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Appearing in "The Harder They Fall"

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Synopsis for "The Harder They Fall"

This story continues from Spectacular Spider-Man #159...

Spider-Man is battling Goliath on the Triboro Bridge. As he is dodging the giant's fists, Spider-Man tries to convince him to stop fighting since he is yet another villain who has attacked him out of the blue.[Continuity 1] As Goliath continues the battle, Nick Katzenberg finds themselves stuck in traffic. However, he doesn't mind as it gives him a front row seat to take photos for the Daily Bugle. Katzenberg begins thinking of the negative headlines to further ruin Spider-Man's headlines. Spider-Man recalls how the last time he fought Goliath he was working under the alias of the Smuggler.[Continuity 2] However, Spider-Man is unimpressed with the new powers of the former Smuggler, as he is not the same Spider-Man he fought before. Suddenly, Spider-Man gives up his webs and begins flying in the air and is able to knock out Goliath with a few blows, sending the titan crashing to the ground. With the battle over, Spider-Man swings away, once more troubled by his newfound powers.[Continuity 3] Watching Spider-Man swinging away, Katzenberg thinks about the money he will make from pictures of the wall-crawler causing damage to the bridge. When the police arrive on the scene they begin to wonder how they are going to clear this mess when suddenly Goliath shrinks down to his natural size. As the police prepare to arrest Goliath, a van pulls up and a man claiming to be from the FBI tells them that they will be taking the super-powered criminal into their custody. What they are not aware of is the fact that these men are actually in the employ by the Kingpin who wants Goliath brought back to his office tower as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man is continuing his way to Queens to pay a visit to his Aunt May. On the way, he is still disturbed by the new powers he suddenly has following being exposed to an unknown energy source during an experiment at Empire State University. He wishes he could ask his Aunt May for advice but he doesn't want to burden her because she is dealing with the fact that her fiancee Nathan Lubenski is dying of heart disease.[Continuity 4] Changing into his civilian clothing and greets his Aunt. Nathan tells Peter that he feels great, but when Peter pulls May aside, she admits that he has been getting weaker each day. Seeing that Peter is troubled by something, May asks what's wrong. Peter asks for her advice on what she would do, hypothetically, if she had the power of life over death. Such a question comes to a shock to Aunt May. Elsewhere, Goliath is brought before the Kingpin, Magneto, and Doctor Doom. They are unhappy that Goliath failed on his mission to eliminate Spider-Man. Doctor Doom points out that Spider-Man is no longer a known quantity, but he has devised something to even the odds against the wall-crawler. Doom thinks to himself how he will use this to turn against his allies in the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy. Back in Queens, Aunt May answers Peter's shocking question. She tells him that such power given to a normal human being would be quite a burden, pointing out how would one decide who lives and who dies. She says that at her age she has come to accept death. She has learned to accept the death of her husband Ben, and she will accept it when it is Nathan's time to go as well.[Continuity 5] Her answers satisfied Peter and he thanks her for her advice.

An hour later, Nick Katzenberg has arrived at the Daily Bugle to show his photos of Spider-Man to Kate Cushing and the Daily Bugle's new owner, Thomas Fireheart.[Continuity 6] Katzenberg is shocked when Fireheart rejects the photos, telling him that the Daily Bugle is changing its editorial policy regarding Spider-Man. Nick is furious, thinking that Fireheart is worse than J. Jonah Jameson, however, he gets no sympathy from Kate. When Thomas returns to his office he finds Spider-Man waiting for him, and is furious at the intrusion and demands to know why Spider-Man has come to his office. The wall-crawler asks him to stop Daily Bugle's sudden attempts to promote Spider-Man as a hero. However, Fireheart refuses as he owes the masked hero a debt to honor.[Continuity 7] Their argument is interrupted when Glory Grant comes into the office to give Thomas to tell him that he as an urgent phone call. Seeing Spider-Man, and remembering how was responsible for the death of her lover Eduardo Lobo, leaves the room in tears.[Continuity 8] When the woman leaves, Thomas tells Spider-Man that he has nothing more to talk about and tells him to leave. When Thomas answers the phone, Spider-Man is surprised to discover that his new powers have also enhanced his hearing and he is able to hear that Fireheart is talking to the Kingpin. Hearing that the Kingpin is looking to talk to Spider-Man, the wall-crawler grabs the phone. He demands to know if the Kingpin has anything to do with the villains that have been attacking him out of the blue recently. The mob boss tells Spider-Man to meet him in Battery Park to discuss the matter. When Fireheart offers to aid him as the Puma, Spider-Man declines the offer and leaves.

When Spider-Man arrives in Battery Park, he finds the Kingpin waiting for him in a limo. The Kingpin expresses his upset that Spider-Man interfered with his gang war with the Lobo Brothers, cutting his business in half now that Hammerhead and the Chameleon are in town. Suddenly, Spider-Man's spider-sense begins going off painfully, warning him of danger all around him. Suddenly, the massive hands of Goliath begin ripping out of the ground. As the Kingpin flees the scene, Goliath pulls himself out of the ground. Although he finds it hard to breathe, Goliath gloats about how Doctor Doom boosted his size-changing powers allowing him to become even larger than before. Spider-Man dodges Goliath's blows, warning the villain to stop attacking or he'll get hurt. Suddenly, Spider-Man is shocked when he fires beams of energy from his eyes, striking his foe. However, the blast of energy causes Goliath to grow even larger. Monitoring the battle from his hideout, Doctor Doom is satisfied that the device he implanted in Goliath to boost his powers is working. He has set the device up to absorb Spider-Man's new energy powers for examination. Seeing his foe grow in size, Spider-Man notices that Goliath's increased size is making it harder for his heart to beat. Seeking to stop Spider-Man, Goliath grabs a ferry off the water, threatening to harm the passengers inside. Spider-Man orders him to put the people down and blasts him again. The strain on Goliath's heart becomes too hard and he keels over. Spider-Man quickly uses his newfound powers to catch the ferry and prevent the tidal wave from Goliath's collapse from affecting the shore.

In the aftermath of the battle, Spider-Man cannot find any trace of Goliath and presumes the villain is dead. He realizes that this was a situation where he had to choose between life and death. He concludes that his Aunt May is right, this much power is a burden, but like it or not, he is stuck with it. While back at Doctor Doom's hideout, the villain's monitoring devices have all overloaded. He is satisfied with the results testing Spider-Man's powers and is ready to take them for himself.

This story continues in Amazing Spider-Man #328...


Continuity Notes

Acts of Vengeance (Spider-Man Arc)
Amazing Spider-Man #326 Spectacular Spider-Man #158 Web of Spider-Man #59 Amazing Spider-Man #327 Spectacular Spider-Man #159 Web of Spider-Man #60 Amazing Spider-Man #328
Spectacular Spider-Man #160 Web of Spider-Man #61 Amazing Spider-Man #329 Web of Spider-Man #64 Web of Spider-Man #65
  1. Spider-Man mentions his recent battles against the Trapster, Titania, Graviton, and the Brothers Grimm. These battles happened in Spectacular Spider-Man #158, Web of Spider-Man #59, Amazing Spider-Man #326 and Spectacular Spider-Man #159 respectively.
  2. Spider-Man battled the Smuggler in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #49.
  3. Spider-Man was endowed with the powers of Captain Universe in Spectacular Spider-Man #158. However, he doesn't learn the truth until Amazing Spider-Man #329.
  4. Aunt May revealed that Nathan is dying of heart disease in Amazing Spider-Man #321.
  5. May's husband, Ben Parker, was killed during a robbery gone wrong as seen in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  6. Thomas Fireheart purchased the Daily Bugle out from under J. Jonah Jameson in Spectacular Spider-Man #156.
  7. Fireheart believes he lost honor when he attacked Spider-Man, thinking the hero a thief, in Web of Spider-Man #50.
  8. Eduardo Lobo was fatally shot by Glory, who was actually aiming for Spider-Man. This happened in Web of Spider-Man #55.

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