Appearing in "Pumping Up!"
Synopsis for "Pumping Up!"
Man-Mountain Marko has been hitting the punching bag. Thinking of his defeats at the hands of Spider-Man some time ago, he pushes himself harder and harder in the hopes of increasing his strength.[Continuity 1]
Spider-Man pulls himself out of some rubble next to a bar, wondering what hit him. He is approached by Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich who tells him what happened. Moments earlier, Man-Mountain Marko entered the bar to collect protection money for the Maggia. When he saw Spider-Man swinging by earlier, he went into a rage, throwing the bar taps into the wall causing it to collapse on the wall-crawler. Marko then rampaged out of the area, leaving Spider-Man for dead. The wall-crawler can hardly believe that Marko was capable of such strength. Before he leaves, Urich tells the hero that the police are out looking for Marko as he had kidnapped a child. Elsewhere, Man-Mountain Marko lifts weights in front of Johnny, the boy that he allegedly kidnapped. As it turns out, Johnny has come with Marko willingly in the hopes that he can be trained by Marko himself. When the boy asks when the training will begin, Marko assures the boy that it will happen soon.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man has learned the location where Man-Mountain Marko works out from Ben Urich and has decided to check it out.[Continuity 2] When he asks the other weightlifters where he can find Marko only to be attacked. Despite their great strength, Spider-Man easily defeats them all thanks to his superior agility and speed. Unable to stop the wall-crawler the weightlifters decide to flee. The hero then finds Marko's locker and forces his way inside. Inside he finds the locker plastered with articles about Spider-Man as well as bottles of racehorse steroids. The wall-crawler then forces his way into the trainer's office to find out why he has been providing them to Marko. The trainer explains that Marko can do the steroids since he has been barred from any professional competitions since the Maggia boosted his strength. As it turns out, Marko has been asking for a lot of drugs, which the trainer has been more than happy to provide. When Spider-Man asks if the man cares about what these drugs can do with someone with enhanced genetics, the trainer admits that he doesn't really care one way or the other.
Back at Marko's home, Johnny has brought the Man-Mountain dinner, he tells the boy not to bug him since he is watching the news. When he hears reports about how Spider-Man survived his attack, Marko insists that he will defeat the wall-crawler once and for all and returns to his workout regiment. At that moment, Peter Parker is out having dinner with his wife Mary Jane.[Continuity 3] Mary Jane has noticed that Peter is getting sick and suggests he takes some cold medication. However, Peter is concerned that it may affect his spider-sense and he needs it when he saves Man-Mountain Marko's hostage. Meanwhile, Man-Mountain continues pumping iron, telling Johnny that when he was the boy's age everyone feared and respected him because he was so strong. That evening, Spider-Man has managed to track down the Maggia headquarters. Because the organization has seen better days, thanks to the Kingpin's control of the underworld, Spider-Man easily slips inside. In the building, he confronts Snakey Duvall and demands that he reveal Marko's address. Spider-Man snatches Snakey's address book and escapes before his bodyguards can stop him.
Later that evening, Man-Mountain Marko has a fitful sleep. He has a nightmare which begins with Spider-Man taunting him about how weak he is, reminding Marko of the first "dweeb" that pushed him around. Marko then relives that moment, years ago when he was nothing but a petty street hood. He remembers one day when a young man in glasses was hurrying past him. Marko made the mistake of pushing the young teenager around, unaware that he was messing with Spider-Man's alter-ego, Peter Parker. Distracted with thoughts of the health of his Aunt May, Peter unconsciously knocked Marko aside with a single slap. Realizing what he had done, young Peter asked Marko if he was all right, but a frightened Marko began begging the youth to keep away. Shouting in his sleep, Marko wakes up Johnny who goes into his room to see if he is all right. After the nightmare, Marko doubts his strength and ability, but Johnny convinces him that he is the strongest there is, secretly wishing Spider-Man would show up to prove him right. Incidentally, Spider-Man is on his way and comes up with a plan on how to handle the situation. Going to a payphone, the wall-crawler calls Ben Urich to call the police in ten minutes, giving him just enough time to save Johnny. In return, the web-slinger agrees to give Urich the story any way he wants it. When Spider-Man sneaks into Johnny's room and wakes the boy, he calls out to Man-Mountain Marko.
Hearing the boy's cries for help, Marko comes crashing through the wall. The two end up fighting it out on the front lawn. Soon the police arrive on the scene with Ben Urich as the fight continues on. Although Marko has superior strength, Spider-Man has speed and agility on his side. They continue fighting until dawn where the battle abruptly ends when an exhausted Marko collapses to the ground. With Spider-Man the victor, Johnny begins cheering on the hero instead. With the situation under control, Spider-Man takes off, leaving Urich to get the story and Man-Mountain to be taken away by the police.
- ↑ Man-Mountain Marko battled Spider-Man back in Amazing Spider-Man #73-75.
- ↑ Spider-Man recounts the murder of his Uncle Ben, that happened in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545 as such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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