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Quote1 Yeah, Torch, you're right. Everything you said is true. It's just... it's just going to take me a long time to believe it, that's all... Quote2
-- Spider-Man

Appearing in "Without Warning"

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Synopsis for "Without Warning"

Now

After the death of a friend of his, Spider-Man has sought out someone to speak with about it. He is so upset and his need to speak to someone, anyone, is so strong that he doesn't care if it compromises his secret identity. He tells his confidante that his friend was a girl named Sally Avril, the young woman who recently adopted the costumed identity of Blue Bird. He talks about how she became a hero for the worst possible reasons: fame.

Then

The last time he saw Bluebird, Spider-Man spotted her fighting a gang of thugs in an alley. Coming to her aid, the pair quickly take down the men. During the fight, Bluebird tells the wall-crawler that the costumed criminal known as the Black Knight has been hiring men for his latest criminal scheme. Hearing that there is a supervillain involved, Spider-Man once again warned Bluebird how dangerous crimefighting can be. Bluebird still doesn't take Spider-Man's warnings seriously as she leaps between opponents with her gymnastic skills. However, her cockiness gets the better of her as she is soon left open to being punched in the stomach by one of the thugs. Although the wall-crawler saw this coming a mile away, he stopped to let it happen in the hopes of punctuating his warnings. While Spider-Man is dealing with the last man standing, Bluebird realizes that the web-head could have stopped the man from knocking the wind out of her and gets upset. That's when Spider-Man drives home the point about how dangerous this lifestyle is, finally convincing her to stop going out as Bluebird because she is out of depth. While Bluebird agrees to retire from costume heroics, the young woman is humiliated and bitter about the harsh lesson she just received.

The wall-crawler figured that was the end of it, until the next day at school. Sally Avril approached Peter to tell her that she retired as Bluebird. However, she warns Peter to watch his back in the future and walks away without explaining herself, leaving Parker to wonder what she is up to. This was on the day that the Archduke of Ksavia, Emil Stragosz arrived in New York City with his daughter, Elena, to meet with the United Nations Security Council. Upon his arrival at UN Headquarters, they were ambushed by the Black Knight who blankets the street with gas. The Knight then uses his paralyzer pistol to knock out the Archduke while his hired men grab Elena. By this time, Spider-Man has arrived on the scene and finished setting up his camera. While Spider-Man clashed with the Black Knight he was unaware that Sally Avril and Jason Ionello are rushing onto the scene. As it turned out, Sally had decided to get fame by becoming a crime photographer like Peter Parker. When Spider-Man finally notices the pair racing to the scene he is too late to stop them from getting t-boned by a passing bus. The impact violently ejects both Jason and Sally from the convertible they are driving. Seeing this accident horrifies Spider-Man and distracts him long enough for the Black Knight to blast the wall-crawler with his paralyzer pistol and leaves the hero on a nearby rooftop. When the weapon's effects wear off, Spider-Man wakes up and realized that he was too late to do anything.[Continuity 1]

Sally's sudden death hit Peter Parker hard, as she was so young. Sitting at home, memories of Sally run through his head as he thinks about all the things she will never be able to do again.[Continuity 2] His thoughts are interrupted by his Aunt May who tells Peter that J. Jonah Jameson had called to see if Peter had any photos of Spider-Man's recent battle with the Black Knight to sell. Looking at the roll of film that captured the whole scene, Peter realizes that he can't make money off photos that potentially capture Sally's last moments alive and tosses the roll of film into a nearby trash can. Seeing that her nephew is deeply upset about Sally's death, she tries to comfort him by telling Peter that she worries about him going out into an increasingly dangerous world, but trust him to be safe by being responsible. The word "responsible" hits Peter hard, as he feels responsible for Sally's death.

Later, Peter attends Sally's funeral with his classmates. There is gossip among the mourners who place blame on Jason Ionello, who got off mostly uninjured. As it turns out he was not only speeding, but Jason was also driving without a license. Accompanying him to the burial is Betty Brant who offers Peter her condolences. She feels terrible for acting jealous the time that Sally showed up at the office and flirted with him. Peter tells her that it doesn't matter anymore. After the service, Peter and Betty are leaving when he overhears a radio report about the Black Knight has barricaded himself and Elen Stragosz on the top floor of the Chrysler Building. Peter tells Betty that he needs to get there to take photos. Overhearing this, Flash Thompson loses his temper with Peter. Having learned from Jason that Sally was Bluebird, he tells Peter that she was the real hero, something that Peter never is. Liz tries to apologize for what Flash has said, but Peter tells her not to bother because he feels the same way.

Changing into Spider-Man, Peter then travels to the Chrysler Building where he uses stealth to locate the princess and lowers her down to the authorities below. Going back into the building and confronting the Black Knight and his minions, Spider-Man allows his anger to come out. Seeing the wall-crawler trouncing his men prompts the Black Knight to flee in fear on his winged horse. His employer, watching this on a video screen, tells the Knight to deal with this and that he will contact him later.[Continuity 3] However, Spider-Man is soon in pursuit, unwilling to let the villain escape. In a panic, the Knight unleashes a barrage of weapons from his high-tech javelin. Spider-Man easily evades these attacks and kicks the Black Knight off his horse. The villain begins to fall toward the ground, but Spider-Man catches him in a web net. With his foe helpless, Spider-Man then begins savagely beating the Black Knight for his part in Sally's death. That's when the Human Torch arrived on the scene. Seeing that Spider-Man is going too far and could kill the Knight, the Torch uses his flame powers to restrain Spider-Man. That's when the walls around them suddenly collapse, burying Spider-Man and the Torch in piles of bricks. Once the pair dug themselves free from the rubble, the Black Knight was long gone. At first, Spider-Man blames the Torch for this happening but realizes that it was likely the work of the man who hired the Black Knight.

Now

Spider-Man concludes his story by beating himself up over letting Sally die and the Black Knight get away. The Torch points out that it's not the Black Knight that Spider-Man is angry at. The wall-crawler admits that he is angry with himself, having come to the conclusion that if he hadn't stopped Sally from being Bluebird she'd still be alive today. The Torch doesn't think so, pointing out that she could have easily been killed fighting the Black Knight, or in a number of other ways that the web-head would have been equally unable to stop. He points out that while he stopped Sally from doing something dangerous by being Bluebird, he isn't responsible for what happened later. On top of that, Spider-Man still saved someone and is still a hero. When the wall-crawler still doubts this, the Torch tells him to ask the Archduke and his daughter about that. Spider-Man gets the point the Torch is making, but when Johnny Storm flies away, the wall-crawler admits to himself that it will take a very long time before he will allow himself to believe it.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. Although Sally dies here, she is later resurrected years later, as seen in Clone Conspiracy #4.
  2. Among the memories that Peter reflect upon three memories stand out: The first is when Peter unsuccessfully asked Sally out on a date in Amazing Fantasy #15. The other is when she and Jason photographed Spider-Man's battle with Electro. That battle occurred in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #7. The last is when Sally discovered that Peter worked at the Daily Bugle in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #10.
  3. This mystery employer is Baron Zemo, who will later recruit the Black Knight into his Masters of Evil in Avengers #6.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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