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Quote1 Ah, the X-Men! Fancy meeting you again! And ye have some new members! Charmed… I'm sure! Quote2
Black Tom Cassidy

Appearing in "'Tis Better to Give!"

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Synopsis for "'Tis Better to Give!"

Spider-Man returns to his apartment through the skylight. Suddenly, his landlord, Maimie Muggins, begins pounding on the door, demanding that Peter pay up his overdue rent. Trying to make a retreat back out the skylight, Spider-Man narrowly avoids being seen by the new neighbors, who moved in next door, as they have come up to the roof to tan.[Continuity 1] Unsuccessfully, he darts back through the skylight.

With Miss Muggins threatening to come into the apartment, Peter quickly strips off his costume and throws a towel around himself to make it look as though he just got out of the shower. He tries to deflect her demands by complaining about the neighbors. However, Muggins points out that one of the women up on the roof is her niece, and she pays her rent on time. Peter assures her that he will pay his rent on Thursday, which satisfies Maimie for the time being. Peter worries about his money situation as he is broke and still needs to buy a present for his Aunt May, in the hopes it will soften relations between them.[Continuity 2]

Meanwhile, in a cargo plane above an Asian jungle, the Juggernaut is told by the pilot that they are near the area he was to be flown over. Satisfied, the Juggernaut leaps out of the plane, ignoring the pilots warning that a regional army is conducting battle maneuvers in the jungles below. Below, a group of Korean soldiers witness as the Juggernaut falls from the sky and run for cover. The massive brute easily shakes off the hard landing and swats away the soldiers when they open fire upon him. The Juggernaut has come to make up for failing to capture Madam Webb for his partner, Black Tom.[Continuity 3] Eventually, the Juggernaut makes his way to the ruins of the Temple of Cyttorak, where he got his powers years earlier.[Continuity 4] Among the ruins, he finds the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak and intends to bring it to Black Tom so that he can make his friend as powerful as he is.

While back in New York, Peter has had no luck finding any newsworthy photos, particularly since Joe Robertson has been uninterested in Spider-Man photos. On his way back up to his apartment, he is approached by his neighbors, Bambi, Candi and Randi. They ask him why he has a problem with them sunbathing. Peter quickly explains it was an excuse to distract Mrs. Muggins from the issue of his rent. When he tells them that he is a freelance photographer, the three women get excited. They had come to New York to pursue careers in modeling and ask Peter to photograph them in exchange for lunch. This being the best meal he's been offered in days, Peter is more than happy to oblige.

Later, below Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Nightcrawler is running Colossus and Rogue through a training session in the X-Men's Danger Room. The session ends when Rogue is hurt by a projectile. Reverting back from his metallic form, Colossus comes to Rogue's aid, but she warns him against touching her bare skin of her arm that has been exposed by the projectile. Nightcrawler teleports down from the control room and commends his teammates for getting better in these training sessions. It's then that they are telepathically contacted by Rachel Summers, who tells them supper is ready.

As they prepare to eat, they catch a news report that shows footage of the Juggernaut in Asia. Nightcrawler recognizes the Ruby Gem of Cytorrak and fears what Juggernaut might be doing. This development gives Rachel pause as she recalls an instance in her future where the Juggernaut gave his power to Black Tom and wonders if this is happening in this timeline as well.[Continuity 5]

While in Manhattan, Peter Parker is watching television and reading the newspaper. He notices that Saks is having a hat sale, and remembering the hat that Cannonball bought for his own mother, Peter considers getting one for his Aunt May.[Continuity 6] However, he still doesn't have the money to buy the hat anyway. That's when he catches a news report about the Juggernaut and decides to check out how he managed to break out of the concrete foundation he trapped the behemoth in during their last encounter.

As Peter changes into his costume, he misses the convenience of the alien costume he briefly wore.[Continuity 7] However, he got rid of it when he discovered that it was a symbiote that was trying to bond with him.[Continuity 8] After Bambi and her friends leave the roof, Spider-Man swings off. He thinks about how Harry and Liz Osborn's child is due soon, and how he has been so caught up with his own problems to keep up with his friends.[Continuity 9] Other than his Aunt May being upset with him, Peter is still trying to come to terms with the Mary Jane reveals that she knows that he is actually Spider-Man.[Continuity 10] Spider-Man soon arrives at the building where he buried the Juggernaut alive. Seeing that it is still intact, he wonders how the Juggernaut managed to break free.

Meanwhile, at an expensive east-side hotel, the Juggernaut has arrived at Black Tom's birthday celebrations. Cain gives Tom the present he bought for him. Black Tom opens it up and is surprised by the size of the ruby inside. Reading the inscription, Black Tom is shocked to suddenly gain mass and size, as he is given the power of the Juggernaut.

At that very moment, in Westchester, Nightcrawler and his teammates use Cerebro to locate Black Tom in the hopes of tracking down the Juggernaut. Pinpointing his location, the four X-Men head into the city, although Rachel is anxious about the situation. When Nightcrawler notices this, she dismisses his concerns.

Back in Manhattan, Black Tom is horrified over what has happened to him and demands that Juggernaut turn him back to normal. When Cain explains that he can't, Tom strikes him sending the Juggernaut crashing out of the hotel and onto the street below. Even though Black Tom is his friend, the Juggernaut refuses to be struck by anyone and climbs back up the side of the building. Black Tom is too distracted trying to figure out a plan to reverse his transformation he doesn't see Cain until its too late and is punched out of the building. The Juggernaut leaps down and the pair come to blows. Crashing into a fuel tanker, Tom can still feel the flames and notices that Cain is smaller than before. It's then that Spider-Man arrives on the scene and starts snapping photos of the two friends battling it out.

Unfortunately, the Juggernauts spots Spider-Man, so he and Black Tom decide to turn their anger toward him instead. It's during this clash that Black Tom realizes that the Juggernaut's powers have been halved in order to empower him and decides his partner should have all the power instead of half. During the clash, Spider-Man drops his camera but manages to recover it before Black Tom can stomp on it. Spider-Man then tries to surround the pair with webbing, and when the Juggernaut tries to push himself through it, he isn't strong enough anymore. The elasticized webbing ends up slingshotting Cain into Black Tom, and the two crash into a building. Spider-Man tries to re-enter the battle, but he is blasted from behind by Black Tom, who has just recovered his shillelagh.

However, before they can harm Spider-Man further, the X-Men arrive. Spider-Man is unhappy to see the X-Men after their last encounter.[Continuity 11] Standing from the sidelines, Rachel Summers wonders if she can bring herself to use her powers against a Cyttorak-infused, Black Tom, as in her own timeline, because she has watched him use the power of the Juggernaut to help the mutant resistance. Black Tom unleashes a series of blasts from his shillelagh, but they are blocked by Colossus.[Continuity 12]

Tom then tries to bring a building down on his foes, but Rachel uses her telekinesis to scatter the debris while Colossus carries Spider-Man to safety. Nightcrawler attempts to use his teleportation abilities to try and get the Crimson Gem of Cytorrak from Black Tom, but he soon begins to run out of strength. Seeing her teammate in trouble, Rogue swoops down and uses her absorption powers to steal the strength that Black Tom obtained from the gem. With the added strength, Rogue goes toe-to-toe with the Juggernaut while Rachel tries to launch a telepathic attack. However, the Juggernaut's helmet protects him from psi-attacks.

Rogue's added strength begins wearing off and returns to the Crimson Gem. Colossus pulls her away and manages to rip off the Juggernaut's outer helmet. However, he is still wearing a psi-proof skullcap. Rogue has recovered and tries to absorb the Juggernaut's power from Cain Marko himself. Although this strips Cain of his power, Rogue absorbs his memories and is plagued with his history of abuse as a child and the hatred of his step-brother Charles Xavier. While the X-Men and Spider-Man are trying to contain Rogue, Cain manages to recover the Crimson Gem of Cytorrak and reclaim the full power of the Juggernaut for himself. Not wishing to lose the power again, the Juggernaut tosses the gem into space and escapes with Black Tom through the sewers.

In the sewers below, Juggernaut apologizes for the events that unfolded, thinking they ruined Tom's birthday. However, Black Tom enjoyed the experience as he now has a better understanding of the power his partner wields. He then suggests that they get back to his yacht as they won't be welcome back in New York City for a while. The X-Men thank Spider-Man for his help, commending him for going up against two Juggernauts alone.

Soon the authorities begin arriving on the scene, prompting the X-Men to depart. Spider-Man leaves as well, heading to the Daily Bugle. There, he develops his photos as Peter Parker and is upset to discover that all the photos he took of the battle with Black Tom and the Juggernaut were ruined. Peter feels defeated, but as he leaves the dark room, he overhears Joe Robertson worrying about not having photos to pair with a story on the current heat wave. Since the photos of Bambi and her roommates turned out nicely, Peter manages to sell them to Joe Robertson, giving him a much needed influx of cash.


Continuity Notes[]

  1. These new neighbors moved into Peter's apartment building in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #99.
  2. Aunt May has been upset with Peter since he told her that he quit grad school in Amazing Spider-Man #253.
  3. The Juggernaut's attempt to capture Madam Webb was foiled by Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #230.
  4. Cain Marko discovered the temple back when he was in the military, as detailed in X-Men #13.
  5. Rachel Summers comes from the future of Earth-811, a reality where the Sentinels rule North America. Thanks to Rachel and her allies, that terrible future was diverged from Earth-616, as seen in X-Men #141142. Rachel later escaped from that future to the past in Uncanny X-Men #184, and quickly discovered that this time is much different from her own past.
  6. Cannonball's hat purchase was chronicled last issue.
  7. Spider-Man obtained this costume in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8.
  8. Spider-Man discovered that his old costume was alive and turned it over to the Fantastic Four for study in Amazing Spider-Man #258.
  9. At the time of this story Liz Osborn is pregnant with her and Harry's son, Norman, who will be born in Amazing Spider-Man #263.
  10. Mary Jane revealed that she has known Peter is really Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #259. She has known for years, as revealed in Marvel Graphic Novel #46.
  11. Spider-Man clashed with the X-Men when they decided to side with Magneto during the Secret Wars, as seen in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3.
  12. Colossus mentions how he recently discovered that Black Tom's blasts don't harm him in his organic steel form. He learned this in Spider-Woman #38.

See Also

Links and References

  • The Grand Comics Database: Marvel Team-Up Vol 1 [1]