- To paraphrase the macabre King: "When all else fails -- Go for the gross-out!"
- -- The Painter
Appearing in "Art's Desire!"
- Avant Guard
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters
- Quantum Bands
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
Synopsis for "Art's Desire!"
Thanks to the combined powers of the group of criminal artists known as Avant Guard, Spider-Man has been frozen solid thanks to a freak blizzard striking Times Square. As Spider-Man struggles to get free, he thinks about the events that led him to this moment. Convinced that Spider-Man is doomed, the Painter uses his magic paints to create a floating disc to take himself and his allies away. As soon as they are gone, Spider-Man manages to break free from the ice. As he recovers from his ordeal, the wall-crawler is joined by the Human Torch who is out collecting storm data for Mister Fantastic. Spider-Man asks to be taken to the Fantastic Four's headquarters so he can provide information regarding the source of the blizzard.
By this point, the Painter, Bora, and Spark return to their loft to discover that the Painter's painting of Spider-Man frozen in ice is beginning to change. Instead of a painting of Spider-Man trapped in ice, it turns into a painting of the wall-crawler talking to the Human Torch. When Bora and Spark criticise the Painter, he threatens them, telling him this is merely a work in progress. As the mystically created blizzard continues to pound Manhattan, Mary Jane continues to try and keep the minds of her cast members off the danger outside. Unfortunately, her efforts were dashed when the power suddenly goes off. While at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Mister Fantastic keeps Captain America up to date on the Fantastic Four's efforts to end the crisis. Elsewhere in the city, Quasar is out assisting ambulances to get people to hospitals. At that moment, Mister Fantastic and the Thing head out with a device that will allow Reed to examine the weather patterns. Watching these developments are the Avant Guard, thanks to the Painter's paintings. Suddenly, Spark's powers manifest themselves on his own, a sign of their ascension to greater power. They then turn their attention to Spider-Man and the Human Torch. Spider-Man is tracking the Avant Guard thanks to the spider-tracer he tagged Bora with during his battle. Telling the Torch who about their leader, the Painter, the Human Torch remembers him as they had fought early on in his career.[Continuity 1] Explaining how the Painter claimed to have obtained mystical paints from aliens that allowed him to make his paintings come to life. However, in light of recent events, the Torch is left questioning the validity of this story.
Crashing into the Avant Guard's hideout, the two heroes clash with Spark and Bora. Although Bora snuffs out the Torch's flames, she is quickly wrapped up by Spider-Man's webbing. This leaves him open to attack from Spark. However, the Torch recovers and uses his powers to overheat Spark, causing him to pass out and revert back to his normal form. That's when the Painter uses his paints to revive his foes. Despite this, Spider-Man and the Torch insist that they will keep fighting no matter what. This prompts the Painter to order his allies to surrender. When Spark and Bora refuse to follow orders, the Painter makes them disappear with a wave of his brush. Before the two heroes can apprehend the Painter, he surprises them when his body suddenly swells until it bursts, showing the room with cockroaches. Protecting themselves from the flury of bugs, Spider-Man looks over the remains of the Painter and discovers that it is nothing more than canvas. Upset that the Painter escaped, Spider-Man's attention is turned to a painting that the Torch has found. They are find that it contains both Spark and Bora, apparently trapped within. With the crisis over, the blizzard ends and the snow beings to melt.
- The Human Torch first battled the Painter in Strange Tales #108.
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