- Listen to Bushnick's editorial! "It's high time that the publisher of the Daily Bugle learns this valuable lesson...That the fourth estate wields great work, and with it, there must also come great responsibility." Couldn't have said it better myself.
- -- Peter Parker
Appearing in "Web of Lies"
- Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
- Daily Bugle
- John Jameson
- Mary Jane Parker
- Electro (Maxwell Dillon) (Photo)
- Sandman (William Baker) (Mentioned)
- Mysterio (Quentin Beck) (Mentioned)
- Clint Eastwood (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- John Glenn (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
Races and Species:
- Spider Signal
- Spider-Man's Red and Blue Suit (Main story and flashback)
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters
- Scorpion's Suit
Synopsis for "Web of Lies"
After hearing how Spider-Man once saved his life, She-Hulk helps her co-worker Augustus Pugliese get into contact with the wall-crawler so that he can offer to represent him in a lawsuit against the Daily Bugle. This causes aggravation to Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson because they shined a make-shift spider-signal on the Bugle building in order to do so. He calls the New York Police to get them to do something, but they can't. Suddenly, Jameson is visited by what appears to be a famous Hollywood celebrity. However, it is actually Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway's process server, Ditto, who uses his shape-shifting powers to serve Jameson his papers informing him that he is being sued. Meanwhile, Peter Parker goes home to his wife Mary Jane Watson to tell her the good news. When she points out that any cash settlements will be paid out to Spider-Man, not Peter Parker, Peter suggests donating the money to charity or use it to buy equipment for his alter-ego.
Meanwhile, Pug has discovered that he is developing feelings for Jennifer Walters and tries to muster up the guts to ask her out on a date. Working out with Jen, he struggles to make the big move. However, as they are working out he asks her why she doesn't work out in her human form since her She-Hulk strength is exponential to her human strength. When he tries to ask her out, he caves at the last moment and asks her if she will be first chair in his case against the Daily Bugle. When She-Hulk asks why he won't do it, he says it is because he wants to win the case. When the news about the lawsuit hits the presses, the Scorpion seeks out the aid of Alistaire Smythe to loan him his Spider-Slayers so he can get revenge against both Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson.
Later, at the courthouse the trial is about to begin when Jennifer sees that one of the witnesses is John Jameson. In order to get out of being first chair, she intentionally asks John out on a date, creating a conflict of interest. Not only does this force Pug to take the first chair, but also crushes his hopes of asking Jen out himself. When the trial begins, Pug first calls John Jameson to the stand. He has him recount how Spider-Man saved his life at the start of his career. When it is presented that his father ran a story claiming that Spider-Man sabotaged the shuttle test, he has John confirm that investigations proved that Spider-Man did no such thing. Next he calls up a police officer to testify how Jameson demanded that Spider-Man be arrested after the Bugle published a story claiming that Spider-Man was also the super-villain known as Electro, a story that was proved false. Jameson protests, saying that the fakes were taken by Peter Parker. Pug then interviews various Daily Bugle staffers, including Betty Brand, and Joe Robertson, and has them admit that Jameson's used his vendetta against Spider-Man to help boost circulation of his newspaper.
Next, Spider-Man himself is called to the stand. Jameson protests this, complaining that they have no way of knowing if it is the real Spider-Man or an impostor with his mask on. Pug has thought of this and uses an Avengers scanning device, as Spider-Man was once a member of the team, it can confirm his identity without forcing the web-slinger to unmask. First Spider-Man goes through a list of Daily Bugle headlines that were either false or incorrectly reported. When Pug asks the wall-crawler why Jameson doesn't like him, Spider-Man says that it's because he is black. This causes some stress for Jameson and his legal team, but Spider-Man next says he is only joking, which puts the room in laughter, prompting the judge to call for order. The defense then begins questioning Spider-Man. The lawyer rips apart Spider-Man's case by first pointing out all the time that Jameson incorrectly reported about him by playing pranks. However, the lawyer points out that Spider-Man is responsible for the deaths of Captain George Stacy, his daughter Gwen, and was responsible for bringing to Earth a symbiote that led to the creations of both Venom and Carnage. When Spider-Man can't answer to these questions, the lawyer finishes his questioning. Suddenly, GLK&H's mailroom clerk Whiz-Kid rushes into the court to inform Jennifer that the Scorpion is on a rampage and heading toward the courthouse. Spider-Man Jennifer tell Pug that they will handle this so he can finish the trial uninterrupted and rush off to face their foe.
As Spider-Man and She-Hulk face off against the Scorpion and his army of Spider-Slayers, J. Jonah Jameson is called to the stand. He is first questioned by his lawyer where he claims that he provides a valuable public service warning people about the menace of a glory hound like Spider-Man is. When Pug begins questioning Jameson, he tricks Jameson into claiming that there wasn't a super-villain problem until after Spider-Man showed up. Pug then gets Jameson to admit all the different menaces that he created just to try and stop Spider-Man. While outside, the battle against the Scorpion is not faring well. She-Hulk tries to appeal to Gargan by reminding him that it is J. Jonah Jameson's fault he is trapped in the Scorpion outfit, but this only angers him enough to stop fighting and make his way to the courtroom. Inside, Pug continues chipping away at Jameson by pointing out how many members of the Daily Bugle staff have ties to the criminal world. Outside, the She-Hulk gets the Scorpion to pause when she explains that Jameson stands to lose millions of dollars in a class action lawsuit which is the best revenge Mac can get against Jonah. While the Scorpion mulls this over, Spider-Man swings in and knocks him out.
While inside the courthouse, Pug concludes his cross-examination by suggesting that thanks to all the menaces that surround Jameson, he needs Spider-Man around to clean up his messes. The following day, Peter Parker is waiting for his wife at the Daily Grind, gloating over how Jameson is being raked over the coals during his trial. However, the woman who appears to be Mary Jane, turns out to be Ditto, who serves him a notice to appear in court at the trial. Parker then finds himself on the receiving end of the questioning as Pug lays into him. First mention is made as to how Parker made a living off taking photos of Spider-Man, and even published a book called "Webs" that featured photos of the famed wall-crawler. Peter soon finds himself in the hot-seat when he admits to faking photos of Spider-Man. In response, Pug motions to include Parker in the suit.
The next day, Spider-Man pays a visit to the offices of GLK&H and demands that Pug settle the case, even though they are winning. Calling a meeting with Jameson, Spider-Man promises to drop the suit if Jameson and Parker hand out written retractions about Spider-Man for an entire business day, while dressed up in chicken suits. Jonah balks at this idea, but he hates the idea of losing a large some of money worse. As Parker and Jameson follow through on the settlement, Pug admits that while he didn't get the results he wanted, a win is a win. When Jennifer asks him what he wanted to ask her, he tells her it can wait.
- Any references to Clint Eastwood and astronaut John Glenn should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Likewise, any references to this story taking place in the year 2004 should also be considered a topical reference.
- This story, Peter and Mary Jane are married. The couple tied the knot in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. However, this marriage was erased from history by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such, modern readers should interpret this as Peter and Mary Jane being in a long term relationship, as opposed to being married.
- Mary Jane points out that Spider-Man already once had a Spider-Mobile. He built one in Amazing Spider-Man #130 and trashed it in Amazing Spider-Man #160.
- The mention of Spider-Man getting a "giant robot" is a nod to the Japanese television show Supaidāman, which featured a Spider-Man who commanded a giant robot named Leopardon. These characters exist on Earth-51778.
- Mention is made of how Alistair Smythe's father was killed because of Spider-Man and Jameson. At the time of this story, Spencer Smythe was dead. His demise happened in Amazing Spider-Man #192.
- Jennifer and John Jameson remark how long it has been since they last saw each other. This encounter happened in Savage She-Hulk #13–14.
- John Jameson recounts the first time Spider-Man saved his life, that happened in Amazing Spider-Man #1.
- The incident where Jameson claimed that Spider-Man was Electro happened in Amazing Spider-Man #9.
- At the time of this story, Spider-Man was only a reserve member of the Avengers. He joined the team in Avengers #316 opting to drop down to reserve status shortly thereafter in Avengers #318.
- The defense lawyer mentions the following events:
- The death of Captain George Stacy, which happened in Amazing Spider-Man #87. He was rushed by falling bricks during a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus.
- His daughter Gwen was killed during a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
- Spider-Man brought the alien symbiote to Earth in Amazing Spider-Man #252, it bonded to Eddie Brock to become Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #299 and gave birth to the Carnage symbiote in Amazing Spider-Man #360.
- Pug mentions the following menaces that were created thanks to Jameson's funding crusades to stop Spider-Man they are:
- The Scorpion, who was empowered thanks to J. Jonah Jameson funding Farley Sitwell's experiments in Amazing Spider-Man #20.
- He later funded Farley's brother, Harlan, in his experiments that created the Fly in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10.
- He also funded Spencer Smythe in creating the first of many Spider-Slayer robots, starting in Amazing Spider-Man #25.
- Pug also points out all the criminal ties there are to the Daily Bugle. They are:
- The fact that J. Jonah Jameson hired Frederick Foswell. Foswell was outed as the notorious mobster known as the Big Man in Amazing Spider-Man #10.
- Jacob Conover was also a Daily Bugle reporter. He was revealed to be the Rose in Amazing Spider-Man #436.
- Betty Brant once dated the Terrier as revealed in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #12.
- Joe Robertson's connections to Tombstone were first established in Web of Spider-Man #36.
- Glory Grant dated Eduardo Lobo of the notorious Lobo Brothers in Spectacular Spider-Man #146.
- Mention is made of how Doctor Octopus once attempted to marry Peter Parker's Aunt May. That happened in Amazing Spider-Man #131.
- Peter Parker first published "Webs" back in Amazing Spider-Man #304.
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