital room, Spider-Man finds that the man is still unconscious. Suddenly, his spider-sense begins going off, warning him of approaching aircraft. As the ships fire missiles at the hospital, Spider-Man grabs a desk and uses it as a shield. The ensuing explosion is heard by Sigurd Jarlson at a nearby construction site. Deciding to investigate, Jarlson transforms into his true identity, that of the mighty Thor. While Thor destroys the airships outside, Spider-Man stops the men who have come to kidnap that man who was posing as Black Abbot. With the danger averted, the police come rushing in and try to arrest Spider-Man. However, the wall-crawler plugs their guns with his webbing. That's when Thor comes into the room and orders the officers to stand down.
Just then, the man wakes up and begs Spider-Man and Thor for his help, explaining that Black Abbot intends to kill him. Spider-Man is confused, as he fought this man before and thought he was Black Abbot. The man explains that he is not the real Black Abbot, but one of his apostles. He tells them that he was a member of a secret order called the Dakoth-Kuru. They worshiped no god, and sought enlightenment through meditation and enhanced their abilities using powerful herbs and potions. Through this practice, the followers of Dakoth-Kuru unlocked the full potential of their brains. This gave them incredible mental powers that allowed them to bend time and space with but a thought. One of the monks, the man who would become the Black Abbot, discovered that he could increase his power by feeding off the mental energies of the others. Forcing his will among the monks, he turned them into his apostles and became the Black Abbot to continue his mad quest for more power. The apostle finishes by saying that he was freed thanks to the feedback from the mind-machine that Spider-Man destroyed earlier. Before he can say anything out, the apostle passes out once again. That's when the doctor enters the room and tells them that his patient needs his rest. Thor decides to stay and watch over him while Spider-Man looks into some personal affairs, and asks for Thor to wait for him to come back before investigating things further.
Later, at the Baxter Building, the alien symbiote that was once Spider-Man's costume tries to escape from its captivity in Reed Richard's lab. The hammering draws the attention of the Human Torch and his girlfriend Alicia Masters.[Continuity 2] Learning that the symbiote was the cause of all the noise, Johnny tells Alicia about the creature's origins and how it was recently separated from Spider-Man.[Continuity 3] He assures her that the creature is incapable of intelligent thought, but Alicia wonders how he could possibly know if this is true or not.
Hours later, at his hideout, the Black Abbot learns about Thor's interference in the attempt on his apostle's life. Abbot has always mused about enslaving a god and decides to take this opportunity to try and take control of Thor. He uses his mental powers to summon his remaining apostles from around the world to come back to New York. Once the seven have arrived, he then uses their own powers to boost his own. It's early morning while Thor still stands vigil when the rogue apostle wakes up screaming. Thor tries to calm the man, but he tells the thunder god that the danger is growing. He refuses to wait for Spider-Man to return and insists that he and Thor stop the Black Abbot immediately. The pair race to the cathedral where the Black Abbot is hiding out. There, Thor realizes too late that the apostle is back under the Black Abbot's control. He is ambushed by the apostle's mental power he tries to fight back by throwing Mjolnir at his attackers. However, they use their power over time and space to redirect the mystical hammer causing it to strike Thor from behind, knocking him out. Thor is then dragged into the nearby lab where they Abbot's minions a mind control device to make Thor their slave.
By this time, Spider-Man has returned to the hospital to learn that Thor left without him. Searching for the thunder god, Spider-Man is spotted by Tony who tries to get his attention. Remembering the child from their previous encounter, he hears the boy's story about the secret facility he found on the beach. Taken to the secret ventilation shaft, Spider-Man sends Tony to call the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, giving him information that will convince them that the boy is on the level.[Continuity 4] However, Tony gets the details mixed up, and his warnings are ignored by both the Avenger's butler Edwin Jarvis, and the Fantastic Four's robotic secretary Roberta. With nowhere else to turn, Tony decides to go back and see how he can help Spider-Man himself.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man finds Thor and frees him from the mind control device. Fleeing from the apostles of the Black Abbot, Spider-Man carries the unconscious Thor back to the hanger. Before they can escape, the apostles catch up and begin bombarding Spider-Man with mental blasts. By this time, Thor has recovered and mentally summons Mjolnir, smashing through the apostles in the process. He then knocks them out by summoning a bolt of lightning. The sudden unconsciousness of his followers is felt by the Black Abbot who decides it is time to flee. As he is doing so, he catches Tony as he emerges from the ventilation system and takes the boy hostage. Black Abbot tries to make his escape in the last of his aircraft, but Spider-Man chases after him. With the ship gaining speed, Spider-Man gets a boost by hitching a ride on Thor's hammer. However, as he is freeing Tony, Black Abbot's mental bolts force him to leap to safety with the boy, allowing Black Abbot to escape. In the aftermath of the battle, they find the missing scientists who are now shaking off the effects of Black Abbot's mental control. Although Thor cautions Tony for putting himself in danger, he commends the boy for his bravery.
Spider-Man and Thor together against the Black Abbott and his savage Black Apostles in the culmination of the Black Abbott trilogy! The Black Abbott is out to steal the greatest prize of all — the powers of the mighty Thor! Plus: more developments on Spidey's costume!
- ↑ Tony was saved from a burning building by Nomad in Marvel Team-Up #146.
- ↑ This is not actually Alicia Masters, but a Skrull spy named Lyja, as revealed in Fantastic Four #357, she took Alicia's place to spy on the Fantastic Four during the events of Fantastic Four #265.
- ↑ Spider-Man obtained the alien costume while on Battleworld as seen in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8. He learned it was alive, and was separated from the symbiote in Amazing Spider-Man #258.
- ↑ He tells Tony to tell the Fantastic Four that his regular meeting spot with the Human Torch is the Statue of Liberty, a tradition that the pair has had since Strange Tales Annual #2. He also advises him to mention to the Avengers their recent battle against the Lava Man which Spider-Man also took part in. That happened in Avengers #236-237.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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