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Appearing in "Petty Crimes"

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  • A minivan
  • Police cars

Synopsis for "Petty Crimes"

In a dark alley in Manhattan, a man attempts to mug a homeless woman who is sleeping in an alley. Before he can harm the woman, Spider-Man lowers himself down and interrupts the mugging. Spider-Man easily webs up the thief, but the situation becomes embarrassing because he is wearing an imitation Spider-Man costume he purchased on a recent trip to Germany.[Continuity 1] Seeing a loose thread coming out of the back seam of the costume, the homeless woman pulls on it, causing the costume to start to unravel. Humiliated by this, Spider-Man quickly web-slings away, wondering if this sort of thing ever happens to Captain America.

Meanwhile, in Queens, Nathan Lubensky locks up his apartment and wonders what is happening to the neighborhood after a series of robberies. However, he believes that he has nothing worth stealing and that he misses being with May Parker. He recalls the events that led up to his getting kicked out of May's home. It all started when he was beaten up by loan sharks over his gambling debts. This landed him in the hospital while he recovered from the beating.[Continuity 2] Later when May's home was invaded he opened a blind so that one of the attackers was shot and killed by a police sniper.[Continuity 3] It was then that he lost May, and although she has invited him over to her home on occasion, things haven't been the same since.[Continuity 4] He goes out to buy the morning paper and gives change to a homeless man named Norton. Norton asks him what time it is, but Nathan informs him that he left his watch at home. As Nathan goes about his day, Norton takes his shopping cart and pushes it to Lubenski's apartment. Furious that he is treated like dirt, the homeless man shows amazing strength by ripping the front door of its hinges. Once inside, Nester begins looking for Nathan's watch.

At that moment, Peter Parker has returned home and begins the chore of trying to fix the makeshift costume. That's when his wife Mary Jane returns home from shopping.[Continuity 5] Seeing the sad state of his costume, Mary Jane decides to do something about it. She calls up fashion designer Bob Flanagan and asks him if he can make up a Spider-Man costume for her husband to wear at a costume party. Peter shows his gratitude by kissing his wife, but they are interrupted by a phone call. It is Peter's Aunt May who has called to tell him about the break-in at Nathan Lubenski's house. Peter hangs up the phone and tells Mary Jane what's going on and that he is going to Queens to see what he can do. When Mary Jane points out that he only has half a costume, Peter assures her that not everything requires Spider-Man.

Back in Queens, Norton Fester takes the items he stole from Nathan Lubensky's apartment and brings it to a local pawn shop. The shop owner buys everything except for an expensive ring as it is obviously stolen. With the money he has earned, Norton heads to a liquor store to buy some alcohol. Later, when Peter arrives at Aunt May's house, she tells him that Nathan is fine, but is worried her home might be next. Peter assures her that a thief wouldn't break into a house full of people. On his way out, Peter thinks about how he and Nathan haven't always gotten along, but hopes that he and Aunt May can work out their issues.[Continuity 6] As he walks down the street, he witnesses Norton Fester stumbling down the street. Not recognizing the drunken bum, Peter feels sorry for him for being so weak. What he doesn't see is when Fester trips over his feet and grabs onto a nearby fire hydrant to brace himself. His grip is so strong his finger press into the metal like a knife through butter. Shortly thereafter, Peter arrives at Nathan's apartment just as the police are finishing up their investigation.

The old man is unhappy to see Peter there, thinking the youth is there to take photos. Peter explains that he came to see what he can do for Nathan. That's when Peter sees the force that was used to break into the apartment and wonders what could have caused it. When Peter tells Nathan that his Aunt is worried about him, the old man stops being defensive. He tells Peter that the thief stole his and May's engagement ring. Nathan, feeling like a failure, apologizes of being so critical of Peter, saying that he was projecting his own self-worth. Peter points out that Nathan was right about his inattention to his Aunt May. Nate now believes that Peter is entitled to live his own life and he had no right to judge him for his decisions. Peter lets bygones be bygones and helps straighten up Nathan's apartment. After they are finished, Peter tells Nathan that he is going to do his own investigation to try and track down the stolen property, assuring him that even though he's not covering a story for the Bugle he can be pretty persuasive.

The next day, Peter asks Mary Jane if his new costume is ready and she throws it in his face. Back in costume, Peter web-slings to Queens where he starts canvassing pawn shops to try and find the property stolen from Nathan's home. None of the pawnbrokers want to talk to him, however, the last one tells him that someone tries to sell a ring to him and he directed them to Giovanni's pawnshop. At that moment, Norton Fester is trying to sell Nathan's gold watch and engagement ring to Giovanni when suddenly Spider-Man interrupts them. Fester flees, and after checking the goods he brought in, discovers that it was the property stolen from Nathan. Going outside, Spider-Man finds no trace of the thief and wonders how het got away so fast. Not far away, Norton Fester goes digging through his shopping cart frantically looking for his Looter costume. Meanwhile, Peter returns the stolen property to Nathan and asks him about the homeless man he encountered. Nathan identifies him as Norton Fester, finally putting two and two together, Peter realizes that the thief is his old foe the Looter. He tells Nathan to call Aunt May's house because he saw Fester casing her home before and rushes out to her place. Slipping in between houses, Peter changes into Spider-Man and web-slings over to Aunt May's house.

There he finds the Looter terrorizing Aunt May and her boarders, who were about to leave in a van. Spider-Man swings down and begins battling the Looter. However, when the villain tries to club him with an electrical pole, Spider-Man is momentarily distracted by webbing up the live wires, allowing the Looter to strike him from behind. During the fight, both Nathan and the police arrive on the scene. When Aunt May tries to exit the van, Peter is once again distracted and is tossed through a window. The Looter then threatens to harm the seniors, blaming them for his impoverished life. Spider-Man recovers and points out that nobody is responsible for his being homeless except for the hero who beat him all the time. Vowing to succeed again, Spider-Man leaps back into battle again. Spider-Man lays into the Looter, reminding him that it was his hairbrained schemes that led to his defeat time after time. While the wall-crawler is busy, Nathan takes the chance to try and save May, wheeling himself past the police. It's by this point, the Looter surrenders, but the police have to pull Spider-Man off the villain. With the danger over, Spider-Man leaps away. With Aunt May and the others safe, Nathan recovers the Looter's bag of stolen goods and recovers Aunt May's engagement ring.

It's then that Peter returns from changing out of his costume and is glad that his Aunt is okay. That's when Nathan gives May her ring. The pair admit that they miss each other and that perhaps there is still hope for them. Nathan then asks Peter to wheel him inside, because he wants to be at home with friends.

Solicit Synopsis

Nathan Lubensky has been robbed! And he's determined to go to any length to retrieve one of the stolen articles -— Aunt May's engagement ring! Wait til you see what Spider-Man does once he finds out about the crime!


Continuity Notes

  1. Peter was forced to buy this costume while trying to uncover who murdered Ned Leeds in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1. The reason why Peter is wearing this instead of his black-and-white costume, is because Mary Jane asked Peter to stop wearing it after their encounter with Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300. Spider-Man hasn't had a red-and-blue costume since his last one was destroyed in Web of Spider-Man #17.
  2. Nathan was beaten up in Amazing Spider-Man #271.
  3. Nathan was asked to leave May's boarding house when he allowed a police sniper to shoot a thug who invaded her home circa Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #113.
  4. Nathan last visited May in Amazing Spider-Man #300.
  5. Peter and Mary Jane are referred as husband and wife here. However, years later, the demon Mephisto erased their marriage from existence in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple as opposed to being married.
  6. Nathan Lubensky has been critical of Peter since Amazing Spider-Man #254. Peter mentions how Nathan Lubensky didn't attend his wedding. In the pre-altered timeline, Peter and Mary Jane were married in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21.

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