Appearing in "To Serve and Protect?"
- Scorcher (Steven Hudak) (First appearance)
- Norman Osborn (Shadow only)
- Strike squad
- Uncle Ben (Recap)
- Baxter Bigelow (Recap)
- Burglar (Recap)
- Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom) (Recap)
- Vulture (Adrian Toomes) (Recap)
- Lizard (Curt Connors) (Recap)
- Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) (Recap)
- Sandman (Flint Marko) (Mentioned)
- Gwen Stacy (Photo)
- Dr. Bromfield (Mentioned)
- Human Torch (Johnny Storm) (Mentioned)
- Patrol cars
Synopsis for "To Serve and Protect?"
Spider-Man has finally found a new costumed criminal known as the Scorcher, who has been using his flame-throwing armor to steal experimental electronic designs from various research and development companies.[Continuity 1] The Scorcher is unhappy that the novice hero has come to interrupt his mission. As the wall-crawler battles his new foe, the authorities and a crow gather below the building. Thanks to the editorials J. Jonah Jameson has written against the wall-crawler, the mob begins to get upset that the web-spinner is involved. Ultimately, the Scorcher manages to burn through one of Spider-Man's web lines, sending him falling to the ground below. In order to save his life, Spider-Man quickly webs up a cushion to break his fall. However, the angry mob tries to attack him, prompting the young hero to flee to the rooftops. There he discovers that the Scorcher and his army of minions have escaped in the confusion. After recovering his camera, Peter Parker pulls off his mask so he can give himself a moment to breathe. Thinking about all of his recent troubles, he wonders why this all has to happen to him.
The following day, Peter goes through his daily routine fraught his mind fraught with problems in both his personal life and his career as Spider-Man. When he wakes up in the morning, his Aunt May is worrying over the bills that have arrived in the mail. When Peter offers to do something to help, May tells her nephew that he is already spending too much time on his part-time job at the Bugle and fears that further time away from his studies will impact his grades. At school, Peter tries to keep his mind on his schoolwork. In chemistry class, Flash Thompson and his friends huddle together and make fun of Peter for being so focused on his education. Later, when Peter turns in his photos to J. Jonah Jameson, who is delighted to have pictures of the battle between Spider-Man and the Scorcher. Much to Peter's dismay, Jonah intends to use them to spin his opinion that the two were working together. This latest bit of depressing news makes Peter reflect on the direction his life has taken. He recalls how simple things were when he was being raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. His life all changed on the day he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Gaining the proportionate abilities of a spider, Peter developed the identity of Spider-Man in order to make a career in show business. This came to a tragic end when Peter refused to stop a thief from getting away. That same man later murdered his Uncle Ben. This caught him that with great power comes great responsibility, and from then on, Peter used his powers to fight crime.[Continuity 2] Since then he had a number of run-ins with various super-villains.[Continuity 3] His thoughts are interrupted when Betty Brant givse Peter his check for the photos. He is about to muster up the guts to ask her out on a date when J. Jonah Jameson comes bursting into the office with an idea on how to spin his recent batch of Spider-Man photos. When Jonah mentions the warrants out for Spider-Man's arrest, Peter thinks to himself that these warrants wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Jameson's influencing authorities with his negative editorials.[Continuity 4] However, this suddenly gives Peter some inspiration and he tells Betty that he'll talk to her later. She is surprised when Peter suddenly kisses her on the cheek before rushing out of the office.
Changing into Spider-Man, Peter swings down to the local police precinct. There he sneaks into the office of Captain George Stacy. He tries to convince Stacy to make him an official police officer, pointing out that he helped capture villains like the Vulture and Sandman, and how he helped solver the Ben Parker murder.[Continuity 5] When George points out that the wall-crawler would have to go through the proper channels -- which includes revealing his true identity and going through the police academy -- Spider-Man realizes that he cannot do that for fear of what the revelation will do to his Aunt May. Without any explanation, Spider-Man says he can't do that and leaps out the window. Curious about this encounter with the wall-crawler, George calls his sergeant and asks him to bring the file they have on Ben Parker's murder.[Continuity 6] As he swings away from the police station, Spider-Man thinks about how unfair this situation is, confident that he would have made a great police officer. When he returns home and shows Aunt May the check he got from the Bugle, the elderly woman is delighted by the money as it will help her make her mortgage payment for the month. That's when Peter overhears a radio report about the Scorcher attacking and East Side Chemical Warehouse. Making up an excuse about leaving his homework at the Daily Bugle, Peter rushes off to change into Spider-Man and face the Scorcher.
By the time Spider-Man arrives at the chemical warehouse, he overhears the Scorcher reassuring one of his men that they will pull off this robbery even though the police have surrounded the building. Although Spider-Man has the element of surprise, things quickly being going south when the Scorcher lights the building on fire. While he and his minions are protected due to their fireproof outfits. At Scorcher's mercy, Spider-Man quickly notices that a hole in the roof has revealed a water tower on the roof. Dodging one of Scorcher's flame blasts, the wall-crawler fires a web line at the water tower and yanks it down on the burning building. With the inferno put out, Spider-Man quickly knocks out Scorcher and drags him outside. Instead of being celebrated as a hero, the police are upset that the web-slinger has interrupted their operation. As it turned out, they wanted the Scorcher to escape so they could track him to his employer. As Spider-Man is being scolded, not far from the smoking remains of the Osborn Chemical plant, a mystery man holds onto the case of chemicals that the Scorcher had come to steal.[Continuity 7] Not knowing what to say, Spider-Man makes a meek apology and swings away. Although the other officers are furious that the wall-crawler is getting away, George Stacy is convinced that despite his interference, the young man is just trying to do his civic duty. Later, Peter has been brought to bed as he has developed a cold after his battle with the Scorcher. He is watching the news about Spider-Man's battle, unhappy how it was received negatively by the press. That's when his Aunt May enters the room and turns off the television, suggesting that watching such violent stories will impede his recovery. As she leaves, Peter laments on how everyone is even more angry at Spider-Man than ever and wishes that -- just for once -- things would go his way.
- Chronologically speaking, this story takes place between Amazing Spider-Man #6 and 7.
- This recollection are of Spider-Man's origins as they were originally told in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- In the flashback, Peter pictured the Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Doctor Doom, and the Lizard whom Spider-Man battled in Amazing Spider-Man #2, 3, 5, and 6 respectively.
- Thanks to Jameson's pressure in the press, the FBI and police put out warrants for Spider-Man's arrest. That happened in Amazing Spider-Man #1.
- At the time of this story, Spider-Man battled the Sandman for the first time in Amazing Spider-Man #4.
- This would ultimately lead to George Stacy uncovering Spider-Man's secret identity. Something that George kept a secret until his death in Amazing Spider-Man #90.
- This mystery man is later revealed to be Norman Osborn in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #8.
- This issue is part of a Marvel "flip book" which also contains Fantastic Four: Unplugged #1.
- There is a message to the readers from assistant editor Glenn Greenberg about Untold Tales, located in what will become the letters page. This page also features cover reproductions of the next two issues.
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