Amazing Spider-Man #210

Marvel ⋅ 1980

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Key Facts

1st appearance of Madame Web

Issue Details




John Romita Jr.


Dennis O'Neil


Joe Sinnott


John Romita Jr.


Jim Novak


Bob Sharen


November 1980


THE PROPHECY OF MADAME WEB! Rupert Dockery is talking to five masked hoodlums in the basement storage room of the Daily Globe. Their instructions are clear: they are to kidnap the "good-looking woman" and if necessary kill anyone who gets in their way. The elevators will be closed and the switchboard inoperative, continues Dockery, so they should have no trouble. Meanwhile, Peter Parker and Debra Whitman are strolling through New York City's China-town. Peter is surprised to learn that Debra is seeing a clairvoyant. Then Debra shows Peter the business card of the psychic, Madame Web. Peter remarks that Madame Web looks like a fraud to him. Just then, Peter sees a clock and realizes that he must attend a meeting at the Daily Globe in five minutes, so he has to abandon Debra on the sidewalk. He arrives 15 minutes late, but when he tries to enter the elevator the guard tells him that no one is allowed in the editorial department before five o'clock. Peter finds this peculiar, and he goes to a storage room to change into his Spider-Man costume. Then he climbs up the building to the 14th floor. In the Globe's conference room, Rupert Dockery introduces the newspaper's publisher to Barney Bushkin, April Maye, and Mike Mullaney. This is the first time they have met K. J. Clayton, who to their surprise turns out to be a stunning blonde. She apologizes for having been so secretive, explaining that she has come forward now to turn control of the newspaper over to Rupert Dockery.  Suddenly Dockery's five hoodlums break through the conference-room door. Holding the newsmen at gunpoint, they grab the woman introduced as Ms. Clayton, but Spider-Man suddenly smashes into the room through the window. The hoodlums immediately open fire, but Spider-Man dodges their bullets and knocks four of them out. Unfortunately, the remaining hoodlum escapes with the woman. As Spider-Man starts out in pursuit, Dockery blocks his way, and the delay is Just long enough for the criminal to escape down the elevator. Disappointed at his failure to stop the kidnapping, Spider-Man sees a scrap of paper on the floor, apparently dropped by the criminal or the victim. The paper has Madame Web's picture on it, and Spider-Man web-swings across town to Madame Web's apartment. He enters through an open window and finds the psychic at the center of a large, spider-web-like contrivance. When Spider-Man inquires about the structure, she explains that it is a life-support system designed by her late husband, without which she would be dead in a minute. She explains that she has certain "gifts," and although she is blind, she can see things beyond normal sight; she is a clairvoyant. Further, she continues, she is able to nurture this power in others who are born with the ability. When Spider-Man asks how reliable her powers are, she says she can guarantee nothing. Spider-Man then hands her the slip of paper with her picture on it and asks whether she can tell him anything about it. The aura from the picture, explains Madame Web, is that of her newest student, Belinda Bell, a model, and actress. Belinda handled the paper in a moment of great peril while cooperating with a second woman, Katrinka Janice Clayton.   Belinda realizes that she has done wrong, continues Madame Web, and now she is afraid. Although Madame Web cannot tell where Belinda is, Spider-Man presses her, and she has a vision of railroad cars piled up as if there were an accident. She then urges Spider-Man to hurry, because unless he can locate Belinda, both she and K. J. Clayton will die. In the basement of the Hickory Dockery Toy Store in lower Manhattan, Belinda Bell is tied to a pillar, the captive of four of Dockery's hoodlums. An electric train set is assembled in the middle of the room. (it is this toy train that Madame Web saw in her vision.) The thugs explain that their orders are to hold her until they hear from their boss; he might let her go, and he might not. Dockery himself is four miles uptown at the penthouse suite of the Daily Globe with the real K. J. Clayton. She is bewildered because she trusted him and now he wants to kill her. Dockery explains that by disposing of her he will gain complete control of the newspaper. Because she felt old and unattractive, K. J. Clayton operated the Daily Globe as a recluse, never allowing herself to be seen. She went along with Dockery's plan to hire Belinda Bell to appear in her place at the staff meeting, never suspecting what Dockery's real objective was. There is no one to hear her cry for help, says Dockery, and after making a telephone call, he shall attend to her personally. Then he telephones the toy store and tells his hoodlums to dispose of Belinda Bell. Fortunately, Spider-Man arrives at the store in time. Smashing through the glass roof and using the electric-train table as a giant shield, he disables the hoodlums and knocks them out by dropping two shelves of toys on them.   He explains that he found the place when he realized that the trains in Madame Web's vision were toys, and on checking discovered a toy store owned by Dockery. Then he unties Belinda, who tells him that Dockery is about to do away with K. J. Clayton. Spider-Man web-swings to the Daily Globe as fast as he can, and he finds that the penthouse office has been set on fire. As smoke fills the building, Spider-Man smashes through a window and rescues Ms. Clayton. Then Spider-Man descends to the sidewalk, where he finds Dockery entering his limousine. Spider-Man turns the vehicle over, tears off a door, and pulls Dockery out. Dockery quickly confesses. Later, in his apartment, Peter Parker reads in the Times about Dockery's capture and confession. He also reads that K. J. Clayton has decided to suspend publication of the Daily Globe.   This is annoying, because now Peter has no one to work for and no source of income. Then his telephone rings. Peter answers, and it is Madame Web, who congratulates him on his success and tells him that she will protect his secret identity as Spider-Man. She also tells him not to worry about money, because someone is considering hiring him. Sure enough, J. Jonah Jameson is trying to call Peter at that very moment. Irritated when he finds Peter's line busy, Jameson will keep trying to get through.

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