Madame Web’s first appearance! Spider-Man seeks out Debra Whitman’s clairvoyant after he finds her image at the scene of a kidnapping. But not all is as it appears, especially at the scene of the crime. Madame Web shows Spider-Man the truth with her powers of precognition! And Spider-Man begins his tutelage with Madame Web!
The Prophecy of Madame Web!
At the start of this issue, Rupert Dockery, who became head of the Daily Globe's circulation a few issues ago, is giving some masked men some orders. They mention something about capturing a woman, and Dockery says that he'll close the elevators and make the switchboard inoperable so that it's easier for them. While this is happening, Peter Parker is going on a date with Debbie Whitman, and is suprised to have just heard from her that she's seeing a psychic. Although Peter is sceptical about it, saying that all psychics are phony, Debbie shows Peter her psychic's card, which advertises the psychic as a woman called Madame Web. Peter then remembers that he has a meeting at the Daily Globe, and heads there. Unfortunately, the elevators aren't working, so he changes to Spider-Man so that he can reach the top floors. In the meeting, the publisher of the Daily Globe, K.J. Clayton, finally shows herself after having been mentioned for months. Clayton says that she's going to turn the Globe over to Dockery, when the masked men Dockery was talking to earlier burst in and grab her.
Luckily, Spider-Man bursts in, and stops some of the men. Unfortunately, a few of them still manage to get away with Clayton, and Spider-Man is slowed down by Dockery, who "accidentally" blocks his way as he pursues them. However, Spider-Man sees a scrap of paper on the ground, which turns out to be Madame Web's card, just like Debbie showed him before. On a hunch, Spider-Man goes to see Madame Web, assuming that the card is a clue. When he gets there, he finds Madame Web in an elaborate web-like chair, which she explains is a life-support system. Spider-Man gives Madame Web her card, and asks her about it. Madame Web says that the card belongs to one of her students, called Belinda Bell. She says that Belinda is in trouble because some sort of deceit she played on K. J. Clayton, and that Spider-Man should find her. When Spider-Man asks her where she is, Madame Web has a vision of scattered trains, as though in an accident.
In a toy store in Manhattan, one of the men who kidnapped K. J. Clayton reveals that the "Clayton" they captured is actually Belinda Bell impersonating K. J. Clayton, whom Madame Web identified earlier. The real K. J. Clayton is being talked to by Rupert Dockery, who reveals that he hired Belinda to impersonate her since she was too ashamed to appear, being old and unattractive. Since all the Globe's workers saw "Clayton" give the Globe to Dockery, when Belinda is found dead, he'll gain control of the newspaper. By now, Spider-Man has worked out that Madame Web's vision of trains refers to the toy store where Belinda is being held, and so bursts in and saves her, although he dismisses of her impersonating Clayton. Spider-Man then races to the Daily Globe, where he finds Dockery has just set it on fire to kill the real K. J. Clayton. He manages to save Clayton, and then stops Rupert Dockery from getting away by flipping his car over.
The next day, Peter Parker reads in the newspaper that Dockery confessed to the whole thing, including some things he had done in Los Angeles (in Spider-Woman #25-30). As a result of Dockery's plan, the Globe has suspended publication, leaving Peter without a job. However, a moment later he gets a phone call from Madame Web, who says that her powers revealed Spider-Man's identity. She says that she'll keep it a secret, and that he shouldn't worry about a job, as he's being mentioned by someone who wants to employ him at that very moment. Over at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is annoyed that Peter's line is busy, but says that he'll keep trying until he replies...
- This is the first appearance of Madame Web.
- Features the Hostess Twinkies Cakes ad, Mr. Fantastic In "The Power Of Gold!"
- Mary Jo Duffy's assistant editor credit taken from letters page header.
- John Romita, Jr. begins his run as regular penciler with this issue.