Appearing in "Phreak-Out!"
- Phreak (Steve Petty) (First appearance as Phreak)
- Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln) (First appearance)
- Tarantula (Luis Alvarez)
- Roland Rayburn
- Ronda Kramer
- Dr. Karl Mendoza (Death)
- General Ramone
- Jake Dorman
- The Living Brain (Recap)
- Kate (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
- North America
- South America
Synopsis for "Phreak-Out!"
On his way home, Spider-Man happens upon his wife Mary Jane on her way home from grocery shopping.[Continuity 1] She is startled because she had spent most of the day apartment hunting for the couple. The wall-crawler offers to carry her home the rest of the way and tells her about the disastrous day he had substituting at his old high school, Midtown High and how it led to a battle with the Living Brain.[Continuity 2] He tells her that the robot was controlled by Steve Petty, a disenfranchised teen who was lashing out at his bullies, someone that Peter could relate to due to his own turbulent adolescence. Inside their apartment, Mary Jane points out that Peter may have been lonely as a teenager, but he was never a loser. Getting a whiff of her husband, Mary Jane tells him to take a shower and playfully suggests that she will join him.
That evening, Jake Dorman and his girlfriend Ronda are in the school parking lot making out. Jake has grown impatient as he has a 10 o'clock curfew. However, any thoughts of romance are quickly ended when they see a flash of light come out of one of the basement windows of the school. Remembering that this is where Steve Petty always hung out and that the authorities are out looking for him, Jake decides to go and check it out, taking Ronda with him. Down in the basement, Steve has rigged himself up with a mechanical exoskeleton that he is powering up. Still seeking to lash out at those he believes have wronged him, Steve intends to pay a visit to Peter Parker and see what his idol thinks of him now. As he powers up his armor, Steve decides to call himself Phreak, after the nickname they gave him in school. Outside, Jake and Ronda witness what Steve is doing just as things start to get out of control. When his tormentors burst through the door, Steve tells them to stay back because the equipment is short-circuiting. Soon, she is screaming in pain as the computers short out and his body is super-charged with electricity. The power surge begins shorting out the wiring in the basement when suddenly, Steve pulls free from the machine. As he flees down the hallway, shrieking in pain, as he goes the florescent lights over his head begin to explode.
Elsewhere, a mobster known as Tombstone is waiting in the back of a limo outside of an office building. He and his drivers are waiting for Roland Rayburn to exit the building. When he does, Tombstone tells his men to follow after him. At that very moment, Joe Robertson is leaving a diner. Looking at the limo parked on the street, Robertson catches a glimpse of Tombstone. Filled with fear, he is surprised that Tombstone is back in his life after all these years.[Continuity 3] While in a South American town under a government dictatorship, soldiers order people off the street or they will be experimented upon by Dr. Karl Mendoza. Even out on the streets, the people can hear the screams of Luis Alvarez, Mendoza's latest patient. Alvarez, a notorious soldier, is being experimented upon to give him powers so he can become the successor to the original Tarantula. The pain is so incredible that Alvarez becomes unhinged and vows to kill Mendoza. Leaving the room, Karl assures General Ramon that the experiments will be finished soon.
Back in New York City, Peter Parker tosses and turns in his sleep, his mind plagued with memories of high school. Suddenly he wakes up because his spider-sense is going off. Wondering what it could be, Peter rushes out into his bedroom to see all the electrical devices in the place are starting to short circuit and blow out. The commotion wakes Mary Jane up, and Peter decides to go and see what's going on. With nobody watching, Peter climbs up to the roof where he witnesses a television antenna is lit up like it was struck by lightning. Suddenly, Peter hears Mary Jane scream. Rushing back to his apartment, he sees Phreak in his home with Mary Jane in his electrified clutches. Peter tells Steve to let his wife go, but Phreak refuses. He then rams his fist into the wall causing an electrical burst that causes Peter's television to explode. Parker's leg is sliced open by the shrapnel from the explosion. Finally, Phreak lets go of Mary Jane and moves in to attack Peter. Peter grabs Phreak by the hands and tosses him onto the couch. Starting to feel pain again, Phreak grabs Mary Jane again and flees. Peter gets up to go after them but soon realizes how seriously his leg wound it is. Unable to give up while his wife is in danger, Peter struggles to his feet and slips on his Spider-Man costume.
Out on the roof of his apartment building, Peter can see that Phreak is heading to Times Square from the street lights that short-circuited when he passed them by. Not far away, Mary Jane asks Phreak why he is doing this, and he explains that he wants to show the whole world something he can't fully understand. MJ manages to get away when Phreak stops to deal with a police officer on horseback. However, he catches her again by causing a number of cars near her to begin short-circuiting. Not far away, Spider-Man closes the gap between them and vows to make Phreak pay if he harms his wife. While at an apartment building in Queens, Jake and Ronda are watching the story unfold on the news. Feeling that this is all his fault, Jake tells Ronda that this is all his fault and he needs to do something. By this time, Phreak has taken Mary Jane up onto a giant electronic billboard. There he rants and raves about Peter Parker, and how he should have understood the pain he was going through. Mary Jane tells Phreak that her husband was nothing like Steve in high school. When he turns to threaten her, Spider-Man swings in and kicks Phreak in the face. Spider-Man is caught off guard when Phreak takes control of some electrical wires and wraps the hero in them in an attempt to electrocute him. While down below, as police surround the scene, Jake and Ronda speed past the police cordon and rush into the building in the hopes of talking Steve out of doing something dangerous.
Up above, Mary Jane encourages Spider-Man to fight back, telling her husband that he is nothing like the Phreak. This gives the wall-crawler the motivation to break free from the wires. Before Phreak can renew his attack, Jake and Ronda appear and tell Steve that they are sorry for bullying him and that they want to help. While Phreak is distracted, Spider-Man pushes him into the massive electronic billboard. The feedback of electricity finally shorts out Phreak's armor. That's when a police SWAT Team burst in and are about to shoot Phreak when Jake stands in the way. He tells them that Steve is no longer a threat and tells them that Steve is his friend. Back in his right mind, Steve is touched that Jake now considers him a friend, Jake assures Steve that he will do whatever he can to help. Later, back at their apartment, Mary Jane is patching up her husband following the battle. Peter tells his wife that he still thinks that he and Steve are alike. Mary Jane then points out that although they both had similar feelings, feelings aren't as important as what one does with those feelings is what matters, and that is the fundimental difference between Peter Parker and Steve Petty, and that is why she loves him.
Steve Petty becomes mentally deranged with power and calls himself Phreak. Also in this issue a new Tarantula in the form of Luis Alvarez is born.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage was erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here, as opposed to husband and wife.
- This battle occurred last issue.
- Joe Robertson had a relationship with Tombstone dating back to High School. The future criminal always forced Joe to drop stories that would have gotten him arrested, as explained in Spectacular Spider-Man #139.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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