Quote1 I'd stay and talk... ...but I've a feeling things are gonna get real messy, real soon! Hasta la pasta, insect! Quote2
-- Trapster

Appearing in "A Matter of Respect"

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  • Taxi

Synopsis for "A Matter of Respect"

Fed up of being pursued due to his gambling debts, Peter Petruski has decided to stop cowering and fight back. Resuming his costumed identity of the Trapster, Petruski fights back against the leg-breakers who have come to collect his debts. No longer under the watchful eye, the Trapster doesn't hold back and takes pleasure in the fact that he is back to his wicked ways.[Continuity 1] Using his paste gun, the Trapster leaves the thugs strung up for the authorities. When the cops and the press arrived on the scene, the immediate assumption is that these thugs were brutally beaten by Spider-Man. On the scene is Peter Parker, who is secretly Spider-Man, and knows that his alter-ego had nothing to do with this violent beating. Despite this, when Peter brings his photos to J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle publisher is certain that this is the work of Spider-Man, no matter what Peter says to convince him otherwise. Ultimately, Jonah gets angry and orders Peter to get out of his office. When Ben Urich points out that he warned Peter that there was no way to convince Peter otherwise. Peter knows this, but he had to try.

When the headlines blaming Spider-Man for the attack hit the newsstands, the Trapster is furious that the wall-crawler got the credit for his actions. Petruski demands respect after so many years of being treated as nothing more as a joke and decides to show the world that he is no longer a loser by taking down Spider-Man himself.[Continuity 2] He then begins plotting a means of trapping the wall-crawler. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has deduced that the Trapster was responsible for the beating and has been searching the city in order to find the villain. Soon he comes across a series of crooks who have crossed paths with the Trapster and have been incapacitated by the villain's past gun.

Eventually, the wall-crawler manages to track the Trapster down to 5th Avenue where he is shaking down minions of mobster Gavin Thorpe. The Trapster then lures Spider-Man to a nearby construction site where he has set up various traps that send Spider-Man falling into a vat of quick dring cement. The villain then uses a solvent to melt through metal to make the construction site collapse on the hero before departing. Unfortunately for the trapster, Spider-Man manages to fire a web-line and pull himself free before he is crushed under tons of fallen debris. After this humiliating defeat, Spider-Man decides to head home and think about a way to outsmart his foe before going after him again. However, when the wall-crawler returns to Queens he is forced to wait outside until he can sneak in without Mary Jane's Aunt Anna spotting him in costume.[Continuity 3]

The next day, Peter Parker takes his photos to the Daily Bugle to prove that Spider-Man was being blamed for the Trapster's crimes. However, Jonah isn't interested as he has decided to shift the paper's attention to a more important issue, climate change.[Continuity 4] He then tells Peter how ecological changes in Antarctica caused by global warming is putting the Savage Land at risk. Jonah has decided to send Peter down there to get pictures as Peter has been to the Savage Land before.[Continuity 5]


Continuity Notes

  1. At the time of this story, the Trapster went to his former Frightful Four partner the Sandman claiming that he wanted to go straight. However, this was only a means of protection while he tried to reconcile his gambling debts as seen in Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #26.
  2. The Trapster lists off some of his career highlights:
    • He refers to himself as "Paste-Pot Pete", which believe-it-or-not was the his original nomé de plume when he first began his criminal career in Strange Tales #104. His original name made him a laughing stock and he later changed it to the Trapster in Fantastic Four #38.
    • He mentions fighting the Fantastic Four, which he had done many times during his association with the Frightful Four. He first fought the Human Torch in the formentioned Strange Tales #104. He first fought the whole team in Fantastic Four #36.
    • He later fought Captain America and Daredevil in Captain America #108 and Daredevil #36 respectfully.
  3. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
  4. J. Jonah Jameson specifically cites the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. At the time this issue was published, this was a serious concern. Although ozone depletion is still a concern, the growing damage that was a major concern in 1997 is less so a concern now. A 2018 UN report has noted that the ozone layer is actually starting to heal and could return to pre-1980 levels (when the ozone crisis began) by 2060. As such, this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Likewise should the use of the phrase "global warming" be considered a topical reference as the more accurate term of "climate change" has long since been adopted.
  5. Peter has been to the Savage Land on a few occasions at this point. His first visit occurred in Amazing Spider-Man #103-104. He subsequently visited the Savage Land in Marvel Fanfare #1-3.

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