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Appearing in "Night of the Flag!"
- Roland Rayburn
- Gullivar South (Final appearance)
- Maggie Michaelson (Final appearance)
- Elvira Corona (Final appearance)
- Luis Corona (Final appearance)
- Emelita Corona (Final appearance)
Synopsis for "Night of the Flag!"
Captain America has been enlisted to assist the Tarantula in recovering undocumented immigrants that have spoken against a South American government.[Continuity 1] The two practice fighting with each other by fighting a man dressed up to look like Spider-Man. Still furious about how the wall-crawler previously interfered in his operations, the Tarantula kills the fighter and vents his frustrations on the corpse. Although Captain America is not impressed by this display, he tells his ally that they must begin tracking Spider-Man down before dawn. State Department agent Gulliver South reassures the Tarantula that Captain America will assist the Tarantula as part of their efforts to help promote a democratic government in South America. A task that Captain America grudgingly accepts since he is a government agent.
As they exit the Tarantula's hideout, Cap asks his ally why he has chosen a garbage scow for a hideout. The Tarantula explains that he views the people who have fled his country as nothing more than garbage and the scow reminds him of his "noble" mission. As the two scout the city, the Tarantula explains how Spider-Man has interfered with his attempts to apprehend a woman named Elvira Corona. Although Elvira was actually a harmless refugee seeking sanctuary in the United States, the Tarantula plays out the story as though Corona is a violent terrorist. Still, Captain America doesn't get why Spider-Man would get involved in such a situation, as it is contrary to his usual motivations. Soon they arrive at the federal building where Elvira is being held and is facing deportation. Even though Captain America is uneasy about this situation, the pair leap down to the building below.[Continuity 2] At that moment on Wall Street, the stockbroker known as Roland Rayburn is cinching up a deal when he is suddenly interrupted by Tombstone. Roland has the mutant power to influence people, but Tombstone is prepared for this trick and resists it, as he was warned by the Arranger.[Continuity 3] Tombstone informs him that he is to be taken to the Arranger.
An hour later, Peter Parker wakes up in the bed screaming in the night. His wife Mary Jane asks him what is the matter, and he tells her that he had a nightmare about all his foes attacking him at once.[Continuity 4] Mary Jane brushes off the nightmare as nothing more than having to get used to sleeping in their new condo at Bedford Towers.[Continuity 5] However, Peter thinks it was brought on by seeing the conditions that the South American refugees live under. The feeling of being alone and attacked on all sides by enemies is a situation that Spider-Man can relate with intimately. Suddenly, the phone begins to ring, prompting Mary Jane to scramble to find it among the boxes in their new home. It's a call from Elvira who manages to tell MJ that she has been taken to a westside freight yard before the line goes dead. Relating this to Peter, he is confident that he can at least do something for Elvira and changes into Spider-Man.
Soon, Spider-Man arrives at the freight yard where he uses his spider-sense to try and find Elvira. As soon as it begins to tingle, the wall-crawler is suddenly confronted by Captain America. Mistaking this man for the original Captain America, Spider-Man lets his guard down long enough for Cap to strike him. He is also ambushed by the Tarantula, and struck by one of his poisoned tipped shoe spikes. As Spider-Man rolls away to get cover, the Tarantula gloats to himself how he tricked Captain America into thinking the poison is diluted and anticipates the full dose will cause heart failure in the wall-crawler, ending his life forever. Spider-Man is found by Captain America who tosses his shield at the hero before realizing that this fight is less than honorable. He decides to stand back and let the Tarantula continue the fight while he considers his part in all of this. With the poison coursing through his veins, Spider-Man tries in vain to dodge the Tarantula's attacks. However, the web-slinger gets his leg caught in a switching track. Snapping the switch that could free Spider-Man, the Tarantula tells the hero that he intends to kill him for murdering his predecessor. Spider-Man weakly tries to explain that the previous Tarantula died by accident.[Continuity 6] Although the Tarantula doesn't care about these details, the villain intends to horribly cripple Spider-Man by running him over with a hand car.
The whole time, Captain America watches in silence as the Tarantula gloats over his plans and his real intentions for the refugees. moments before Spider-Man can be run over, the hero manages to pull his foot out of his boot and with a leaping kick, knocks the Tarantula off the handcar. The fall breaks the villain's knee and when he begs Captain America for help, the star-spangled government agent turns and walks away. Later, Captain America returns to the garbage scow that was acting as the Tarantula's secret headquarters. There he meets with Agent South who is furious to have just learned that Spider-Man and Captain America turned over the Tarantula to immigration authorities as an undocumented immigrant. His threats fall on deaf ears, as Captain America has just learned that Gulliver has been operating as a rogue agent and knocks out South, leaving him passed out on the scow. As he departs, Captain America tells South that the flag he wears is supposed to inspire people, not instill fear, otherwise, he is no better than the garbage he exposed that day.
Sadly, there isn't much of a happy ending for Elvira and her family. Despite the Tarantula's attempt on their lives, they are still being deported back to their home country. Peter and Mary Jane are there to watch Elvira being taken away. Mary Jane tries to cheer Peter up, pointing out that the publicity of the Tarantula's activities will likely ensure that Elvira will be treated humanely upon her return and that the Tarantula will be punished for his failure. However, this does little to cheer Peter up, as he still feels helpless that he wasn't able to do more for her and the other refugees.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Captain America wishes he were his predecessor, who knew Spider-Man much better. This is not Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, but John Walker who replaced him in Captain America #333.
- ↑ The Arranger has been plotting to kidnap Roland Rayburn since Web of Spider-Man #35-36.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple as opposed to husband and wife.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane just recently moved into Bedford Towers, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #300.
- ↑ Acutally, the original Tarantula committed suicide after being turned into a massive spider, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #236.
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