During the launch of the first manned expedition to Mars, the industrial spy known as the Chameleon attempted to steal the rocket and auction it off to the highest bidder. However, his remote controls malfunctioned, causing the rocket to crash into the base, killing several people, including pilot John Jameson and May Parker, who came with Peter to witness the launch. In the weeks that followed, J. Jonah Jameson formally adopted Peter, providing the young man with a lavish home and entry into the prestigious Phillips Academy. Unfortunately, because some of Spider-Man's webbing was found at the crash site (from Peter's frantic search for May), Jameson blamed the web-slinger for the sabotage and began funding the creation of the Spider-Slayers and Scorpion for revenge, which left Peter with little opportunity to become Spider-Man.
Following this, Jameson made Peter the assistant editor of the Reveille, a weekly paper he had recently purchased. Peter decided to run the paper on a contrasting angle with the Daily Bugle, reporting on Spider-Man's exploits in a positive light, which sent profits of both papers through the roof. But after Jameson placed a one million dollar bounty on Spider-Man's head, Peter decided to be proactive and sabotaged the Spider-Slayer. Unfortunately, this lead to Flash Thompson rashly taking the Scorpion formula, sending him on a rampage. Enraged at how far his adoptive father had gone in the name of revenge, Peter revealed his identity to Jameson before setting off to bring down Thompson. Suddenly though, he was ambushed by several supervillains seeking the reward money and was quickly overwhelmed. Thankfully, Jameson intervened using the Spider-Slayer on remote control, saving Peter. Following this, Peter adopts Spider-Man as a public identity much like the Human Torch, fighting crime alongside Jameson.