Appearing in "Spouse Trap"
Synopsis for "Spouse Trap"
Dr. Octopus has taken Mary Jane hostage and is threatening to destroy the Daily Bugle building unless J. Jonah Jameson pays him a large ransom. Down below, in the Bugle's maintenance tunnels, Spider-Man is pinned under tons of debris. He is just out of reach of Doctor Octopus' vibrational device that will shake the building to the ground. The countdown is down to forty-five seconds and is starting to power up. He quickly realizes that he is in great danger and continues to struggle to get free. Back up in Jonah's office, Jameson tries to pull a fast one on Doctor Octopus by pressing a silent alarm that alerts an army of Wild Pack mercenaries to storm the office. Jonah explains that the original Bugle building was damaged so many times, he decided to put Silver Sable International on a retainer to protect his investment.[Continuity 1] Jonah orders them to take down Octopus, but ensure Mary Jane's safety.[Continuity 2]
By this point, Spider-Man breaks free but wonders how to go about disarming the weapon. While back upstairs, one of the Wild Pack mercenaries tags Doctor Octopus is an ultra-gravity disc. Although it briefly incapacitates Otto's physical form, he is still able to easily pluck the device off with his mechanical arms. By his calculations, Octavius expects his device to kick in, but nothing happens. While in the tunnels, Spider-Man can hardly believe that the device has an on/off switch. With the immediate danger out of the way, Spider-Man dashes upstairs and hoping that Mary Jane is safe. Unfortunately for the wall-crawler, Mary Jane is still in the clutches of Doctor Octopus. Although the Wild Pack soldiers were able to seal Doctor Octopus in a quick hardening concrete foam, he is still choking Mary Jane. Getting up to Jonah's office from the ventilation system, Spider-Man sees his wife in danger and leaps out through the wall to save her. However, while his back is turned, Doctor Octopus breaks free and tries to pull the wall-crawler away. Ultimately, Spider-Man pulls Mary Jane free. With his plan falling apart around him, Doctor Octopus flees. In the aftermath of the battle, J. Jonah Jameson is ungrateful for Spider-Man's assistance. When Jonah calls the newsroom and orders a rewrite for the front page about how he saved the Bugle. Disgusted, Spider-man decides it is time to leave.
Later, in the bowels of the Daily Bugle building, crews are busy repairing damages done by Doctor Octopus, unaware that the villain is still lurking below. Octavius has actually set up his latest hideout below the Daily Bugle itself, a decision that the criminal mastermind finds amusing. Retreating to his lair, Doctor Octopus vows to get revenge against J. Jonah Jameson. While sipping champagne, Otto considers how savagely Spider-Man fought for the safety of Mary Jane. Almost as like a man fighting for the safety of his wife. Suddenly, Octavius begins to come up with a new plan and grins. While at Peter and Mary Jane's apartment in Soho, Peter is still upset that Jonah still can't bring himself to give his alter-ego the credit he deserves. Mary Jane points out that it might not be the fact that he is a costumed super-hero, reminding him that Jonah reveres Captain America. She suggests that perhaps it is the fact that Captain America is sanctioned by the government. Meanwhile, uptown, Marla Jameson is going over her wardrobe when she hears something crash outside the bedroom. Thinking it is her husband has knocked something over. However, when she goes out to check she is horrified to find Doctor Octopus in her home. When J. Jonah Jameson finally does get home, he finds his penthouse apartment in shambles. He quickly finds a note from Octavius demanding the same ransom amount in order to get his wife back alive. Jameson does two things, the first he gets his investment advisor to pull out the amount Otto has asked for. He then calls the Daily Bugle and dictates an obituary for possible publication. As he begins, a single tear rolls from his eye.
The next morning, when Peter Parker goes to pick up his money for the photos he took the day before, he learns from Betty Brant that all Bugle assets have been frozen. Turns out, Jonah may even be preparing to sell the newspaper itself. This has left everyone wondering what is going on, excpet for Nick Katzenberg who figures Jonah is going senile. When Jameson exits his office and orders all his meetings cancelled for the day. On his way out, Peter asks Jonah is everything is okay. Jameson tells him nothing is wrong and thanks him for his concern. Getting a compliment from J. Jonah Jameson makes Peter fear that there is something seriously wrong. Quickly changing into Spider-Man, Peter follows after Jonah. He is led to Central Park, but notices whoever has sent him on this task doesn't want him to be followed. Noticing that Jonah is carrying a briefcase, the wall-crawler tags it with a spider-tracer. Jameson then tosses the briefcase into a drainage pipe. He calls out to Marla's kidnapper, telling Otto that this was all the money he could get in short notice and is selling the Daily Bugle and will give him all the money from the sale in order to get his wife back safe. Hearing this, Spider-Man decides to follow after the spider-tracer signal above ground to figure out who kidnapped Marla and save her.
Much to his surprise, the tracer takes him back to the Daily Bugle building. When he follows the signal back down into the maintenance tunnel, the masked hero begins putting two-and-two together. While in his lair, Doctor Octopus is pleased with the "down payment" he has received. However, his anger flairs when Marla insults him. However, before he can harm Marla, Spider-Man comes bursting through the wall. As the wall-crawler battles Octavius, Marla grabs a bottle of champeign off a nearby table and smashes it over Otto's head. When Marla flees, Doctor Octopus tries to go after her, but Spider-Man pulls him back with a web-line. The villain manages to break free and goes after Marla again, but is once more stopped by Spider-Man. Furious at being interfered with, Octavius lashes into Spider-Man. Knocking the hero into the nearby by sewage, Doctor Octopus pulls his long time foe out of the waters, prevering to kill Spider-Man with his bare hands. However, before he can, the Wild Pack enters the sewer and begins opening fire on Octavius. While the villain is preoccupied, Spider-Man manages to pull free. Conceeding defeat, Doctor Octopus decides to flee. With Marla safe, Jonah is happy that she is safe, and is also glad that he doesn't have to sell the Bugle. Later, when Joe Robertson tells Jonah that the repair crews can't repair the maintenence tunnels and take down the billboard outside his window. Jameson looks out at the billboard, that proclaims that Spider-Man is New York's friend and decides to keep it up for a few days longer.[Continuity 3]
- The original Daily Bugle building was heavily damaged by Graviton and had to be torn down as seen in Web of Spider-Man #64–65.
- Jonah identifies Mary Jane as the wife of Peter Parker. 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.
- This billboard is one of many that were put up by the Daily Bugle after Thomas Fireheart purchased the company in Spectacular Spider-Man #158. Jameson got the Bugle back in Spectacular Spider-Man #171.