It's a new story arc, set in the time when Spider-Man was bouncing around in his mysterious black costume! Spidey joins forces with mercenary Silver Sable! But why is the wall-crawler involved in some international intrigue?
Spider-Man's normal routine is interrupted by ten anonymous goons with a Spider-signal, a lá Batman. They don't give Spidey much difficulty, but Silver Sable calls him off before he can completely thrash them. She admits she was looking for him and merely wanted to verify his identity. They travel to the Symkarian embassy where Sable lays all of her cards on the table. It seems that the ruling monarch of the country of Belgruin (don't bother with an atlas; I'm guessing it's right next to "Symkaria") has been overthrown by rebels that are being aided by the Beetle, Rhino, Speed Demon, Hydro-Man, and Boomerang, who make up the Sinister Syndicate. She has been contracted to restore the king. Spider-Man listens patiently until Sable reveals that the king was a tyrant and the rebels are pro-democracy, at which point he tries to leave in disgust. But the king has an eleven-year-old daughter, and if Spidey "won't help for a share of the money, how [would he] feel about saving a child?"
In Belgruin, all is not well for the Beetle. Sure, he and his cohorts are treated like heroes (a role that he enjoys) and they haven't run into any difficulty, but his relationship with the rest of the Syndicate is fragile in the best of times, much to the chagrin of the palace room they trash in a scuffle. More importantly, the Beetle is feeling bad about pretending to support the rebels as a ploy to steal the contents of the royal treasury. The shadowy man the Beetle is reporting to has no such concerns, however.
Meanwhile, Silver Sable, Sandman, and Spidey (all decked out in his black suit) are parachuting into Belgruin under cover of darkness. Inadequate cover, as it turns out, since the draw the rebels' fire before they even manage to land. Spider-Man is separated from the other two and dons one of the soldier's outfits for cover, deciding to walk to a nearby village in order to avoid suspicion. He arrives shortly after daybreak in time to catch the parade the rebels are throwing for the Sinister Syndicate. The language barrier proves costly for Spidey, who spooks after an old woman takes notice of him and reveals his true identity. Just in time to take a beating from the Syndicate, none of whom are exhausted from walking all night and have little trouble wearing down the web-slinger to the point that the angry crowd can capture him.
All of this provides a great show for the mystery man who's running the Syndicate. But then, one would expect little else from Doctor Octopus...