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Marvel Database

Appearing in "Mad Jack"

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Synopsis for "Mad Jack"

After being beaten by Jack O'Lantern, J. Jonah Jameson has been hospitalized and in a coma. By her husband's bedside, Marla Jason is assured by Doctor Filmore that Jonah is going to be fine and that he needs time to heal. When she asks who could have done such a thing to her husband, Doctor Filmore doesn't have any answers for her. Once alone, Marla is relieved when Jonah wakes up and is in good spirits despite having been seriously beaten. They are soon joined by Jonah's son John and his employer Doctor Ashley Kafka. When John asks his father who beat him, Jonah insists that he doesn't remember who attacked him and tells his son to let the police handle the matter. Overhearing this from outside is Spider-Man who can't help but feel sorry for the newspaper publisher. Although Jameson has been a constant source of aggravation for Spider-Man, he gave Peter Parker a job as a photographer when he needed the money in high school.[Continuity 1] Climbing up to the roof, Spider-Man tries to think who might be going after Jonah this time when he is suddenly struck by a feeling of vertigo and manages to prevent himself from falling off the roof.[Continuity 2] That's when his spider-sense goes off. He spots the source, the villain known as Jack O'Lantern.[Continuity 3] Wondering why the villain is hovering around the hospital, he can't help but think it has something to do with Jameson's beating.

When the wall-crawler confronts Jack about what's going on, he admits to nothing and sicks his cat Maguire on the hero. While the web-spinner struggles to get the cat off his face, Jack flies around and comes up on Spider-Man from behind. Then, to demonstrate that he is much different than his predecessor, Jack pulls his pumpkin head off his shoulders and holds it out to the hero. The pumpkin suddenly explodes, knocking Spider-Man down to a nearby rooftop. With a new head in place, insisting that Spider-Man call him Mad Jack, the villain tells Spider-Man that he has a bone to pick with the Jamesons and warns the hero to stay out of his affairs. As the villain departs, Spider-Man tries to go after him but has to stop as another feeling of vertigo strikes. While at Empire State University, Mary Jane is unable to focus on her classes because she is still trying to process her recent encounter with the Chameleon. She has come to realize that when she used to enjoy the fact that she was involved with Peter Parker and his life as Spider-Man. However, now their marriage is starting to become as chaotic as her own parent's marriage.[Continuity 4] She wonders how much more chaos she can handle and thinks that the recent loss of her baby must have forced her to grow up a little.[Continuity 5] She thinks about how she has to find some kind of stability and this is why she decided to go back to school. It's then that her thoughts are interrupted by her professor, who has noticed that Mary Jane has grown distracted. When she is unable to answer his question, she is told to pay more attention. When class is over, Mary Jane is embarassed by the whole ordeal, but her friend Jill Stacy tells her not to worry about it as everyone has an off day. They briefly run into Peter, Mary Jane's husband, who can't stay because he is running late for his tutoring session and takes off.

At the Daily Bugle, Betty Brant is caught off guard by an unexpected visit from Flash Thompson. Flash explains that he called in sick to work so he could come to the Bugle and thank her for being there when he was depressed. However, Betty is too busy to listen to Flash as she has a deadline due and tells him to call her later. When Joe Robertson comes with her with more pressing work, Flash feels rejected and walks out before Betty has a chance to say anything. While at a dinner in Lower Manhattan, Marla Jameson has lunch with her stepson John and Ashley Kafka. She is happy to hear that the pair have started a relationship but she can't get her mind off what happened to her husband. Their discussion is interrupted when they notice that there is a cat under their table and that it is being very friendly to John. Unaware that this is Jack O'Lantern's cat Maguire, nobody notices John enter a hypnotic trance but are confused when John tells them that he has personal business to deal with and abruptly leaves. Incidentally, Flash Thompson is in the same dinner and has gotten drunk after being rejected by Betty. Chatting up a woman named Phantasy Applebaum, Flash invites the woman back to his apartment to see his old high school football trophies. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has come to get answers from J. Jonah Jameson. However, the newspaper publisher is unhappy to see the wall-crawler and is too busy berating the web-slinger instead of giving him any answers. Quickly realizing that he is going nowhere, Spider-Man leaves Jonah's hospital room and is glad that he was at least able to cheer Jonah up a little. Wondering his next move, Spider-Man lucks out when Mad Jack returns to the hospital.

During the ensuing battle, Spider-Man is shocked when his fist sinks into Mad Jack's head as though it were a real pumpkin. To his horror, Spider-Man struggles with his santiy when Jack's head grows in size and swallows him. Quickly deducing that this is some kind of illusion or hallucination, Spider-Man fights free of it, much to Mad Jack's amazement. Falling to the ground, Spider-Man prepares to fire a web-line when another wave of vertigo strikes him. Surprisingly, Jack saves the wall-crawler's life, telling Spider-Man that he has no beef with the hero and that his appearance here was only a distraction. Once Jack has flown off, Spider-Man realizes that Jonah is in trouble and heads back to the hospital. There he stops someone trying to smother Jonah with a pillow. Knocking the attacker aside and turning on the lights, Spider-Man is shocked to discover that Jonah's would be assassin is his own son, John.


Chronology Notes

  1. J. Jonah Jameson first hired Peter Parker as a freelance photographer back in Amazing Spider-Man #2.
  2. Spider-Man's feeling of vertigo is a side-effect of being bitten by Moribus the Living Vampire in Spider-Man #76.
  3. Spider-Man refers to Jason Macendale the original Jack O'Lantern. Macendale first took this identity in Machine Man #19. He later abandoned that identity to become the new Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man #289. At the time of this story, Macendale was recently murdered by Roderick Kinglsey, the original Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #1.
  4. 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. Mary Jane's troubled upbringing was explored in Amazing Spider-Man #259.
  5. At the time of this story, Mary Jane had just recently had a miscarriage in Amazing Spider-Man #418.

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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