Appearing in "Things Fall Apart"
- Doctor Strange
- Black Cat
- Daily Bugle Staff
- Randy Robertson
- Amanda Robertson
- Brenda Burman (Only appearance)
- Elmo Twig
- Ann Macintosh
- Ralph Mackie (Only appearance)
- Steven Estevez
- Fritz Woolcot
- Alex Woolcot
- Spencer (Only appearance)
- Santa Claus Burglar (Earth-616) (Mentioned)
- Black Fox (Mentioned)
- New York City
Synopsis for "Things Fall Apart"
A woman named Brenda Burman is walking the streets of New York alone at night. Suddenly, she is pulled into an alley by a group of men wearing superhero Halloween masks. They intend to rape the woman, but that's when Spider-Man swoops down and saves the woman from her attackers. After saving the woman, and assuring her there was nothing wrong with being afraid, he collects his camera and heads off.
Meanwhile, Elmo Twig pays a visit to the Foreigner to show him a golden notebook that recently came into his possession.[Continuity 1] The Foreigner agrees to buy the golden notebook and offers a challenge: There are two boxes on a table, one contains a large sum of money, the other a poisoned snake. Elmo doesn't want to take the risk, much to the Foreigner's disappointment. He tells Twig that a smaller sum is waiting for him outside. As Twig leaves, the Foreigner is amused at his cowardice, as both boxes actually contained money. At that moment, the Black Cat is undergoing an exercise routine to prepare herself for breaking into the Foreigner's headquarters. She figures she can take a huge haul from the master criminal which she, in turn, will give to charity as part of her new role as a modern day Robin Hood. She wonders what Spider-Man would think if he knew what she was up to.
At that moment, Peter Parker has finished developing his photos at the Daily Bugle. He is disappointed because the woman he saved is in all the photos and can't crop her out. Knowing the woman will have a hard enough time reporting the crime, he decides to tell Kate Cushing that none of the photos turned out, even though he needs the money. Kate is unimpressed but decides to send Peter to join Joy Mercado who is interviewing a teacher who suspects one of his students is being abused at home. Peter is annoyed because Kate compares him to Lance Bannon, but is grateful for the work. When he goes to the supply closet he catches Anne McIntosh making out with Ralph Mackie. They are embarassed and quickly leave. Peter then slips into the closet and changes into Spider-Man so he can head out the window. While at that moment at JFK Airport, Randy Robertson has finally arrived to visit his father. Meeting Joe at the baggage claim, he awkwardly introduces his father to his newlywed wife Amanda. Joe is shocked not only by the news but also because Amanda is white.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man is web-slinging across the city thinking about the recent shock when he unmasked the Hobgoblin and discovered that he is his old high school tormentor, Flash Thompson.[Continuity 2] The wall-crawler finds this incredible to believe and pushes it from his mind so he can focus on the task at hand. Soon he arrives at the Woolcot house where he sees trouble. Joy and Steven Estivez have confronted Fritz Woolcot about the abuse he has been heaping on his son and things have turned violent. Fritz demands to know why the teacher is obsessed with his son. Resenting the fact that Woolcot is implying that he is a pedophile, Steve calls Fritz a coward for packing up and trying to move away. Fritz's son Alex tries to get his father to calm down, however, he finds his new found powers flaring out of control.[Continuity 3] Nobody notices because Spider-Man interrupts the argument, allowing Alex a moment to get his powers under control. Fritz has had enough of the intrusions and orders everyone out of his home, threatening to call the police.
With no evidence proving that Fritz is abusing his son, everyone is forced to leave. With his accusers gone, Fritz returns to his lab, telling Alex that he doesn't want to be interrupted. Upon the roof, Spider-Man changes back into Peter Parker and wonders what he can do about this situation. He also can't help but think there was something off about Alex as well. Downstairs, Alex once more tries to test out his powers and discovers that the more he uses them the more the energy in his body wants to come out. Outside, Peter Parker joins Joy and Steve as they discuss the situation with the Woolcots. Steve fears that Fritz is moving his family out of the district, forcing them to refile the child abuse report. He joins them at a diner where Peter asks Steve why he is so invested in the case. Even though there is a terrible amount of bureaucracy, he feels that it is his responsibility to report a child in danger. While Steve is passionately emphasizing his point, he accidentally knocks a glass out of their waitresses hand and it spills on Peter. Peter wonders why he has been having a string of bad luck recently. Returning to the Daily Bugle, Peter is reamed out by Kate for botching yet another assignment.
Wondering what's wrong, Peter decides to test his luck by flipping a coin and calling what side it will land on. After 179 flips of the coin, he can't seem to call the right side, a statistical impossibility. Rushing to the closet, Peter changes into Spider-Man and swings off. As he unknowingly passes by the Black Cat, the wall-crawler is consumed with all of his problems of late and wonders if it is all connected.[Continuity 4] As Spider-Man passes her by, the Black Cat can't help but marvel at how attractive he still is. She has come to realize that regardless of who broke up with whom, she thinks their relationship had to end once her bad luck powers started affecting the wall-crawler.[Continuity 5] She decides to focus on the matter at hand and swings over the Foreigner's office building, deciding that Spider-Man probably doesn't think about her anymore.
However, Felicia couldn't be far from the truth, as Spider-Man theorizes that he is still being affected by her powers. He decides to pay a visit to Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum to see if the master of the mystic arts can confirm his theory and if there is anything the mage can do. As Wong invites Spider-Man into the mansion, the Black Cat breaks into the Foreigner's office and uses her skill as a cat burglar to slip past the various security devices. At that moment, Doctor Strange has finished examining Spider-Man and confirms that a bad luck hex attached to him. In order to try and cure Spider-Man of his affliction, Strange needs to review some mystical texts. Simultaneously, the Black Cat has just broken into the Foreigner's safe when she is caught by the Foreigner's muscle men. Trusting in her bad luck powers, the Black Cat gives the leader of these thugs a chance to try and strike her across the face. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange has mystically removed the hex on Spider-Man. However, this has nullified the Black Cat's powers, and she is struck across the face. At the same time, Spider-Man asks if Doctor Strange can erase the memory of his identity from the mind of a woman he knows. Doctor Strange refuses to do so, and tells him to go to his female friend as an open heart can be the most effective magic.[Continuity 6] While back at the Foreigner's office, the Black Cat realizes that her bad luck powers are suddenly gone.
- This golden notebook was among the contents of a building turned into gold by the Beyonder in Secret Wars II #2. Spider-Man took the golden notebook as payment for helping keep the gold a secret after he discovered the Kingpin was being paid by the government to help, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #268. The notebook ended up in Twig's possession in Web of Spider-Man #15.
- Spider-Man was tricked into thinking Flash was the Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man #276. It is later discovered that Flash was framed in Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- Alex gained superhuman powers after being exposed to the energies of his father's disintegrator ray, as seen in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #113.
- Of the man instances of bad luck, Peter mentions the incident with the "commuting criminal" from Amazing Spider-Man #267, the Santa Claus thief in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #112, his problem with "those kids" referring to the thugs who lit his apartment on fire in Web of Spider-Man #11, his recent run-in with the Black Fox in Web of Spider-Man #14–15, and how the Hobgoblin nearly killed him in Amazing Spider-Man #275. He also mentions how he narrowly saved his Aunt May and her borders from some thieves, although this created a rift between May and her fiancee Nathan Lubenski. That happened in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #113.
- The Black Cat obtained her powers from the Kingpin back in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #89. They found out that these powers were starting to affect Spider-Man, leading to their break-up in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #100.
- Peter is likely referring to Mary Jane Watson, who revealed that she knew Spider-Man's secret identity in Amazing Spider-Man #257. Since then, their friendship has been strained by the knowledge.