Now it’s time for Untold Tales #4 to sneak into the cracks of Spider-history. “The Measure of a Man” has the webslinger take on The Spacemen, a superteam that claim to have gotten their abilities in an attempt to recreate the events that led to the formation of the Fantastic Four. In reality, they’re dropouts from the space program who have gained superhuman abilities as the result of stolen meteor fragments. Spidey makes short work of Gantry, Orbit, Vacuum and Satellite.
This issue is told from the perspective of astronaut John Jameson, who has been tasked with observing Spider-Man for NASA. While NASA is thrilled that Spider-Man stopped the Spacemen, they decide that he’s too unusual an individual with whom to accurately conduct scientific research.
Spider-Man meets “The Man Called Electro” in Amazing #9. Max Dillon, an unpleasant telephone line technician, winds up getting struck by lightning while atop a telephone pole. Supercharged with electricity, Dillon constructs devices designed to charge his powers and a yellow and green costume that he uses to take on a life of crime.
Peter Parker has enough on his mind with the Daily Bugle running a theory that Electro and Spider-Man are one and the same. Aunt May is sick and is in the hospital when Spider-Man and Electro first clash. Not even meaning to, Electro strikes down Spider-Man with little effort. In round two, however, Spidey defeats Dillon with his science skills and, ultimately, a fire hose as Aunt May recovers enough to be sent back home.
We learn a lot more about Betty Brant in this issue, including that she would currently be attending Midtown High alongside Peter, but she dropped out a year ago because of a “danger loving” individual that she refuses to name.
The Vulture is on the loose yet again in Untold Tales #5 and he has plans to steal the army’s atomic accelerator. That puts Toomes up against The Incredible Hulk’s General Thunderbolt Ross. Although the Vulture escapes, Spider-Man manages to keep the accelerator safe.
Titled “Vulture on the Wing,” this insert into Spider-lore sees Peter Parker make the decision to stop wearing glasses now that he can see perfectly thanks to his spider-powers.
The next Untold Tales then reteams the Human Torch and Spidey for a story called “Double Jeopardy.” The webhead tags along when he spots Johnny rushing to a confrontation with the Wizard. The Fantastic Four bad guy is soon beaten, but meanwhile there’s a gathering of Midtown High regulars with a plan to figure out Spider-Man’s secret identity.
In the next issue, Peter Parker is seen feeding and trying further to help the Batwing creature from the second issue. Aunt May is worried about his vision now that he’s not wearing his glasses, so she wants him to go see an eye doctor. Because he doesn’t want his existing doctor to know about his spider-powers, Peter goes to a new place he sees advertised in the streets.
Little does Peter — or the rest of Queens — know that the A-1 Eye Clinic is being used to hypnotize people into committing burglaries. Behind it is Electro, working alongside Gerhard Winkler, a brainwashing foe that Spider-Man will meet post-graduation in Amazing #59. Here, he instead winds up one of the brainwashed minions of the supervillain team! That is, until Sally Avril and Jason Ionell, Peter’s curious classmates from last issue, try to take a photo from their hidden vantage point. The flash snaps Spidey out of it and he’s able to, once again, save the day.
While Sally and Jason get the credit for stopping Electro and Jason is ready to give up the case, Sally says she has a new plan for figuring out who Spider-Man really is.
The issue, “On the Trail of the Amazing Spider-Man” also teases the coming of some new players in the Spider-Man mythos, the Enforcers. In fact, they’ll make their first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #10.
“The Enforcers!” introduces a criminal mastermind called The Big Man, who has assembled the title gang, the lasso-wielding Montana, the brutish Ox and the judo and karate master (and snappy dresser) Fancy Dan. Together, they’re going to pressure all the gangs in New York into working for them.
Peter comes up with a trap for The Big Man. By pretending to have uncovered the masked villain’s true identity, he winds up having the Enforcers sent after him to find out what he knows. After defeating the Enforcers, Spidey uncovers evidence that makes him suspect The Big Man is really J. Jonah Jameson! He’s close, as it turns out just in time that another writer at the Daily Bugle, Frederick Foswell, is truly the man in question and he’s subsequently arrested.
Although another day is saved, all is not well with Betty Brant. She has slipped away to a motel in Pennsylvania, sobbing at the terrible secret she can’t trust to share with anyone.
Aunt May isn’t doing so well once again and, in issue #10, Peter is pressured into offering her a blood transfusion. As luck would have it, Aunt May has, to date, suffered no ill effects as a result of Peter’s radioactive blood.
Untold Tales #8 put a pause on Peter Parker’s perspective with “Harry’s Story.” Harry Osborn, who wasn’t introduced until the post-graduation Amazing #31, is trapped by his increasingly insane billionaire father who, unbeknownst to Harry, has used a prototype for what will become the goblin glider to arm a mercenary as the high flying, axe-wielding Headsman. He arrives to attack Spider-Man just as Spider-Man is having another confrontation with the Enforcers. Spider-Man gets his mask slashed across the face and has to flee to protect his secret identity.
Harry, who attends another high school in New York, is close friends with Gwen Stacy, who also makes her first chronological appearance here. They even cross paths with a group a Midtown High kids, which includes Sally, Jason and Flash.
In round two, Spider-Man defeats both the Headsman and the Enforcers, but we see Norman Osborn sketching designs for what will become his Green Goblin persona.
Untold Tales #9 sees Spider-Man facing off once again with the Lizard. To get help with the reluctant and somewhat feral Batwing, Spider-Man accidentally exposes Dr. Curt Connors to chemicals that return him to his scaley alter ego. Spider-Man gets Connors fixed up, however, and Batwing takes off for Florida in the hopes that Connors can work with him to find a cure for his own condition.
Betty Brant’s backstory is finally revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man #11’s “Turning Point.” Upon hearing that Otto Octavius is set to be released from prison, Peter Parker does everything in his power to prevent the supervillain from getting his freedom. When Doc Ock is finally let out, Peter places a tracer on his car and is shocked to find that Brant is the one driving!
The secret man in Betty’s past is her brother, Bennett Brant. Owing quite a lot of money to a crimelord named Blackie Gaxton, Bennett needs Betty to help him with a plan to get Otto to bust Blackie out of prison. It works, until Spider-Man shows up. Unfortunately, he winds up getting a sprained ankle and Bennett winds up getting shot. Otto gets away, but Blackie and his men are arrested.
Initially blaming Spider-Man for her brother’s death, Betty confides to Peter that she knows it’s not the hero’s fault. Nevertheless, anything to do with Spider-Man now reminds her of her brother’s death.
Much later on it would be revealed that Bennet actually survived his apparent death and went on to become a later incarnation of the Crime Master. The original version of the Crime Master will make his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #26.
Making her full debut in Untold #10 is international jewel thief Catherine D’Antan. But you can “Call Her… Commanda!” as the title instructs. Armed with drones that she can telepathically control, Commanda needs only her own gorgeousness to distract Spider-Man and get away. Later on, though, Spidey turns the tables and Commanda is turned over to the authorities.
Spider-Man is “Unmasked by Dr. Octopus” in Amazing #12. With Betty Brant having only just returned to work at the Daily Bugle, the secretary becomes the target of plot on behalf of Doctor Octopus. Peter Parker rushes to try and save the day, but his spider-powers are on the fritz because of a bad cold. In fact, he’s so weak that when Doc Ock removes his mask and exposes his identity as Peter Parker, Octavius is convinced that he’s been tricked.
Spidey recovers just in time to round up zoo animals that Otto has let loose, including the eight-legged doctor himself. While no one actually believes that Peter Parker could be Spider-Man, Liz Allen is so impressed that Peter would help Spidey like that that she asks him out on a date. Peter refuses, however, telling her that he instead has a date with Betty Brant.
Untold Tales jumps in for the next three installments. In issue #11, “Shock Follows Shock” as the Eel, who battled the Human Torch in Strange Tales #112, breaks Electro out of prison.
Peter Parker has a different kind of problem as Sally Avril confides in him that she has decided to become a costumed figure called the Bluebird. Unless her supports her, Sally is going to tell the world that Peter is the one that’s taking photos of Spider-Man. The rumor gets around Midtown High either way and, as Spidey battles the combined might of Electro and the Eel, Bluebird somehow emerges as everyone’s favorite new hero.
Untold Tales #12 reveals “The Secrets of Betty Brant” with a story that introduces Betty’s ex, a man named Gordon Savinski who, because of his ties to the mob, is directly responsible for the life that ended up getting Bennett killed. Although she doesn’t yet know it, Gordon is headed back into Betty’s life.
As Betty’s backstory unfolds, Spider-Man has another quick run-in with the Vulture and, alongside Bluebird, the mutant insect the Scarlet Beetle. The creature had previously attempted to wipe out all human life, but was stopped by Ant-Man in the pages of Tales to Astonish #39.
In Untold #13, “Without Warning,” Bluebird’s brief tenure as a superhero comes to a tragic end when she begins to tangle with the Black Knight, a Marvel villain with ties to a character created in 1955. Although Peter Parker tries to convince Sally that she’s out of her league, he takes on the Black Knight himself. Sally is killed in a car accident, rushing to get to fight herself.
Peter winds up defeating the Black Knight with the help of the Human Torch. Johnny even winds up giving Peter some advice that helps him to not blame himself for Sally’s death.
Amazing Spider-Man #13 introduces “The Menace of… Mysterio!” Quentin Beck, an expert special effects artist, becomes obsessed with imitating Spider-Man’s powers. He dresses as Spider-man for a series of robberies (so realistic that Peter wonders if he needs to see a psychiatrist to see if he has multiple personalities). Beck also uses his effects skills to become Mysterio, a costumed character who announces that he’s going to bring Spider-Man to justice. Although Spidey is initially tricked by Mystery and his illusions, he winds up prying the truth from Beck and manages to record the criminal’s confession.
Untold’s Scorcher is back for issue #14, having made his debut in the first issue. “One Thing Right” finds Spider-Man searching for his pal Tiny, who has gone missing. A battle with the flame fueled foe nearly means the end of the webslinger, but Peter returns and bests Scorcher with an explosion that seemingly marks the end of Steven Hudak. His return was already foretold, however, as the 1995 Spider-Man Holiday Special has Scorcher facing off against the Ben Reilly Spider-Man.
One of Spidey’s most famous foes finally makes his official debut in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #14. “The Grotesque Adventure of the Green Goblin” doesn’t reveal Norman Osborn as the man behind the mask (that won’t happen until issue #39), but instead sees Gobby with a really weird plan for confronting Spider-Man. He’s enlisting the aide of a Hollywood director to make a film about Spider-Man and offers the proposal that Spider-Man himself star.
Peter Parker manages to get the Daily Bugle to fly him to Los Angeles to cover Spidey’s big screen debut, but the Goblin secretly has the Enforcers pretending to be film extras.
The Goblin’s plan hits a snag when, in the caves where the film shoot was set to take place, there is discovered a Hulk in hiding. Gobby tricks the beast into attacking Spider-Man, but Spider-Man escapes and lets the Hulk calm down. Unfortunately, that makes the film’s director decide that a Hulk movie would be better than Spider-Man movie anyway.
“The Battle For the Daily Bugle” plays out in the pages of Untold #15 as Gordon Savinski blackmails Betty Brant into a scheme that will out J. Jonah Jameson as the owner of the Daily Bugle. Jameson nearly goes to prison, but Spider-Man is able to expose Gordon’s plot and get the criminal arrested.
As Peter and Betty still fail to connect despite their best efforts, we see that Mary Jane Watson has just arrived in town.
Issue #16 then offers a look at “The Boy Next Door” as a story is told from the point of view of MJ. Although she won’t be even teased until Amazing #15 (with a full appearance finally happening in #42), this issue reveals that MJ has known Peter’s secret identity ever since the night that Ben Parker died. Staying with various relatives, Mary Jane was with her own Aunt, Anna Watson, the night that Ben Parker died. From the house next door, MJ saw Peter exit his bedroom window in his Spider-Man costume.
While MJ decides to keep Parker’s secret for herself, she’s unseen by the hero when he clashes with Avengers villain Radioactive Man at a museum.
With Tiny now back in school, there’s a party thrown for he and Jason Ionell. Jason, best friends with Sally Avril, was driving the car in the accident that killed her. It’s at the party that Betty arrives just in time to see Liz Allan kiss Peter on the cheek. Not only does it anger Betty, the kiss makes Flash doubly despiteful towards Peter.
“Kraven the Hunter” sees the arrival of Russian master of big game, Sergei Kravinoff. A close friend of the Chameleon’s (they would later be revealed as half-brothers), Kraven is convinced to hunt for Spider-Man by the face-shifting thief. Although Spider-Man is briefly put out of commission by a potion developed by Kraven, both villains are caught and, rather than be imprisoned, are both deported back to Russia.
It’s here that Mrs. Watson is first established as neighbor and friend to Aunt May and where May first begins to try and set Peter up with the still-unnamed Mary Jane Watson.