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Appearing in "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide!"
- Padre Enrique Lopez (First appearance)
- Captain America (John Walker)
- Gullivar South (Only appearance)
- Armando Ruiz (Only appearance; dies)
- Leon (Only appearance)
- Maggie Michaelson (First appearance)
- Elvira Corona (First appearance)
- Luis Corona (First appearance)
- Emelita Corona (First appearance)
- Dunphy (Immigration Officer) (Only appearance)
Synopsis for "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide!"
Spider-Man web-slings across the city late at night. He is upset with J. Jonah Jameson for sending him out to New Jersey to take pictures of a gangland summit, only for Jameson to quash the story shortly thereafter. As he web-slings across a billboard advertising the recent issue of Now Magazine's issue on immigration reform, he figures that anyone who willingly works for Jameson gets what they deserve.[Continuity 1] At that same moment, Armando Ruiz, an undocumented immigrant, is working his late-night job as a janitor for the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 2] However, his work is interrupted by the arrival of the Tarantula.
The villain has come to return Armando back to his home country to face punishment for speaking against his government. Ruiz protests this as he is an American now, but this does little to stop the Tarantula from stabbing him with his poison-tipped shoe spikes, killing Armando instantly. As he passes by the Daily Bugle building, Spider-Man hears Armando's dying scream and decides to go and check it out. He is surprised to see the Tarantula as his foe had died sometime earlier, but quickly learns that this man is the successor of the original.[Continuity 3] Before Spider-Man can attack his spider-sense warns him of some gunmen who arrive and narrowly avoids the fire from their automatic weapons. While Spider-Man is busy dodging the spray of bullets, the Tarantula and his men manage to escape. Hearing police sirens, Spider-Man is forced to leave the scene before he can go looking for his foe.
The following day, J. Jonah Jameson is furious at the lack of answers from the police regarding the murder of one of his employees. He orders Joe Robertson to tell Kate Cushing to drop whatever she is doing to put all their efforts on the Ruiz murder. Joe complies, but he can't keep his mind off his fears that he saw the man known as Tombstone earlier.[Continuity 4] He goes to Kate Cushing's desk and tells her to get in touch with Peter Parker, as he has a new assignment. Elsewhere in the city, Mary Jane is taking a break during a swimsuit shoot.[Continuity 5] Talking to her make-up artist Elvira, and learns that she is an undocumented immigrant. Unfortunately, she doesn't qualify for the recent amnesty offered to those living in the country illegally and immigration officials will soon deport her from the United States.[Continuity 6] Mary Jane feels sorry for Elivra and tells her that her husband, Peter, works for the Daily Bugle. She offers whatever assistance they can provide, giving Elivra their phone number. Just then, Mary Jane gets a call from Kate Cushing, who is looking for Peter, since her husband is meeting her for lunch she'll pass along the assignment.
Elsewhere at this moment, a government agent named Gullivar South arrives at a seemingly innocent trash barge. However, it is the secret hideout for the Tarantula and his mercinaries. There he passes on information gathered by the FBI and the CIA that will help the Tarantula track down political refugees who are currently living in New York City. South's government is providing this information to assit in establishing democracies in South America. The Tarantula thanks Gulliver for providing this information. By lunch time, Spider-Man is heading to meet up with Mary Jane. He thinks of how unbelievable that there is a new Tarantula. This is yet another problem he has to face on top of Joe Robertson's recent suggestion that he give up freelance photography. Since then, he substituted a class at Empire State University, which reminded him how much he misses pursuing a career in science.[Continuity 7] Changing into Peter Parker, he discusses this with his wife. When Mary Jane asks why he doesn't go back to school, Peter explains that he doesn't have the money to do so. When Mary Jane offers to pick up the bill, Peter declines the offer. He tells her that when he first went to college he paid his bills on his own and felt a sense of accomplishment. That's when Mary Jane brings up that Kate Cushing is assigning him on a story with Ben Urich. Peter thanks Mary Jane and rushes off before she has a chance to tell him about Elivra.
Elsewhere, Joe Robertson is staking out the Kingpin's headquarters in an attempt to confirm if Tombstone is in town. Soon, Tombstone leaves the building, confirming Joe's worst fears. He tries to follow the mobster. However, Tombstone is aware that he is being tailed and lures Joe into a nearby alley so he can confront him. Tombstone is unimpressed to find Joe Robertson snooping in his business again and warns him about continuing to do so, then leaves. Meanwhile, Spider-Man heads to East Harlem to meet up with Ben Urich to cover the story of Armando Ruiz's murder. Changing back into Peter Parker, the hero catches up with Ben and lawyer Maggie Michaelson. Maggie tells them about Armando Ruiz came to the United States seeking political asylum as a refugee. However, with recent changes to immigration law, Armando's bid for refugee status was rejected because his home country is an ally of the United States. As a result, Armando and his family are considered undocumented immigrants. When Urich asks about the recent offer of amnesty being offered to undocumented immigrants, Maggie tells him that the undocumented immigrants are afraid to turn themselves in for fear of being deported. They are afraid of being deported because they are being sent home to face government death squads. Peter asks if it is possible for these death squads could come to the United States and kill dissidents. Michaelson thinks it's possible, pointing out how most are suspicious of anyone who might get them deported. Suddenly, Peter's spider-sense turns his attention to a man entering a nearby alley. Going to investigate, Peter is surrounded by a gang of youths who think he works for immigration. Swarmed, Peter has no choice but to use his spider-powers to leap to the safety of the rooftops above. Looking around the neighborhood, Peter wonders how people seeking a new life in American could live in such fear. He also wonders what the Tarantula is up to and where he is.
That evening, the Tarantula has tracked down and attacked Luis Corona and his family. As the Tarantula pursues them, he is pleased to see that the neighborhood is filled with fear as it will make his task of rounding up politicial enemies much easier. By this point, Peter Parker has returned home to spend the evening with his wife. Mary Jane gets a frantic phone call from Elvira. She and her family, along with other undocumented immigrants, have sought sanctuary at St. Jude's Church. Unfortunatly, her pursuers have surrounded the church and seeks to kill them all. Peter gets the information and speeds to Elivra's location as Spider-Man. Soon, the Tarantula and his men break into the church and begin hunting their prey. However, Spider-Man soon arrives. As Spider-Man clashes with Tarantula and his minions, the NYPD surround the church. Spider-Man makes short work of the Tarantula's men, but his foe manages to escape. In the aftermath of the battle, Spider-Man is shocked to see that American officials are not only taking the gunmen prisoner, but also those seeking sanctuary. When Spider-Man chastises immigration officials, they explain that they have to enforce the law, even ones they don't like. Spider-Man returns home to tell his wife the bad news, but Mary Jane is certain that Peter will think of something to help Elvira and her family.
While back on the garbage scow on the Hudson River, the Tarantula is furious that Spider-Man interfered with his mission. However, Agent South has a solution to his problem with the wall-crawler. Having pulled some strings with the Committee for Super-Powers, South has managed to secure the service of their top agent, Captain America.
- ↑ This story is a commentary on the controversial Immigration and Reform Act passed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. This gave authorities to grant authority to individuals who illegally entered the United States prior to 1982, while clamping down on those who continued to enter the country illegally. The law has been criticized as it specifically targeted Hispanics and promoting continued xenophobia in the United States. That said, specific references to the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986 should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- ↑ All undocumented immigrant are referred to as "illegal immigrants" as that was the common nomenclature for those who entered the United States illegally at the time this story was written. As such, this should be considered a topical reference that reflected the sensibilities of the time. Since then the adoption of the less abrasive term of "Undocumented Immigrant" has entered into common use.
- ↑ The original Tarantula committed suicide after he was transformed into a giant arachnid, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #236.
- ↑ Joe Robertson briefly saw Tombstone in Web of Spider-Man #36. Joe is concerned because he once failed to report a murder that he witnessed Tombstone committing, as revealed in The Spectacular Spider-Man #139.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, the demon Mephisto erased their marriage from existence in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such, Peter and Mary Jane should be considered a common-law couple as opposed to husband and wife.
- ↑ The government agency is referred to the INS, or Immigration and Naturalization Service. This is yet another topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, particularly since the INS was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
- ↑ Joe Robertson suggested Peter give up freelance photography in Amazing Spider-Man #297. His recent stint as a substitute teacher was chronicled in Amazing Spider-Man #299 and Web of Spider-Man #35.
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