Appearing in "The Spider's Thread"
- Crusher Hogan (Recap)
- Burglar (Recap)
- Avengers (Illusion)
- Fantastic Four (Illusion)
- X-Men (Illusion)
- Wolverine (Logan) (Illusion)
- Cyclops (Scott Summers) (Illusion)
- Beast (Hank McCoy) (Illusion)
- Rogue (Anna Marie) (Illusion)
- Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) (Illusion)
- Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) (Illusion)
- Gambit (Remy LeBeau) (Illusion)
- Psylocke (Betsy Braddock) (Illusion)
- Polaris (Lorna Dane) (Illusion)
- Flash Thompson (Illusion)
- Liz Allan (Illusion)
- Harry Osborn (Illusion)
- Seymour O'Reilly (Illusion)
- Uncle Ben (Illusion)
- Aunt May (Illusion)
- J. Jonah Jameson (Illusion)
- Robbie Robertson (Illusion)
- Galactus (Galan) (Illusion)
- Electro (Max Dillon) (Illusion)
- Venom (Eddie Brock) (Illusion)
- Venom Symbiote (Illusion)
- Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) (Illusion)
- Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) (Illusion)
- Vulture (Adrian Toomes) (Illusion)
- Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley) (Illusion)
- Sandman (Flint Marko) (Illusion)
- Demogoblin (Illusion)
- Mrs. Trudy Shiffman (Illusion)
- New York
- Spider-Man's Suit
- Mjolnir (Illusion)
- Captain America's Shield (Illusion)
- Captain America's Uniform (Illusion)
- Pumpkin Bomb (Illusion)
- Doctor Octopus' Tentacles (Illusion)
- Vulture's Wings (Illusion)
- Goblin Glider (Illusion)
Synopsis for "The Spider's Thread"
At his LA office, Maxie Shiffman gazes upon a statue of Spider-Man. He begins recall how he first met the wall-crawler years ago during his arena match against Crusher Hogan.[Continuity 1] He remembers how he was instantly impressed with the wall-crawler and snatched him up as a client immediately. Intending to go back to New York, Maxie summons his wife Trudy. As he and his wife get into a limo, he thinks about that first television appearance and all the different late night talk shows that were interested in having Spider-Man as a guest and potential movie deals.[Continuity 2] As they get into a limo, Spider-Man notes a number of police cars passing by, chasing after the burglar who got away from the studio. Shiffman tells him to nevermind that and think about his future. Spider-Man then asked Shiffman if he could not smoke a cigar in the limo. Shiffman snaps out of his recollection when he wife asks him the same thing. He puts his unlit cigar away, saying that he was supposed to be cutting back anyway.
As they pass through a newly built residential area, Shiffman recalls how a few years ago this area was nothing but warehouses. This causes him to think back to the last time he was a warehouse. This was in New York, and he had just witnesshis client, Spider-Man, capture the burglar who murdered Ben Parker. Watching the web-slinger swing away, Maxie wondered what his client were thinking. However, the slick agent thinks he can somehow spin it by using the Daily Bugle to boost Spider-Man's popularity. He then thinks about how his plan to use the Daily Bugle for promotion backfired as it's publisher, J. Jonah Jameson, started calling Spider-Man a menace, making all business dry up and had to drop Spider-Man as a client.[Continuity 3] Thinking his career was over, Shiffman's life changed when he moved to Los Angeles to become a producer. It's then that his life and fortunes changed. Not only did he meet his future wife, but his career blossomed.
Spider-Man is swinging after a group of thieves speeding through the South Bronx. He wonders, after his recent battles Hobgoblin, the Rose, the Green Goblin, Venom, Vermin, and Carnage, why he is dealing with such penny ante crooks.[Continuity 4] Suddenly, the wall-crawler's spider-sense begins going off warning him of great danger. Swinging around the corner he is horrified to see all the world-devourer known as Galactus standing over the dead bodies of New York's heroes. Even though everyone else is dead, the web-spinner tries to attack the massive cosmic being, only to be blasted by energy beams fired from his eyes. Knocked to the ground, Spider-Man is stunned and can't move out of the way of Galactus' descending foot. Everything goes dark and the web-slinger begins to have a nightmare. In it, he relives the moments that led up to him becoming Spider-Man. From being made fun of by his peers, going to the radiation experiment, getting bitten by a radioactive spider, his short lived entertainment career, and finally his becoming a costumed hero.
However, Spider-Man suddenly tormented by the accusations from his friends and family, such as Harry Osborn, his Aunt May and his Uncle Ben, his wife Mary Jane, Flash Thompson, J. Jonah Jameson, and Joe Robertson.[Continuity 5] That's when he is ambushed by his foes the Green Goblin, Venom, Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, Hogbolin and Sandman. Before a battle begin, someone begins yelling "Cut". When Spider-Man wakes up to some men trying to take off his mask. However, someone else stop them and the wall-crawler is surprised to discover that it is Maxie Shiffman, his old agent. as it turns out, Spider-Man didn't happen upon an attack from Galactus, but a movie set. Spider-Man is confused, because Shiffman insists that Spider-Man has been his client for years. Told to sit down and relax, the web-slinger tries to gather his thoughts and make sense of what is going on.
Suddenly, the movie set is attacked by the Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, and Demogoblin. Shiffman explains that they are the "Goblin League" and have come as they are jealous of Spider-Man's fame. The hero can't believe that these three very different villains would work together. After ushering Maxie and his wife to safety, Spider-Man battles the three Goblins. However, something doesn't feel right to him. Wondering why he can't remember anything, Spider-Man swings back to Maxie and demands him to explain what is going on. Before he can get answers, the Goblin's renew their attack. However, the only toss smoke bombs, making Spider-Man lose track of both Maxie and Trudy. That's when the wall-crawler is ambushed by Venom. Spider-Man manages to fight off his foe, landing a blow that sends Venom sprawling on the Galactus robot. Amazingly, Venom merges with the robot. The massive form of the Venom/Galactus hybrid and grabs hold of Mary Jane from somewhere in the mist. Thinking his wife is in danger, Spider-Man swings up and rescues the woman. However, when he gets a closer look he realizes that this isn't his wife, but a woman made up to look like her.
It's then that Spider-Man realizes that this has all been a series of illusions and special effects. He snags Maxie Shiffman and demands answers, thinking that Shiffman is actually Mysterio in disguise. However, the real Mysterio appears behind him. Mysterios tries to disort Spider-Man's perceptions of reality with anumber of illusions. However, the web-slinger refuses to accept anything but the reality of his own life. Ultimately, the wall-crawler damages his holographic projector, ending the illusions. Among these illusions it turns out that even Trudy Shiffman was all part of Mysterio's tricks. With Mysterio defeated, Spider-Man comforts Maxie, who lost his wife years earlier to cancer and how Mysterio's illusions gave him back. After Mysterio has been turned over to the police, Spider-Man returns home to his wife Mary Jane.
- Shiffman's recollections were originally depicted in Amazing Fantasy #15. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, these events would have happened 8 years prior to this story.
- Maxie Shiffman states that he is getting Spider-Man on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman. These should be considered topical references as both late night neither men host either respective show.
- Shiffman was unable to employ Spider-Man as of Amazing Spider-Man #1.
- Spider-Man is referring to his recent clashes with the Hobgoblin and the Rose in Web of Spider-Man #84–89, the Green Goblin and Vermin in Spectacular Spider-Man #178–184 and lastly Venom and Carnage in Amazing Spider-Man #361–363.
- The murder of Peter's Uncle Ben happened in Amazing Fantasy #15. Peter and Mary Jane are being referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage was erased from history in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Flashback: Page 2, Panel 6 - Spider-Man accepts Maxie Shiffman as his agent.
- Flashback: Page 3, Panel 6-7 - Spider-Man poses for publicity photos.
- Flashback: Page 4, Panel 1-2
- Flashback: Page 5, Panel 2-5 - Maxie Shiffman ushers Spider-Man out of a TV studio in a limo.
- Flashback: Page 2, Panel 6 - Shiffman takes on Spider-Man as a client.
- Flashback: Page 3, Panel 3-7 - Shiffman ushers Spider-Man out to a limo after a television appearance.