Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spider-Man: Exposed!

During the denouement of the story of the Jackal in late 1975, which saw the creation of a clone of Peter Parker (and subsequently opened the door to a virtual tidal wave of clone stories at Marvel--insert collective groan HERE), the real Spider-Man prevailed, while both the Jackal and the clone met their deaths. Afterward, Spidey disposed of the corpse of his double by taking it to an incineration plant and tossing it into a smoke stack, which served to bring the saga to a solemn close.

Or so Peter thought--because J. Jonah Jameson smells a story!

Yikes! How does our wall-crawler get out of this one??

To understand how things got to this point, we should return to the scene where these incriminating photographs were taken. We can assume that Spider-Man didn't set up his automatic camera and snap the pics for himself (he sure wasn't likely to sell them to the Daily Bugle), so the question remains: Who was at the scene and was careful enough not to be spotted--and why were they there? Even Spider-Man couldn't be sure, attributing his warning sense to a case of the jitters.

Spider-Man, done with his uncomfortable task, proceeds to get on with his life, but his peace of mind is now in jeopardy--because our little spy has photographed Spider-Man's activities at the plant, and has made sure to forward them to the one person who can use them to ruin the life of his webbed nemesis forever.

Which brings us to another newsworthy

Marvel Trivia Question

Who is aware of Spider-Man's secret identity--
and why does he want the web-slinger destroyed?

But first things first: Jameson is ready to play his trump card, and we know from experience he doesn't like to be kept waiting. Yet the issue's cover is going about the scene all wrong, since Jameson would hardly make such a declaration while brandishing photographs that clearly show Spider-Man and Peter Parker to be two separate people. Let's start by finding out what conclusion Jameson has drawn about the situation.

"This," by the way, is no mystery to Peter by now, since he's previously lifted the envelope from Jameson's office and gotten a good (and certainly shocked) look at its contents--which gave him time to prepare for this inevitable confrontation.

So, in a nutshell: Jameson believes Spider-Man has killed Peter Parker, and is now impersonating him for reasons unknown--and Jameson means to bust him on it and bring him to justice. To bring the cover image into alignment with Jameson's assumption in the story, the image only needs a slight revision:

But the problem remains for Peter: how to get out of this mess? To carry out his plan, he'd have to handle things the old-fashioned way, since Photoshop wouldn't come into the marketplace for another fifteen years--and that meant rolling up his sleeves in the darkroom and stacking his negatives to create double exposures of the prints he needed to pull off his story.

You can probably guess that Peter wasn't holding his breath waiting for that raise to show up in his paycheck. But then, elation goes a long way when you've dodged such a bullet.

As for who the culprit was that took those photographs and mailed them to Jameson, could it have been Harry Osborn while he was suffering mental problems? Yes and no. If you'd already made your guess and named the person as Harry, technically you were correct. But as for whose idea it was, and who coerced Harry to act as he did, we have to fast-forward to a battle where Spider-Man again believes he is fighting his erstwhile roommate who has relapsed to the identity of the Green Goblin, only to discover that even "shrinks" covet the power of notorious villains.

To make a long story short, Hamilton perishes in an explosion of his own making, in battle with another Green Goblin--Harry himself, who suits up to repay Hamilton for his manipulation of him, and subsequently renounces in disgust his Goblin identity in favor of regaining a normal life for himself. That's one happy ending to this story; the other is that we can be reasonably sure that no one ever bothered to clone Bart Hamilton.

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