Appearing in "The Enemy Unknown!"
- Daily Bugle Staff
- Mary Jane Watson (Appears in flashback)
- Ron Corbett (Only appearance) (Only in flashback) (Impersonates Spider-Man)
- Bill Corbett (Only appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Mayor Ed Koch (Topical reference)
- Mary Corbett (Only appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Edward Corbett (Only appearance; dies) (Only in flashback)
- NYPD (Only in flashback)
- Irish Sea
- New York City (Only in flashback)
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters (Only in flashback)
- Spider-Tracer (Only in flashback)
- Spider-Man's Black Suit (Only in flashback)
- Roosevelt Island Tram (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "The Enemy Unknown!"
Peter Parker and Joy Mercado are aboard a ferry to Ireland so they can investigate Roxxon's involvement in recent terrorist activities in the United Kingdom. As they watch the sea from on deck, Peter begins to sneeze. Joy tells him to look after himself or he will get sick. This causes Peter to think about the last time he caught a cold and how it almost ended the career of Spider-Man...
Sometime earlier, in New York City, a gang of muggers forces a man into an alley in order to rob him. They spot Spider-Man clinging to the side of a building. Instead of leaping down and busting them, the wall-crawler ignores them and leaves. However, the noise wakes up a woman in one of the apartments and the police are called. The muggers are quickly arrested and word of Spider-Man's indifference puzzles the police.[Continuity 1] A few blocks away, the man who appears to be Spider-Man meets with his brother. As it turns out, this man is an impostor and the pair are trying to ruin the wall-crawler's reputation.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker suffers over a cold in his apartment with Mary Jane keeping him company. He is grateful that Mary Jane has come to take care of him, but it reminds him of his Aunt May and how he hasn't seen her much recently. As Mary Jane gets up to go, Peter is relieved as he doesn't know how to talk about Mary Jane paying for the repairs to his apartment.[Continuity 2] Elsewhere, uptown, the two youths looking to ruin Spider-Man's reputation begin the next phase of their scheme. The brother in the Spider-Man costume breaks into a jewelry store and begins robbing it. When the police arrive, this Spider-Man impostor makes a point of letting the officers see him committing a robbery. With the help of his brother, this faux Spider-Man manages to get away by swinging to another rooftop with a rope. After changing into his civilian clothing, the impostor and his brother go down to the streets and overhear the police blaming Spider-Man for the robbery. The news travels fast, eventually reaching the office of the Mayor of New York City.[Continuity 3] The mayor is concerned because he was afraid something like this would happen and that the police are ill-equipped to deal with a superhero gone rogue. His assistant also warns the mayor that this could turn into a public relations disaster.
While at the offices of the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is delighted to hear that Spider-Man is wanted by the law, as this confirms what he has been saying about the wall-crawler the whole time. Joe Robertson reminds Jonah that Spider-Man has yet to be arrested and brought to trial. Jameson dismisses this, looking forward to the people of this city rousting the wall-crawler and dispensing vigilante justice. Back at Peter's apartment, Mary Jane catches the news about Spider-Man's alleged robbery on the news. Before she can shut it off, Peter hears it and insists on doing something about it, even though he's sick. Peter insists on doing it to repair what little reputation that Spider-Man has left. Mary Jane silently curses herself for convincing Peter not to give up being Spider-Man.[Continuity 4] At that very moment, the police are focusing their efforts on capturing Spider-Man, leaving real criminals unimpeded in their plots. While at the home of the men slandering the wall-crawler, they paste the latest negative newspaper report into a scrapbook, confident that the wall-crawler will never guess who is behind this frame-up.
Changed into his Spider-Man costume, Peter swings off, leaving Mary Jane to worry about his safety. As the real wall-crawler swings across the city, he is spotted by a patrol car that notes his position. Eventually, Spider-Man finds the impostor on a rooftop and swoops down to stop him. However, he sneezes losing his balance allowing the impostor to flee. Luckily, Spider-Man manages to tag the impostor with a spider-tracer. Just then the police arrive on the rooftop, prompting Spider-Man to make a hasty retreat. Following the signal of his spider-tracer, Spider-Man witnesses the two brothers in an alley. Too weak to collar them now, Spider-Man decides to follow them home before getting some rest. Along the way, the web-slinger is impeded thanks to his illness and has a few close calls. Ultimately, the two brothers lead him to an apartment building. Satisfied that he has found their home, Spider-Man webs up a hammock so he can get some rest in the hopes that he'll be strong enough to capture these impostors later. Meanwhile, inside the apartment, the two brothers gloat over their ability to outsmart Spider-Man. One of the brothers picks up a photo of their father and tells it that they are finally going to defeat his killer.
When Spider-Man wakes up a few hours later, his presence is noticed by a pair of crooks in a building across the street. They attempt to take a shot at the hero, but thanks to his spider-sense, the web-slinger easily webs them up before they can squeeze off a single shot. When Spider-Man enters the apartment owned by the men trying to frame him, he discovers that they are gone. Looking around, he finds the scrapbook and pages through it. Among the newspaper articles is one about Ron Corbett, the man who has been impersonating Spider-Man. He learns that Ron trained to compete in the Olympics and earned the nickname "Spider-Man" due to his skill.[Continuity 5] Wondering why Ron would try to frame him for crimes, Spider-Man finds the answer in another article. This one is about how Ron's father was killed while vacationing in New York. Suddenly, Spider-Man remembers the situation. He was trying to stop a gang of masked robbers who just held up the First National Bank. While they fled, the crooks tried to take Mary Corbett hostage. Before Spider-Man could rescue her, her husband tried to save her and was fatally shot. Ultimately, Spider-Man managed to capture the crooks. This didn't stop the public for blaming Spider-Man for the death, particularly J. Jonah Jameson who sensationalized it in the Daily Bugle. At the time Peter was depressed over this death, but Mary Jane reminded him that if he never acted there would be more innocent people who would be dead had Spider-Man not saved them.
Realizing why Ron and his brother Bill want to frame Spider-Man, he wonders what they might do next. Looking around the apartment, Spider-Man discovers that they intend to attack the Roosevelt Island Tram. At that moment, Ron Corbett and his brother have boarded a tram. There, Ron puts on his Spider-Man costume and takes control of the tram. Pretending to take his brother Bill hostage, they go out onto the top of the tram and wait for the authorities to circle it in helicopters. From there, "Spider-Man" demands a ransom of one million dollars or he will knock the tram into the water below. When news reaches the mayor's office, the mayor refuses to give into the demands and orders sharpshooters to surround the area. Also en route is J. Jonah Jameson so he can personally witness the events as they unfold. Spider-Man is on his way to the scene as well, although he is slightly delayed by police officers who begin to open fire on him. When the wall-crawler arrives on the tram those witnessing are surprised to see two Spider-Men. In a panic, Ron attempts to use the blowtorch on the tram cables. However, when Spider-Man lands on the tram, Bill loses his balance and falls off. Spider-Man saves Bill, much to Ron's surprise. Then, the compromised tram cable begins to snap, but the masked hero webs it up, saving everyone on board.
Ron realizes the errors of his ways and Spider-Man convinces the boy that his father's death was an accident. Down below, the crowd realizes that Spider-Man was being framed and that he has been innocent of any wrong doing, much to the chagrin of J. Jonah Jameson. After Ron and Bill are turned over to the authorities, Spider-Man returns home. There he continues to recuperate from his cold with Mary Jane. They watch the news where the mayor thanks Spider-Man for his help. He then gets a call from his Aunt May who wants to see how he is feeling and to dote over him.
... Peter is snapped out of his recollection by Joy Mercado just as they are arriving on the shores of Ireland. Soon they are driving across the countryside in a rented car. Peter can hardly believe that such a beautiful country could be a hotbed of so much political strife. When they arrive at their destination, Joy points out their story, which comes to a shock to Peter Parker.
Spider-Man tracks the terrorists who tried to kill British Prime Minister Thatcher to their home turf—and that's when the trouble for Spider-Man really starts!
- ↑ The mugger's victim recounts how Spider-Man had recently attacked someone, this is a misinformed view of the events of Web of Spider-Man #13. The officer recounts how Spider-Man recently helped the NYPD take down the Sin-Eater in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110.
- ↑ Peter's apartment was firebombed in Web of Spider-Man #11. Facing eviction, Peter was bailed out thanks to Mary Jane paying for the repairs in Web of Spider-Man #15.
- ↑ The mayor of New York City is depicted as Ed Koch. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- ↑ Peter had considered giving up being Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #275 but was talked out of it by Mary Jane.
- ↑ The newspaper article specifically states that Ron Corbett was training for the 1984 Olympics. This is a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Flashback: Page 15-16 - Spider-Man witnesses the death of Edward Corbett.
- Flashback: Page 2-23 - Spider-Man is framed by Ron and Bill Corbett.
J. Jonah Jameson:
- Flashback: Page 15-16 - Jameson reports the death of Edward Corbett.
- Flashback: Page 2-23 - Jameson demonizes Spider-Man in the press.
Mary Jane Watson:
- Flashback: Page 15-16 - Mary Jane encourages Peter to not give up crime-fighting in light of the death of Edward Corbett.
- Flashback: Page 2-23 - Mary Jane provides moral support when Spider-Man has been framed for crimes.
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