OMU: Spider-Man -- Year Five

The life of Spider-Man takes a dark turn in the fifth year of his superhero career when his girlfriend Gwen Stacy is murdered by the Green Goblin. To make matters worse, the story makes it clear that Spider-Man could have saved her. Shoved off one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, Gwen was falling toward the East River. Spider-Man shot out a web-line and snagged her legs, but the sudden stop snapped her neck. Like so many deaths, the tragedy is in the details—make any number of minor changes to the sequence of events and Gwen lives. Instead, Peter Parker’s life completely unravels, sending him into a tailspin of nihilism. Gwen’s death also sets off a cascade of repercussions that will plague Spider-Man for years to come.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.

Continuing on with... The True History of the Amazing Spider-Man!

January 1966 – On the first day of the year, Spider-Man hears about an upcoming grudge match between the Thing and a mystery woman called Thundra. Having heard that Thundra kidnapped the Thing’s girlfriend, Alicia Masters, last night as the Fantastic Four watched helplessly, Spidey wonders if the Thing will be able to win the fight. Three days later, the fight ends inconclusively when the Thing unexpectedly reverts to his human form. Alicia is released unharmed shortly afterwards, and the public considers the much-hyped “battle of the sexes” to be rather anticlimactic.

A couple of weeks later, Peter Parker starts the second semester of his junior year at Empire State University, along with his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. They sign up for another course with Professor Miles Warren. Peter is concerned about his roommate, Harry Osborn, who is still a semester behind and continues to miss classes due to his drug problem. Things are looking up for Flash Thompson, though, who returns to campus to finally finish his freshman year. Peter also takes a philosophy course and is surprised to find Mary Jane Watson in the same class. Peter continues to worry about his Aunt May, who is working as a housekeeper in the Westchester County mansion owned by Doctor Octopus. Though the villain is currently in prison, Peter knows that members of his gang still use the mansion as a meeting place. Stubborn as ever, Aunt May seems oblivious to the fact that the men are hardened criminals. Busy with school and spending most of his free time with Gwen, Peter seldom goes out to patrol the rooftops as Spider-Man. He continues to think it may be about time to retire his costumed identity once and for all.

February 1966 – On a Sunday morning near the middle of the month, Peter sees a TV news report of trouble at Avengers Mansion and decides to lend a hand when Harry proves to be in a belligerent mood. When he arrives at the scene, Spider-Man finds Iron Man trying to blast his way through a force field that has enveloped the mansion. Iron Man initially rebuffs Spidey’s offer of help, but when a hole seems to open in the field, the two heroes leap through it. However, they suddenly find themselves falling through a strange dimension, where they are picked up by a spaceship. The pilot introduces himself as Zarrko and recruits the two heroes to help him save the 23rd century from an invasion by an army from even further in the future. When the ship materializes in Zarrko’s time period, Spidey is surprised to find the Empire State Building is still standing. Zarrko drops them off at a fortified citadel a few blocks away, and Spider-Man and Iron Man fight their way inside, only to discover Thor, Captain America, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther, and the Vision, as well as the Avengers’ butler, Edwin Jarvis, being held prisoner by Kang the Conqueror. Kang immobilizes Spider-Man and Iron Man with a paralysis ray just as Zarrko enters the chamber. Rather than help the heroes, though, Zarrko brags to Kang about his plan to conquer the 20th century for himself and replace Kang as the master of time. Learning that Zarrko has sent back in time three chronal-displacement bombs to strike in Greece, Japan, and Venezuela in order to destroy civilization, Spidey manages to creep out of the chamber, find Kang’s time machine, and transport himself back to the day he left.

Materializing on the glowing platform of the Fantastic Four’s time machine inside their Baxter Building headquarters, Spider-Man recruits the Human Torch to help him find Zarrko’s chronal-displacement bombs. As the Torch streaks off to Japan in the team’s Pogo Plane, Spidey heads to John F. Kennedy International Airport and stows away aboard a jet bound for Venezuela. About nine hours later, the plane lands at Simón Bolívar International Airport outside Caracas, just minutes before the bomb goes off. Spidey is caught in the waves of strange energy emanating from the device and starts to black out, but the Human Torch arrives and melts it to slag. The Torch reports that he was able to destroy the bomb in Japan as well. The two heroes then fly to Greece together in the Pogo Plane, where they again get caught in chronal-displacement waves. Spidey stops the Torch from melting the third device and merely switches it off instead, so they have something to examine for clues. The Human Torch remarks that the chronal displacement waves remind him of a certain force field he encountered in the Great Refuge of the Inhumans a couple of years ago, but he’s unwilling to accompany Spider-Man there since it’s where his ex-girlfriend lives and he doesn’t want to see her. After giving Spider-Man detailed instructions on how to find the Inhumans, the Torch returns to New York. Spidey is annoyed that the Human Torch has abandoned him in Greece in the middle of a critical rescue mission.

Nevertheless, Spider-Man is able to arrange transport to a mountain pass in the Himalayas near the Great Refuge, from which he makes his way into the fantastic city of the Inhumans. He is captured by sentries and brought to the throne room of the king, Black Bolt, where the royal advisors Gorgon, Karnak, and Triton interrogate him. Fortunately, after hearing Spider-Man’s story, the Inhumans agree to help. To Spidey’s dismay, it is left to Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus the Mad, to devise a means of turning the chronal-displacement bomb into a time machine to return them to Zarrko’s era. Though he is clearly insane, Maximus is successful, and Spider-Man, Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, and Triton soon find themselves transported to Kang’s citadel in 23rd-century Manhattan. After fighting their way inside, the five adventurers confront Kang and Zarrko. Black Bolt makes short work of the villains by uttering a single word—the destructive power of his voice wrecks the building, knocks out Kang, and frees the Avengers from their stasis cells. Zarrko flees, but Spider-Man chases him down and gives him a beating. Returning to the others, Spidey discovers that Kang is just an empty suit of robotic armor. The voice of the real Kang then mocks them over the loudspeaker. Zarrko is turned over to the local authorities, then the thirteen time-travelers return to their own era. Outside Avengers Mansion, Thor expresses the team’s gratitude to the Inhumans—and to Spider-Man—for rescuing them. Departing with a wise-ass remark, Spidey heads for home. He soon discovers that he has been gone for two days and completely missed Valentine’s Day. He reassures himself that he can make it up to Gwen next year.

A week later, Aunt May’s friend, Anna Watson, gives Peter a telegram sent to the Parker house in Forest Hills, Queens, so Peter decides to take it to Aunt May in Westchester. He is suspicious as to why Doctor Octopus has shown so much interest in a sweet old lady who has nothing a criminal mastermind could possibly want, so when he overhears one of the villain’s henchmen talking on the phone about waiting to receive an important telegram, Peter decides to leave it in his pocket until he’s had a chance to see what it’s all about. After visiting with Aunt May for about an hour, Peter heads back to Manhattan. As soon as he’s back in his apartment, Peter opens the telegram and discovers it is from Jean-Pierre Rimbaud, an attorney in Montreal, Quebec. Mysteriously, Rimbaud requests that Aunt May come to Canada to discuss a sensitive matter. Intrigued, Peter heads down to the street, where he runs into Harry and his father. When Harry collapses suddenly, Norman Osborn goes into a fit of rage, making Peter worry that the Green Goblin persona may be resurfacing. Thinking it would be a good idea to leave town for a few days, Peter hurries off to the Daily Bugle building, where he convinces J. Jonah Jameson to finance his trip to Montreal by promising him photos of the Hulk, who’s been terrorizing Canada lately.

A couple hours later, Peter arrives in Montreal and goes directly to Rimbaud’s law firm, only to find the attorney is unavailable. Claiming his aunt is too sick to travel, Peter convinces Rimbaud’s secretary to discuss the matter with him over dinner. He then heads to his hotel, where he finds Air Force General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross giving a press conference regarding the Hulk’s rampage. Acting as an advisor to the Canadian military on the situation, Ross then leads a contingent of soldiers to intercept the Hulk at a power station on the Saint Lawrence Seaway about ten miles north of the city. Peter joins the press corps going with them, and, about an hour later, the Hulk attacks the convoy in a wooded area. The Hulk flips over the truck carrying the reporters, but Peter, alerted by his spider-sense, manages to tumble into a ravine, where he quickly changes into Spider-Man to draw the Hulk away. Their fight leads them to the Maskattawan Dam a few miles away, which the Hulk nearly destroys before leaping off into the darkness. Spider-Man then hitches a ride on the helicopter taking General Ross back to Montreal. Once in the city, Peter heads over to meet Rimbaud’s secretary, only to discover that one of Doc Ock’s men is tailing him. Slipping into a dark alley, Peter changes back into Spider-Man and roughs up the crook, now convinced that the telegram has something to do with Doc Ock’s designs on Aunt May. However, General Ross and his troops show up and try to capture Spider-Man, believing him to be in league with the Hulk. Annoyed, Spidey swings off to meet Rimbaud’s secretary for their dinner date. However, it turns out that she has been unable to find any documentation pertaining to the case, so she offers to take Peter to meet Rimbaud at the construction site for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, where he’s meeting with a client. As luck would have it, their taxi runs into the Hulk upon arrival. Both the taxi driver and the secretary are knocked out when the Hulk flips the car, giving Peter the chance to become Spider-Man again. This time their battle causes tremendous damage to the fairgrounds, and the Hulk is about to crush Spidey when military helicopters arrive and drive the jade giant off. Quickly changing out of his costume, Peter finally meets Jean-Pierre Rimbaud, but, before he can reveal Aunt May’s secret, the attorney is shot and killed by a sniper. The killer, whom Peter assumes is working for Doctor Octopus, escapes from the soldiers who pursue him. A little while later, the secretary drops Peter off at the airport, where he catches the red-eye flight back to New York. Though the telegram remains a mystery, Peter at least has some photos of the Hulk to sell.

In the morning, Peter goes to Norman Osborn’s townhouse, where he finds Harry being treated at home for a complete psychotic break. Gwen and Mary Jane are also there, talking to the Osborns’ family doctor, and Peter is shocked to learn that Norman has insisted that Harry not be taken to the hospital because he wants to keep his son’s abuse of LSD a secret. Norman then storms in and rages at Peter, blaming him for Harry’s condition. He tells Peter, Gwen, and Mary Jane to get out of his house, so they leave immediately. Gwen is very upset and even Mary Jane seems uncharacteristically subdued, so they head to ESU for their morning classes. A few hours later, Peter goes to the Daily Bugle building to sell his photos, but realizes he must have caught the flu while in Montreal. Jameson yells at him for bringing germs into the office, but city editor Joe “Robbie” Robertson agrees to buy the photos of the Hulk. Then, in a nearby alley, Peter changes into Spider-Man and web-swings back to his apartment. When he arrives, Peter is horrified to find the place has been ransacked, and one of the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bombs has been left sitting atop Gwen’s purse. Realizing the Green Goblin has kidnapped Gwen, Spider-Man makes a quick search of the city, despite his nausea and dizziness. He soon finds them on top of the Brooklyn Bridge, where the Green Goblin immediately starts taunting him, calling him “Mr. Parker.” Enraged, Spider-Man attacks, trying to drive the villain off so he can get the unconscious Gwen to safety. However, the Green Goblin swoops around on his Goblin Glider and knocks Gwen off the bridge, sending her plummeting toward the water below. Spider-Man manages to snag Gwen’s legs with his webbing, but when he pulls her back up, she is dead.

Overwhelmed with rage and grief, Spider-Man swings over to a nearby dock, where he gently lays Gwen’s body down before attacking the Green Goblin with uncharacteristic savagery. After the villain breaks away from him and flees the scene, Spider-Man returns to the dock, finding a crowd has gathered around Gwen’s body. As a police car arrives, Spider-Man drives the crowd back, then cradles Gwen in his arms, grieving over her until the ambulance arrives to take her away. The police try to take Spider-Man in for questioning, but he loses his temper and swings off to hunt down the Green Goblin. Changing out of his costume, Peter goes into the Osborns’ townhouse to see if he can find any clue as to where his foe might be hiding. Instead, he finds Harry in the middle of another psychotic episode. Harry begs Peter not to leave him alone, but, consumed with vengeance, Peter storms out. Minutes later, Spider-Man arrives at the Daily Bugle to pump Joe Robertson for information on Osborn. Robertson has already seen the police report on Gwen’s death and informs Spider-Man that the authorities are already blaming him for it. Spider-Man refuses to discuss it, and, after making a few phone calls, Robertson reports that Osborn was just seen outside one of his warehouses in Chelsea. Spider-Man heads there immediately, breaks in, and attacks the Green Goblin. To prevent his foe from escaping, Spider-Man damages his glider, then beats the Green Goblin to within an inch of his life, lost in a paroxysm of rage. Suddenly realizing that he’s completely lost control of himself, Spider-Man staggers back in horror, giving the Green Goblin a chance to activate his glider’s remote-control mechanism. Thanks to his spider-sense, Spider-Man dodges the glider before it can stab him in the back, but it impales the Goblin, pinning him to a brick wall. The Green Goblin dies almost instantly and crumples to the floor as the glider loses power. Leaving his foe’s body on the warehouse floor, Spider-Man stumbles outside, feeling absolutely gutted. After changing into Peter Parker, he heads home and finds Mary Jane waiting for him in his apartment. She offers her sympathy, but Peter throws it in her face, calling her a shallow party girl, and tells her to get out. Mary Jane starts to go, then decides to stay and comfort the sobbing Peter whether he wants it or not.

Three days later, Peter and Aunt May attend Gwen’s funeral along with the Watsons and various friends from college. People from the Daily Bugle have also come out to support Peter, though Jameson is conspicuously absent. Robertson tries to pass on Jameson’s condolences, but Peter responds with bitterness. He is annoyed that one of Doctor Octopus’s thugs has escorted Aunt May to the funeral. After everyone else has left, Mary Jane takes Peter out for coffee, where he admits that he feels totally lost without Gwen. Later, Spider-Man swings aimlessly around the city, realizing his heart has gone out of the superhero game, and he can’t even bring himself to care about who removed the Green Goblin’s costume before the body was discovered. Suddenly, he’s tackled by Luke Cage, the “hero for hire” who’s been working out of Times Square the last few months. Cage reveals that he was hired by Jameson to bring Spider-Man to justice. They fight on the rooftops for several minutes, but Spider-Man quickly loses interest after his initial rush of anger dissipates. He knocks Cage through a skylight, then swings off and heads for home. When he arrives, Peter is surprised to find Harry in the living room, but Harry just glares at him and continues reading the newspaper. Assuming Harry is angry with him for walking out on him the other day, Peter leaves and soon meets up with Mary Jane. She drags Peter to a dance party on campus, hoping to distract him from his grief. The event is disrupted when Luke Cage bursts in looking for Spider-Man, whom he knows is often seen around campus. In the mood for a brawl, Peter slips into the men’s room, puts on his costume, then confronts Cage. Leading Cage away from the dance hall, Spider-Man and the super-strong mercenary trade punches for several minutes, but Peter soon realizes how pointless it all is. He throws Cage onto some cement steps and webs his hands down, trapping him. Unable to break free, Cage agrees to listen to what Spider-Man has to say. They talk for a while and get to know each other a little, until Cage finally agrees to turn down Jameson’s offer. They go their separate ways with no hard feelings, and Peter leaves feeling a little less alone in the world.

March 1966 – Peter goes to the Daily Bugle and asks for an assignment that will take him out of town for a few days. Though basically sympathetic to Peter’s situation, Jameson is annoyed that he doesn’t have any kind of proposal to offer. Luckily, Robertson suggests that they do a Sunday photo spread on Daredevil and the Black Widow, taking advantage of Peter’s skill in capturing superhero action. Jameson agrees, and so Peter catches an early morning flight out to San Francisco. Arriving an hour or so before dawn, Peter decides to change into Spider-Man and check out the view from the Golden Gate Bridge. While he is there, though, Spider-Man is suddenly attacked by a werewolf. After a brief struggle, the werewolf falls off the bridge into the water below and doesn’t resurface. Astonished to have encountered a real-life werewolf, Peter finds an all-night diner and orders breakfast, only to realize everyone in the restaurant appears to be in a trance. The werewolf comes crashing into the building and attacks him again. Peter takes the fight outside and swings up to the roof to change into Spider-Man. He is relieved when the werewolf stumbles into a parked car and knocks itself out. As dawn breaks, the werewolf changes into its human form, so Spider-Man carries the man up to the roof where they can talk in private. Surprised to see the wall-crawler in San Francisco, the man introduces himself as Jack and explains that he came to the city with his sister and his best friend, only to be captured by a sorcerer calling himself “Moondark.” Spider-Man agrees to help Jack rescue his sister and best friend, so they head to the theater where Moondark works as a stage magician. However, as they head into the basement, Jack turns back into a werewolf and attacks him again. They crash into a large room where Jack’s sister and friend are standing on a large pentagram, entranced by a magic spell. Moondark gloats about his impending triumph, clearly believing that Spider-Man has come to San Francisco specifically to thwart his plans. Noticing that Moondark is standing in front of the magic portal he used to send the werewolf after him, Spider-Man flips around and kicks the villain through it. Spider-Man’s momentum carries him through as well, and he is surprised to find they have been teleported back to the Golden Gate Bridge. Though Spider-Man manages to grab onto a support cable and save himself, Moondark plummets into the strait and is apparently killed on impact.

Returning to the city, Spider-Man makes his way to the north shore mansion where the Black Widow is known to live and waits for her to appear. When the Black Widow and Daredevil finally show up, Spider-Man changes back into Peter Parker and approaches her Russian chauffeur, who’s working on their car in the garage. After claiming that he would make a much more exciting interview subject, the chauffeur directs Peter to the front door. He is met there by the Black Widow, and she invites him inside. Peter explains about his assignment, and the two heroes are happy to cooperate. As they escort him to a large library on the mansion’s third floor, Peter is impressed by the elegant décor, though Daredevil insists they’re just renting the place. Before the interview can begin, though, a man calling himself “Ramrod” comes crashing through the wall. Despite their best efforts, Daredevil and the Black Widow are unable to prevent Ramrod from tearing open a wall safe and making off with a box of important documents. Having gotten some great action photos, Peter follows the two heroes outside to make sure they are all right. Undaunted, Daredevil and the Black Widow set off in pursuit of their foe, but Peter realizes they will probably need some help to capture him. Thus, he changes into Spider-Man and swings off after them. His spider-sense leads him directly to Ramrod, who’s muttering to himself on a rooftop. Snagging the document box with his webbing, Spider-Man swings off, only to see Ramrod leaping after him like a bargain-basement Hulk. Daredevil and the Black Widow then catch up to them and join the fray. Daredevil tells Spider-Man to take the document box somewhere safe, but he is reluctant to leave the pair to face Ramrod since neither of them seems to have any super-powers. Nevertheless, he swings off to the Transamerica Pyramid, but the relentless Ramrod soon catches up to him. Towards the top of the tower, Spider-Man webs Ramrod up and kicks him in the face. Ramrod is startled when Daredevil and the Black Widow arrive and loses his footing. The villain falls off the building but, despite a drop of nearly 50 stories, is merely knocked unconscious when he hits the ground. Returning the document box to Daredevil, Spider-Man swings off. He quickly changes back into Peter Parker and meets Daredevil and the Black Widow down on the street. As they stroll along the Embarcadero, Peter conducts a proper interview with the two superheroes, though he feels more than a little jealous of their glamorous lives. Finally, he heads to the airport and catches his flight back to New York City.

Depressed about Gwen’s death, Spider-Man goes out looking for some criminals to beat up. This leads him to a battle between Captain America and numerous agents of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.). Though not usually one to butt into other people’s fights, Spider-Man is determined to blow off some steam and dives into the fray. Captain America does not object, and the villains are quickly defeated. However, when Cap calls in S.H.I.E.L.D. for the mopping-up operation, Nick Fury brings both superheroes aboard the Helicarrier for a briefing. Fury reveals that A.I.M.’s mission was to steal any one of three copies of a new guided-missile telemetry system from the U.S. government, and though Spider-Man helped Captain America safeguard one copy and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at Cape Kennedy protected another, the third was successfully stolen from an installation in the Midwest. A tracking device hidden inside the system shows that it has been brought to Queens and appears to be currently located beneath the Science Pavilion on the grounds of the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park. Fury convinces Spider-Man to help Captain America recover the stolen device, so the two heroes break into A.I.M.’s underground complex, where they find the subversive organization is working with the Grey Gargoyle to launch a weapon into orbit. Badly outnumbered, both heroes are quickly knocked out and turned to stone by the Grey Gargoyle’s petrifying touch. Luckily, their altered metabolisms cause the effect to wear off much sooner than usual and they are able to break free before being launched into space. As A.I.M.’s missile takes off, one of the chains used to bind the heroes gets tangled around the Grey Gargoyle’s ankle and he is hauled away into the sky. Without their super-powered ally, the A.I.M. agents are quickly defeated. Seeing that Captain America has the situation under control, Spider-Man says goodnight and heads for home.

April 1966 – Early in the month, Peter finally returns to the ESU campus, not having attended any of his classes since Gwen’s death. Even so, his mind is not on his studies. He is confused as to why the police have not yet discovered that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin—or why they would think Spider-Man was involved in Osborn’s death, as the Daily Bugle claims. He is also extremely self-conscious about facing his classmates, dreading their sympathy, and so he blows up at Mary Jane and Flash Thompson when they try to draw him out of his funk. Stressed out by the situation, Peter storms off and wanders around the rainy streets for a few hours. Eventually, he comes upon a newspaper dispenser and becomes enraged by the Daily Bugle’s new series, “The Spider-Man Menace.” Intent on showing Jameson just what a menace he can be, Peter changes into Spider-Man and swings over to the publisher’s apartment building. When he arrives, Spider-Man is shocked to see Jameson being attacked by a silver-gray werewolf. Noting that he recently encountered a werewolf in San Francisco, Spider-Man swings in and attacks the monster, trying to drive it off. However, the werewolf overpowers Spider-Man and knocks him out. When he comes to, he finds the creature has fled, leaving Jameson unharmed. Ready to go after the werewolf, Spider-Man is surprised when Jameson tries to coerce him into leaving the monster alone. Telling Jameson he has a weird sense of gratitude, Spider-Man swings off into the night. A couple of hours later, while Spider-Man is stalking the rooftops, the werewolf attacks him again. As they struggle, Spider-Man notices the werewolf is wearing a gemstone at its throat that looks strangely familiar. However, the werewolf bolts into an alley and disappears when the moon starts to set. Spider-Man tries to pursue the creature but stumbles into some garbage cans, having lost a lot of blood from a nasty gash in his chest. He staggers back to his apartment, bandages himself up, and collapses into bed wondering why Jameson would want to protect a monster that tried to kill him.

In the morning, Spider-Man goes to the Daily Bugle offices to confer with Joe Robertson but is chased off by the police. Having inhaled some tear gas, Spider-Man changes into Peter Parker and takes refuge at Mary Jane’s apartment, but they argue and he storms out thinking she is just a shallow party girl after all. Later, while web-swinging around the city, Spider-Man deduces that the werewolf he fought last night may be Jameson’s son, Colonel John Jameson. He swings over to the astronaut’s apartment building and, sure enough, finds the werewolf attacking a young woman. After a brief struggle, Spider-Man manages to rip the gemstone from his foe’s throat, only to realize that it was grafted to the creature’s skin. Howling in agony, the werewolf collapses and changes into Colonel Jameson. After hurling the gemstone into the Hudson River, Spider-Man tells J. Jonah Jameson, who has emerged from the apartment building, to get his son to the hospital. When Jameson frets about negative publicity, Spider-Man yells at him and walks off in disgust.

Realizing that fighting is the only thing that makes him feel better, a grim Spider-Man haunts the rooftops and back alleys of the city for the rest of the month. However, the petty street crime he finds offers little challenge.

May 1966 – Peter returns to the ESU campus only to have the people around him inexplicably start changing into hideous, demonic monsters. Soon, the city itself also starts to transform into a weird, alien landscape. Changing into Spider-Man, he tries to contain the rampaging monsters. As the fight spills out into the streets of New York, Spider-Man runs into the Fantastic Four—Mister Fantastic, the Thing, the Human Torch, and their newest recruit, Medusa—and they coordinate their efforts. Less than an hour after it began, the city suddenly changes back to normal and the demons revert to their ordinary human forms. A couple of minutes later, all the tremendous damage done to the city during the battle is abruptly undone, as if by magic. Later, the Avengers report that the entire incident was merely a mass hallucination created by a super-villain whom they have defeated.

When he comes upon Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner fighting with some muggers in an alley, Spider-Man assumes the undersea monarch is in New York to cause trouble again. However, he quickly learns that Namor is in fact trying to hunt down the villains who killed his father. Sympathetic, Spider-Man agrees to help the Sub-Mariner seek justice. His spider-sense leads them to a seemingly abandoned trawler floating outside the 12-mile limit, in which they discover an elevator shaft to the villains’ lair on the ocean floor. Breaking into the hidden complex, Spider-Man and the Sub-Mariner are captured by Tiger Shark and the mad scientist Dr. Lemuel Dorcas, who is trying to animate a group of “men-fish” he has genetically engineered. The heroes help each other escape confinement, and the subsequent battle wrecks the installation. The base is completely destroyed, causing the trawler and its elevator shaft to explode, but Spider-Man and the Sub-Mariner make it out in the nick of time. Namor seems unsatisfied with his revenge, though, as he takes Spider-Man back to shore.

On his way to ESU one morning, Spider-Man is flagged down by a couple of advertising executives. They try to convince him to create a “Spider-Mobile” using an experimental non-polluting engine made by one of their clients, Corona Motors. Thinking it’s a stupid idea, Spider-Man rejects their offer and continues on his way. When he arrives on campus, he changes back into Peter Parker and runs into Professor Miles Warren, who chides him for not attending class. Peter apologizes sheepishly, then blows up at Mary Jane and Flash when they try to coax him out to the campus coffee shop. After a miserable day, Peter returns home to find an eviction notice, revealing that the rent hasn’t been paid since Norman Osborn died. Peter had assumed that Harry was taking care of it, but they’ve hardly spoken lately since his roommate has been spending most of his time at his father’s townhouse. Since he hasn’t sold many photos to the Daily Bugle for a while, Peter knows he can’t cover the rent on his own and worries about losing the apartment.

Thus, the next morning, Spider-Man heads back to the advertising agency and accepts their offer in return for a $1,000 cash advance. When he asks about getting blueprints for the car, though, the ad men tell him he’ll need to design and build the vehicle himself. Realizing that would be beyond his mechanical engineering skills, Spider-Man decides to seek help from the Human Torch, a well-known sportscar aficionado. On his way to the Baxter Building, Spider-Man is ambushed by the Kangaroo, whose powers have been augmented since the last time they clashed. However, the Kangaroo suddenly abandons the fight when he develops a severe headache, and Spider-Man, not interested in a grudge match with a third-rate super-villain, decides not to pursue him. At the Fantastic Four’s headquarters, Spider-Man finds the Human Torch in a foul mood, but his interest is piqued by the idea of building a “Spider-Mobile” from scratch. They work on some design ideas for a couple of hours, but then a report comes in that the Kangaroo has broken into a nearby nuclear laboratory. Still annoyed with the Torch for abandoning him in the middle of a rescue mission a few months ago, Spider-Man insists that his fight with the Kangaroo is a personal matter and he doesn’t need any help. Arriving at the Hudson Nuclear Laboratories, Spider-Man confronts the Kangaroo, who has been hired to steal some dangerous radioactive isotopes. Ignoring Spider-Man’s warnings, the Kangaroo charges into a highly radioactive vault and dies instantly. Horrified, Spider-Man seals the vault with his webbing just as the police fire tear-gas canisters into the lab. Slipping past the police, Spider-Man then web-swings aimlessly around the city for a few hours, feeling lonely and dispirited. The next day, Peter settles up with his landlord so he won’t be evicted from his apartment.

As the semester ends, Peter learns that he’s failed all his classes due to non-attendance and becomes even more depressed. Worried about flunking out of college and letting Aunt May down, he heads to a secluded arbor on campus to change into Spider-Man. Though his spider-sense starts tingling, Peter doesn’t see anyone nearby and decides to ignore it. He changes into his costume and swings off for home, lost in his troubled thoughts. Not long after, Peter has his 21st birthday and, though he’d rather spend it alone, Mary Jane insists on taking him out to dinner. She apologizes for the fight they had at her apartment last month and reveals that Harry had just dumped her, which is why she was so unsympathetic towards Peter. He tells her about his own strained relationship with Harry, and agrees to hang out with Mary Jane occasionally over the summer.

June 1966 – Mary Jane drags Peter to a motorcycle stunt show at Madison Square Garden, though she insists that he buy their tickets. Peter is not enthusiastic about being there, but nevertheless becomes fascinated by the stuntman called “Ghost Rider,” who wears a creepy “blazing skull” helmet and performs spectacular leaps. During the show, a villain wearing a large “eyeball” helmet and his half-a-dozen henchmen come riding into the arena. However, when the villain starts putting the audience into a hypnotic trance, Peter realizes it’s not part of the act. Alerted by his spider-sense, Peter avoids being hypnotized, then slips off and changes into Spider-Man. As he attacks the henchmen, Spider-Man is surprised when Ghost Rider starts shooting fire out of his hands and assumes he must be wearing a flame-thrower rig under his leather suit. The villain, calling himself the Orb, kidnaps one of Ghost Rider’s assistants, a cute blonde named Roxanne Simpson, and offers to exchange her for complete ownership of the motorcycle stunt show. Ghost Rider is ready to capitulate to save Roxanne’s life, but Spider-Man is confident they can track the Orb to his lair and take him by surprise, since he was able to tag the villain with a spider-tracer during the fight. Sure enough, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider trail the Orb to an old power room on an abandoned subway spur. While Spider-Man is fighting with the henchmen, though, the Orb rides off with his hostage and Ghost Rider pursues him. After webbing up all the henchmen, Spider-Man takes one of their motorcycles and goes after his spooky partner, though he finds the bike much harder to control than the one he used to ride to and from campus. The chase leads them right through Grand Central Station, where Spider-Man finally manages to snag Roxanne with his webbing and pull her off the Orb’s bike. She sails through the air and lands safely in Spider-Man’s arms. Ghost Rider chases the Orb back inside the building. When he comes back out a few minutes later, Ghost Rider reports that the Orb tried to escape back down the subway tunnel but was hit by an oncoming train. Ghost Rider managed to save himself, though his motorcycle was crushed under the train. As the leather-clad couple walks off down the street, Spider-Man swings away, freaked out by the fact that Ghost Rider’s head looks much more like a real flaming skull than a mask or a motorcycle helmet.

July–August 1966 – Peter and Mary Jane continue to see each other socially and get to know each other better, though Peter spends much of his time in search of newsworthy photos he can sell in order to pay the rent. On a semi-regular basis, Spider-Man heads over to the Baxter Building, where he and the Human Torch continue working on their Spider-Mobile project.

September 1966 – When the fall semester starts at Empire State University, Peter is frustrated that he has to repeat his classes from the spring in order to finish his junior year. To make matters worse, Professor Warren treats Peter with thinly-disguised contempt, often berating him for his cavalier attitude toward his studies. While web-swinging around after midnight one night, Spider-Man comes across a crime scene right outside Mary Jane’s apartment building. A young woman has been murdered on the sidewalk and Mary Jane is a witness. However, she’s too afraid to go to the police, believing the killer will come after her. When Peter fails to convince Mary Jane to come forward, he changes back into Spider-Man and goes looking for the killer. It is not long before he is ambushed by the Vulture, who is being uncharacteristically aggressive. Admitting that he killed the woman, the Vulture manages to knock Spider-Man out, then flies off, leaving him for dead. When he comes to, Spider-Man heads over to the Baxter Building, where he and the Human Torch pull an all-nighter working on the Spider-Mobile. At dawn, Spider-Man goes home to get a couple hours of sleep before attending Professor Warren’s class.

Grabbing a quick breakfast before heading to campus, Peter is surprised to find Harry in the apartment, but Harry is belligerent, insisting that while they may have been roommates, they were never really friends. Stung, Peter makes his way to ESU, where Mary Jane claims to have been lying about witnessing the murder. Before Peter can press her on the matter, Flash Thompson offers them a ride in his new car. However, the Vulture swoops down and plucks Mary Jane right out of the convertible and flies off with her. Distracted, Flash drifts over the center line, swerves to avoid an oncoming van, and crashes into a telephone pole. Saved from injury by his superhuman reflexes, Peter leaves the unconscious Flash and quickly changes into Spider-Man. He rescues Mary Jane when the Vulture drops her, but accidentally calls her “Gwen” and worries that he may have compromised his secret identity. He catches up to the Vulture in one of the biology labs, where the villain is menacing a lab assistant. After a brutal battle, Spider-Man manages to drive the Vulture off. He then changes back into Peter Parker and returns to the wrecked lab, hoping to question the lab assistant. Unfortunately, she has already left, and Peter finds only Professor Clifton Shallot, a biochemist that he’s heard good things about. They chat briefly, then Peter leaves to continue his investigation. He soon learns that the lab assistant was one Christine Murrow, who turns out to have been the murdered girl’s roommate. Later, at the Daily Bugle offices, Peter discovers that the original Vulture, Adrian Toomes, is still in jail, meaning he must be dealing with an impostor. Changing into Spider-Man, he then persuades an underworld informant to reveal that the new Vulture has been seen hanging around a particular ship on the waterfront. Heading to the docks, he has a look around as Peter Parker, only to be grabbed by the Vulture. The villain complains that it’s the second time he’s caught Peter snooping around, then drops him into the river and flies off. Peter is confused by this comment until he realizes that the phony Vulture must be Clifton Shallot, apparently having mutated himself into a doppelgänger of Toomes, probably with help from Christine Murrow. Peter reasons that Shallot, driven to crime when his research money ran out, must have decided to kill off Murrow to protect his secrets but accidentally murdered her lookalike roommate instead.

Returning to Mary Jane’s apartment, Peter finds she is ready to go to the police, but on the way to the station the Vulture attacks them again, causing their taxi to crash. Mary Jane is knocked out and the driver is stunned, giving Peter a chance to tumble into a stairwell and change into Spider-Man. He protects Mary Jane with his webbing, causing the Vulture to fly off in a rage. Spider-Man then swings back to the waterfront and convinces the captain of the ship to turn over a sample of the chemicals he is transporting. Clipping the vial to his belt, Spider-Man heads to Clifton Shallot’s biology lab, where he finds the phony Vulture inside a mutation chamber being operated by Christine Murrow. She confirms his suspicions, then he and the Vulture fight until Spider-Man can force his foe to ingest the antidote. Thinking he’s been poisoned, Shallot collapses to the floor, reverts to his normal appearance, and passes out. Spider-Man chastises Murrow for doing nothing while Shallot was murdering people, but she denies any responsibility. Both Shallot and Murrow are soon taken into police custody.

October 1966 – On his way to see a movie one night, Peter spots a super-villain calling himself the Basilisk crashing through the wall of a museum. Quickly changing into Spider-Man, he confronts the Basilisk, only to find the villain’s eye-beams can burn right through his webbing. The Basilisk overpowers Spider-Man and beats him nearly unconscious, but luckily he is rescued by the alien superhero Captain Marvel. After the villain has been driven off, Captain Marvel explains that the Basilisk gained his powers from an ancient Kree artifact called the Alpha Stone and is now searching for its counterpart, the Omega Stone, to increase his power. Spider-Man agrees to help Captain Marvel track down the Omega Stone before the Basilisk gets his hands on it. Their search leads them to a construction site in Manhattan’s Financial District, where they clash with the Basilisk again. While Spider-Man keeps their foe busy, Captain Marvel unearths the Omega Stone, but it suddenly grows to gigantic size and completely envelops him. The crystal then disappears in a blinding flash, taking Captain Marvel with it. Frustrated, the Basilisk flies off, and Spider-Man decides to seek help from the Fantastic Four.

At the Baxter Building, however, Mister Fantastic informs Spider-Man that the team has disbanded. Clearly very depressed, Mister Fantastic is initially disinclined to help, but Spider-Man lays a guilt trip on him until he agrees to join forces to rescue Captain Marvel. Taking the Fantasti-Car, the two heroes trace the peculiar energy signature of the Omega Stone down to Subterranea, accessing it through a drop tube buried beneath some rubble out in a rural area. No sooner have they landed in the underground realm than Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic are captured by a seemingly numberless horde of creepy Subterraneans. Mister Fantastic suggests they pretend to be unconscious as they are carried into the throne room of the Mole Man. There, they find Captain Marvel, still trapped within the Omega Stone, which has been wired up to serve as the power source for the Mole Man’s gigantic laser-cannon. The Mole Man rants about his plans to use the weapon to devastate the surface world, then orders Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic thrown into a magma pit. They manage to save themselves, only to have the Basilisk turn up, determined to have the Omega Stone for himself. While the Basilisk is busy fighting the Mole Man and his Subterraneans, Mister Fantastic sets the laser-cannon to self-destruct. Captain Marvel escapes from the Omega Stone by transforming into his human alter-ego, Rick Jones. The destruction of the laser-cannon causes the magma pit to violently erupt, and the Omega Stone and both villains are lost in the resulting conflagration. Spider-Man, Mister Fantastic, and Rick Jones race to the Fantasti-Car as the tunnels collapse behind them. Once they have reached the surface, Jones changes back into Captain Marvel and flies away. Mister Fantastic then gives Spider-Man a lift back to Manhattan.

November 1966 – At ESU, Peter comes upon the aftermath of a fight between the Sub-Mariner and a man in an armored battlesuit calling himself “Force.” Though Force has fled the scene, the Sub-Mariner, wearing a new black costume for some reason, seems more interested in locating Professor Damon Walthers, a member of the physics faculty. Determined to find out what is going on, Peter changes into Spider-Man and confronts the Sub-Mariner. Not wanting to waste time fighting Spider-Man, Namor explains that his new costume is actually an elaborate life-support system designed for him by Mister Fantastic after he was exposed to an experimental nerve gas during a recent battle. The gas also threw the entire population of Atlantis into suspended animation, and Namor has come in search of Professor Walthers’ research on force-field technology. He intends to generate a force field around Atlantis to protect his citizens while he and his allies seek a cure for their condition. Spider-Man decides not to interfere, and the Sub-Mariner rushes off. Returning to his studies, Peter realizes that the Sub-Mariner’s loss of his entire kingdom kind of puts Gwen’s death into a new perspective.

December 1966 – In the middle of the month, Peter offers the Daily Bugle some routine photos of Spider-Man stopping an armored car heist, but Jameson rejects them, saying he needs pictures of a new vigilante in town known as the Punisher. While Peter’s in the office, Betty Brant invites him to the Christmas party she and Ned Leeds are throwing next week. Though he hasn’t exactly been feeling the holiday spirit, Peter says he’ll try to make it. He then changes into Spider-Man and goes looking for the Punisher, but it’s not long before the vigilante ambushes him. They fight on a rooftop, and the Punisher proves to be a surprisingly tough customer. Suddenly, another costumed figure calling himself the Jackal pops out of a chimney and rakes the back of Spider-Man’s head with electrified claws. Dazed, Spider-Man pitches off the roof, saving himself with a web-line that sends him swinging through a window in an office building across the street. When he returns to the roof several minutes later, Spider-Man is surprised to see the Punisher has left an obvious clue behind. He follows up on it after nightfall, only to discover that the Jackal has set a trap to frame the Punisher for the murder of a gun shop owner. Thanks to Spider-Man’s intervention, the Punisher is able to escape before the police arrive on the scene. Before slipping off into the darkness, the Punisher vows to get revenge on the Jackal for double-crossing him. Unfortunately, the police spot Spider-Man leaving the shop, meaning they will probably assume he was involved in the murder. Cursing his luck, Spidey heads for home.

A few days later, Spider-Man swings over to the Baxter Building to pick up the completed Spider-Mobile. Though he grumbles about the early hour, the Human Torch is proud to unveil the finished product—a dune buggy painted to match Spider-Man’s costume. They load the vehicle into a service elevator and take it down to an alley behind the building. There, the Human Torch explains the control panel for the car’s unique features: a spider-signal and high-capacity web-shooters. Excited, Spider-Man takes it out for a test drive, but careens erratically down the snowy street until the Torch forces him to pull over. When Spidey admits he’s never taken a driver’s education course, the flabbergasted Torch spends the next several hours giving him rudimentary driving lessons. Afterwards, a stressed-out Peter finally returns to his apartment. Thanks to a camouflage device that disguises it as an ordinary car, Peter is able to leave the Spider-Mobile parked in the street a few blocks away. Peter is on the phone with Aunt May when Mary Jane shows up unexpectedly, determined to make sure Peter doesn’t miss his physics final exam. As they head to campus together, Mary Jane talks excitedly about Ned and Betty’s Christmas party, which makes Peter feel pressured to attend. Over the next couple of nights, Spider-Man practices his driving skills.

On Christmas Eve, Spider-Man is cruising around in the Spider-Mobile when he comes across Hammerhead’s gang stealing boxes of files from a law firm. Though he snags most of the crooks with his car’s web-shooters, Spider-Man is caught by surprise when Hammerhead slams into the Spider-Mobile and upends it. Having been training for their inevitable rematch, Hammerhead manages to knock Spidey out, and the gang escapes before he comes to. Waking up to find a couple of beat cops examining the overturned dune buggy, Spider-Man webs them up, kicks the car over, and drives off. As he is leaving, though, he spots an envelope in the snow with Aunt May’s name on it. Snatching the envelope with a web-line, Spider-Man takes it with him as he drives over to Betty Brant’s apartment for the Christmas party. After activating his car’s camouflage system, he changes into Peter Parker and joins the other guests, mostly people from the Daily Bugle. However, Peter quickly excuses himself and retreats into the guest bedroom to open the envelope. He is shocked to find a copy of a letter written by the Montreal attorney Jean-Pierre Rimbaud informing Aunt May that she has inherited an island in Canada that contains one of the richest sources of uranium ever found. The island is also the site of a privately owned nuclear breeder reactor and, as such, is worth a fortune. Realizing that Doctor Octopus has been trying to get his hands on the property so he can manufacture his own nuclear weapons, Peter changes into Spider-Man and heads immediately to the villain’s mansion in Westchester County.

When he arrives, Spider-Man is stunned to see Doctor Octopus and Aunt May about to get married. However, the ceremony is disrupted when Hammerhead and his gang burst in, intent on kidnapping Aunt May. Doc Ock hustles his elderly bride out through an emergency exit, so Spider-Man swings around to the back of the house, hoping to intercept them. Unfortunately, his concern for Aunt May’s health makes Spidey careless, and Doc Ock is able to batter him with his metal tentacles. Since Aunt May is convinced that Doctor Octopus is protecting her from Spider-Man’s vicious attack, Spidey backs off, worried that the stress will give her a heart attack. Doc Ock hustles Aunt May into a helicopter and takes off, just as Hammerhead’s gunmen arrive and open fire. When their weapons prove ineffective, Hammerhead orders them to chase after Doctor Octopus in their own helicopter. As it takes off, Spider-Man hitches a ride on the underside of the craft, webbing himself in place for the long flight to Canada. On the way, Spidey reasons that Doc Ock must be planning to get Aunt May’s inheritance by marrying her and then most likely killing her off somehow. The villain must have intercepted the original letter that Rimbaud sent to Aunt May, he realizes, which explains why he kept her on at his Westchester mansion until he got out of jail. Hammerhead must have caught wind of the scheme somehow, which is why his gang was robbing the law firm that morning. But somehow they managed to drop the copy of the letter they were after near the Spider-Mobile. Spidey is grateful for this unlikely stroke of good luck. When they reach the island, Hammerhead’s helicopter rams Doc Ock’s, wrecking both aircraft. As a gun battle erupts between the two gangs, Spider-Man fights his way past Doctor Octopus and grabs Aunt May, who has fainted. He carries her to a nearby hanger, where he finds the island’s supply plane. Spider-Man quickly takes off and sets a course back to New York. Suddenly, the island is destroyed in a huge nuclear explosion. Roused by the sound of the blast, Aunt May comes to, but, seeing she is trapped in a small airplane with Spider-Man, she immediately faints again.

After a harrowing landing at a small airfield outside New York, Spider-Man changes back into Peter Parker and takes Aunt May to Anna Watson’s house in Queens. They spend Christmas Day with Anna and Mary Jane, and Peter explains to Aunt May about her lost inheritance and the plot to steal it. Though disappointed in Doctor Octopus, Aunt May is grateful for the new mink coat he had given her. Having waited up all night for Peter to return from wherever he disappeared to, Mary Jane spends much of the day asleep. Peter is relieved when Anna says she is happy to have Aunt May stay with her for the time being.

Two days later, Spider-Man meets with Dr. Curt Connors at his Long Island laboratory, where the scientist explains that his lab assistant, Vincent Stegron, has absconded with research they were conducting for S.H.I.E.L.D. involving cell regeneration with dinosaur tissue from the Savage Land. Connors fears that Stegron may be trying to replicate the experiment that created the Lizard and asks Spider-Man to go to the Savage Land and capture him. Spidey agrees to help and stops by S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, where he calls in the favor Nick Fury owes him for helping defeat the Grey Gargoyle back in March. Fury is obliging and loans Spider-Man a supersonic jet and two S.H.I.E.L.D. pilots. They set out at once for Antarctica. When they arrive the next day, Spider-Man parachutes down into the Savage Land, where he meets up with Ka-Zar and his sabretooth tiger Zabu. They are immediately captured by a horde of Swamp Men and taken to the Temple of the Lizard-King, where they find Stegron. Spidey is shocked to see that Stegron has used Connors’ formula to turn himself into a strange half-man, half-stegosaurus creature and is now planning to use dinosaurs from the Savage Land to conquer the world. Spider-Man and Ka-Zar break free but fail to stop Stegron from launching a huge ark-like airship full of dinosaurs. Snagging a passing pterodactyl with his web-line, Spider-Man reaches the flying ark, leaving Ka-Zar to deal with a dinosaur stampede the villain has initiated.

When the airship approaches New York City many hours later, Spidey tries attacking Stegron again, but the Dinosaur Man overpowers him and throws him off the ark. Luckily, Spider-Man is rescued by the Black Panther, who had come out to investigate the mystery ship in a Quinjet. After conferring with Connors, Spider-Man and the Black Panther work together to devise an extra-strong web formula to use against Stegron’s dinosaurs. Their work is cut short when a radio bulletin announces that the prehistoric horde has rampaged through Central Park and is heading toward Times Square. Racing to the scene, the Black Panther fights with Stegron while Spider-Man tries to web up the dinosaurs. Connors arrives soon after and tells Stegron that his transformation into a Dinosaur Man is irreversible, prompting the villain to flee the battle on a pterodactyl. Spider-Man pursues him, though, and ends up knocking him off the creature with a punch in the face. Stegron plunges into the harbor but is apparently too heavy to swim and sinks out of sight. Leaving the pterodactyl webbed to the Statue of Liberty, Spider-Man makes his way back into the city to rendezvous with Dr. Connors and the Black Panther. Though the city has been saved, Spidey feels dejected that he was unable to save Stegron.

Peter is relieved when he receives his grades and finds he managed to pass all his classes, finally completing his junior year at Empire State University. And though he’s glad he doesn’t have to worry about Aunt May being in danger anymore, Peter is still haunted by Gwen’s death and the painful hole it’s left in his life.


January 1966 – Spider-Man starts the year with a brief cameo appearance in Fantastic Four #133.

February 1966 – The adventures of Spider-Man resume in Amazing Spider-Man #119 and Marvel Team-Up #9. The Fantastic Four’s Pogo Plane does not actually appear in Marvel Team-Up #10, but it’s the only way to make the logistics of the globe-spanning story make sense. After the Green Goblin is killed in Amazing Spider-Man #122, Harry Osborn gets rid of his father’s costume and calls the police. They arrive on the scene before Spider-Man’s webbing has evaporated, making the wall-crawler a ‘person of interest’ in the murder investigation. This cloud of suspicion will hang over Spider-Man for quite some time. Unhinged by his father’s death, Harry begins a slow descent into madness.

March 1966 – During his encounter with Jack Russell in Marvel Team-Up #12, Spider-Man never learns the names of Jack’s sister (Lissa Russell) or his best friend (Buck Cowan). Moondark is in fact killed when he hits the water under the Golden Gate Bridge, but he will be resurrected by one of the demons he serves, in exchange for his immortal soul. In Daredevil #103, Peter inadvertently reveals his dual identity to Daredevil, unaware that masks don’t mean anything to the blind superhero’s hypersenses. Seven years later, Spidey will finally learn Daredevil’s secret identity as well, as seen in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #110.

April 1966 – It is Spider-Man who dubs John Jameson’s lupine alter-ego the “Man-Wolf.” Apparently, the name catches on in the media, as Jameson refers to himself that way in his next appearance.

May 1966 – Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four team up against the demon hordes of Dormammu in Avengers #118. Doctor Strange undoes all the damage caused during the battle by augmenting his magic with the power of the Evil Eye of Avalon. However, in order to keep the Defenders’ involvement a secret, the Avengers are necessarily vague about what actually happened. In Amazing Spider-Man #126, the Kangaroo is working for the disreputable scientist Jonas Harrow, who previously augmented Hammerhead. While changing into Spider-Man on the ESU campus at the end of the semester, Peter is observed by Miles Warren, who was sexually obsessed with Gwen Stacy and holds Spider-Man responsible for her death. The scene was revealed in a flashback in Spectacular Spider-Man #149. The revelation drives Warren to create the persona of the Jackal as he plots to resurrect Gwen and kill Peter.

June 1966 – Spider-Man and Ghost Rider remain unaware that the Orb’s weapons were provided by a shadowy cabal known as They Who Wield Power, made up of Prince Rey and the Keeper of the Flame from the lost city of El Dorado along with the Subterranean ceasar known as Tyrannus.

November 1966 – Spider-Man sticks his nose into Prince Namor’s business in Sub-Mariner #68–69.

December 1966 – It isn’t luck but rather the Jackal that gets Rimbaud’s letter into Spider-Man’s hands. While the web-slinger is unconscious, the Jackal plants the envelope next to the Spider-Mobile in the hopes that Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus, and Hammerhead will all destroy each other fighting over it. Later, Spider-Man, Ka-Zar, and the Black Panther remain unaware that Stegron’s ark-like airship has been provided by They Who Wield Power. This brings us up to Amazing Spider-Man #131 and Marvel Team-Up #20.

Jump Back: Spider-Man – Year Four

Next Issue: The Fantastic Four – Year Six


OMU: Scarlet Witch -- Part Four

The Scarlet Witch finally finds some stability over the next twelve months of her life, serving as a core member of the Avengers the entire time. She also accepts that her romantic feelings for the Vision are real, despite him being an artificial man created in a laboratory, and pursues a relationship with him. The Vision, for his part, is reluctant to acknowledge that he is capable of human intimacy, but Wanda refuses to be pushed away. Her relationship with her twin brother, Quicksilver, however, slowly dissolves before he finally quits the team and promptly disappears. Adding to Wanda’s troubles is her teammate Hawkeye (a.k.a. Goliath), who subjects her to routine sexual harassment. Given the asinine behavior of the two flesh-and-blood men closest to her, it’s no wonder that the Scarlet Witch finds the android Vision’s reserved demeanor so appealing.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.

Here, then, is the fourth installment of… The True History of the Scarlet Witch!

January 1965 – The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are summoned to a meeting of the Avengers by Captain America and his new partner, the Falcon. The Vision, Goliath, Thor, Iron Man, and the Black Panther also attend. Cap reports that a childhood friend of the Falcon had been kidnapped by a voodoo cult in New Orleans, and when he was rescued, he kept muttering a set of coordinates in the Pacific Ocean. The team agrees to help investigate, though the Black Panther announces that he must return to Wakanda now that his regent has died. Pietro reminds the others that he, Wanda, and the Vision will need to remain behind on monitor duty as a favor to Mister Fantastic, who asked them to keep watch over the Baxter Building while the Fantastic Four are vacationing in Las Vegas. After the Black Panther has left, Captain America, the Falcon, Goliath, Thor, and Iron Man board a Quinjet and take off. Several hours later, the five heroes return, but none of them can remember what happened to them or where they left their aircraft. Wanda finds it all to be very mysterious.

A few days later, Wanda is reading in bed a little after midnight when the Vision calls her and Pietro to action. The Fantastic Four have been arrested as public menaces and are spending the night in jail, and someone has broken into the Baxter Building and set off the intruder alarms. The three Avengers race to the scene and find the Kree-born superhero Captain Marvel opening the portal to the Negative Zone. Before they can stop him, Captain Marvel pulls Rick Jones out of the other dimension, but he is followed close behind by Annihilus, who is intent on conquering the earth. Annihilus shrugs off Wanda and Pietro’s attacks, but the Vision manages to drive him back into the Negative Zone. The Avengers seal the portal, only to find that Captain Marvel has stolen their Quinjet and fled. The Vision realizes that Captain Marvel has absorbed dangerous levels of Negative Zone radiation, so the three Avengers take Rick and set off in pursuit. After picking up another Quinjet at Avengers Mansion, the quartet flies to Miami, Florida, as Rick believes Mar-Vell will attempt to hijack a spaceship at Cape Kennedy. They are able to apprehend Mar-Vell and take him to the base hospital there, where an old associate of Hank Pym’s is able to siphon off the deadly radiation with help from the Vision. The process causes the synthezoid to lose consciousness for a few hours, and Wanda worries about him until he revives shortly after dawn.

Suddenly, Kree Sentry 459 crashes through the wall, announcing that Ronan the Accuser has ordered him to execute Mar-Vell as a traitor to the Kree. Wanda casts a hex that makes the infirmary ceiling collapse onto the large robot, but to no effect. The Sentry overcomes both Quicksilver and the Vision and grabs Mar-Vell, informing the earthlings that “Plan Atavus” will soon deal with them, then teleports away with his prisoner. The base security chief, Carol Danvers, then arrives on the scene and demands to know what’s going on. After the Avengers explain, Danvers reveals that Captain Marvel has saved her life in the past and she hopes the Avengers will be able to rescue him. Thus, the three heroes take Rick back to Avengers Mansion to begin the search. During the flight, Rick tells the others what he knows of Captain Marvel’s history and of how he sided with the human race against his own warlike people. When the Quinjet lands at their headquarters, though, they find a pre-recorded message from Goliath saying he’s gone to Alaska to help Yellowjacket and the Wasp deal with an emergency there. With no time to lose, the quartet returns to their Quinjet and flies to Alaska, where they rendezvous with the Wasp on an ice-breaker ship in the Arctic Ocean.

The Wasp informs her erstwhile teammates that they’ve discovered a tall tower on the ice, surrounded by a circle of primeval jungle. An energy beam emitted from the top of the tower sweeps around, increasing the size of the jungle with each rotation. Both Yellowjacket and Goliath have disappeared into the jungle, so the four Avengers go in to investigate, accompanied by Rick. They are soon attacked by Sentry 459 and a hypnotized Goliath, and in the course of the battle, both the Scarlet Witch and the Vision are knocked out and captured. Wanda regains consciousness inside the tower, finding herself bound with energy shackles that neutralize her mutant powers. The Vision is likewise held captive next to her, and as he revives, Wanda, overcome with emotion, leans over to kiss him. However, he turns away at the last moment, asserting that he’s merely an artificial copy of a man. Wanda is devastated, more by the Vision’s negative self-image than by his rejection of her affection, but their captor, Ronan the Accuser, merely laughs at them. Ronan turns his attention back to his other prisoner, Captain Marvel, and explains that his devolution ray has already turned Yellowjacket into a caveman and will eventually revert all life on earth to amoebas. Ronan is about to turn his ray on the Scarlet Witch when Quicksilver and Rick come to the rescue. Freed from their bonds, Wanda, Vision, and Mar-Vell are ready to fight, but Ronan, learning the Skrulls have launched a full-scale attack on the Kree Empire, teleports away. With Plan Atavus abandoned, the tower begins to collapse, but Sentry 459, lacking explicit instructions, can only remain at his post while the Avengers evacuate. The jungle quickly succumbs to the Arctic environment as Yellowjacket and three technicians from a nearby government research outpost revert to their normal forms. After the tower breaks through the ice and disappears into the ocean, Yellowjacket tenders his formal resignation from the Avengers, feeling that he’s of little use to the team. The Wasp reluctantly resigns as well, so the Avengers fly them and the technicians back to their main research base. Not wanting to cause a general panic, the Avengers swear the technicians to secrecy before returning to New York.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Wanda and the Vision do not speak of their near-kiss, as she realizes that he is not ready to move forward with their relationship. She decides to take things slowly and to try to help the Vision come to see himself as a worthwhile person in his own right. Despite the synthezoid’s self-doubts, Wanda sees how easily he has assumed a leadership role in their recent adventures, even being elected to serve as team chairman, and is determined to draw the Vision out of his shell. Some days later, they are watching television news coverage of a racially-charged crisis in San Francisco when Thor interrupts to announce that he must deal with the situation alone. Quicksilver, Cap, and Goliath agree with Wanda and the Vision to let the thunder god handle it, even though he refuses to fully explain himself.

Following the inauguration of President Morris N. Richardson, the government forms an Alien Activities Commission, headed by conservative politician H. Warren Craddock, after the three technicians from Alaska go public with the Kree plot to conquer the earth. The Avengers are shocked when Craddock announces that public hearings will be held on the matter, and that he has an extensive list of known alien spies at large in America—even implying that Captain Marvel may be one of them. Mar-Vell and Rick then arrive at the mansion to consult with the Avengers as to the best course of action. All too familiar with persecution, Wanda and Pietro advise Mar-Vell not to turn himself in, and the Vision concurs that this could be the start of a witch hunt that will grow to encompass mutants and androids as well. They notice that a crowd of protestors is gathering outside the mansion, demanding that the Avengers turn over Captain Marvel to the authorities, but their attention is drawn to a helicopter plummeting toward the roof. Realizing that the pilot is Carol Danvers, Mar-Vell tries to rescue her but fails. The Vision manages to catch the helicopter as it crashes, minimizing the damage, and Wanda and Pietro help pull Danvers from the wreckage. Wanda fears the Vision has been hurt, but he phases out of the burning wreck and coldly insists that he’s fine. Wanda is upset by his brusque manner, but he merely tells her she’s being too emotional and goes inside. Pietro confronts the Vision about his treatment of Wanda, but the synthezoid ignores him. Wanda makes excuses for the Vision, but, frustrated and heartbroken, she is preoccupied the rest of the day as Mar-Vell and Danvers go to hide out at an upstate farm and the team receives a summons to appear before Craddock’s commission in the morning.

The next day, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, Goliath, and Rick Jones head to the New York County Courthouse to testify before the Alien Activities Commission. The streets are lined with protestors accusing the Avengers of selling out the human race to the Kree invaders, and Wanda is disturbed and frightened by the atmosphere of paranoia. In the courtroom, they see the Fantastic Four have also been called to testify. Craddock’s opening statement plays up the lurking threat of alien infiltration, increasing Wanda’s anxiety. After the three technicians have described their ordeal in Alaska at the hands of Ronan, Mister Fantastic is called to the stand to discuss his team’s recent encounters with the Kree, which he does in dry, scientific terms. The Thing testifies next and proves himself unwilling to give Wanda and the other new Avengers the benefit of the doubt since they helped Captain Marvel evade capture by S.H.I.E.L.D. Having considered the Fantastic Four to be friends and allies, Wanda is stung by their lack of support. Her spirits lift when the Vision addresses the committee and makes an impassioned plea for justice, but Craddock dismisses his sentiments as the empty words of a pre-programmed robot. Wanda is furious, but then Rick suddenly bolts from the room, causing a ruckus. Craddock abruptly adjourns the hearing until tomorrow, so the Avengers return to their headquarters, again harassed by protestors on the way.

When they arrive, the four heroes are shocked to find Avengers Mansion has been ransacked by an angry mob. The butler, Edwin Jarvis, reports that a couple of agitators stirred the crowd into a frenzy, and when they stormed the building, he felt it necessary to deactivate the security devices to prevent anyone from getting hurt. Seeing the damage done to her home, Wanda is irritated with the servant, feeling he’s failed in his duty to protect their sanctuary. However, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man suddenly appear and castigate the new Avengers for shielding Captain Marvel from government investigation. Accusing the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and Goliath of disgracing the name of the Avengers, Captain America disbands the team. Wanda is stunned, and her heart sinks when the Vision insists that, under the team’s by-laws, they have no recourse. After the senior members have left, the disgraced quartet decides to rendezvous with Mar-Vell and Danvers at the upstate farm. Wanda uses her credit card to pay for a car rental and they soon arrive at the property, located outside the small town of King’s Crossing, NY.

On their way up to the farmhouse, the four heroes are attacked by a trio of cows that suddenly transform into doppelgängers of Mister Fantastic, the Thing, and the Human Torch. Quicksilver is knocked out when “the Thing” weirdly stretches his arm to punch him. Wanda casts a hex that ruptures a water main, thus extinguishing the flames of “the Human Torch,” but “Mister Fantastic” wraps her up in his elongated arms and squeezes. Within a few seconds, the Scarlet Witch lapses into unconsciousness.

February 1965 – When she comes to, Wanda finds herself imprisoned in a stasis tube alongside Pietro and Mar-Vell on what appears to be a Skrull spaceship. Unable to speak or move, she remembers her similar plight on Ixar’s starship a little over a year ago and is filled with dread. The Super-Skrull is ranting at Captain Marvel, revealing that the Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man who disbanded the Avengers were Skrull impostors, which at least gives Wanda hope that her teammates will come to their rescue. However, the Super-Skrull decides that the mutant twins have outlived their usefulness, and he is about to kill them when he is summoned to the bridge. Wanda experiences strange sensations as the ship jumps through hyperspace and comes in for a rough landing on the Skrull Throneworld in the Andromeda Galaxy. The three prisoners are soon transported to the palace of Emperor Dorrek, supreme leader of the Skrulls. Seeing that the emperor’s daughter, Princess Anelle, wants their prisoners treated mercifully, Wanda is inspired to echo Mar-Vell’s spirit of resistance. Unfortunately, Dorrek believes that while the terms of the “Convention of Fornax” prevent him from torturing a man of the Kree, its protections do not extend to savages from Earth. Thus, Wanda and Pietro are dumped into an enclosed gladiatorial arena to face a large, hungry monster.

Using teamwork, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver quickly put the monster on the defensive. However, Pietro’s speeding around generates wind gusts that send four small, pink-furred critters flying around the enclosure. Whenever they strike a hard surface, the critters spawn full-sized duplicates of themselves, quickly filling up the available space and threatening to smother Wanda and Pietro. Amused, Emperor Dorrek releases them from the arena, and Princess Anelle informs the twins that Mar-Vell has saved them by agreeing to give the Skrulls the secret of “omni-wave” technology. Wanda despairs, thinking they may now be responsible for the deaths of millions of the Skrulls’ enemies. Intending to keep them as hostages, Dorrek has Wanda and Pietro placed back into stasis tubes and rendered unconscious.

Sometime later, Wanda and Pietro are revived and released from their stasis tubes as Captain Marvel battles the Skrulls. He informs the twins that the Avengers are on their way to rescue them, and Wanda’s spirits soar. She and Pietro join in the fight, taking on a horde of Dorrek’s palace guards, but soon find themselves hopelessly outnumbered. Having attempted to use the omni-wave projector he was building to contact Rick Jones and the Avengers, Mar-Vell destroys it, declaring it is too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands. Wanda and Pietro brace themselves for the next wave of enemy troops, when suddenly a coruscating light emerges from Mar-Vell’s head and sweeps through the palace, rendering him and all the Skrulls immobile and insensate. Though unnerved by the eerie silence, Wanda and Pietro deduce that Mar-Vell is somehow a conduit for the mysterious energy rather than its source, but they are confused as to why they are unaffected by it. Without warning, Wanda, Pietro, and Mar-Vell are teleported to the planet Hala in the Kree Galaxy, where they are reunited with the Vision, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. Wanda is relieved, but worries when she spots Rick unconscious on the floor of the vast chamber, in which Ronan the Accuser and numerous Kree soldiers stand frozen in place. Then, on a large viewscreen she sees a mammoth, gelatinous head with tentacles sprouting from its scalp. The weird visage introduces itself as the Supreme Intelligence, ruler of the Kree Empire. It explains that Rick has stopped the Kree-Skrull War by awakening his latent psychic powers, but now needs Captain Marvel to merge with him to keep him from dying. Mar-Vell agrees to lend Rick his life-force and, to Wanda’s astonishment, phases into Rick’s body. The boy awakens, groggy and confused, his psychic powers suppressed once more. The Supreme Intelligence then teleports the Avengers back to Earth, assuring them that the crisis has ended.

The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Rick Jones materialize outside Avengers Mansion, where Nick Fury is waiting for them with H. Warren Craddock, now a broken man. Fury explains that the “Craddock” who hounded them was a Skrull in disguise—the fourth member of the squad that impersonated the Fantastic Four three years ago—but the alien reverted to its true form while giving a speech and was beaten to death by an angry mob. S.H.I.E.L.D. soon located the real Craddock, who has cleared the Avengers of any wrongdoing and disbanded the Alien Activities Commission. Rick confirms that the “Carol Danvers” who came to Avengers Mansion was actually the Super-Skrull; the real Danvers is still in Florida. Fury then notices that Goliath has not materialized with the rest of the team, and the Avengers fear he was lost in the Andromeda Galaxy during their battle with the Skrull Imperial Armada. Later, after dinner, the Vision informs Wanda that he had phased inside the Super-Skrull’s ship after it launched with her and Pietro on board, but he was powerless to rescue them. He chose to exit the ship to report back to the Avengers before it left the earth’s atmosphere. Wanda assures him that he made the right decision, and takes his anxiety about having made such a choice as clear evidence that he cares about what she thinks of him.

A week later, the Avengers meet to continue discussing strategies for discovering the fate of Goliath. Thor announces that he will return to Asgard and consult with his father, Odin. Iron Man adds that he will see what he can find using the resources at Stark Industries. The Vision adjourns the meeting, and the Avengers go their separate ways. Wanting to catch up on the news, Captain America turns on the television. Wanda is disturbed by a report about a gang of rabble-rousers called the Warhawks, who have incited a crowd to violence against a Chinese delegation staying at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Thus, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver join Cap in going to investigate, and Rick decides to tag along. When they arrive, the heroes try to protect the hotel from the mob, but as soon as the Warhawks’ hooded pipers start to play their martial tunes, Wanda blacks out. When she regains her senses, Wanda is confused, with only a vague awareness of having been fighting Thor on behalf of the Warhawks. Thor explains that the leader of the Warhawks was really Ares, the Greek god of war, and his pipers were satyrs whose music overwhelmed the Avengers with a lust for death and destruction. Wanda finds the thought chilling, but is distracted when Hawkeye turns up, having abandoned the Goliath identity and returned to archery. Deferring questions about how he made it back to Earth, Hawkeye reveals that he has found Hercules suffering from amnesia and prophesying about the end of the world.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye explains that he was teleported home to Earth at the same time as his teammates, but his one-man fighter-craft crash-landed in Yugoslavia. Having used up all of Hank Pym’s growth serum, he fell in with the traveling carnival where he discovered the amnesiac Hercules, and it took them about a week to make it back to the United States. While her teammates attempt to restore Hercules’ memories, Wanda decides to go lie down, but Hawkeye follows her and makes clumsier-than-usual sexual advances. Feeling overtired, Wanda snaps at him for being too self-absorbed, but he doesn’t get the message. She is further frustrated when the Vision comes along and clearly misinterprets the nature of their intimate conversation. Before she can explain, though, Pietro intercepts Wanda and confronts her about her feelings for their synthezoid teammate. He suspects that she has fallen in love with the artificial man and feels duty-bound as her brother to put a stop to such foolishness. He reminds her of the vow he once made to their parents that he would always protect her. Wanda admits that Pietro’s suspicions are correct, but before they can pursue the matter, two of Ares’ henchmen appear in a cloud of smoke, intent on kidnapping Hercules. The immortal warriors, Kratos and Bia, quickly take out Quicksilver, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man and shrug off Wanda’s hex spheres. She is knocked out for a few minutes and awakens in the Vision’s arms to learn that their foes succeeded in abducting Hercules. Hawkeye blames the Vision for their failure, and Rick Jones concurs. Wanda is infuriated, but becomes even angrier when the Vision admits he dropped out of the fight to be with her even though he knew she was not seriously injured. Embarrassed, Wanda moves away from the Vision and goes to stand by her brother while the team decides what to do next.

The next day, receiving an urgent summons from the Black Knight, the Avengers race to meet him at Garrett Castle in England. Still angry with the Vision, Wanda elects to fly with the Black Panther and Hawkeye in their Quinjet. When they arrive, they join Quicksilver, the Vision, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. Wanda is startled when the Hulk shows up and Cap persuades the green goliath to stay and help out. The Black Knight then escorts the team into the depths of the castle, where he lights a ceremonial brazier. Suddenly, the ghost of the original Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia, appears and reveals how Ares came to possess the Ebony Blade and team up with the Enchantress to conquer three worlds: Earth, Olympus, and Asgard. Suddenly, the Swordsman swings down from the rafters, claiming his Avengers membership and demanding to help stop Ares. Wanda is not inclined to trust their old adversary, but Thor accepts him into their ranks for this mission. Choosing Iron Man, Hulk, Black Knight, and the Vision to accompany him, Thor spins his enchanted hammer, generating a space-time vortex to carry them to Olympus. The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver join the others in investigating a series of anomalous atmospheric disturbances in London, where they find a horde of demons pouring through a dimensional portal—the first wave of Ares’ shock troops. After a fierce battle, the Avengers manage to drive the demons back through their portal, and then Thor and his squad emerge, having rescued Hercules and defeated the villains. Thor and Hercules then seal the portal by destabilizing its energy matrix, causing it to collapse, though it requires Hercules to remain in Olympus on the other side. As Thor deals with an exasperated police constable, Wanda notices that Captain America allows the Swordsman to slip away into the crowd—his reward for meritorious service during the fight. The Avengers then return to New York, but Wanda’s relationship with the Vision remains strained as she tries to work out her feelings under Pietro’s disapproving eye.

March 1965 – Wanda and Pietro celebrate their fifteenth birthday with a party at the mansion. They continue to claim they’ve lost track of how old they are, not wanting the Avengers to think of them as children. Having seen how the older members treat Rick Jones, who is nearly 20, Wanda is determined to be taken seriously after everything she has experienced over the last three years. She is glad her teammates are content to call the twins teenagers and leave it at that. Later in the month, Wanda becomes depressed and anxious, though she can’t account for it. A subtle aura of doom and gloom seems to settle over Avengers Mansion for a few weeks, and she notices her teammates are similarly affected. Only talking with the Vision makes her feel better, and Wanda soon forgives him for his poor judgement last month.

April–August 1965 – The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver spend the next several months training in the mansion’s combat-simulation facilities and attending routine team meetings. And unlike Pietro, who has no patience for such things, Wanda continues to pursue a general education. She also carefully manages her Avengers stipend income, remembering the difficult time she and Pietro had last summer when they were living with the Toad as fugitives. Still, she does occasionally indulge her taste for nice clothes and the performing arts, and does what she can to spend time with the Vision without drawing her brother’s ire. She notices as Pietro becomes increasingly misanthropic, especially in response to the anti-mutant rhetoric coming from President Richardson’s White House. Pietro speaks often of returning to Europe, though Wanda refuses to consider it, insisting that their place is with the Avengers.

September 1965 – Wanda is delighted when Thor brings several fellow Asgardians to stay at Avengers Mansion after being banished from Asgard for arguing with Odin. She is amused by the Warriors Three—the dashing swordsman Fandral, whom she recognizes as a roguish ladies’ man; the taciturn Hogun the Grim, the epitome of the strong, silent type; and the amazingly obese Volstagg, whose opinion of himself could not be higher. She is impressed by the intimidating shieldmaiden Hildegarde and dazzled by Balder the Brave, the most beautiful man she’s ever met. Wanda is especially happy to meet Thor’s lover, Sif, whom she can’t help but admire immediately. As Sif has come to Earth without a change of clothes, Wanda offers to lend her some outfits, though Sif is considerably taller than she is. Thor also brings two alien friends: Tana Nile, a Rigellian colonizer with a stiff, imperious attitude, and Silas Grant, the last survivor of the planet Blackworld who dresses like an old sea captain. Wanda greatly enjoys listening to the Asgardians’ colorful tales of their legendary realm, though she worries about Thor, who seems disheartened by his exile.

October 1965 – The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Captain America, and Hawkeye join the Vision, Thor, and Iron Man at Stark Industries for the unveiling of an advanced computer system called Nimrod. The company is hosting a media event where the computer challenges a garrulous Soviet chess champion. However, the chess-master, Comrade Sporadnik, collapses during the tournament and is rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Donald Blake determines that he has been poisoned. The Avengers track down the assassin—a balding middle-aged man—but he escapes by phasing through the floor. Suddenly, the heroes receive a vision that reveals that the assassin is an ordinary accountant named Leonard Tippit, who was recently granted superhuman powers by the omnipotent alien known as the Watcher. Tippit was charged with preventing a future nuclear holocaust by murdering five innocent people whose yet-unborn children would be responsible for the catastrophe. As the images fade, Thor assures his teammates that the Watcher is, in fact, real. Even so, the Avengers are unwilling to stand by while people are murdered. They split up, and the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver speed to England, hoping to protect a middle-aged woman named Eliza Willis. When Tippit materializes, he quickly defeats Pietro and hits Willis with an energy blast that puts her in a coma. However, as Tippit starts to teleport away, Wanda casts a hex sphere around him. Tippit’s powers go haywire and the feedback knocks him out, allowing the two Avengers to load him into their Quinjet. After dropping Willis off at the nearest hospital, the twins rendezvous with their teammates at Stark Industries. Still unconscious, Tippit is strapped into the machine Iron Man has built to siphon off their foe’s superhuman energies. As the device is activated, Tippit revives. Suddenly, the Watcher materializes in the room and reveals that it was Tippit, not his victims, who was a threat to the earth, and the murder scheme was just a ruse to force Tippit to travel the world and exhaust himself. The Avengers are angry at having been manipulated, but Tippit agrees to sacrifice himself to save the world. Before disappearing again, the Watcher assures the Avengers that the five victims will awaken tomorrow with no memory of their ordeal.

The Avengers head immediately to the New York County Courthouse, where the Hulk is being put on trial. The Hulk’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, calls Iron Man to the stand, but most of his testimony is stricken after the prosecutor objects to the Avengers’ presence. The judge agrees that the Avengers’ testimony has no bearing on the case. As such, the team returns to their headquarters. Some hours later, they learn that Mister Fantastic inadvertently enabled the Hulk to escape while trying to change him back into Bruce Banner. Wanda is surprised that Reed Richards could be so careless.

The next day, Wanda goes to the team’s communications room to relieve Hawkeye on monitor duty. She is fed up with his sexual harassment, so when he forces a kiss on her after insisting that he wants to be the father of her children, Wanda finally admits that she has fallen in love with the Vision. Hawkeye is thunderstruck by this revelation and walks off without any of his customary snide remarks. She goes to talk to the Vision about it, but he seems more distant and formal than ever. Confused and frustrated, Wanda decides to turn up the heat on her android teammate during the Avengers’ meeting later that evening. After doing her hair up in an elaborate style, Wanda dons a slinky red mini-dress with tall leather boots and a fur-trimmed jacket. Joining the others, she announces her intent to skip the meeting and take a moonlit stroll through Central Park instead. Pietro objects, but Wanda dismisses his concerns and leaves the building. Crossing the street into the park, she is annoyed that Hawkeye, Thor, and Iron Man were clearly titillated by her sexy outfit but the Vision seemed oblivious to her charms. Lost in thought, she is caught unawares when one of the mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels suddenly appears and grabs her. Wanda’s hex spheres prove useless, as the Sentinels are already familiar with her mutant powers and have devised countermeasures. The Vision and Quicksilver lead the other Avengers into the park to rescue her, but they are unable to prevent the robot from carrying her through a space-warp to its secret base. Though Wanda makes a valiant effort to fight off her captors and escape, the Sentinels overwhelm her. She is collared and shackled to a large device in a windowless laboratory.

Several hours later, the robots’ partially melted leader, Number 2, enters the laboratory and outlines their plan to siphon off Wanda’s mutant energies to power a weapon that will cause solar flares to sterilize the earth—their final solution to the mutant problem. Wanda is horrified, but hope is rekindled when an intruder alarm heralds the arrival of the Avengers. After Number 2 has left to deal with the intruders, Wanda struggles to free herself but to no avail. Finally, the Vision phases into the laboratory and releases her from her shackles. They race through the installation to rejoin their teammates, only to find Number 2 blasting Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, and Iron Man with death rays. Wanda casts a hex sphere that disables the robot’s armaments. Suddenly, Larry Trask, the son of the man who created the Sentinels, appears with a mutant-detecting device that is causing him, Wanda, and Number 2 to glow. Registering their leader as a mutant, the other Sentinels open fire on Number 2, melting him down into slag. The robots then power down, and one of them falls over and crushes Trask to death. As they leave the complex, Wanda informs her teammates who the dead man was and asks whether Quicksilver is with them. They reveal that her brother angrily quit the team after her abduction, saying he would rescue her on his own. However, they haven’t heard from him since. After making sure that no one else is in the Sentinels’ underground base, Thor and Iron Man seal it up like a tomb. Wanda is surprised to find they are in the Australian Outback. With their Quinjet destroyed by the Sentinels, it takes the Avengers a couple of days to get home to New York.

The Scarlet Witch then goes to the home of Judge Robert Chalmers, whom the twins met a year ago, to inform him of Larry Trask’s death. Chalmers reveals that it was Quicksilver who took Trask to Australia in hopes of rescuing Wanda, and she realizes her brother has disappeared without a trace. Beside herself with worry, Wanda camps out in the Avengers’ communications room, searching for any possible clues to Pietro’s whereabouts. Growing concerned about her obsessive behavior, Hawkeye and Iron Man try to convince Wanda to get some rest, but she responds with a temper tantrum. Returning to the monitors, Wanda soon comes across a report from Tierra del Fuego about three Chilean scientists being kidnapped by a group of “strange men” who appeared out of nowhere and vanished without a trace. She convinces the Vision, Hawkeye, Iron Man, the Black Panther, Thor, and Sif to help her check it out as a possible lead. The Avengers’ investigation leads them to the Savage Land, where they are attacked by the Savage Land Mutates—Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Equilibrius, Gaza, Lorelei, and Lupo—former Swamp Men who were artificially mutated by Magneto. During the fight, the Avengers are nearly defeated when Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, and the Black Panther become entranced by Lorelei’s siren song, but the Vision proves to be immune to the effect and knocks her out, freeing the others. Rather than feeling triumphant, though, the Vision takes it as evidence that he is not truly capable of sexual arousal and is merely a machine in the form of a man. Wanda is heartbroken and withdraws into herself as the team frees the Chilean scientists and hikes out of the Savage Land. Magneto’s mutates are turned over to the Chilean authorities to face kidnapping charges, but Wanda is no closer to finding her lost brother.

When the team arrives back at Avengers Mansion, Jarvis informs Wanda that he recorded a news broadcast for her about a man who mysteriously disappeared. While she is watching it, Thor and Sif depart to take care of some personal business. Wanda decides to investigate this latest lead immediately, even though they just got back, and Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the Black Panther agree to join her. The Vision, however, is off brooding about something and ignores them. Irritated, Wanda leads the others into the communications room to show them the report, but the console shorts out as soon as she cues up the tape. Iron Man checks the system and is baffled to see that it appears to have been extensively rewired. Fandral, who has been hanging out there the whole time, insists that he saw no one sabotage the console. After Iron Man completes his repairs, the four Avengers leave to check out the disappearance, but it proves to be another dead end. Later, Thor reports that he and Spider-Man rewired the console while battling a group of Asgardian Trolls who had stopped time with a magic crystal.

A couple of days later, the Avengers receive a call from the United Nations requesting help guarding a “mermaid” who caused an international incident between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thor agrees to attend to the matter. Then, the Falcon comes to the mansion to report that a Captain America impostor is on the loose and he needs to borrow a Quinjet to reach the real Cap, who is vacationing in the Bahamas. However, the impostor has already infiltrated the mansion and fooled the Vision into giving him access to the communications room. Having thus learned the real Cap’s location, the impostor leaves before the Avengers can apprehend him. The Falcon sets off at once in one of the Quinjets. He returns it a day or two later, saying Captain America defeated the impostor after a pitched battle in Miami, Florida. Later, Thor’s alien friends, Tana Nile and Silas Grant, move out of Avengers Mansion and get a small apartment together. Despite these distractions, the Scarlet Witch continues to search for clues to Quicksilver’s disappearance, without success.

On Halloween, Wanda leads Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the Black Panther to Manhattan’s East Village to investigate yet another mysterious disappearance. However, they are tricked into fighting each other by the Space Phantom, whom Wanda remembers reading about in the Avengers’ files. While the Avengers are distracted by the Space Phantom’s boasting about his elaborate revenge scheme, the Grim Reaper sneaks up and hits them with a paralysis beam. The four heroes are taken back to the villains’ lair and imprisoned in an anti-gravity field. Wanda is shocked when the Grim Reaper suggests that the Vision is working with them against the Avengers. She struggles to free herself from the anti-gravity trap, but to no avail.

November 1965 – Some hours later, the Vision and Captain America enter the chamber and free the four trapped Avengers. The team then goes on the offensive against the Space Phantom and a horde of HYDRA agents under his command. The Grim Reaper turns on his partners-in-crime when the Space Phantom orders the death of the Vision along with the other heroes. Then, realizing the Avengers are likely to be recaptured by the Space Phantom’s alien technology, the Vision sends the Scarlet Witch back to their headquarters to alert Rick Jones that Captain Marvel may be needed to rescue them. She hurries back to the mansion and passes on the message, then runs around the block so that when the Space Phantom’s airship arrives to recapture her, the villains will think her mission failed. Wanda, Rick, and Jarvis are quickly taken prisoner and delivered to the Space Phantom’s lair. However, as the Vision had anticipated, when the Space Phantom attempts to assume Rick’s form, the lad’s dual-existence with Captain Marvel causes the villain’s powers to go haywire, stranding him in the Limbo dimension where he resides. The Avengers make short work of the leaderless HYDRA goons, prompting the Grim Reaper to surrender when his electronic scythe runs out of power. The Avengers then turn their foes over to the police and head home.

Back at Avengers Mansion, the team finds Thor, who had returned from Rutland, Vermont, that morning and was concerned about their abrupt disappearance. Wanda is offended by the others’ lighthearted banter, though, and reminds them angrily that Quicksilver is still missing. The Vision goes to comfort her, inadvertently revealing to their teammates that they have fallen in love with each other. Startled, the rest of the Avengers withdraw to give the couple some privacy. The Vision then explains that he was never really in league with the villains; the Grim Reaper had approached him three weeks ago with an offer to use the Space Phantom’s technology to transfer the synthezoid’s mind into Captain America’s body, enabling him to become fully human. Intrigued that the Grim Reaper considered him a brother because his brain patterns were based on the villain’s actual brother, the late Simon Williams, the Vision decided to play along until he could devise a plan to foil the evil scheme. Wanda is glad to have her faith in the Vision reaffirmed, and he pledges to focus his efforts on locating her missing brother.

For the rest of the month, the Scarlet Witch and the Vision search for clues to Quicksilver’s disappearance and follow up every possible lead. During the search, Wanda is horrified to learn that Hank and Janet Pym have apparently died in a fire at their home in Southampton. To her great relief, they turn up alive and well the next day. The Avengers offer to reinstate the Pyms as active members, but they decline, saying they prefer their private life in the suburbs. Wanda begins to wonder if she and the Vision could ever enjoy such domestic bliss.

December 1965 – At Avengers Mansion, Wanda and the Vision chat with Iron Man about their unusual romance. Though Wanda had suggested he adopt the name “Simon,” the Vision insists that it is unnecessary, since he has finally come to terms with his identity issues. Iron Man notes that the Vision’s attitude has brightened considerably since their encounter with Lorelei in the Savage Land, and Wanda admits that her relationship with the Vision has made all the difference in her dealing with her brother’s disappearance. However, Hawkeye continues to act like a jerk around Wanda and the Vision, apparently feeling jilted. He finally storms out in a huff and disappears. A couple of days later, the Avengers receive an oddly worded letter from Hawkeye informing them that he has accepted a business opportunity with a corporate tycoon known as Champion. Her teammates take the letter at face value, but Wanda feels there’s something not quite right about it.

Over the next couple of weeks, things quiet down around Avengers Mansion, especially after Thor and his friends all return to Asgard. As such, the team’s Fourth Annual Christmas Charity Benefit is smaller than usual, with the Scarlet Witch and the Vision joined only by Captain America, Iron Man, and the Black Panther.

A few days later, Thor returns as Wanda calls a late-night emergency meeting to explain why she thinks Hawkeye’s letter is a forgery. They agree to investigate and track their erstwhile teammate to a remote location in the Mojave Desert, where they find Hawkeye has been tied to a large bomb by Champion, who intends to destroy California with a series of earthquakes. The Avengers overcome Champion’s force-field-generating armor and his squad of masked henchmen to free Hawkeye, who then saves the day with an act of astonishing marksmanship. As the Vision and Iron Man set about dismantling Champion’s string of bombs, though, Hawkeye insists that he’s determined to make it on his own and officially resigns from the team. Having tired of Hawkeye’s abrasive personality and inappropriate comments, Wanda is not sorry to leave him behind when the Avengers board their Quinjet and fly back to New York. Instead, she renews her determination to find out what happened to Quicksilver and to rescue or avenge him if necessary.


January 1965 – The Scarlet Witch’s adventures continue in Avengers #88 and following. Her teammates’ memories of their mission to the Pacific Ocean are erased by the insectoid creature Psyklop when he teleports them back to New York City. Thor interrupts the Avengers’ viewing of the national news in the Inhumans story in Amazing Adventures #8. For more on President Morris N. Richardson, see OMU: POTUS – Part Three. The town of King’s Crossing, NY, is identified in Fantastic Four Annual #17.

February 1965 – Avengers #99 contains the first direct reference to Wanda and Pietro’s parents, when Pietro mentions having made an oath to them to always take care of Wanda. In this case, he means their adoptive parents, Django and Marya Maximoff.

March 1965 – Towards the end of the month, the Scarlet Witch finds herself dealing with the end of the world—along with everyone else on the disintegrating planet—during Thor #185–188, but luckily Odin erases those events from the timestream, so they never happened. Still, I feel there would be some kind of psychic aftermath that someone like Wanda, attuned to magical energies since birth, would be sensitive to.

September 1965 – Thor brings his entourage to stay at Avengers Mansion in Thor #205, though Wanda remains behind the scenes.

October 1965 – The Avengers make an appearance at the Hulk’s trial in Hulk #153. Quicksilver disappears when he is mortally wounded fighting the Sentinels and is rescued by Crystal and Lockjaw and teleported to the Great Refuge of the Inhumans, as revealed in Fantastic Four #131. Though his recovery is admittedly slow, still Pietro makes no effort to contact his twin sister until next January. Wanda’s meeting with Judge Chalmers happens behind the scenes shortly before Avengers #105. Wanda then has a cameo appearance during the “negative time” effect in Marvel Team-Up #7. She is behind the scenes when the United Nations requests the Avengers’ help with the alien Tamara of the Sisterhood in Sub-Mariner #59, but we see her when the Falcon drops by the mansion to request help in Captain America #154.

November 1965 – The Scarlet Witch stays behind the scenes during the travails of Ant-Man and the Wasp in Marvel Feature #6–10.

December 1965 – This brings us up to Avengers #109.

Jump Back: Secrets of the Scarlet Witch – Part Three

Next Issue: Spider-Man – Year Five