Appearing in "Auto Motives"
- Carter & Lombardo Ad Agency (Recap)
- Officer Paulie
- Daniel Ketch
- Professor Warren (Mentioned)
- Gwen Stacy (Illusion)
- George Stacy (Mentioned)
- Invisible Girl (Mentioned)
- Green Goblin (Mentioned)
- Man-Wolf (Only in flashback)
- Kangaroo (Only in flashback)
- Vulture (Only in flashback)
- Punisher (Only in flashback)
- Hammerhead (Only in flashback)
- Doc Octopus (Only in flashback)
- Crystal (Photo)
- Power Man (Only in flashback)
- Aunt May (Only in flashback)
- Mary Jane Watson (Mentioned)
- Flash Thompson (Mentioned)
- New York City
- Microverse (Mentioned)
- Gravity localizer
- Loads of fruit pie
Synopsis for "Auto Motives"
Spider-Man has come to the George Washington Bridge, the place where Gwen Stacy was killed, to "talk" to her about all the things that have been happening in his life recently. Among all the various threats he has faced recently, he mentions how he was approached by the advertising firm of Carter and Lombardo who have funded his construction of a Spider-Mobile as a marketing gimmick for a new motor. Although Peter thinks the idea is stupid, he could use the money. However the entire experience has gotten him feeling like his old self again, and he has a great new opportunity coming up. With his talk over, Spider-Man swings off into the city.
Later, at the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building headquarters, the Human Torch is trying to hit on Nina Pushkin, a physicist that has taken a job as Reed's lab assistant. His advances are brushed off until Reed calls her into his lab. He introduces her to his newest assistant, Peter Paker. Nina and Peter hit it off as they are familiar with each others work. Johnny is surprised to see Parker at their headquarters and to learn that not only is he lucky with women, but he is a genius as well. In the lab, Mister Fantastic shows off his newest invention, a gravity localiser that allows whatever it's trained upon to negate the laws of gravity. After his demonstration, Reed locks the device in a special safe in order, giving Peter the pass-code. After the end of the day, Peter and Nina head out, and she is seemingly happy to have met him.
However this is only a pretence, she soon heads to an abandoned warehouse where she meets her employer, the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes, who has hired her to spy on Richards so he can steal his the device. The next day, Peter is at the Daily Bugle telling Joe Robertson about Reed's invention. However Robinson is at a loss why Peter doesn't have any new Spider-Man photos for them. Peter admits that he has actually come to talk. He confides in Joe about how George Stacy told him to take care of Gwen and wonders if it's his fault for not being able to save her. Joe tries to tell Peter that the only people responsible for her death were the Green Goblin and Spider-Man. Joe suddenly notices that Peter left while he wasn't looking.
Back at the Baxter Building, Johnny is working away on a car fuming over how he's been rejected by Nina. However his thoughts about Nina, and Crystal are interrupted by the arrival of Spider-Man who has come to take the Torch up on the driving lessons he promised. Out on the road in the Spider-Mobile, Johnny realises -- to his horror -- how bad Spider-Man is at driving. They are soon pulled over by the police who tell the two heroes that Stilt-Man had just robbed a jewellery store. They try to pursue Stilt-Man, but he manages to get away while they are stuck in traffic. Pulling over to get some snacks, they see a television report about how Daredevil managed to stop Stilt-Man. When they go back out they find that someone has boosted the Spider-Mobile, much to the Torch's continued aggravation. When Johnny makes a comment about being "driven off the wall", it gives Spider-Man some inspiration.
They go back to the Baxter Building, where Spider-Man installs the gravitational localizer that will allow the Spider-Mobile to drive up walls. While they are working, they begin talking about girls. Johnny mentions how Crystal was forced to return to Attilan, while Spider-Man confides that the love of his life is dead. When Johnny tells the wall-crawler that he doesn't have to be a super-hero all the time, Spider-Man explains that he can't stop.
After they are finished their work, they take the Spider-Mobile out for a test drive. It's about this time that Nina and Red Ghost break into the Baxter Building to try and steal the localizer. When they find it gone they soon discover where it went when they witness news reports about Spider-Man and the Torch driving around town. The Red Ghost and his Super-Apes then ambush the two heroes out on their joy ride. However their attempts to steal the Spider-Mobile are foiled thanks to the Super-Ape's love of fruit pies. With the Red Ghost incapacitated with the localizer, Reed and S.H.I.E.L.D. are called in to collect the Red Ghost and his apes. They explain the situation to Reed, and when he wonders how they got the code to the lock, Spider-Man tells him that Peter Parker gave it to him. Although Spider-Man finds out his alter-ego will get fired, he convinces Mister Fantastic to let him drive around on the side of the Daily Bugle building before returning to localizer.
Two teenagers hanging out in the garage, building a car from scratch. Sounds like your typical male-bonding experience, right? Well, not when they're putting together a SPIDER-MOBILE! For the love of all that's holy--get off the streets! Heck, stay off the WALLS too! 'Cause, as SPIDEY & THE TORCH are about to discover, "With great horsepower, comes great... torque?!"
- A lot of this story revolves around the recent loss of Gwen Stacy who died during Spider-Man's battle with the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #122.
- Spider-Man "tells" Gwen about his recent activities as Spider-Man which cover the events of Amazing Spider-Man #124–131. Including his encounters with Power Man, Man-Wolf, the Kangaroo, the Vulture, the Punisher, Hammerhead, the wedding of Doctor Octopus to Aunt May, and the initial construction of the Spider-Mobile.
- The Human Torch is wearing a red and orange costume inspired by the one worn by the original Human Torch. Johnny started wearing this costume in Fantastic Four #132. He wears this costume until Fantastic Four #159.
- Peter mentions how George Stacy told him to look after Gwen before he died. This happened in Amazing Spider-Man #90.
- Johnny is still pining over Crystal. The pair used to date from Fantastic Four #66–105 when the pollution of the outside world forced her to return to Attilan. Although he doesn't say so here, he's lost Crystal to Quicksilver as seen in Fantastic Four #131.
- Johnny says Sue is "taking a break" from the team. That's putting it lightly, as at the time of this story, Reed and Sue had just finished a separation that lasted from Fantastic Four #131–149 when they reconciled. Sue eventually returns to the team in Fantastic Four #159.
- Danny Ketch is a 5th grade student in this story. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, the length of time between this story (taking place during "Year 4") and when Danny becomes the Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider (Vol. 3) #1 is about four years (taking place during "Year 8"). 5th graders are roughly 10 years of age, so assuming Danny wasn't held back, that would make him about 14 at the time he became the Ghost Rider. However, in Ghost Rider #1 he is depicted as a young adult. Since this story takes place around publications that were published in 1974, Danny's age difference between this story and Ghost Rider #1 is likely a nod to the number of years between publications as opposed to the passage of Marvel time. (Danny Ketch also appears as a pre-teen paperboy at the end of Marvels #4, set around the same time as this story.)
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