Appearing in "The Monster Within"
- Phillip Cussler, Sr. (First appearance)
- Phillip Cussler, Jr. (First appearance)
- Joe Robertson
- Kate Cushing
- Peter Parker Clone (Unidentified)
- "Mighty Mouth" Martin (Only appearance) (a snitch) (First appearance)
- Jeffrey (child)
- Aunt May (Mentioned)
- Mary Jane Parker (Mentioned)
- Slime (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- New York City
Synopsis for "The Monster Within"
In the sewers below New York City, something has scared the rats that make it their home. The racket also attracts the attention of some slimy creature that also dwells in the sewers. Not far away, the Scorpion is on a rampage because he is on his wit's end. He has grown tired of being the Scorpion, as his transformation has made him incapable of having a normal life. Now he has to spend his time on the run from the authorities and super-heroes, all because of J. Jonah Jameson.[Continuity 1] He considers giving up on it all, but his rant is interrupted by a man named Phillip Cussler, Sr. Cussler suggests that the Scorpion crush his enemies, and offers his support. Cussler, a self-made millionaire, feels a kinship with the Scorpion because he is wary of the law-abiding world. Needing protection, Phillip invites the Scorpion back home to discuss business. Intrigued by the man's story, the Scorpion agrees to accompany him. As they wade through the sewers, a strange creature lurks in the shadows.
Meanwhile, at the Daily Bugle, Phillip Cussler, Jr. is making an appeal to J. Jonah Jameson and Joe Robertson. He explains that his father has gone missing and he wants the Bugle to publish a story asking for help, and that he is offering a large reward. As Jonah and Cussler the elder go way back, Jonah promises all of the Daily Bugle's resources to help him find his father. Joe leaves the office to get a photographer on the case. As Peter Parker has seemingly gone to ground, Joe suggests that Kate Cushing hire their new cub photographer, Angela Yin.[Continuity 2] Still, Kate tries to call Peter Parker. Surprisingly Parker answers the phone, but with his Aunt May's frail health and the villains that have been threatening his home, he has too much going on and declines the offer.[Continuity 3] However, when he hears about Phillip Cussler's disappearance, Peter asks more about it.
That evening, the Scorpion is brought to one of Phlillip Cussler's china shops. there Phillip, Sr. tells the Scorpion that his son has forced him out of the family business and weeks to utterly ruin the boy. When the Scorpion asks if Phillip wants the store trashed, he refuses. Cussler then begins hacking into one of the company computers in order to erase the financial records so he can later sick the IRS on his son. Watching Cussler work, the Scorpion is impressed and figures that this genius will be able to help him come up with a way of defeating Spider-Man once and for all.[Continuity 4] With the records eliminated, Phillip then turns the Scorpion's attention to the safe. The following morning, When Phillip, Jr., discovers the damage done to his business and calls the police and the Daily Bugle. Arriving on the scene are J. Jonah Jameson and Angela Cheng. When Angela suggests that this is the work of the Scorpion, Jonah dismisses her at first. Then he thinks that the capture of the Scorpion could be the story that will give the sales boost the Daily Bugle needs.[Continuity 5]
That afternoon, Spider-Man is scouring the city looking for the Scorpion, unimpressed having to deal with him so soon after their last battle.[Continuity 6] Meanwhile, a mysterious man has just walked out of a grocery store to get some food.[Continuity 7] His worries are quickly put aside when he spots a child running across the street about to be struck by an oncoming car. This man is able to leap across the width of the road, pulling the child out of harm's way. After handing the boy over to his father, the man runs away before someone recognizes who he is. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has forced information about the Scorpion out of a local stoolie. He learns that the Scorpion is trying to get a group of men for a job. Figuring this is going to be an attack on another Cussler china shop, but with eight franchses in the city, the wall-crawler wonders what is happening next. While down in the sewers, Mac Gargan is enjoying a meal prepared for him by Cussler. This has given him the opportunity to take off his costume and act like Mac Gargan for the first time in forever. He wonders if it is time to leave the life of the Scorpion behind and go straight, but he owes Cussler and decides to continue with this next score.
By this point, Phillip Jr. has connected his stores computers with the Daily Bugle so they know which one of the stores his father will target next. When they get an alert to that the store located at Herald Square. As Jonah, Phillip, and Angela rush to the scene, it is the last store that Spider-Man is checking that day. There he spots the Scorpion's hired goons and attacks them. Inside the store, Phillip, Sr. is working on erasing the computer files on the computer. Hearing the battle outside, the Scorpion goes outside to face his long time enemy. The Scorpion allows Spider-Man to see him go into the sewers, luring the hero into a trap. There the web-slinger is swarmed by more armed thugs. As Spider-Man fights off these attackers, Jonah and the others arrive on the scene and spot Phillip's father watching the battle from a manhole. When Phillip tells his father to stop, the elder Cussler warns them to stay away, brandishing a wrench as a weapon to keep them at bay. Down in the sewer, Spider-Man fights through the gang to battle the Scorpion. As the pair battle it out, a strangle sentient pile of slime attacks the Scorpion's hired thugs. Spider-Man beats the Scorpion into submission and then notices that the thugs have been completely consumed by the pile of slime that suddenly appeared in the sewer.
Dismissing this as a minor concern, Spider-Man begins to clilmb up to the surface to try and find Phillip Cussler's father. His spider-sense begins to warn him of danger above. Before he can turn and see who is attacking him, he strikes out. The web-slinger realizes too late to stop himself from striking Cussler the elder. The strength of the blow sends Cussler slamming into a wall. This moment is photographed by Angie Chang, much to the delight of J. Jonah Jameson. As Phillip rushes to his father, Spider-Man is horrified by what he has done. Jonah gloats that the wall-crawler has gone too far and this will be the end of his career. Fleeing to the rooftops, Spider-Man watches as Cussler is being loaded into an ambulance. Blaming himself, Spider-Man reminds himself of the most important lesson he ever learned, "with great power comes great responisibility", however in this brief moment he has failed in maintaining this motto.
- J. Jonah Jameson bankrolled the transformation that turned Mac Gargan into the Scorpion, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #20. Later on in this story, these events are misattributed to Amazing Spider-Man #9.
- Peter Parker has been absent at the Bugle as he has been trying to abandon his civilian identity following the Pursuit story arc.
Pursuit Spider-Man #45 Spectacular Spider-Man #211 Web of Spider-Man #112 Amazing Spider-Man #389
- Aunt May suffered a stroke in Amazing Spider-Man #292. His home was recently attacked by Typhoid Mary in Spectacular Spider-Man #213–214.
- The Scorpion states that his defeats at the hands of Spider-Man are "too numerous" to mention. At the time of this story, the Scorpion had battled Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #20, 29, 145–146, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #21, Marvel Team-Up #106, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #18, Amazing Spider-Man #318–319, 342–343, 370, Spider-Man Unlimited #1, Shroud #1–2 and 4.
- Jonah has been concerned about the future of the Daily Bugle after learning that the general public considered the paper a joke. This happened in Spectacular Spider-Man #205–207.
- The Scorpion was last active in Shroud #1–4.
- This mystery man is His mind is focused on May Parker and how she needs his help. He is revealed to be the clone of Peter Parker during the Power and Responsibility story arc.
Power and Responsibility Web of Spider-Man #117 Amazing Spider-Man #394 Spider-Man #51 Spectacular Spider-Man #217