Spider-Man battles a superhero who seems to have gone bad.
|Characters: Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Anya Corazon; Harry Osborn; Dr. Andre LeClare; Norman Osborn; Antonio Rodriguez/The Tarantula; Dr. Edward Lansky/Lightmaster; Max Modell; Miles Morales; J. Jonah Jameson; Chief Watanabe; Dr. Adam Clayton
In costume, SPIDER-MAN is swinging across the city, chatting remotely with to ANYA CORAZON. He tells her he is on his way to meet Harry, and asks if she has a message for her boyfriend. She curtly informs him that she hasn't got a boyfriend. When Spider-Man continues to tease her about her relationship with Harry, she coldly shuts him down, leaving him to wonder what he said wrong.
At Oscorp he doffs his spider-clothes and enters as PETER PARKER, where he meets Harry. Harry is distracted by school work, but he thanks Peter for coming over; Peter says it is his pleasure, as it feels like he and Harry aren't seeing as much of each other any more. Harry briefly acknowledges this, and Peter asks Harry about him and Anya. Harry tells Peter that they're not seeing each other any more, and tells Peter to drop the subject. As they pass a lab, Peter pauses to gawp. DR. ANDRE LECLARE is at work down there, and Peter asks Harry how long that world-famous scientist has been on staff. Harry answers that he just started. Peter asks if Harry can arrange an introduction, but is interrupted as smoke bombs explode, filling the space.
Alarms sound and door seal shut. Peter, trapped in the smoke, starts to change to his Spider-Man outfit, then realizes that he won't be able to explain Spider-Man's presence inside the sealed room or his own disappearance, so he stands down. When the smoke clears, there is no damage, but Dr. LeClare is gone. NORMAN OSBORN charges in and orders a complete sweep and search of the building. Peter wonders aloud where the octo-bot security 'bots have got to; Norman growls back that of course he deactivated them all after Dr. Octavius went rogue and got thrown into prison, and hasn't got a new system up and running. Peter notes to himself that this was the perfect time for someone to attack Oscorp.
In another part of town, ANTONIO RODRIGUES—a.k.a. THE TARANTULA—carries the unconscious Dr. LeClare into a warehouse-like space. He also carries a large metallic briefcase, and he drops both in front of LIGHTMASTER, a costumed figure with a mirror over his face. The Tarantula notes that he has delivered what Lightmaster asked for, but asks why he had to bring the scientist in addition to his research. Lightmaster assures him that he has his reasons; when Tarantula expresses doubts that Lightmaster will keep his side of the bargain, Lightmaster assures him on that score too.
At Horizon, Peter is reading up on LeClare online, noting that he was working for Oscorp on anti-satellite weaponry. As MAX MODELL passes the open doorway, Peter stops him to ask about Dr. LeClare and his research—why was he working on a military project? Modell hesitates, then tells Peter it's because the government is worried about the satellite that Dr. Octopus launched: although Doc Ock asserted it could only have a benign use, the military wants insurance; Oscorp, he surmises, is working on an anti-satellite laser, as lasers are LeClare's specialty. Peter asks if the kidnapping will disrupt the project; Modell allows that it will, but that there are other scientists capable of picking up the slack. Dr. Edward Lansky, for instance, who is an even more brilliant laser specialist than LeClare.
Dissolve to evening, with Spider-Man staking out Lansky's townhouse. He chats with MILES MORALES, noting that Octavius and the rest of the League of Super-Scientists are in The Raft, but it sure looks like someone is trying to disrupt the anti-satellite project. As he watches, Tarantula enters the townhouse via the upper-floor windows. Spider-Man shoots an image of the Tarantula to Miles, then swings in to confront the intruder. He catches him inside a darkened living room. They fight, and Spider-Man is surprised and discomfited by Tarantula's skill and dexterity, particularly after the smoke bombs go off. Instead of finishing off Spider-Man, however, Tarantula runs away. When the smoke clears, Spider-Man finds the townhouse empty. Lansky appears to be gone as well.
Back at Horizon, Peter and Miles study the image that Spider-Man took of the Tarantula, but it doesn't match any of the names or images in their emerging database of villains. Anya enters and identifies the figure almost immediately: He is The Tarantula, the Captain America-like superhero from the South American country of Delvadia. Peter wonders why a superhero would come to the US to kidnap scientists. Anya coldly informs him that she is certain that he would do nothing of the kind, no more than Captain America might.
Back at Lightmaster's hideout, Lightmaster tells Tarantula that he must kidnap another man—DR. ADAM CLAYTON—and his research. Tarantula warns him that this will be the last kidnapping he performs.
Spider-Man parks atop a rooftop while watching a building, and he talks to Miles, who is using Peter's drone to watch another building—both are the laboratories of scientists (experts in light waves and lasers) who match the profiles of the first two scientists to disappear. Spider-Man is briefly distracted by a Daily Bugle monitor that shows grainy footage of the Tarantula in New York and J. JONAH JAMESON speculates on the hero's presence. He details that Tarantula has been forced into exile following a military coup in Delvadia, and wonders if Tarantula is moving to the United States; Jameson hopes that this "spider" can catch and eliminate the Spider-Man currently troubling New York. Spider-Man acerbic retorts are interrupted by Miles, reporting that the drone has spotted the Tarantula entering the other building. Spider-Man swings off.
He intercepts the Tarantula as he is hustling his victim into a getaway car, and in the ensuing chase causes the car to crash. Tarantula escapes with Clayton slung over his shoulder, and the chase moves onto the rooftops, where Spider-Man corners Tarantula. Tarantula points to a Daily Bugle monitor and accuses Spider-Man of being a villain; Spider-Man accuses Tarantula of becoming a villain who needs to be stopped. Tarantula then challenges Spider-Man to prove his bona fides, and tosses his captive off the roof, giving him the choice of capturing him (Tarantula) or saving Clayton.
Spider-Man dives to save Clayton, and finds Tarantula gone when he returns to the rooftops. (But Tarantula is watching from a hidden location, and leaves after seeing Spider-Man with Clayton.)
At Lightmaster's headquarters, Tarantula declares that he is through helping his employer. Lightmaster tries to reason with him, reminding him that he (Tarantula) is helping Lightmaster with work that will result in a weapon that he (Tarantula) can use to free his country of the military junta. Tarantula says that he will fight without it, and that he will bring Lightmaster to justice first. Lightmaster replies by activating his light powers and blinding Tarantula.
Outside the hospital where he has deposited the elderly Dr. Clayton, Spider-Man talks to CHIEF WATANABE. She is skeptical that Tarantula has turned supervillain, and wants to know the reason. Spider-Man replies that if he can find out why Tarantula is kidnapping scientists, he might be able to find Tarantula. He webs away.
In Lansky's office/lab, Spider-Man makes a detailed search. He finds papers and notes with the letterheads of LeClare, Clayton, and other scientists, which suggests that Lansky was stealing the research of other scientists and passing it off as his own. He realizes that he did not actually see Tarantula making off with Lansky, and speculates that Lansky wasn't actually kidnapped at all.
Spider-Man webs to Lansky's townhouse, and enters. The mess he left behind during Tarantula's fight, he notes, has been cleaned up. He moves into a bedroom, where he finds Tarantula tied up. He frees Tarantula, who reveals that he was blinded by Lightmaster. So warned, Spider-Man polarizes his lenses just as Lightmaster enters and tries to blind him. He moves the fight outside, with Lightmaster in hot pursuit. Lightmaster's light blasts are causing problems on the street, though, so Spider-Man continues to lure Lightmaster away, toward the boardwalk, where Spider-Man gets the idea of luring him into the Hall of Mirrors. Lightmaster enters, and is too deep into the maze before realizing where he is—he doesn't dare set off his light weapon in the hall, as it would blind and disable him as well.
The result is a cat-and-mouse chase among the reflections, with Spider-Man explaining his deductions: Lightmaster is Dr. Edward Lansky, who has been stealing his colleagues' research and passing it off as his own; having been caught, he was trying to get rid of his victims. Lightmaster confesses to all this, and confesses to hiring Tarantula to help him, with the promise of giving him a weapon to use to free his homeland. The fight looks like a stalemate until Tarantula looms up and tackles Lightmaster, setting off his weapon and blinding him. Spider-Man takes Lightmaster down after that, and congratulates Tarantula on navigating the maze because, being blind, he couldn't be confused by all the reflections. Tarantula retorts that he was actually blind before, when he allowed Lightmaster to corrupt him; but thanks to Spider-Man's intervention, he can see clearly again.
"Spider-Man Commentary: Let There Be Lightmaster"
Next: "S01E23 "The Day of the Jackal, Part 1" "