Appearing in "From the Shadows"

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Synopsis for "From the Shadows"

John Jameson is being interrogated by two police detectives following his arrest. They want him to confess to trying to smother his father with a pillow in his hospital room earlier. Unfortunately, John doesn't remember any of this, but the police insist that is what Spider-Man had told him. That's when the interrogation is interrupted by J. Jonah Jameson's wife Marla, her lawyer Alana Sloan, and Doctor Ashley Kafka. Marla Jameson points out that Spider-Man is a vigilante that has had it out for her husband for years and that gives him every reason to lie about who really tried to harm Jonah. John is very confused by all of this, as he doesn't believe that Spider-Man would do anything to harm his father either. Alana tells John to keep quiet and then demands that the officers release her client if they aren't going to charge him for a crime. With no evidence to hold him the police release John into the custody of his family. They have to fight through a throng of news reporters outside the police station on their way out. Once in the safety of a limo, Ashley Kafka also tries to defend Spider-Man, reminding Marla that she has worked with the wall-crawler for some time.[Continuity 1] Unfortunately, Marla does not want to hear it.

Watching the limo pull away from the rooftops is Spider-Man who has been watching the J. Jonah Jameson since he was hospitalized. He can't wrap around the fact that, after his battle with Jack O'Lantern, that he found John Jameson trying to smother his father with a pillow. The wall-crawler can't get over the fact that John was in a trance when he was stopped and feels bad for him as Jameson has been through a lot in the past.[Continuity 2] Still, he believes that this is less a case of John's mind snapping on its own and more to do with Jack O'Lantern doing something to him. Still, he is certain that Jonah will be safer now that he is under police protection. At the hospital, Jonah is being interviewed by Sargent Stark of the NYPD, who wants to know why his son John tried to smother him with a pillow. However, Jameson refuses to believe that his son is anything but an American hero and tells the officers to get out of his room. Talking with the officers outside, Sgt. Stark wonders if Jameson is willing to sacrifice his own life in order to protect his son.

Later that evening, Jonah is awoken by Mad Jack, who managed to sneak in after putting the officers into a hypnotic trance, just like Jonah's son. The pumpkin-headed villain then reveals who he really is, a revelation that Jameson finds impossible.[Continuity 3] Jack threatens to continue attacking Jonah's family unless he gives up the Daily Bugle and says he would rather die first. Jack mocks Jonah, saying that killing him would be too easy and then vanishes into the darkness. Meanwhile, in Queens, Flash Thompson stands outside his family home trying to muster up the courage to go up and ring the doorbell. Never in his life has he ever felt a stronger urge to drink. Reaching out to push the button, Flash finds himself feeling like a scared ten-year-old all over again. The door is answered by Flash's mother, Rosie, who invites Flash in and sits him down on the couch in the living room, worried he will catch his death in the rain. Rosie tells Eugene that she is certain that his father will be happy to see him, although Flash isn't entirely convinced. Going upstairs to the den, Flash greets his father. In a foul mood, Harrison Thompson shows nothing but contempt for his son, thinking he only came by to see if the old man was dead yet, or not and tells him he can go now that he knows. Hurt and insulted, Flash storms out of the den. For a moment, Harrison realizes what he has done and is about to reach out to his son but stops himself. Seeing that her son is upset, Rosie tries to explain to Eugene that his father is unwell, but her excuses fall on deaf ears. Slamming the door on his way out, Flash comes to believe that nothing ever changes and trudges home in the rain.

Back in Manhattan, Marla Jameson is off on a rant about Spider-Man, not unlike her husband. That's when John stops her and insists that Spider-Man was telling the truth, that he did try to smother his father with a pillow in the hospital. This stuns Marla who decides to go up to her room and take a shower. Still confused by everything that has been happening, John is comforted by his girlfriend, Doctor Ashley Kafka. He still can't understand why he would try to murder his own father, someone he loved. That's when Ashley offers to put him under hypnosis in order to learn the truth. Elsewhere in the city, Spider-Man is continuing his search for Mad Jack, wishing he was out of the rain and at home snuggling with his wife Mary Jane instead.[Continuity 4] While he is distracted, Spider-Man is suddenly attacked by both a gorilla and a lion. The ambush catches Spider-Man off guard and after the beasts have overpowered him, they leave as quickly as they appeared. Recovering from the attack, Spider-Man looks into the darkness ahead to see any sign of whoever set these animals on him. There is a sudden flash of lightning that briefly reveals the form of someone who looks like Kraven the Hunter. However, Spider-Man thinks this is all in his head as Kraven has been dead for a while and couldn't possibly be alive. Although he quickly begins to question this.[Continuity 5]

Back at the Jameson penthouse, Marla is still in the shower and questioning her thoughts. Since Jonah was almost killed she has been ranting about Spider-Man like he has and tries to remind herself that she is a scientist and she needs to start thinking like one if she is going to be able to figure out who ha been trying to harm her husband. As she showers, Marla is unaware that Mad Jack is in her bedroom. Looking around, Jack stops to look lovingly at a photo of Marla. That's when he notices a book of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelly. Moments later, Marla calls out, having thought she heard someone in her bedroom. However, when he emerges from the bathroom, she doesn't find a trace of anybody.[Continuity 6] Downstairs, Doctor Kafka has placed John under a hypnotic trance. In his mind's eye, Ashley is leading John down a path flanked by demons on either side. This path leads to a massive brick wall with the visage of Jack O'Lantern painted upon it. With Ashley's help, he wills the wall to open, but he is kept at bay by a flurry of bats. Expanding his will, John causes the mental barrier to explode. Searching for what is buried on the other side, John is horrified to find that the Man-Wolf is buried deep in his subconscious and it -- the darkest aspect of his personality -- was responsible for trying to kill his father.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man returns to the hospital to try to talk to J. Jonah Jameson again. His entry prompts the police to come rushing into the room, but Jonah to tell the officers to leave. Confused, the police comply with his request, and also tells Spider-Man to leave him alone as well. When they all agree to leave, Jonah can only look at the book of Shelley poems, a book taken from his bedroom as a warning to him. Meanwhile, Mad Jack has returned to the mansion owned by his employer to tell him that he has succeeded on the job. His employer is impressed, more so when Jack burns up the million dollar payment -- saying that he did it for personal reasons. When offered another job, Jack flies away, telling his employer to go to hell. His employer, Norman Osborn, finds this request amusing since he has already been there once before.[Continuity 7]


Continuity Notes

  1. Ashley states that she has known Spider-Man for "years". The measurement of "years" is the length of time between publications between Ashley Kafka's first appearance in Spectacular Spider-Man #178 (published in 1991) and this story. As such it should be considered a topical reference. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, they have known each other for roughly a year at the time of this story.
  2. Spider-Man specifically mentions the times that John has become the Man-Wolf, the first such transformation taking place in Amazing Spider-Man #124, and his more recent possession by the Carnage symbiote which happened during the Web of Carnage story-arc.
    Web of Carnage
    Sensational Spider-Man #3 Amazing Spider-Man #410 Spider-Man #67 Spectacular Spider-Man #233
  3. Jack O'Lantern/Mad Jack is later revealed to be Danny Berkhart in Spider-Man: Mysterio Manifesto #3. His reason for threatening Jameson here is after Jonah allowed him to get arrested during his failed stint as Mysterio in Amazing Spider-Man #141142.
  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.
  5. Kraven the Hunter committed suicide during the Kraven's Last Hunt Story arc.
    Kraven's Last Hunt
    Web of Spider-Man #31 Amazing Spider-Man #293 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #131 Web of Spider-Man #32 Amazing Spider-Man #294 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #132

    Spider-Man states that Kraven died "years ago". Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, Kraven died roughly four years prior to this story. The man that Spider-Man sees here is actually Kraven's son Alexei, as revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #250.

  6. J.M. Dematties plot about Jack O'Lantern/Mad Jack involved someone with a connection to the Jamesons with a past linked to Marla Madison. Unfortunately, DeMatteis left this title after issue #258 before this plot could be resolved as he intended it. The loose ends were wrapped up in Spider-Man: Mysterio Manifesto #13 written by Tom DeFalco. It was there that it was revealed that Mad Jack was Danny Berkhart, which didn't entirely fit with what DeMatteis was trying to do with the character. Further work on the plot holes were fleshed out in the entries for Conundrum and Mysterio (Berkhart) in Spider-Man: Back in Black Handbook #1 and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #8 respectively. What is never explained, is why Jack O'Lantern/Mad Jack was having an emotional response over being around Marla Jameson. One could assume that this was some kind of deception in the event he was being observed.
  7. This is a veiled reference to the fact that the general public at large believed that Norman Osborn was killed back in Amazing Spider-Man #122. He actually survived as explained in Osborne Journals #1. His survival became general knowledge to many in Peter Parker's circle in Spider-Man #75.

See Also


  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks

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