Appearing in "The Fatal Attraction of the Black Widow"
- "Loose-Lips" Lonigan (Only appearance)
- Daredevil (Only in flashback)
- Consolidated Edison (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Fatal Attraction of the Black Widow"
One night while web-swinging over the city, Spider-Man spots the Black Widow crouching on a dark rooftop overlooking Manhattan's Lower West Side waterfront. Using a wrist radio, the Widow informs her partner, Simon Stroud, that she has discovered the gang of arms smugglers that they have been looking for. But before she can finish talking, Spider-Man playfully puts his hand over her mouth. Startled, she flips him over the edge of the roof, but he quickly returns and explains that he has been following up rumors that led him to the same gang. They agree to work together, relocate and begin anew. As the smugglers depart in a van, the Widow tells him to let them go, because she wants them to lead her to the person behind the racket. She radios Stroud their direction—downtown toward the Brooklyn Tunnel—and Spider-Man web-swings away in pursuit. Although he promised the Widow that he would not capture them, he wants to make sure that they do not lose them, and he lands quietly atop the van. Since the Black Widow is involved, he muses, this operation is probably much more sinister than a simple smuggling ring.
When the van arrives in Brooklyn, Spider-Man watches the men unload their contraband into a warehouse. Through a skylight, Spider-Man overhears one of the gangsters say that there is a big "hit" planned for the next day. Suddenly Spider-Man's spider-sense tingles, and he is startled when the Black Widow sneaks up on him. It is time to make their move, she says, and she and Spider-Man attack. Although they are only two against many, they systematically knock the gangsters out in a pitched battle. Unfortunately, the gang's overseer, "Cricket," decides to cut his losses and throws a lit cigarette lighter into a pile of explosives. Stroud, who is at the door, shouts a warning, and then a tremendous explosion obliterates the warehouse. Cricket tells his chauffeur, Sammy, to step on it. When Stroud tries to stop Cricket, the gangster shoots him with a gun concealed in his sleeve. Cricket and Sammy then load the unconscious Stroud into the trunk of their car and drive away. Cricket informs his boss on the car phone that he has destroyed Spider-Man and the Black Widow. Cricket's news is premature, however, for inside the warehouse, Spider-Man and the Widow remain alive in a protective ball of webbing. Spider-Man spun the cocoon at the last possible instant. The Widow is stunned, and as the flames get hotter, Spider-Man carries her from the burning building. The night air soon revives her. Spider-Man finds one of the surviving gangsters, "Trout," but before he can revive him to question him, the Widow, thinking Stroud was killed, runs toward the warehouse. Spider-Man stops her, saying that Stroud was not in the building when it went up. When the Widow finds a pool of blood in the street, she realizes that Stroud was taken hostage. Then Spider-Man says he has an idea. Spider-Man and the Widow soon carry Trout to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge and revive him. The criminal finds himself in a web-net suspended high above the river. He says that his boss will kill him if he talks, but Spider-Man starts to snap the web-strands in the net one by one. It is not long before Trout tells them what they want to know, and they deposit him at a nearby police station.
As they swing away, Spider-Man and the Widow review what they learned. According to Trout, rival gangs in the city are banding together, but he did not know who is behind it or why. The Widow says they must next uncover the mysterious boss's identity, and they must also rescue Stroud, who is an old friend of hers and an ex-CIA agent. Spider-Man suggests they split up to cover more territory, and they part company. Soon Spider-Man finds an informer named "Loose-Lips" Lonigan, whom he snags with webbing and suspends from a flagpole. Thus encouraged, Lonigan says that there will be a council of war among the gangs at the Long Island estate of "Long Tom" Stoneham, and Spider-Man web-swings on his way. The Widow, meanwhile, locates a group of criminals in a rundown boarding house and smashes into their room through a window. In seconds she defeats all four of them, covers them with one of their guns, and orders them to start talking. About two hours later, a news helicopter circles Stoneham's heavily guarded estate. Spider-Man web-parachutes out of the aircraft, and as he comes in for a landing, he spots the Black Widow on the roof below. He is eager to attack, but the Widow says that they must not jeopardize Stroud's life, so he cautiously enters the mansion through an upper-story window. Surprisingly enough, it does not take him long to find Stroud's room, but when he tries to untie the special agent, he finds himself surrounded by scores of fully armed criminals. More swiftly than the eye can follow, Spider-Man leaps among them and starts disabling them. He is too fast for them to aim their weapons and fire, but then one of the criminals takes aim with a special rifle that fires a hundred rounds a second. Fortunately, the Widow knocks that gunman out. She tells Spider-Man that they must carry the battle to where Stroud, who is still tied to his chair, won't be hit by gunfire, so they head into another room. When they slam the door behind them, however, they are greeted by the master criminal himself, who turns out to be the Owl. He explains that after his previous battle against Daredevil and Spider-Man, he regained his full mental faculties, but his body was crippled with severe nerve damage. His men placed him in a special levitating chair designed by the Maggia.
He owes the crime cartel his life, he says, and at midnight the army of criminals that he has assembled will sabotage Con Edison. Under cover of the resulting blackout, they will plunder the city and turn over part of the loot to the Maggia, to repay his debt to them. Suddenly Spider-Man's spider-sense tingles, and he leaps out of the way just as the Owl blasts him with lasers hidden in his chair. Shielding himself with webbing, Spider-Man continues dodging laser blasts as the Widow tries to sneak up on the criminals. Unfortunately, just then a group of gangsters break into the room to rescue their boss, and the Widow has to keep them at bay as bullets fly everywhere. Meanwhile, Stroud, driven by the thought that the Widow is in serious trouble, manages to work himself out of his ropes. His wound causes great pain, but he nevertheless grabs a weapon and heads to the melee. The Owl manages to sever the Widow's cable with a laser blast just as Spider-Man webs up the gunmen. The crimefighter spins a web-net to catch her, and he also snags the Owl's chair with his webbing. His lasers drained, the Owl is helpless as Spider-Man spins his chair dizzyingly and flings him out the door. But the Owl manages to right himself and escapes in his chair out of the mansion. More gangsters arrive, and the Widow tells Spider-Man to go after the Owl while she handles them. Spider-Man thinks the Owl has too much of a head start, but Stroud tells him to get out of the way. With two accurate gunshots, Stroud destroys the airborne chair and brings the Owl down. And when Stroud and Spider-Man return to help the Widow, they find that she has rendered all the remaining criminals unconscious.
- The Owl recalls his last clash with Spider-Man and Daredevil. That was in Marvel Team-Up #73.