Amazing Spider-Man #216

Marvel ⋅ 1981

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Key Facts

2nd appearance of Madame Web

Issue Details



Cover Artist

John Romita Jr.


Dennis O'Neil


John Romita Jr.


Jim Mooney


May 1981


MARATHON Following his battle with the Frightful Four, Spider-Man leaves his temporary lodging at a posh hotel to return to his newly repaired apartment. In rough shape after his last battle, Spider-Man decides to go visit Debora Whitman to have someone care for him. Changing back into his civilian guise, Peter Parker takes the subway to Whitman's home. Along the way, he wonders if he can start another relationship following the death of Gwen Stacy, and his subsequent break-up with Mary Jane Watson. He comes to the conclusion that he is ready for another relationship. As he gets off the subway, Peter passes an election poster for Barney Wicker. Soon he knocks at her apartment door. When he asks to come in, Debora tells him that it wouldn't be a good idea. That's when Debora's guest, a man named Biff Rifkin comes to the door and introduces himself. Hurt to see Debora with another man, Peter quickly excuses himself and leaves. Outside, Peter is depressed over his current love life. In too much pain to put off his injuries any longer, Peter decides to web-sling to Greenwich Hospital to have himself looked after. Meanwhile, not far away, a husband argues with his wife over her participation in a city marathon that is scheduled for that day.  Later, at Greenwich Hospital, Peter Parker has his injuries tended to by a doctor. The hospital is busy with marathon runners being brought in for injuries. It's then that Peter overhears a group of men planning to assassinate someone. Hearing an off the cuff comment about their victim never running again, Peter assumes that they are going to kill one of the marathon runners. His attempts to learn the identity of the men he overheard fails. Peter decides to do something of it and gives the clairvoyant known as Madam Web a call to see if she can shed some light on this mystery. Madam Web doesn't know the specifics of this assassination plot, but tells Peter that should she learn more, she will contact him. With no other leads, Peter decides to finally head home. Upon arriving at his apartment, Peter is amazed at the repair work done by the cleanup crew but discovers his clothing reaks of smoke after the recent fire. That's when his noisy neighbor begins singing again. Peter goes to wash up, and while lost in thought he comes to the conclusion that he cannot shirk his responsibilities and must make an attempt to stop the gunmen from killing their intended victim.   The next morning, Spider-Man waits atop the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to monitor the marathon for danger. No sooner has he arrived does he spot a car speeding toward the runners. He quickly webs up the tires, stopping the vehicle. Checking the driver, Spider-Man discovers that this is not a would-be assassin, but a drunk driver. As he attends to the drunk, he doesn't hear a nearby emergency phone begin to ring. Soon the marathon begins, and Spider-Man follows along in the hopes of stopping the shooter. Along the way, he saves the life of a wheelchair-bound racer who gets knocked over the bridge. Further along the way, he stops what he thinks is the shooter, but it turns out to be a man carrying a banjo. He also saves some kids who are at danger when the fire escape they are on collapses. As he is attending to the kids, he doesn't hear a nearby pay phone begin to ring. As he nears the end of the race, Spider-Man also stops a pickpocket from victimizing some of the spectators by webbing his hands.   When one of the runners suffers a heart attack, Spider-Man rushes him to a nearby hospital. As he reaches the finish line, he happens upon J. Jonah Jameson, along with his Aunt May and Nathan Lubensky in the crowd. Jameson and Spider-Man trade barbs, and ultimately Spider-Man webs up the camera Jameson is using to take photos of the marathon. Finally, someone gets his attention to a ringing payphone and discovers that it is a call from Madam Web. The woman has discovered that the assassins are waiting at the finish line and are waiting for Barney Wicker to make a speech as he is their intended target. Spider-Man tracks them down to the rooftop where they are setting up their sniper rifle. Spider-Man easily dodges their bullets and incapacitates them by ripping off the top of a water tower and tossing it on them. Having foiled this assassination attempt, the marathon concludes uninterrupted.

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