Appearing in "Chains"
- Chameleon (Dmitri Smerdyakov)
- Corrupt NYPD Officers (Only in flashback)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Cameo)
- Sam (Jameson's Informant) (Only in flashback) (Death)
- Windmere (Editor; the New York Herald Journal Express) (Only in flashback)
- Danny (Copyboy) (Only in flashback) (Only appearance; dies)
- New York City (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Chains"
A prisoner in his own home, J. Jonah Jameson shouts at Spider-Man as he swings by his building, however, the wall-crawler doesn't hear him. For days Jameson has been tied up while his captor, the Chameleon, has stolen his identity to gain information on the criminal underworld through the Daily Bugle. Jameson insists that the Chameleon can't keep up this charade forever, but the villain begs to differ. Changing his form to resemble Jonah, the Chameleon boasts that his abilities to mimic others is beyond reproach and he has everyone fooled. To prove his point, he tosses a number of newspapers onto Jonah's lap that contains editorials written by the Chameleon. Jonah complains that he can't read the papers with both of his hands handcuffed to his bed. The Chameleon decides there could be no harm in uncuffing one of Jameson's hands. However, he decides against it and lengthens the chain instead. When Jonah asks why he is doing this, the Chameleon explains that he is using the Daily Bugle to take down the Kingpin.[Continuity 1] Once the Chameleon has left, Jonah uses his extra reach to try and knock over his stand-up mirror. However, he only succeeds in moving it so he can see his reflection. Seeing his face looking back at him, Jameson begins to think back to his career as a newspaper reporter....
J. Jonah Jameson was 20 years old and a reporter for the New York Herald Journal-Express.[Continuity 2] Sitting at a bar with an informant named Sam, Jameson hears how Sam has proof of police corruption in the city, but won't report on it because he is afraid of his life. Sam tells Jonah that he knows this because he is a bag man for the Manfredi family and delivers bribes to local police precincts. He is about to name a well-regarded police officer a shot is fired outside and it fatally strikes Sam. Shocked by this scene, J. Jonah Jameson looks out the shattered window and sees a police officer. Realizing that the story is true, the young reporter becomes afraid....
... By this point in his recollection, Jonah has managed to kick the mirror, shattering it. Grabbing a piece of broken mirror, ignoring the pain when it cuts into his fingers, Jameson reflects sunlife off the mirror in the hopes of getting the attention of a passing traffic helicopter. Unfortunately, the pilot thinks the flashing light is nothing more than a prank being played by a kid. As the chopper flies by, Jonah begins cursing the pilot for not looking and his mind drifts back in time again...
... It's an angry J. Jonah Jameson who bursts into the office of his editor demanding to know why they killed his story on police corruption in the city. His editor tells Jonah that his account is missing facts and they could be looking a libel suit. Still unhappy, Jameson insists that he will get the needed facts. Storming out of the editor's office he is joined by Danny, the paper's copyboy. Danny begs Jonah to let him tag along, and thinking the kid needs to experience what being a real reporter is like, he agrees to let the boy come along, but warns him that it could get pretty rough. When they get outside, Jonah and Danny find a trio of cops waiting for them. They have come to warn Jonah against sticking his nose where it doesn't belong and to prove this point they beat him senseless. As the cops leave the scene, none are aware that someone with an interest in J. Jonah Jameson has been watching the whole scene. As Danny helps Jonah get off the ground, Jameson decides that he could use a strong drink. As they head to the nearest bar, the man who was watching follows after Jameson in his car...
... Remembering how he ignored the pain of a broken arm, Jonah considers his bleeding hand for a moment. Realizing the blood could be a good lubricant, he begins trying to pull his hand free from the shackle. As he strains he tries to ignore the pain....
... Jonah is at the bar nursing a drink with Danny when they are joined by William Walter Goodman, the owner of the Daily Bugle. Goodman offers Jonah a cigar, saying that they are better for him than the cigarettes he was smoking. Goodman explains that he had taken an interest in Jonah since he first started writing for the Daily Bugle and wonders why Jonah had quit. Jameson tells Goodman that he wanted to be a real reporter and the Journal-Express offered him the job. Showing Jonah the front page story of the Journal-Express, which features a story about Officer Kenner being hailed as a hero. Kenner was one of the cops who beat him up in the street. Jonah doesn't think Kenner is much of a hero. Goodman tells him some heroes work in the dark and reveal the truth to the public and asks him to come back to the Bugle, saying that he is a good judge of character. Jameson, seeing the opportunity to finally publish the stories he wants to tell, accepts the offer even if it means he might get killed...
... Jonah manages to pull off the shackle from his left hand, although the pain is excruciating. Struggling to concentrate, Jameson spots the key to the other shackle on his dress. He reaches out for it, but it is just out of reach...
... Now working for the Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson continues to pursue the corruption story. Finally, finds a source that was more reliable than Sam ever was, Officer Michael O'Hill. O'Hill gives him a key for a locker at the Port Authority where a ledger is kept to keep track of bribes police officers have received. The officer tells Jonah that Kenner is one of the many names on the ledger and explains that he came forward because he is ashamed of what's happening. Thanking O'Hill, Jonah and Danny head off to the Port Authority. However, when they arrive, Jonah spots Officer Kenner. He gives Danny the key and tells him to hide and makes a break for it himself. Wondering why Kenner is at the Port Authority, Jonah suddenly realizes that this is all a trap and begins looking for Danny. He is too late to stop Danny from opening the locker with the key, setting off a bomb that was rigged inside. As the dust settles, Jonah reaches out, calling Danny's name, but Danny gives no reply. This is because Danny is dead...
... Jonah finally manages to get the key and unlocks his other hand. Although he is now free, the entire ordeal took too much out of Jonah. The exhaustion, pain, and blood loss all make him pass out on the side of his bed as he tries to escape...
... Jameson took Danny's death hard and went on a bender. Eventually, Walter Goodman comes to tell Jameson to clean himself up. He points out that while the deaths of Danny and Sam were because of Jonah's own fear, he shouldn't give up. That he should continue to fight, telling Jameson that the choice is his on if he should continue or give up...
.. Pulling himself up, Jonah gathers his strength to try and make a break for it. His mind reels back to the day after Danny's death...
...He remembers how he went and confronted Officer Kenner and that he was going to get him for killing Danny. Kenner doesn't take these threats from from Jameson very well. Kenner begins beating on Jonah, telling him that as a police officer he could have him arrested and nobody would question it, just like when he murdered Sam and Danny. Hearing this confession, Jonah spits in Kenner's face. When Kenner goes to attack him again, Jonah reveals that he was wearing a walkie-talkie, on the other end was Walter Goodman who was recording their conversation at the Bugle's office. Realizing that he has lost, and knowing what they do to cops in prison, Kenner begs Jonah to have mercy offering him whatever he wants. This doesn't work with Jonah, as the only thing he wanted out of this story was his self-respect and so he leaves...
... With his recollection over, Jonah has made his way to the elevator to his apartment. Unfortunatel, when the doors open, he finds the Chameleon inside. The villain had to come back because he forgot his briefcase. In response to this escape attempt, the Chameleon has Jameson stripped down to his underwear and shackled up in his closet. Even though Jameson has been locked away, he ignores these seemingly futile details as he is more determined than ever to break free.
- ↑ The Chameleon has been doing so between the events of The Spectacular Spider-Man #150-154.
- ↑ This flashback is framed as though it takes place in the 1940s, however this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. This is because J. Jonah Jameson is an individual with a normal human aging process and as such, in order to prevent him from prematurely aging his past moves forward along with the Modern Age. Modern readers should interpret this flashback as happening 40 years prior to this story, but not to any specific time period.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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