Appearing in "Underworld!"
- Charla Hanks (First appearance)
- Seth Hanks (First appearance)
- Wayne (Only appearance)
- Dr. Udoff (First appearance)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Underworld!"
In the Appalachia Mountains a young woman and her son flee through the mist covered forest. They hope to get to the nearby highway and get help. However, they soon find themselves surrounded by locals armed with various weapons. The woman begs them to let them go back to Temple Corners. When pleading for mercy fails, the woman begins to pray as the men close in on her and her son. The men take the boy and disappear into the mist, leaving the mother sobbing alone in the woods.
In Manhattan, Spider-Man is web-slinging across the city in the pouring rain. Unable to find any crimes to photograph for the Daily Bugle, the wall-crawler returns to his apartment. Needing some fast money, he begins looking through some of his old photographs to see if there is anything worth selling to the Bugle, but finds nothing useful.[Continuity 1] Peter also needs to look into why his Aunt May's pension check has been delayed, but first, he has to stop at the Daily Bugle. Looking through his closet, he finds that he only has one clean shirt. However, as he scrambles to get dressed, it gets caught in a door and rips. With no other clothes, Peter is forced to wear a Strawberry Shortcake t-shirt that he got as a gag-gift during the last Bugle Christmas party. Once he arrives at the office, everyone has a laugh at his expense. When Peter arrives at Joe Robertson's office, he tries to sell some of his Spider-Man photos, but Joe turns them down due to their poor quality.
Just then, J. Jonah Jameson comes into the office, happy to see Peter Parker is in the office. He has something exciting to show Peter and takes him up to the next floor where he unveils the offices of the newly revived Now Magazine.[Continuity 2] Peter is not the only one that he has brought up from the Daily Bugle, Jonah has also enlisted reporter Joy Mercado. Jameson wants to send Joy and Peter to Temple Corners, where a recent factory closure has caused local frustrations that may explode into violence before long. Peter is about to turn down the assignment because he has to sort out Aunt May's social security situation. However, Jameson reams him out for trying to turn down a paying job. Remembering that he really needs the money, Peter accepts the assignment. When he tries to call Aunt May, there is no answer. Peter decides to leave a note for Betty Leeds to ask her to call his Aunt May. Unfortunately, as Peter leaves another co-worker puts her coffee mug on top of the note.
Soon, Peter and Joy are on a private plane heading southwest, a few hours later they pull up to the factory in Temple Corners and discovers that it is dead quiet. Pulling up to the security checkpoint, Joy Mercado questions the guard about the reports of labor unrest in the area. The guard tells her that she must be mistaken, but Joy isn't convinced. As she and Peter drive off, the guard calls his employers to tell them that there are reporters sniffing around. In town, everything appears normal, but Joy explains to Peter that Temple Corners is one of the poorest towns in Appalachia. However, as she points out, everyone seems to have new vehicles and electronics. She suggests that they find some answers by asking questions. In the local general store, Joy's questions make the owner nervous. Suddenly they hear the sound of glass breaking outside. Running out to see what the cause was, Peter and Joy find a local "welcoming committee" who have smashed the windshield of their jeep. The mob tells the outsiders to get out of town, however, they resist. That's when the mob tries to rough them up. However, they are unprepared for the fact that Peter and Joy are willing to fight back.[Continuity 3]
Soon, more locals are rushing at the two reporters, forcing them to flee. Ducking into an alley, a woman opens her door and tells the pair that they can hide in her home. With no warnings from his spider-sense, Peter convinces Joy that they should listen. Inside, the woman introduces herself as Charla Hanks and asks them to help her rescue her son Seth. She explains that "men without faces" took him after to the "center of the Earth". Joy thinks the woman is a drunk, but she tells her that these same men also pay the locals $1000 a day to pretend that nothing is happening. Suddenly, Peter's spider-sense begins to go off again, and he tries to suggest to Joy that they move on. However, Joy doesn't want to leave without hearing the full story. Suddenly, men in hazmat suits come crashing in through a wall. Seeing that they are armed, Peter decides to allow themselves to get captured as he doesn't want anyone to get hurt.[Continuity 4] Taken prisoner and loaded into a van, Joy asks Charla why these men are interested in her son. She isn't entirely sure, as her son is developmentally delayed, but suspects it might be due to his affinity for numbers.
To everyone's surprise, the van drives out to a field where a hidden lift lowers them down to an underground cave. Lead down a tunnel, Peter decides to take this as an opportunity to make a break for it. Using his hidden web-shooters, Peter webs up one of the guard's feet allowing him to flee down a fork in the tunnel. This allows Peter a chance to change into Spider-Man and get the drop on two of the armed men who follow after him. Looking around, the wall-crawler is surprised to discover that there is a massive underground city in these caves. Looking around, he witnesses as Joy and Charla are brought to a man named Doctor Udoff, who hopes that reunion between Charla and her son will further assist their project. Joy demands to know what this project is all about, but Udoff refuses to divulge that information. All he can say is that it will restructure global power and that Seth Hanks is vital to the project's success. From above, Spider-Man finds himself conflicted about what to do, fearing that if he swoops in as Spider-Man, Joy may make a connection between the masked hero and Peter Parker. However, he realizes that he has no choice and leaps down to save Joy and the Hanks. While Spider-Man deals with the guards, Dr. Udoff tries to round up Joy but she is more fight than he can handle.
Spider-Man manages to wrap up the last of the guards as Joy leads Charla and Seth to safety. Warned by his spider-sense, the wall-crawler is able to leap out of the way of a blast of molten magma. Spider-Man turns and finds himself facing up against the lava spewing villain known as Magma.
Peter Parker goes to Appalachia on his first assignment for NOW magazine. What he finds is not what he expects!
|Missing in Action|
|Web of Spider-Man #16||Web of Spider-Man #17||Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #117||Amazing Spider-Man #279||Web of Spider-Man #18|
- Peter remarks how he finds it hard to believe that Flash Thompson is the Hobgoblin. Flash was framed by the real Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man #276. However, he is cleared of all wrongdoing in Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- Now Magazine was a secondary publication put out by J. Jonah Jameson, first seen in Amazing Spider-Man #2. It was last published in Amazing Spider-Man #8. Jonah began working on a revival of Now Magazine after stepping down as editor-in-chief at the Daily Bugle in Amazing Spider-Man #251.
- Peter realizes he doesn't have to hold back as much since Joy had previously seen that he can fight in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #5.
- Peter recalls how leaping out of the way during his fight with the Sin-Eater resulted in innocent people getting harmed. That happened in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #108.