The Spider and the Burglar...A Sequel
200 Issues Ago, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Created a Classic!
"The Spider and The Burglar- A Sequel"
The story begins with Peter realizing that the drug-dart Mysterio shot him with didn't kill him as expected, but has instead taken away his Spider-powers! But he cannot stop to be concerned about that because he has a lot of work to do- he has to find out who his last tenant was, and why the house was torn up. Using detective work, he is shocked to find the last tenant was the last person he thought he would hear about again- the burglar who killed his Uncle Ben!
Peter arrives home with new knowledge of the person who has re-entered his life. And who should be WAITING at home for him? The BURGLAR himself! Hoping to terrorize Peter, he confronts him face to face, but is unprepared for the explosive assault by him. Years of hatred has been building up inside of Peter and without a thought, he lets the burglar have it! But his anger blinds him, and without his Spider-strength, the crook knocks Pete out with the butt of his gun.
After tying Peter up, the Burglar tries to get Peter to give him the information of the treasure's whereabouts he had previously been trying to get out of Aunt May, but after repeatedly beating Peter, realizes he won’t get anything out of him. He then announces he has SOMETHING that might persuade Pete to talk.He leaves to get it, and in the interim, Peter finally breaks out of his prison. Peter has had enough-Spider-Man is out for the Burglar's BLOOD!
Soon, the burglar has returned with the “persuasion” he needed to get Pete to talk-and it is none other than AUNT MAY, frightened but very much ALIVE! But if the burglar is surprised that Peter has escaped, he doesn't have time to think about it as his worst nightmare appears on the scene- SPIDER-MAN has arrived-just like he did way back in AMAZING FANTASY #15! The Burglar is flabbergasted! The spectre of Spider-Man has haunted him his whole life - He cannot see why Spider-Man would hound him forever for the death of one old man.
Then Peter drops the bomb on the criminal: Why does Spider- Man care so much about Peter's old Uncle's murder?
BECAUSE PETER PARKER IS SPIDER-MAN!!!
The points of this scene cannot be underplayed- here we have the burglar realizing that the unimportant old man he killed years ago is the Uncle of his biggest nightmare. And of course, we as readers know that if not for this act, Spider-Man might never have become the amazing hero he is. This confrontation is one of the most significant moments in the Spider-Man 200 issue run!
The burglar’s shock turns to panic and wide eyed fear- he believes Spider Man will kill him for what he has done, because it’s what HE would have done. But of course, Spider-Man won’t sink to the burglar’s level- because Peter IS a true Hero. But the burglar cannot see this, and as insane panic overtakes him, his heart gives out, and he dies.
Aunt May finally remembers what the burglar must have been looking for- it was an old box hidden between some floorboards. But whatever had been stashed in the box had long ago been eaten away-by silverfish!
The two have a good laugh, and Peter says “So all that heartache was for nothing!” But Aunt may points out that there was purpose in it, because it made them stronger. And Pete realizes she is right.
The story ends with Peter swinging about town with a new resolution- during the time when He didn’t have his powers, he realized how much he needed them. And he know how much good he can do with them. He resolves that never again will he ever take them for granted, and makes a promise to be grateful every day for the gift that has been given to him.
He has made peace with Uncle Ben’s death, his identity as Spider-Man, and himself.
- Features the Hostess Fruit Pies ad, The Human Torch In The Icemaster Cometh
- Mark Gruenwald was assistant editor on this issue.