At the start of this issue, Peter Parker and Debbie Whitman are attending a show held by Mesmero, a former X-Men villain. During the show, Mesmero tries to make a hypnotised man juggle some balls, but when he fails to, they fall to the ground, causing minor explosions. Unknown to anyone but Peter Parker, this causes one of the stage's curtains to catch on fire. With no time to change to Spider-Man, Peter climbs onto the ceiling, and concealed from the crowd, uses one of his web shooters to pull the curtain out of harm's way, just as the crowd notices the fire. Although he doesn't see Peter, Mesmero realises that it must have been Spider-Man who stopped the fire, and says to the crowd that if Spider-Man is amongst them, then he can come after the show to him for a chance for money. Curious about the offer, Peter manages to get rid of Debbie after the show, and visits Mesmero to see what he means by his offer. Mesmero offers Spider-Man $400 a week to do a fifteen minute specialty in his show. Spider-Man agrees, and then leaves.
After Spider-Man leaves, Mesmero reads a review of his show in the Daily Globe, where he's described as "a charlatan and a blunderer". Angered that someone is simply trying to enhance their reputation at his expense, Mesmero vows that he'll pay with his life. The next day at the Daily Globe, Peter passes the critic who wrote the review, and notices that he's practically sleepwalking. Peter asks what's happening, and he's told that the man mentioned the Brooklyn Bridge before leaving. Peter suddenly realises that the critic looks just like the hypnotised man from Mesmero's show, and changes to Spider-Man to go after him. When he reaches the Brooklyn Bridge, he manages to save the man just as he jumps, and is given two tickets to a Broadway show as thanks. Spider-Man then arranges with Debbie Whitman to go on a date with her to the Broadway show. Unknown to him, more than one critic has called Mesmero's show poor, and Mesmero decides to get revenge on all the critics, as well as Spider-Man for foiling his plot with the Daily Globe's critic.
Going to see Mesmero as per their previous deal, Spider-Man notices several newspaper critics going into the stage. He then goes to Mesmero, who gives him the money which he promised, but is attached to an electric generator, knocking Spider-Man out when he grabs it. This leads to him missing his date with Debbie, who assumes that Peter stood her up. Upon Spider-Man awakening, he finds Mesmero has coated the theatre with petrol. Mesmero then throws Spider-Man some of the exploding juggling balls from his previous how, saying that if he drops any, he'll set the whole theatre on fire, with only him surviving from inside his fireproof suit. However, Spider-Man simply throws the juggling balls up high, so that they explode on the ceiling, and then confronts Mesmero personally. With Spider-Man's strength, he takes out Mesmero in one punch.