Appearing in "Sand Blasted"
- Betty Brant
- J. Jonah Jameson
- Sandman (Flint Marko) (Main story and flashback)
- Human Torch (Johnny Storm) (Recap)
- Officer Perez
- Aunt May
- Mrs. Stone, school nurse
- Avengers (Cameo)
- John Jameson (Voice)
- Thor (Mentioned)
- Hoboken (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Sand Blasted"
A pair of police officers open the back of their paddy wagon to check on their prisoner and are shocked to discover that he has escaped. This comes as a shock to them as they figured that Sandman was under wraps after he was defeated in his recent battle with the Human Torch.[Continuity 1] With the Sandman on the loose again, they wonder who will be able to stop him. At that same moment, Spider-Man is literally jumping for joy because he finally mustered up the courage to ask Betty Brant out for a date. His mind thinks back to earlier that day, just after Spider-Man had defeated the Vulture, who was on a rampage at the offices of the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 2] Hiding behind a desk with Betty, Peter managed to ask Betty out on a date. After he left the Daily Bugle offices, Peter discovers that his injured arm has completely healed and he no longer needs to wear it in a brace. His thoughts are interrupted by the sounds of gunshots and screams. His spider-sense draws the wall-crawler to a nearby bank that is being robbed by the Sandman.
Sandman surprises Spider-Man when he explains that he has no grudge against Spider-Man for his last defeat at his hands and asks the web-spinner to look the other way.[Continuity 3] When Spider-Man refuses to let him get away with his crime, Sandman lashes out violently. The Sandman easily pummels the wall-crawler, leaving him laying on the ground while he escapes. As Spider-Man recovers from the beating, one of the officers on the scene tries to arrest him. Fearing getting unmasked, Spider-Man quickly escapes by scurrying down a nearby manhole. As he flees through the muck and sludge of the sewers, Spider-Man wonders if other heroes have to suffer these sorts of indignities. The next morning, Peter gets dressed for the day, being cautious of the bruises that cover his body. Seeing that Peter is pale, Aunt May begins to worry. As Peter makes another excuse as to why he doesn't look well, he thinks about how he hates lying to his Aunt even if he is doing it to protect his double identity.
When Peter arrives at school he passes by Flash Thompson and his friends. Flash is boasting about how he thinks Spider-Man will eventually capture the Sandman. When Tiny asks Peter what he thinks about Spider-Man's recent defeat, he walks past the group without saying anything. Taking this as an insult, Jason Ionello shoves Peter into the locker. Due to his injuries sustained fighting the Sandman, the sudden shock to his injuries causes Peter to blackout. He later wakes up in the nurse's office. When she tries to convince Peter to go home for the day, Parker says he's fine and rushes out of the office. Having seen the bruises on his body, the nurse would have suspected the boy was being abused at home but knows better since Peter lives with his elderly Aunt. She chalks it up to the boy not wanting to be seen as a roughneck given his reputation. After school, Peter goes to the Daily Bugle where he turns in his photos of the Spider-Man/Sandman battle to J. Jonah Jameson. As Jameson tries to come up with a suitable headline, Peter hates himself for selling photos that make Spider-Man look bad. However, he has no choice since because he and Aunt May need the money. As he walks out of Jonah's office, Peter wonders if he should give up being Spider-Man since he was defeated by Sandman before, and fears that it might happen again. On his way out he is approached by Betty Brant who asks if they are still on for their date on Friday. Seeing how miserable she looks, Betty asks Peter if he's okay. He loses his temper on her, sarcastically telling her that life is peachy before storming out of the office.
Over the next few days, the Sandman begins a string of robberies. Thanks to his sand powers he is able to evade capture from the authorities. His crime spree eventually gains the attention of the Avengers, prompting Giant-Man, the Wasp, and Iron Man to also try looking for the villain. Meanwhile, Peter Parker remains on the sidelines, becoming more and more depressed that he can't do anything about it. When Jason Ionello tries to flick a paperclip at Peter in class, Liz Allen stops him, telling him to stop bullying Parker. By Friday, Peter's bruises have all but faded and he is back in perfect health, just in time for his date with Betty Brant. However, when they go out for dinner, Peter is lost in thought. Noticing that something is troubling him, Betty gives him a pep-talk that convinces him to get over his self-doubt, relating to someone she knew that gave up on himself.[Continuity 4] Inspired to go back out and find the Sandman, Peter pays for their dinner and tells her that he has something that he needs to do.
Searching the city, Spider-Man eventually comes across the Sandman as he making his escape from Grabois Aerospace Laboratories. Their battle sends them crashing into the main lab. There, Spider-Man dodges the Sandman's blows and begins switching on one of the massive turbines. As the machine whirs to life, the Sandman realizes that he is going to be sucked into the device. His final words to Spider-Man is a warning that this indignity has now made things personal. Just then, the Sandman is sucked into the turbine and the particles of his body are sprayed across the city. Surprisingly, the scientists are relieved that Spider-Man saved them even though the turbine was damaged, as it will cost less to fix it than pay the Sandman protection money. Although he thinks this will reflect positively on him in the press, the very next day Peter is upset to see the Daily Bugle accusing Spider-Man of helping the Sandman to escape. Adding insult to injury, Jonah is still gloating about it when Peter goes to the Daily Bugle to ask Betty out on another date. She tells him to hold on for a moment and transfers Jonah an incoming call from his son John. Taking the call, Jonah is shocked by what John has called to tell him. John Jameson assures his father that what he has told him is true and he will be coming to New York in a few weeks to begin arrangements for his startling revelation.
- This story takes place after the events of Strange Tales #115.
- The flashback here takes place immediately after the events of Amazing Spider-Man #7. Peter's arm is depicted as being in a sling, this is because he injured his arm battling the Vulture in that same story.
- Sandman states that he battled Spider-Man "that one time". He is referring to their first battle, which took place in Amazing Spider-Man #4. However he fought Spider-Man an additional time after this, as seen in Giant-Size Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #1. The omission of that battle here is because Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 was published years after this story.
- The person Betty was referring to here is her brother Bennett. Bennett used to be a successful lawyer until his gambling debts got him in trouble. Bennett's fall from grace is detailed in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #12 and Amazing Spider-Man #11.
- Was reprinted and re-released in 2006, but contained the same content, and slightly altered cover. It still said November on the cover, but December on the inside. All advertisements were replaced with ones from 2006.
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