Appearing in "The Man Who Would Be Spider-Man!"
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Synopsis for "The Man Who Would Be Spider-Man!"
Lance Bannon has been tipped off by a man named Snake about transport of stolen goods that has been interrupted by Spider-Man. In the middle of the fight, one of the crooks strikes the wall-crawler in the leg with a tire iron. As the masked hero reels in pain, the crook also manages to rip off the wall-crawlers mask. Lance manages to get a picture of Spider-Man's face just as the police arrive on the scene.
When Peter Parker arrives at the Daily Bugle the following morning, J. Jonah Jameson berates him for not being a better photographer, showing him the front page of the Bugle which alleges to show Spider-Man unmasked. Peter is shocked until he sees the man in the photo is not him. Peter points out that they don't know for sure if this is the real Spider-Man or not. Jonah doesn't care because, even if this is a fake, the Bugle got the scoop. That's when Joe Robertson informs them that the man who is allegedly Spider-Man has already hired a public relations firm and has a scheduled press conference for the next day. When Peter offers to get to the bottom of this, Jameson tells Parker to stay out of it as it is Lance Bannon's story. When Peter gets home, he tells his wife Mary Jane that Jameson assigned Peter to photograph a flower show instead.[Continuity 1] When Mary Jane wonders why someone would want to claim they are Spider-Man, Peter points out that they stand to appropriate millions of dollars.
The next day, Peter is at the flower show dying of boredom. While across town the man claiming to be Spider-Man shows up at his press conference in a van detailed with a Spider-Man design. The man who claims to be Spider-Man comes out with his leg in a cast and walking with a crutch. He tells people his name is Phil and assures them that he is not a mutant. He explains that he is a regular man who invented technological means of pulling off his various feats. He also denies that he is a menace and uses his powers only for good. He then tells the conference that he intends to start a non-profit organization to use his inventions to help in law-enforcement while his leg heals from its injury. Among the gathered crowd is Mary Jane, who goes in to kiss the impostor on the cheek. This allows her to tag Phil with a spider-tracer so he husband can track him down later. Meanwhile, Peter has finished taking his photos and changed into Spider-Man. He then begins swinging across the city in order to pick up a trace of his spider-tracer. Unfortunately, the man who has put Phil up to pretending to be Spider-Man has detected the spider-tracer and zaps it with a device that not only destroys the tracking device but causes Spider-Man a great deal of pain. Thankfully, the wall-crawler's honed reflexes save him from a fatal fall to the street below.
However, he has spotted the phony Spider-Man's van and figures it should be easy to follow. However, when the van pulls into a parking garage, it suddenly undergoes a transformation making it look like a normal van. When it comes back out again, Spider-Man doesn't recognize it, allowing Phil and his mysterious benefactor to get away. When Phil's story ends up on the front page of the Daily Bugle, Mary Jane tells Peter that this man sounds sincere. However, Peter is convinced this is the work of a conman, particularly since he is licensing out Spider-Man's likeness for everything from toys to Saturday morning cartoons. Mary Jane asks her husband if he's upset that Phil is exploiting Peter's identity, or because Phil is more successful than her husband. While at Phil's secret hideout, he gloats over the success of their scam among a room of Spider-Man merchandise. His benefactor, who turns out to be Mysterio, reminds Phil that they have a plan and reminds him that he has a speech to make the next day. The next day, Phil gives another press conference to announce his new charity. The real Spider-Man watches from a nearby building unable to believe that people would buy into Phil's lies. The only one who questions Phil's claims is J. Jonah Jameson. However, Phil promises to convince Spider-Man's biggest critic that he is genuine. To do this, Phil announces that he wants J. Jonah Jameson to be the board of directors to his new charity.
When Jameson gladly accepts the appointment, the real Spider-Man crashes the press conference, unable to believe that even Jonah is buying this impostors' lies. Believing that the real Spider-Man is the impostor the crowd turns on him, but he manages to leap out of their grasp. Up on a nearby rooftop, Spider-Man cannot believe that Phil is managing to trick everyone so easily. Meanwhile, Phil returns to his hideout and gloats some more over how easily he is tricking people into thinking he is really Spider-Man. However, Mysterio warns Phil not to underestimate the wall-crawler. While back at home, Mary Jane tries to comfort her husband but does little to improve his mood. Later at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker asks for the opinion of veteran reporter Phil Urich. Phil doesn't believe Phil is Spider-Man anymore than he himself is Daredevil. This is because Phil has been investigating Phil's claims and cannot even find the fencers who he apprehended the night Phil was unmasked. Unfortunately, the only person with the inside track is Lance Bannon. That night, Lance is given another tip to a grocery store robbery. Although Lance wonders where his informant gets his tips, he quickly becomes more interested when Phil arrives in his Spider-Van to wrap up the criminals. As this scene plays out, none are aware that the real Spider-Man has been trailing Lance all night long.
Later, Spider-Man decides to follow Lance's informant and watches as he is picked up in Phil's disguised Spider-Van. He then follows it back to the warehouse that acts as Mysterio's hideout where he catches both Phil and Lance's informant gloating over their continues deception. However, before the wall-crawler can wrap them up, he is ambushed by Mysterio who unleashes a massive animatronic Spider-Man figure to attack the wall-crawler as well as a massive spider. However, Spider-Man makes short work of these robots and takes down Mysterio with a single punch. When Phil and Snake try to make a run for it, Spider-Man webs up Snake. Phil foolishly tries to fight Spider-Man one-on-one, but is knocked out by a single flick of the finger. The next day, Mysterios deception ends up front page news. This revelation angers J. Jonah Jameson who blames Lance Bannon for making the Bugle look bad. Noticing that Peter Parker is smirking at him, Jonah asks what is so funny. Peter says it's nothing and is ordered by Jonah to get some antacid and and aspirin.
Appearing in "Still Living in Fear"
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Synopsis for "Still Living in Fear"
Spider-Man is following an armored police transport wondering why he is doing this instead of relaxing at home. Inside the transport, Wyndell Dickinson -- the villain known as Bloodshed -- is being taken to prison. However, he is afraid ofr his life and doesn't think the NYPD will be able to protect him. Suddenly, someone with a rocket launcher fires it at the unmarked vehicle. Spider-Man quickly deals with the would-be assassin. Suddenly a number of armed men come rushing toward the van, but the web-head deals with them just as quickly. Although nobody was harmed in the attack, Dickinson is still afraid of his life. Spider-Man once more wonders why he is coming to the aid of one of his foes, however, he can't bring himself to ignore a sob story. He thinks back to his past battle with Bloodshed, and recalls that Bloodshed owes a million dollars to a mobster named Phillipe Bazin.[Continuity2 1] Since Spider-Man defeated Bloodshed, he never paid Bazin off and now has a price on his head. However, even after Bazin disappeared, his successors still wanted to make an example of Dickinson by trying to kill him prison.[Continuity2 2] Wyndell's brother, Ricky, then tried to convince him to turn over State's evidence now that Bazin is dead. However, Dickinson is afraid of Nico, a successor to Bazin who wants to prove to his organization that he is ruthless enough to be in charge of the gang.
Spider-Man follows the officers and Wyndell to the hotel where they are going to keep him safe. However, when they get up to the hotel room, they find Dickinson's Bloodshed costume with a note from Nico. It tells Wyndell that they can settle things man-to-man if Wyndell meets him at the place where "Paulie lives these days". The police assure Wyndell that he will be safe with them and Spider-Man standing guard. Later, when they are testing food from room service for traces of poison, Wyndell secretly changes into costume and climbs out the bathroom window. When they finally discover this, Spider-Man is upset to discover that Wyndell also shed the spider-tracer he planted on him earlier. As Bloodshed goes to face Nico, Spider-Man decides to go look for him and deal with things his way. First, the wall-crawler returns home to tell his wife, Mary Jane, what is going on. However, he is worried about looking into things at the Daily Bugle this time because they might compromise his identity. Mary Jane has a solution and calls a scriptwriter she knows who is also a buff when it comes to the New York crime scene.[Continuity2 3] She learns that the "Paulie" mentioned in Nico's note was Paulie Phillips. He was a member of killed and his body is in one of six possible building foundations in the city. Getting this information, Spider-Man thanks his wife and tells her to put in an anonymous call to the police so he gets back-up.
After checking five buildings, Spider-Man tries the sixth, which just so happens to be the one where Bloodshed is waiting outside wondering how to handle the situation. Spider-Man finds Nico and his men in one of the offices and comes crashing in on them. He is quickly joined by Bloodshed who wants to kill Nico so he can be left alone. However, Spider-Man insists that nobody has to die for this to stop. While Spider-Man is busy stopping Bloodshed from killing Nico's men, the would-be mob boss manages to escape. When the wall-crawler finally notices that Nico is missing, it is just as Nico activates some explosives from the back of his limo. As the building begins to collapse, Spider-Man tries to get Bloodshed out, but it is too late. Although he tries to sift through the rubble to find him, Spider-Man cannot find any trace of Bloodshed. By the time the authorities arrive, they convince the wall-crawler that there is no way someone could have survived the collapse. Spider-Man relents and swings away, promising to check in tomorrow.
However, Bloodshed has survived, and in a nearby alley he sheds his costume. Putting on a trenchcoat, Wyndell plans to leave town but vows to return one day and put an end to Nico.
Appearing in "Just a Joe Named Guy"
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Synopsis for "Just a Joe Named Guy"
After the Rhino steals a canister of medical gas, Spider-Man follows the brute through Queens.
While in a nearby clinic, a janitor named Guy spills a bucket of water and accidentally splashes his boss, Mister March. March is unconcerned, telling Guy that it doesn't matter since the orphanage is facing closure. When Joe tries to clean up the water, he trips over his mop bucket and falls to the ground.
It's then that the Rhino comes crashing through the wall in order to get away from Spider-Man. Unfortunately, this also breaks the canister, spraying Guy Jones with the gas. This causes him to transform into a massive creature. Confused and disorientated, Guy begins to panic, thinking he caused the damage. The arrival of Spider-Man causes him to try and make a run for it. Seeing that this limbering brute is a danger to himself and others, Spider-Man also tries to get him to stop.
Outside, Guy spots the Rhino and remembers that he is responsible for the damage and lunges at him. Seeing the two mammoth beings trading blows, Spider-Man resigns to stopping them even though it will be a painful experience. Nearby, insurers are going over the wear and tear on the orphanage and unfortunately it is not covered in the insurance. They tell the directors that the only way they can pay out to fix the orphanage is by an act of God. That's when Guy and the Rhino comes crashing through the wall. By this point, the gas wears off and Guy changes back to normal. With the Rhino knocked out, Spider-Man webs him up to take him to the authorities.
In the aftermath of the incident, the insuers inform the directors that insurance will cover this damage and that they will be suing the Rhino.
The Man Who Would Be Spider-Man!
- 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.
Still Living in Fear
- Spider-Man previously fought Bloodshed in Web of Spider-Man #81.
- Phillippe Bazin was seemingly killed in Darkhawk #14. However, he turns up alive again in Darkhawk #50. This story incorrectly attributes Bazin's death to Darkhawk #15.
- The writer mentions how Mary Jane was recently was fired from the regular cast of "Secret Hospital". Her role was cut in Amazing Spider-Man #384.
- The story "Just a Joe Named Guy" is a homage to the story "Just a Guy Named Joe" from Amazing Spider-Man #38.