- You know, I wonder if that was the Scorcher's problem -- he was so ready to see the bad in life, he couldn't believe in anything good. So he acted like somebody's lies about him were true -- and if you do that, it doesn't much matter whether they were lies or not-- --'cause they're sure true now.
- -- Spider-Man
Appearing in "One Thing Right"
- Fire trucks
Synopsis for "One Thing Right"
In downtown Manhattan, Spider-Man is tracking Tiny McKeever, who has gone missing from school ever since he showed up with a broken arm.[Continuity 1] Spotting Tiny working at a gas station causes the wall-crawler to shout out his name. However, he quickly hides before Tiny can spot who called out his name. However, the wall-crawler's presence was detected by the Scorcher who ambushes the web-spinner. The Scorcher is looking for a rematch against the wall-crawler after their last encounter sent Spider-Man to prison.[Continuity 2] Unfortunately for Spider-Man, the Sorcher has upgraded his armor since the last they met. Not only does the Scorcher now have a jetpack that allows him to fly, he can also engulf his body in flame making it impossible for Spider-Man to get a hold of his foe. This forces Spider-Man to flee, and with the Scorcher hot on his trail, he forced to dive into the East River. The Scorcher tries to dispose of the wall-crawler by using his flame powers to boil the water, but Spider-Man swims down deep enough that he is unaffected by the boiling surface. The web-slinger is able to hold his breath long enough to convince the Scorcher he is dead. After the villain leaves, the web-slinger makes a mental note to deal with the Scorcher later but has other things concerns to deal with.
Recovering his street clothes, Peter Parker then pays Tiny a visit at the gas station. Tiny is happy to see Peter and surprised to see him downtown. When they get to talking, Tiny explains that he couldn't handle living at home with his abusive father anymore. The broken arm was the final straw for Tiny, who then moved out, found a cheap apartment, and got the gas station job. When Peter raises concerns about Tiny's education, McKeever gets upset and tells Peter to get out of his sight. As Peter leaves, he happens to notice that a surface of the gas station's garage is totally spotless and finds that incredibly odd. Later that evening, Peter goes out on a date with Betty Brant, where they joke about J. Jonah Jameson's recent embarrassment over Spider-Man's recent encounter with Mysterio.[Continuity 3] That's when Peter notices someone across the street watching them and swears that he saw this person several times while they were out that evening. That's when Betty abruptly ends their date and heads home, saying that she has some personal business to take care of. This leaves Peter to wonder what's going on with Betty.[Continuity 4]
The next day at school, the lunch hour goes on as it normally does until Jason Ionello enters the cafeteria. His sudden appearance makes everyone go quiet and Jason looks for a place to sit. Peter feels bad for Ionello since he was involved in the death of their classmate, Sally Avril.[Continuity 5] When Peter offers Jason to sit with him, Ionello gets upset and refuses to be treated like an outcast like Parker and storms out of the cafeteria. Seeing this, Liz tries to tell Peter that Jason didn't mean what he said, but Peter merely brushes it off. However, Jason's words cut deep and Peter soon finds himself sulking at home after school. When Aunt May notices that Peter is upset about something and asks him what's wrong. Peter tells her that he feels like everything around him is going sour. May explains that as she gets older it feels like the world is spinning out of control. In order to combat this, she tries to do at least one right thing a day, feeling that if she can do one thing right, then maybe the rest of the world can sort itself out as well. This is just the thing Peter needs to hear, and he rushes out the door after thanking his Aunt May for the advice.
Changing into Spider-Man, Peter swings to downtown in the hopes of finding Tiny and talking sense into him. That's when he spots the Scorcher lurking around the gas station where Tiny works. Surprisingly, the Scorcher's hideout is beneath the gas station, the secret entrance is hidden on the clean patch of floor in the garage. Witnessing the Scorcher entering his lair, Spider-Man sneaks in after him, unaware that their passing alerted the attention of McKeever, who thinks his boss has come to check on him. Down below, the Scorcher is cursing the menial arson jobs he has had to take on after his previous defeat at Spider-Man's hands. That's when the wall-crawler ambushes him and the two begin fighting. By this point, Tiny has gone to the garage and noticed the secret door and decides to go down and investigate. Back downstairs, the Scorcher is furious at the wall-crawler for his interference. While they battle, the Scorcher explains how he once had a promising future at as a chemist working for a company that framed him for embezzling. With the damning evidence in the trunk of his car, Steven Hudak -- the man who would become the Scorcher -- grabbed it and ran, and has been on the run ever since. Since he was now a criminal, Hudak invented his suit so he could ply his scientific experience to make a career for himself as a supervillain.
It's then that Tiny comes upon the battle and tries to help Spider-Man by attacking the Scorcher with a tire iron. Although the villain easily incinerates the weapon, it gives Spider-Man the opening he needs to attack the Scorcher. One of Spider-Man's blows ruptures the Scorcher's fuel tanks spraying out the inflammable materials inside. This causes Hudak to panic and he flees the scene, ignoring Spider-Man's offer to seal the tanks with webbing. With Tiny's life in danger, Spider-Man carries him to safety as the gas station suddenly explodes. As firefighters arrive on the scene to put out the fire, Tiny thanks Spider-Man for saving his life. The wall-crawler takes this opportunity to convince Tiny to go back to school. He relates to Steve Hudak's tragic tale, pointing out that his mistake was in acting like a bad person when he was accused of being one was the wrong choice to make. Seeing how this relates to his own life, Tiny tells Spider-Man that the hero has given him a lot to think about.
- Peter has been aware that Tiny was being abused by his father since Untold Tales of Spider-Man #2. Tiny was last seen with a broken arm in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #9.
- Spider-Man last clashed with the Scorcher in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1.
- They are referring to the events of Amazing Spider-Man #13 here. That was the first public appearance of Mysterio, framed Spider-Man for crimes and tricked J. Jonah Jameson into thinking that he was a hero that would bring the wall-crawler to justice. Naturally, Spider-Man revealed Mysterio for the criminal he really was, humiliating Jameson who was using his paper to champion Mysterio.
- What Peter doesn't know here is that Betty is being stalked by her former boyfriend, Gordon Savinski since Untold Tales of Spider-Man #12.
- Sally was killed in a car accident last issue. Jason is partially responsible due to the fact that he did not have a drivers license and was driving well over the speed limit when they were t-boned by a city bus.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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