The Amazing Spider-Man #144: "The Delusion Conspiracy!"

The Amazing Spider-Man #144
"The Delusion Conspiracy!"
May, 1975

Gerry Conway (Author)
Ross Andru (Artist)
Frank Giacoia & Dave Hunt (Embellishers)
Ray Holloway (Letterer)
George Roussos (Colorist)
Len Wein (Editor)

     The Amazing Spider-Man has just discovered that the city of Paris is
just as screwed up as his native New York.

     With J. Jonah Jameson kidnapped while on a business trip to France
-- and Robbie also kidnapped by a creep called the Cyclone, Spidey has to
pull his web-head up from under half a ton of debris.  Why would anyone
want to kidnap J.J and Joe Robertson?  He remembers the telegram that he
saw as Peter Parker, which demanded a large sum in the form of stocks.
Robertson had been called away to a mysterious meeting, but the
wall-crawler had followed his friend, just in time to battle his

     THOM!  Their leader was the Cyclone, who managed to knock down part
of a building on Spider-Man.  When he came to, everyone was gone.  All he
has right now are the bonds at the hotel, a sore body, and a massive
headache.  It's been a busy time for Spider-Man, what with losing the
Spider-Mobile in the Hudson, meeting the new Mysterio, and finding that
his relationship with Mary Jane has gotten better.  With the way things
have been going lately, it's wonder that he's not stuck with the hotel

     The clerk gives Peter a message, which has him waiting in his room
for further instructions.  While waiting, he places a call to his Aunt
May, who's going out to see a movie with Anna Watson.  The call ends when
Peter learns that he has some visitors.

     Anna is impressed by the nephew's devotion to his aunt, as well as
how things are going with her niece.  May remembers the trouble they had
when trying to put the two young people together.  As the two ladies walk
out, they remember how Peter and Mary Jane grew closer after what
happened to poor Gwen Stacy.  May wonders why older people like them
continue, while a young girl who has just started to live is gone.  As
Anna tries to change the subject, May Parker seems something out of the
corner of her eye.

     The aunt of Peter Parker wonder if she's losing her mind, for she
cannot be seeing the girl who has just walked by in the snow.  After she
almost faints in Anna Watson's arms, May Parker can only wonder who would
be taking care of her delicate nephew.

     Peter is in for a rude awakening when he answers the knock at the
door.  The Cyclone's two henchmen deliver the message for him to bring
the money to Notre Dame tomorrow night.  In the morning, the freelance
photographer retrieves the attache case from the hotel safe.

     Fog is in the air, as Peter walks through the narrow city streets.
He is alone in his thoughts when he comes across a hardware store, and a
way to beat his new foe.  Peter is now excited as he makes his purchase
and pushes the equipment on a trolley.  The young man continues on his
way towards the cathedral at Notre Dame.

     In the evening, the web-slinger uses the time to swing his way
across Paris, and arrives at the cathedral.  The sight of the stone
gargoyles gives the web-head some food for thought.  At least they
haven't any problems to deal with.  There are times when he wishes that
all the bad things would vanish, but then if all of his problems went, so
would the good things.

     Especially a young lady by the name of Mary Jane Watson.  His
troubles await him in Notre Dame.  The Cyclone asks his two captives if
they are comfortable and J. Jonah Jameson has much to say on the subject.
The villain regards the two Americans as weak,while he as a European is
made of firmer stuff.  He was one an engineer at N.A.T.O. and had devised
the cyclone as an offensive weapon.  The engineer learned that N.A.T.O.
would only purchase their weapons from America and that his services were
no longer required.  Jameson is less than impressed by the story.

     The publisher gets a slap in the face for his trouble, but before
things can get any worse, the two henchmen spot the attache case
containing the stocks on a descending web-line.  Before the two can get
their hands on it, the case snaps shut, and is lifted out of their reach.
It is now Spider-Man who comes into view and the last thing they see are
two kicks from his webbed feet.

     Now on the ground, the wall-crawler confronts the Cyclone, who tries
to punch him, but is knocked backwards by two punches from your friendly
neighborhood Spider-Man.  As Spidey is about to express his disgust over
Cyclone hiding his victims in a church, the villain activates the control
on his belt.

     WHOOSH!  FFOOOSSH  SWOOM!  Now it is the web-slinger who is caught
in the vortex of the Cyclone.  (Holy Tunnel-Vision, Batman!)

     Grabbing onto a railing, the web-head attempts to reach the villain
at the eye of the storm, but is knocked away.  He now employs his
original plan and hopes that there's enough electricity in the cathedral
to pull it off.  WHUSH!  Spider-Man has three seconds before the Cyclone
can squash him.  SHOOM!  FOOM!

     The wall-crawler unveils his weapon of choice and the villain laughs
at the sight of the large fan.  Upon clicking the switch, Spidey watches
as the Cyclone is exposed to a vortex which is opposite to his own.  Now
it is he who is a straw in the wind and whose protests end upon crashing
against a nearby wall.

     As Spider-Man gets to his feet, J. Jonah Jameson wonders why it had
to be the wall-crawler who saved them.  Spidey is quick to point out that
he was there to save Robertson, not him.  Just as Jolly Jonah is about to
give him a piece of his mind, the voice of Peter Parker is heard from the
belfry, and the web-slinger takes his leave.  At the belfry, the
wall-crawler turns off the remote-controlled tape recorder, and knows
that the publisher now believes that he and the freelance photographer
were there at the same time. 

     Hours later, the three are on their way back to JFK International
Airport, with all suspicions from J. Jonah Jameson put to rest.  Mary
Jane Watson is not at the airport to meet them, so they take a cab, and
drop Peter off at his apartment house.  On the street, he sees Anna
Watson, who tells him that his aunt is in the hospital.

     The older woman points up the stairs towards his apartment, where he
runs, and comes face-to-face with a sight that he cannot believe.  Gwen
Stacy is standing at the door to his apartment and Peter's world has just
turned black.

     On the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #144, the web-head coins the
famous, familiar phrase of "You can't be standing there!  You're dead!"
The reader sees a familiar boot and a hint of a green skirt, but nothing
more.  (Holy Comics Code, Batman!)

     For once, the web-head has made it out of New York, and into another
country.  His opinion of the French neighborhood makes him for an unhappy

     A well-known letterer is Thom... Tom Orzechowski, who knew George
Roussos, but did not know at the time that the colorist had worked on the
Golden Age Batman.

     Spider-Man lost his Spider-Mobile in Amazing Spider-Man #141.

     Back in the 1970's, the term "hardware" had a completely different

     "Cathedral Perilous!" was another story that took place in a
Cathedral, by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson.  This story appeared in
Detective Comics #441.

     We never learned the name of the N.A.T.O. engineer who became the

     Spidey's witty banter with the baddies and his unique manner of
startling them makes for a fun character.

     I assume that Cyc's costume protected him from those spider-strength

     The Cyclone may have left Spidey winded, but the web-slinger
introduced the villain to his biggest fan.

     The Cyclone was among the villains slain at the Bar With No Name by
the Scourge of the Underworld in Captain America #319.

     A new Cyclone appeared in Thunderbolts #3.

     Gwen Stacy plays a large role in the current issues of The Amazing

     Steve Chung
     "The Delusion Review!"