Cover Price: $.12
Value: $750 (Near Mint-) 1st Mary Jane Watson (Face Obscured), 1st Spencer Smythe, 1st Spider-Slayer
"Captured By J. Jonah Jameson!" - 20 Pages
The splash page to "Captured By J. Jonah
Jameson!" displays many Steve Ditko drawn vignettes of the characters that play
a role in the story. There is a character of a man in the bottom left of that
page who creates and introduces us to an invention that will go on to create
havoc in Spider-Man's life many times over. His name is Professor Spencer Smythe
and his invention is the Spider-Slayer! The Spider-Slayer would be re-invented
over and over again by Smythe and eventually his son, Alistair, when he takes
over the "family business". The how's and why's concerning the Spider-Slayer all
Peter begins the story as he leaves Liz Allan's house having helped her with her studies. As he is walking down the street he notices three men stealing an automobile. He climbs a building and flashes his spider signal towards a policeman to direct him towards the thieves. As the policeman makes his arrest, Peter takes some pics for Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, which he talks into buying the next day while at the offices of the Daily Bugle. Out of nowhere, a man walks in introducing himself as an inventor named Smythe and that he has been reading Jameson's editorials concerning Spider-Man. He also has with him what he claims will guarantee Spider-Man's defeat. A clumsy looking steel-grey robot. Jameson's initial response was that Smythe was a crackpot and told him to get out. Peter then talks him into letting Smythe demonstrate the robot for reason of getting even with Jonah and possibly taking more photos of a possible battle between the robot and Spider-Man.
Jameson decides to let Smythe make his demonstration. He gives Peter a spider to hold onto and turns his robot on. The robot can sense the presence of a spider anywhere and with the press of a button, coils spring out wrapping Peter up instead of the spider he is holding. Peter's spider presence is far greater than that of the little spider. Jameson is impressed as Peter is still trapped in the steel coils and it wasn't deemed important by Smythe that it was Peter that was ensnared and not the spider for some reason. Smythe now offers Jameson the chance to operate the hyper-sensitive Geiger-type apparatus himself by remote control. Jameson gladly accepts the offer and then the two men go into Jameson's office to finish the deal.
Later at school, Peter seems jumpy all day, as he is concerned that the robot could be after him at any moment. At the same time, finishing touches are put on the robot and it begins to pick up Spider-Man's presence. To make matters worse for Spider-Man, the robot displays the face of J. Jonah Jameson while it is being controlled by him from afar using a master control panel where Jameson can see and speak through the robot. The robot makes its way toward Peter while he is in school and he spots it across the street. Peter slips out the side door and begins to run away with the robot chasing him up a building where he changes into Spider-Man. The robot finally catches up to Spider-Man and it seems up to the task of defeating him as well. Spider-Man's webs have no effect on the robot as it is coated with an oily substance that repels the webbing. Jameson begins taunting Spider-Man as the robots coils spring forth toward Spider-Man. The robot is tireless and relentless as it chases Spider-Man all over town. It looks bleak for Spider-Man at this point.
A witness to all this at the Daily Bugle is secretary Betty Brant, and she feels awful for what's happening to Spider-Man. She tries to call Peter at home for help but the line is busy. She decides to make a visit to the Parker home instead where she bumps into Liz Allan and they both are greeted at the door by Peter's Aunt May. Aunt May introduces the two girls to her the niece of her friend Anna Watson by the name Mary Jane Watson, who is there to visit and meet Peter. Betty and Liz are stunned when they see Mary Jane as view her as "competition" for Peter's affections. Mary Jane's face is obscured by a plant as she sits on a sofa in this appearance. May and her friend Anna Watson have been trying to match-up Peter and MJ since she was first referred to in Amazing Spider-Man #15 and first referred to by name in Amazing Spider-Man #16. She makes another face-obscured appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #38, before making her first full appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #42. Of note concerning Mary Jane, is that she also made another appearance (chronologically), before she met Peter. It was in Marvel Heroes & Legends #1 (October 1997), a one-shot featuring an untold tale of the Avengers. In it, Aunt May and Mary Jane are seen walking down the street, talking about the proposed blind date between MJ and Peter that their Aunts were trying to set-up.
So much for first appearances and back to the action where Spider-Man is still being chased by the robot controlled by Jameson. It gets to a point in the chase where there is no escape, and Spider-Man gets ensnared by the robot's powerful steel coils. Jameson and Smythe now plan on going to the spot where the robot has trapped Spider-Man. While they are on their way, Spider-Man tries to detect the robot's power source and finds it. He removes a panel from the robot revealing some circuitry and Spider-Man puts his bookworm genius to work. When Jameson and Smythe get to the rooftop where the robot is, they see what appears to be Spider-Man trapped within it's coils. Jameson quickly removes the mask and is shocked to find no one underneath! What Jameson and Smythe don't does not know is that Peter is above them on a ledge controlling the costume with his thin web-lines like a puppeteer. The look on Jameson's face is well worth losing his costume to Peter. As for Jameson, he is angry beyond belief being made to look like a fool and tells Smythe to get out and take his crazy robot with him.
After taking a couple of pics, Peter returns home just after Mary Jane is seen walking away from it moments earlier, face turned around again obscuring it! At home, Peter is confronted with Aunt May's discovery of a Spider-Man suit she found behind a bookcase. Peter lies to her telling her that it is just a disguise to fool people. That was a close one! And it gets closer again with the next incarnation of the Spider-Slayer in Amazing Spider-Man #58. Smythe and the first Spider-Slayer appear next in Amazing Spider-Man #28 where we learn that he is the employer of man named Mark Raxton, better known as the Molten Man!.
Amazing Spider-Man V2 #20
Marvel Tales #20
Marvel Tales #163
Marvel Masterworks Vol. 10
Spider-Man Essentials II
Also This Month:
No Other Spider-Man Comics this month.