Appearing in "The Metal in Men's Souls"
Synopsis for "The Metal in Men's Souls"
This story continues from Amazing Spider-Man #328...
Doctor Doom has assigned some of his minions to recover the robot known as TESS-One from the ocean floor near New York Bay.[Continuity 1] The salvage operation is witnessed by Von Doom himself and when one of his men accidentally allows one of the clamps to slip, he shot the man dead. Once the robot is raised from the waters, Doctor Doom goes over the files from Project Power that details how TESS-One was originally built to stop rogue super-soldiers.[Continuity 2] Once on the surface, one of Doctor Doom's minions comes to inform him that he is being summoned by Magneto and Kingpin, two of his co-conspirators in the Acts of Vengeance scheme. They want to discuss the anti-super-human sentiment being discussed in the US Congress. Doom informs him that he will come as soon as he can, as American politics are not a concern to him.[Continuity 3]
That afternoon, in Times Square, the Rhino, Hydro-Man and the Shocker are battling each other. Spider-Man arrives on the scene to stop them, but suddenly he is jolted by a powerful surge from his spider-sense. The three of them stop their battle to turn their attention to Spider-Man. However, the hero blasts them with his newly acquired cosmic powers.[Continuity 4] The crowd is less than happy to see the wall-crawler after reports of damage done to the Triboro Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry.[Continuity 5] As they begin pelting the wall-crawler with garbage, Spider-Man decides to flee. Unfortunately, this embarrassing scene is photographed by Nick Katzenberg. While at the home of J. Jonah Jameson, Jonah is furious about the recent developments in Washington. After saying costumed vigilantes are menaces for years, and now that Washington is finally listening, he doesn't have a newspaper to cover it thanks to Thomas Fireheart buying the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 6] his wife Marla tells him to calm down but Jonah will do no such thing. He tells his wife that he intends to get a new magazine running to complete with the Bugle. When he wishes that Joe Robertson was present, his lawyer Cynthia Bernhammer tells him that the President is considering Joe's case.[Continuity 7] That's when they are interrupted by Nick Katzenberg who heard rumors that Jonah was starting a new publication and offers to sell him the photos of Spider-Man's battle in Times Square. However, he will only continue to work for Jonah if he rescinds the job offer he made for Peter Parker.
Meanwhile, at the Kingpin's office tower, Doctor Doom is performing repairs and modifications on TESS-One. His work is interrupted by the Kingpin and their mysterious benefactor. They have come to express their concerns that Doctor Doom is deviating from their plan to focus on his obsessed with Spider-Man's new powers.[Continuity 8] However, Doom insists that he will destroy Spider-Man once and for all. Activating TESS-One, he puts on a demonstration to assure them that the robot will destroy the wall-crawler. When the Kingpin asks if the robot may turn against them, Doom assures him that it is under his control. This explanation is of grave concern of their benefactor.
While back at her apartment in Soho, Mary Jane is struggling to hang her wedding photo.[Continuity 9] She is assisted by her husband who sneaks up on her from above, scaring her a bit. When Peter tells her about the situation in Times Square, she is not surprised that people thought he was a menace with his new powers and admits that from a distance they certainly look that way. This angers Peter, who jumps to the conclusion that his wife is siding with the anti-superhero fanatics. When she tries to explain herself more clearly, Peter puts his mask back on and leaves out the skylight, leaving Mary Jane to wonder what has gotten into him. Spider-Man is thinking the same thing as he swings away, noticing that since he got his new powers he has become hyper-sensitive. As if on cue, Spider-Man is jolted by a powerful warning from his spider-sense. Suddenly, TESS-One comes flying toward him and tries to ram into the hero. Spider-Man dodges and the robot smashes through the side of a building.[Continuity 10] Fast acting, Spider-Man uses his new powers to manipulate his webbing into a net to catch the people who end up falling out, as well as create a load bearing support to keep the building from collapsing.
The robot tries to dive bomb Spider-Man again, smashing a statue of Christopher Columbus. Once again the wall-crawler uses his webbing to safe people from the debris. However, the crowd of people is angry with Spider-Man, calling him a menace. Struck by another powerful jolt of his spider-sense, Spider-Man is warned about another pass by TESS-One. This time, the web-slinger is ready and strikes the robot with a blow powerful enough to sends it flying across town. Following the robot, Spider-Man discovers the robot has crashed into the Queensboro Bridge. When he arrives on the scene, Spider-Man is surprised to see that TESS-One is absorbing the super-structure of the bridge to repair itself. Watching the battle remotely, Doctor Doom hopes that TESS-One will use this ability to absorb Spider-Man's new powers. On the surface of the bridge, TESS-One begins throwing occupied cars at the hero. Hearing the people beg Spider-Man not to hurt them even as he is saving their lives angers the wall-crawler. Fed up with being blamed for everything, Spider-Man gives in to his anger and unleashes a full power blast on TESS-One blowing the robot to bits. This show of power frightens everyone off the bridge, much to Spider-Man's dismay.
That evening, Doctor Doom recovers the remains of TESS-One from the East River. Although the robot has been destroyed, Doom hopes that it completed the task of analyizing Spider-Man's powers.
This story continues in Web of Spider-Man #61...
|Acts of Vengeance (Spider-Man Arc)|
|Amazing Spider-Man #326||Spectacular Spider-Man #158||Web of Spider-Man #59||Amazing Spider-Man #327||Spectacular Spider-Man #159||Web of Spider-Man #60||Amazing Spider-Man #328|
|Spectacular Spider-Man #160||Web of Spider-Man #61||Amazing Spider-Man #329||Web of Spider-Man #64||Web of Spider-Man #65|
- TESS-One was one of many robots that attacked Avengers Island in Avengers #289 and was sunk in the ocean.
- TESS-One's origins are covered in more detail in Captain America Annual #8.
- At the time of this story, the United States government was considering a super-human registration act. The details of these events are chronicled in Fantastic Four #334–336.
- Spider-Man obtained these powers after a lab accident in Spectacular Spider-Man #158. Unknown to him at the time he is possessed by the power of Captain Universe as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #329.
- These damages were caused during the events of Web of Spider-Man #60.
- Thomas Fireheart purchased the Bugle in Spectacular Spider-Man #156.
- Joe Robertson was accused of being accessory to murder for failing to report a killing caused by Tombstone 20 years earlier, as seen in Spectacular Spider-Man #139. Joe pleaded guilty in Spectacular Spider-Man #150 and was sentenced to prison.
- This benefactor is secretly Loki, as revealed in Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #55.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple as opposed to husband and wife. As such, one could assume in the new timeline this is a normal photo of Peter and Mary Jane instead of a wedding picture.
- Spider-Man recounts how he was recently attacked by both Graviton and the Trapster. These battles happened in Amazing Spider-Man #326 and Spectacular Spider-Man #158 respectively.
- This is the only issue of any Spider-Man comic book labeled with title "The Cosmic Spectacular Spider-Man"