Quote1 I care about Peter. I really do. But he has so many secrets, and he's constantly risking his life for his photos. He reminds me of poor Bennett in so many different ways. Quote2
-- Betty Brant

Appearing in "In the Shadow of the Crime-Master"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:




  • Airplane
  • Patrol cars

Synopsis for "In the Shadow of the Crime-Master"

In Forest Hills, a local family is sitting down to dinner and discussing the day's news.[Continuity 1] Their supper is suddenly interrupted when someone throws a rock through their dining room window. There is a note tied to it warning the family that they are doomed. Looking out the window, they spot someone in a Spider-Man costume running away from the scene.

Meanwhile, at the Daily Bugle in Manhattan, J. Jonah Jameson is furious that Ben Urich does not have any new leads on the disappearance of Doctor Bartholomew Carson and his daughter. That's when Peter Parker enters Jonah's office with photos of Spider-Man stopping a mugging. However, all this does is convince Jameson that Spider-Man must be responsible for the Carson kidnapping and orders Parker to go out there and get photos that prove it. On his way out, Peter is disappointed that Betty Brant is not there as he was hoping to see her. More upsetting is the fact that she has a photo of Ned Leeds on her desk.[Continuity 2] As Peter Parker thinks about how things can't get any worse, fate has other ideas in store for him.

Elsewhere in the city, the criminal known as Crime Master looks over a model of New York City believing that he will soon have full control over the criminal underworld.[Continuity 3] He thinks to himself how past super-villains have inspired him to take up his own costumed identity and use gimmicks to commit his crimes. He then checks in on his prisoner, Doctor Carson, who informs him that his new squad of mentally controlled footsoldiers are ready. Pleased, the Crime-Master orders his minions to go out into the city.

Meanwhile, across town, Peter Parker is still thinking about his troubles with Betty Brant. He thinks about how it hurt to see her out on a date with Ned Leeds. Although he decided to play it cool when Betty first introduced him to Ned, he was relieved when the reporter was sent to Europe on assignment.[Continuity 4] Seeing this as an opportunity to try and win her back, Peter pays Betty a visit at her apartment. When he invites her out to dinner, Betty turns him down, saying that she has to look after her mother.[Continuity 5] Leaving, Peter feels bad for Betty, who has to look after her mother by her self, especially after the death of her brother Bennett.[Continuity 6] However, his thoughts are quickly interrupted when someone rushes out of the bank warning people that it is being robbed. Slipping into an alley, Peter changes into Spider-Man and goes in to stop them. He is surprised to discover that the crooks are speechless, but they also can shrug off his blows and break free of his webbing.

Watching this remotely from his hideout, Crime-Master is pleased with the result of Carson's work. Caron isn't overly interested in this so long as the masked criminal keeps his promise is releasing his daughter. Back at the bank, Crime-Master's minions beat Spider-Man into submission and then leave. This anger's Crime-Master as he wanted Spider-Man capture, however, Carson explains that they didn't anticipate the wall-crawler interfering in their operation and so, instructions were not pre-programmed into his minions. As the wall-crawler recovers from the attack, he manages to tag one of the robbers with a spider-tracer. Unfortunately, Spider-Man is forced to retreat when the bank patrons think the hero was part of the robbery and try to swarm him. Back at Crime-Master's hideout, the villain demands that Bartholemew give him more control over his minions otherwise he will kill the scientist's daughter. With no other choice, Doctor Carson agrees to comply. By this point, Peter Parker has returned to Forest Hills. Although he took a beating, at least J. Jonah Jameson bought his photos of Spider-Man at the bank. As he exits the subway, he spots Liz Allan and Flash Thompson and tries to avoid them. He can't, and when they notice that Peter has bruises all over his face they begin to speculate what might have happened to him. That's when the Spider-Man impostor dumps a bunch of trash on the trio from a nearby rooftop and sprints away.[Continuity 7]

Although he knows he'll have to deal with this impostor, Peter returns home and gets his tracking device so he can locate the spider-tracer he planted on one of the bank robbers.[Continuity 8] He follows the signal back into the city where he finds the Crime-Master's lair. Looking into one of the windows he sees Doctor Carson's daughter being held prisoner and takes a photo of her for the Bugle. In one of the upper rooms, he finds the doctor working on the Crime-Master's minions and makes a daring rescue. However, with the building now sealed off, they are forced to flee into the basement. Webbing the doors shut, Spider-Man gives them time to talk and Doctor Carson explains why he was kidnapped. He explains that he developed a device called the Cerebra-Chip, a device he hoped could be used to revive people who suffered serious brain trauma. Unfortunately, when Crime-Master learned of his work, the mobster kidnapped Carson and his daughter and forced him to use the device to make an army of obedient slaves. Hearing all this inspires Spider-Man to try and use his spider-tracker to create a conflicting signal to the Cerebra-Chips. Just as Crime-Master's thugs come crashing through the doorway, the wall-crawler manages to use his device to short out the Cerebra-Chips.

With the gang defeated, Carson is reunited with his daughter, but the Crime-Master is nowhere to be found. When the police arriving on the scene, they arrest the doctor, but Spider-Man promises that he will be cleared of any wrong doing. Sure enough, when Peter Parker's photos are published in the Daily Bugle, it clears Bartholemew of any wrong doing and once he is released he goes to the Daily Bugle to personally thank the young man. When Carson asks Peter how he can help, he tells the scientist about Betty Brant's mother. Agreeing to use his Cerebra-Chip technology to try and cure Eleonore Brant, Betty is delighted to hear that Carson is willing to help her mother, free of charge. A few days later, Betty is preparing her mother for the trip to Carson's clinic where she confides in her comatose mother all of her concerns, particularly about Peter's secrets and his constant need to put himself in danger. When Peter arrives to tell her that the ambulance has arrived, Betty jumps out of the chair to hug him and thank him for everything he has done. Although Peter accepts her embrace, he knows that Betty usually pulls away the hardest whenever she feels that she doesn't deserve Peter.[Continuity 9]

Solicit Synopsis

The Crime Master makes his move to unite the mafia under his control and now Spidey's up to evil in his armpits.


Continuity Notes

  1. They are specifically mentioning the recent capture of the Scorpion, they are referring to the events of Amazing Spider-Man #20.
  2. At the time of this story, Betty just started seeing Ned Leeds in Amazing Spider-Man #18.
  3. The model of Manhattan features the original twin towers of the World Trade Center as part of the New York City skyline here. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The original towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and have since been replaced by the Freedom Tower.
  4. Betty introduced Peter to Ned in Amazing Spider-Man #19.
  5. As revealed in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #15, Eleonore Brant suffered a serious head injury and has been in a vegetative state ever since.
  6. Everyone believed that Bennett was killed by a gunshot in Amazing Spider-Man #11. However, unknown to everyone at this time, Bennett survived and he will resurface in Venom Vol 2 #1.
  7. Flash wonders if Peter stole his Spider-Man costume. Flash bought this costume in Amazing Spider-Man #18 to try and restore Spider-Man's damaged reputation when everyone thought he was a coward for running out on the Green Goblin in the previous issue of that series. This costume when missing last issue.
  8. At the tie of this story, Spider-Man needed a tracking device to follow his spider-tracers. He will not develop a tracer he can track with his spider-sense until Amazing Spider-Man #51.
  9. Although this story ends with the possibility of Eleonore Brant being cured of her condition, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #2's entry on Betty Brant later states that Eleonore died shortly after this.

See Also


  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks

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