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Appearing in "Menace!"

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Synopsis for "Menace!"

A new costumed villain calling himself Menace has begun terrorizing New York City. Claiming to be a mutant, he and his army of Mutantmen rob the First Community Bank of Yonkers, Camelot Towers, the Gideon Museum of the Arts, as well as an armored car.

Meanwhile, in Queens, Peter Parker looks after his Aunt May who has just returned home from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. After her illness forced him to retreat from a battle with the Green Goblin, Peter has been afraid to go out as Spider-Man again which has also prevented him from getting the crime photos that he needs to sell in order to pay for his aunt's medicine.[Continuity 1] That's when Anna Watson comes over and tells Peter that he is going to make himself sick fretting over his Aunt and encourages him to go out and enjoy his youth. Brooding over his situation, Peter decides to go to the Daily Bugle to try and make up with Betty Brant. However, before he can go inside he is spotted by Liz Allan who notices how miserable Peter looks and convinces him to join her for something to eat. As they leave, Betty Brant comes out of the Daily Bugle and spots Peter leaving with Liz, confirming her fears that she is losing Peter to the Allan woman.

As they walk down the street, Peter tells Liz about how his Aunt and Uncle have raised him since he was a kid and how he has had to work hard to support the house after his Uncle Ben was murdered.[Continuity 2] Still, despite his troubles, Liz is envious of Peter's life, despite his family wealth her life is not what it is cracked up to be. She then takes Peter to Coffee A-Go-Go, hoping that the live poetry readings will help Peter get his mind off things. Not long after Peter and Liz find a seat, the students from Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters arrive to enjoy a night off from their duties as the X-Men. Despite this, their leader -- Scott Summers -- can't relax, as he is concerned about the recent departure of their leader, Professor Xavier.[Continuity 3] Both the X-Men and Liz Allan overhear one of the other patrons complaining about a news story about mutants. When Liz admits that mutants scare her, Peter points out that mutants aren't any different than normal humans, that there are good ones and bad ones as well. Overhearing this delights Hank McCoy, who points out to his classmates that their message of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants is starting to reach some people.

At that same moment, Menace and his Mutantmen attack the Van Lunt Trading Company. One of the employees manages to flee the building and gets to Coffee A-Go-Go. Hearing that an alleged mutant is on the rampage, the members of the X-Men head out to deal with it. Peter also decides that he needs to get involved as Spider-Man, at least to get photos for the Bugle. When he abruptly leaves Liz Allan, she is upset because this is the first time she had a date abruptly leave on her. The X-Men arrive first and deal with the Mutantmen first. When Spider-Man arrives he thinks that the X-Men are responsible for the attacks at first. However, Cyclops explains that they are trying to save people. Since he has been dealing with his own bad press, Spider-Man decides to give the X-Men the benefit of the doubt, especially when they hear someone screaming nearby. Elsewhere in the building, Menace is torturing some of the Van Lunt employees in order to get the combination to the vault. While the X-Men deal with the Mutantmen again, Spider-Man chases after their leader. Listening to Menace from the ventilation system, Spider-Man is confused when the villain drops his pro-mutant rhetoric and begins talking like a regular crook. By this point, Liz has called Flash who comes to pick her up with Jason Ionello. In the car, she notices that Flash has a Spider-Man costume and asks him not to do anything dangerous. However, Flash insists that Spider-Man isn't the coward the press has been making him out to be and is certain that the hero will redeem himself.[Continuity 4]

While back in the Van Lunt building, Spider-Man continues battling Menace. When the villain blasts him, Spider-Man momentarily fears getting hurt because there will be nobody to look after Aunt May. However, he redoubles his efforts when he hears Menace speaking to someone on a radio and realizes that something isn't adding up. Ambushing Menace, Spider-Man rips his costume revealing that his powers aren't natural, but used through a mechanical harness. Knocking the villain out into the main hall where the X-Men are still fighting the Mutantmen, Spider-Man short out Meance's weapons. This causes the Mutantmen, actually robots, to explode, ending their threat. As it turns out "Meance" was one of a gang of crooks who were using anti-mutant hysteria as a distraction from their crimes. With the battle over, Spider-Man tells the X-Men that he has to go and abruptly leaves, leaving them to wonder what is going on with the wall-crawler. Not far away, Spider-Man once more wonders what he is going to do, with Aunt May's health as it is, he is afraid of being Spider-Man for fear of getting hurt and leaving Aunt May all alone. Not wanting to fail her like he did his Uncle Ben, Peter believes that he has to stop being Spider-Man once and for all.


Continuity Notes

  1. Aunt May suffered a heart attack in Amazing Spider-Man #17. May mutters something about Richard and Mary Parker, Peter's parents. May took in Peter when his parents were killed on a government mission, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
  2. Peter's Uncle Ben was murdered by a burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  3. At the time of this story, the Professor abruptly left to deal with personal business in X-Men #7. This was to stop the alien known as Lucifer. The X-Men and the Avengers will both assist Xavier in stopping this foe in X-Men #9.
  4. Flash does use the costume to dress up as Spider-Man and gets beaten up for his troubles as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #18.

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