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Quote1 That's okay, too, Betty. Take your time. After all-- --what's a relationship without a little mystery? Quote2
-- Peter Parker

Appearing in "The Secrets of Betty Brant!"

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Synopsis for "The Secrets of Betty Brant!"

Betty Brant is having a nightmare where Peter Parker is caught in a massive spider-web spun by Spider-Man. In the dream, Spider-Man is a horrific man-spider. Betty pleads with Spider-Man to let Peter go, but the monster refuses, intending to kill Parker for daring to love her. Pulling off his mask to reveal his true face, this Spider-Monster tells her not to worry as she will be joining Parker shortly after his death. The man under the Spider-Man mask is Gordon Savinski, a man from Betty's past. Seeing Gordon's face is so frightening to Betty she is startled awake. After composing herself, Betty gets dressed for the day and checks on her mother before leaving her in the care of Mrs. Gavin, a retired nurse who lives in their building. Walking to work, Betty thinks of how grateful that Mrs. Gavin lives in her building and can look after her mother as she often needs to work overtime to pay their bills. Her thoughts are interrupted when the Vulture is spotted flying overhead with a man from the diamond district he snatched from off the street. The high-flying villain demands that the man turn over the briefcase of diamonds that are handcuffed to his wrist. However, before his victim can comply, Spider-Man swings in for the rescue. In order to evade capture, the Vulture drops his hostage, forcing Spider-Man to save his life, allowing the Vulture to escape.[Continuity 1] Seeing Spider-Man in action makes her think of how Peter Parker constantly risks his life to take photos of the wall-crawler.

This leads to thoughts about how she tried to convince Peter to stop putting himself in danger. The last time she tried to bring this up, she tried to explain why she quit school to become J. Jonah Jameson's secretary and how she once knew someone who was very much like Peter. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to tell him the whole story, and thinking about it now makes it all the memories come flooding back.[Continuity 2] Betty thinks back to how things were different a year before. She was still in high school and her mother was in better health, working at the Daily Bugle as J. Jonah Jameson's secretary. She was also dating Gordon who was studying at Empire State University. At the time, Gordon was sweet and caring and got along well with her family. He and her brother Bennett got along great. However, Gordon had a wild streak and soon her and got Bennett hooked on gambling. This ultimately led to Bennett's huge gambling debts to Blackie Gaxton. On the day that Bennett graduated from law school, Gordon came to tell him that Gaxton wanted to be paid back. Although Bennett tried to get Gordon to share the responsibility on the debt, Gordon left Bennett to deal with it on his own and abandoned her family.[Continuity 3]

By this time, Betty has arrived at the Daily Bugle and begun her work day. She has pulled away from her thoughts when Peter Parker arrives to sell his photos of Spider-Man's battle with the Vulture to J. Jonah Jameson. When Peter comes by her desk, she once more tells him that he is making unnecessary risks to make money off making Spider-Man look bad. Peter brushes this off, assuring her that he can take care of himself. This sort of reckless attitude reminds her of Gordon all over again and she remembers when her life started taking a tragic turn. Not long after Gordon had abandoned her and Bennett, some men in the employer of Blackie Gaxton came calling to collect on Bennett's debts. When their mother tried to get these men out of their house, one of the mobsters struck Elenore Brant with enough force to send her falling backward. Nobody was able to stop her from collapsing on a glass coffee table, resulting in serious injuries. Although doctors were able to stabilize her at the hospital, Betty and Bennett soon learned that their mother suffered serious brain damage that she may never recover. Realizing how serious the situation was, has decided to pay off his debt to Blackie Gaxton by acting as his lawyer, as it was the only way he could think of to avoid his sister from getting hurt. With her recollection over, she can't help but think about how Peter is also putting his widowed Aunt May at risk, much like Bennett did to her own family. That's when J. Jonah Jameson comes out of his office and tells Betty to get Peter Parker on the phone and get him to Midtown as there are reports of Spider-Man battling a giant beetle in that area.

At that moment, Spider-Man is battling with the massive creature known as the Scarlet Beetle. As he tries to figure out a way to defeat the creature, Bluebird arrives on the scene to lend a hand. Spider-Man tells her to get to safety, but she insists on staying to fight, pointing out that she has her fellow student, Jason Ionello, to take photos of the fight to sell the photos to the Daily Bugle. While trying to figure out how to get Bluebird and Jason to safety he is struck by the Scarlet Beetle. While back at the Daily Bugle, Betty tries to get ahold of Peter by phone, only for his Aunt May to tell her that Peter left abruptly shortly after school. Worrying that Peter might already be on the scene of the battle, she once more begins thinking about the past. She thinks about how money was tight with her mother ill and Bennett under Blackie Gaxton's thumb. Needing a job, Betty decided to go to the Daily Bugle. As fate would have it, Jonah's current secretary had just quit. With the secretary desk empty, Betty just say down and started working. When J. Jonah Jameson arrived for work that day and saw that Betty did all the tasks he assigned finished, he was pleasantly surprised. After hearing how Betty needed a job Joah gladly hired her on the spot. Jameson also paid her generously, allowing her to support her family. Her thoughts are then interrupted again when news reports come in about a photographer being endangered by the Scarlet Beetle. Betty immediately assumes that this is Peter Parker.

However, Betty's assumption is wrong, as the photographer in danger is actually Jason Ionello. As Spider-Man continues to try and convince Bluebird to get to safety. Unfortunately, she refuses to go, even after she is struck by the energies flooding out of the massive insect. As it turns out, these were not energy attacks as Spider-Man though. As it turns out these are mental bolts and upon contact with them, Bluebird learns a lot about the creature they are fighting. She tells Spider-Man that the Scarlet Beetle once battled Ant-Man, and attempted to destroy the hero by stealing his growth gas.[Continuity 4] Although it was defeated, the Beetle was later able to grow to a massive size with residual amounts of the gas in its system that it was able to access mentally. However, its growth was out of control, and now the Beetle is seeking help. After hearing all of this, Spider-Man quickly comes up with a way to stop the insect's rampage. Taking some of Bluebird's ether filled eggs, the wall-crawler tosses them into the Scarlet Beetle's maw. This counteracts the growth gas in the Beetle's system, shunting the creature down to its normal size. Causing a free fall, Bluebird and Jason are saved by Spider-Man. While Bluebird finds this whole situation exhilarating, Spider-Man points out that things could have ended tragically, asking her what she would have done had he not been there.

Later, Peter Parker arrives at the Daily Bugle, much to the relief of Betty. Peter also puts her mind at ease, telling her that the photographer that was in danger wasn't him. The two agree to go out for dinner and on their way out of the office, Peter comments on how quiet Betty is being. She tells him that she has a lot on her mind, but can't bring herself to talk to him about it just yet. As the pair walk away, they are unaware that Gordon is watching them from a nearby alley. Gordon takes note that Betty has a new boyfriend, and thinks that is just too bad -- for Peter Parker!

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. Spider-Man and Vulture argue over how many battles the wall-crawler won. At the time of this story, the pair has battled three times in Amazing Spider-Man #2, 7 and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #5.
  2. Betty tried to tell Peter about her past in Amazing Spider-Man #9.
  3. Bennett's gambling debts to Blackie Gaxton are explored in more detail in Amazing Spider-Man #11.
  4. Ant-Man battled the Scarlet Beetle in Tales to Astonish #39.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

  1. Betty Brant Next
  2. Previous J. Jonah Jameson Next
  3. Eleonore Brant Next

See Also

Footnotes



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