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Matthew Murdock (Earth-616) from Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Vol 1 9 001
Daredevil
The question is: who are you?
Conversation Tail
Robert Baldwin (Earth-616) from Nova Vol 5 7 0001
Speedball
Uh, w-would you believe *heh* -- one of the good guys?
Conversation Tail

Appearing in "Drug War Rages"Edit

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Synopsis for "Drug War Rages"Edit

Evolutionary War continues from New Mutants Annual #4...

At a warehouse on the Hudson River, mobsters are reading the latest edition on the Daily Bugle, which has a frontpage story about the ongoing drug war in New York City.[Continuity 1] This has been caused by the supply of drugs being cut off, the leader of this group is happy that they stocked up just before this happened. However, they are interrupted by the arrival of Spider-Man who has come to bust up this operation. The wall-crawler easily trounces the drug dealers and snaps some photos to sell to the Daily Bugle. With his job done, Spider-Man finds a local beat cop and tells him where he can find the drug dealers. Spider-Man swings off to develop his photos so he can finally go home and spend time with his wife.[Continuity 2] Meanwhile, on Broadway, Robbie Baldwin is on Broadway with his mother Madeline Naylor to see some shows. When a man rushes past Robbie, he shies away from the man, making his mother wondering why her son is afraid of being touched. Back at the warehouse, Splitface Flannigan and his gang arrive on a tip and take advantage of the fact that they have access to the drugs left behind for the police.

Later that evening, Peter returns home to his condo in Bedford Towers that he shares with his wife. Mary Jane rushes into his arms, as she has been worried about him all night. When he tells her that he busted up a drug operation on the pier. Mary Jane was afraid of this and shows him a news report about how the crooks that Spider-Man webbed up were murdered, and the police are now looking to arrest the hero. When the news hits the front page of the Daily Bugle the next day, the story is read by Matt Murdock at his legal clinic in Hell's Kitchen. He can't believe that Spider-Man would have committed murder and vows to learn the truth either at Matt Murdock, or Daredevil. At that moment at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker stops by Ben Urich's desk to see if there is anything more about the front page story. Unfortunately, Ben doesn't have any more information. That's when J. Jonah Jameson enters the room and is delighted to see Parker. He tells him that the photos he turned in the night before helped prove that Spider-Man is the menace Jameson has claimed for years. Jameson decides to give Peter a bonus and gives him a cigar that he had brought in from Pittsburg. While at the skyscraper headquarters of the Kingpin, the crime lord goes over the disturbing news out of South America. A group of individuals in high tech armor calling themselves the Purifiers have destroyed the drug supply down there, affecting the drug trade in the city. He then shows them a photo of a similarly dressed individual flying over New York City. The Kingpin orders them to prevent the Purifiers from causing further damage to his business.

That evening, Spider-Man returns to the warehouse to search for clues as to who was responsible for murdering the drug dealers. As soon as he arrives, Spider-Man's spider-sense warns him he is not alone. That's when Daredevil comes out of the shadows and announces his presence. Using his enhanced hearing to monitor the wall-crawler's heartbeat, Daredevil confirms that Spider-Man is not lying when he vows that he didn't commit the murders. Daredevil believes him and offers to work with the wall-crawler in order to clear his name. While back on Broadway, Robbie Baldwin and his mother have just finished attending another show. When his mother decides to go to an after-party, Robbie decides to go back to their hotel room because he has a lot of thinking to do. At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson gloats over the latest headline of his newspaper. That's when his city editor, Kate Cushing, comes in and tells him the opinion polls show the public supports Spider-Man. Apparently, the public likes the idea that Spider-Man eliminated some drug dealers as they are sick of crime running rampant in the city. Jameson is furious to learn this and demands that they find a means to find Spider-Man innocent of the crime.

Meanwhile, Robbie is on his way back to the hotel, worrying about the accident that has made him paranoid of being touched. He is unaware that a gang of street thugs has made him their mark. However, when they shoved Baldwin into an ally, they trigger his powers, turning him into the kinetically powered being known as Speedball. Although he doesn't have full control over his powers, Speedball manages to bound around the alley and knock out the thugs before escaping up to a rooftop. As he looks down on his attackers, he is shocked to see two Purifiers approach them. He watches in horror as the Purifiers kill the drug dealers. Knowing the police wouldn't believe Robbie Baldwin's story, Speedball decides to hunt down the killers and bring them to justice as Speedball. While at a shady bar on the Lower East Side, Spider-Man and Daredevil bust up the place looking for answers as to who really murdered the drug dealers on the pier. Word of the two heroes activities reaches the Kingpin, but he is not interested in the doing of his foes. His men have captured one of the Purifiers on the street and have been roughing him up in order to learn why they are eliminating drugs. When the Kingpin questions him personally, the Purifier refuses to talk. The Kingpin then picks him up and crushes his body until the man passes out. The Kingpin expects the man to talk when he comes around again.

While at the moment, at a loft on 22nd Street, the Purifiers report back to their leader, the High Evolutionary. They inform him that they will be activating a device from the top of the Empire State Building that will render everyone in New York City unconscious so they can begin the sterilization process of undesirable genetics. They are unaware that Speedball has been listening in from a window. Before he can do anything, the effect of his powers wears off, reverting him back to normal. Robbie tries to call the police but, just as he expected, they don't believe his story. Once again, Robbie decides that it is up to him from stopping this calamity from happening. At that moment, the Kingpin has finished beating answers out of the Purifier. He is intrigued by the High Evolutionary and his plans and decides to use it to his advantage. He tells the Arranger to have this information leaked to Spider-Man and Daredevil in a discreet manner. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Daredevil have hit another dive bar, and have another fight ahead of them. After beating the thugs in the bar, one of them decides to talk and feeds them a story about how the Purifiers are responsible and where they can be found.

As the midnight hour draws near, Robbie Baldwin arrives at the Empire State Building and tries to build up the courage to do what needs to be done. Inside, the Purifiers prepare to activate their device when suddenly Spider-Man and Daredevil come crashing in. As they battle the purifiers, Daredevil suspects that they have been set up as these are not ordinary criminals. As the battle rages on, Baldwin arrives at the top observation deck of the Empire State Building. There he spots a strange device emerging out of the top of the broadcast tower. Changing into Speedball again, Robbie tries to leap up to the device but overshoots his target. Inside, Spider-Man and Daredevil smash the Purifier's machine inside the building. While outside, Speedball crashes onto the device, ripping it off its moorings. Speedball rejoices that he saved the entire city, but then quickly realizes that he is going to fall to his death. However, before he can hit the ground, Speedball is snagged by a web and pulled back up to safety. The two heroes ask him what he is doing, an embarassed Speedball tells them how he got involved. Meanwhile, the Kingpin plans his next step, knowing that Spider-Man and Daredevil might come after him when they figure out that he was behind the misinformation. He sends the Arranger and his men to crashing in on Splitface Flanagan's hideout and gives him a choice confesses to the murders on the pier or be eliminated.

The next day, J. Jonah Jameson is not happy with having to publish a front-page story about Spider-Man's name being cleared. This brings joy to Peter Parker, who is passing by. On his way out, he almost bumps into Robbie Baldwin and his mother, who are looking for the Daily Bugle's theater critic. Peter is surprised when the young man recoils from their near collision, wondering why the kid was so afraid of bumping into someone. While back at the Kingpin's headquarters, the Arranger begins briefing his leader on the current status of the drug trade. However, the Kingpin has his mind on other things, as he fears that things are going to change quite drastically in the near future and for the first time in his life, the Kingpin is worried.

... Evolutionary War continues in Fantastic Four Annual #21.

Appearing in "He Who Laughs..."Edit

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  • Masked killer (Only appearance; dies)[1]

Other Characters:

  • Previous Justin Baldwin Next (Voice) (First appearance)
  • Amy (Only appearance)[1]
  • Dave (Only appearance)[1]
  • Solly (Only appearance)[1]

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Synopsis for "He Who Laughs..."Edit

In a small off-broadway theater, a masked actor vows to get revenge on Madeline Naylor, a woman he believes stabbed him in the back and ruined his acting career. Ripping apart a newspaper article about Naylor, he vows that she will get a starring role in her murder. He recalls his reason for wanting revenge, how he auditioned for a Broadway play but he was passed over. This man is convinced that Madeline turned the director against him. Reduced to being a janitor at this theater, the man overheard how Madeline Naylor was coming to visit that evening, setting the stage of his ultimate revenge.

Soon, Robbie Baldwin comes looking for his mother backstage. The killer throws a bag over the boy and uses a rope to hoist him up to the catwalk so he does not interrupt his revenge. Robbie struggles to get free, but he cannot get enough momentum to trigger a transformation into Speedball. Soon, his mother arrives and meets with her friend Amy. As the killer prepares to strike, Robbie manages to trigger his powers and breaks free of the bag. Seeing Speedball, the masked killer escapes. With no sign of the killer and his identity in jeopardy, Speedball shuts off his powers, unaware that the killer is beneath his feet below the stage. The killer tries to get up, but Robbie is still standing on the door, trapping him below. Robbie asks his mother if she is ready to go, but she isn't ready to take a train back home just yet, leaving Robbie to worry about the killer. Overhearing this, the killer wonders why Robbie isn't telling his mother about their encounter and thinks that he might hate his mother as well.

Soon Robbie and his mother are on their way Broadway Supply, on the way they witness a purse snatching and Robbie narrowly avoids getting bumped by the thief. Meanwhile, the masked man manages to get out of the theater and follows them. Inside the supply shop, Robbie thinks everything will be okay with the store owner nearby, but the masked man knocks the shop owner out. He then shoves Robbie down an old chute, thinking that will keep the boy out of his way. However, the shove triggers his powers into Speedball, he battles the would-be killer all the while trying not to be seen by his mother, who is too absorbed going over props. While outside, a regular customer is confused as to why the shop is closed early and gets a police officer. Using a spare key, they get inside and find the owner knocked out. The officer looks around, and catches the killer, shooting him dead. This prompts Speedball to slip away unseen and deactivate his powers.

Robbie rejoins his mother just as the killer is unmasked. The shop owner recognizes the man as a failed actor who has no talent. Madeline assures his son that not all actors are evil people, but Robbie naturally already knows this. They soon return to their home in Springdale, where Robbie tells his father all about their trip to New York City.

Appearing in "Kindred Spirits"Edit

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Synopsis for "Kindred Spirits"Edit

This story continues from Fantastic Four Annual #21...

March, 1932, at the base of Wundagore Mountain, the High Evolutionary conducts another experiment in enhancing the evolution of an animal.[Continuity2 1] He selects an ordinary cow and transforms it into a humanoid creature he names Bova. He clothes the creature and ushers it through his facility, promising it will grow accustomed to its new life and will be educated in the ways of man. Afterwards, the Evolutionary decides to check in on Gregor Russoff, the werewolf that has been his guest. The phases of the moon are such that he may have reverted back to human form. He thinks about how Russoff came into his care and how he believes that his curse of lycanthropy is of supernatural origin. The Evolutionary finds this hard to believe and seeks to find a scientific means of curing him. He begins thinking of a means of extracting a gene sample during Russoff's transformation.

He thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Jonathan Drew, at least that's who he thinks he is. Drew tries to convince the Evolutionary that he is the vessel for the spirit of Magnus, a sorcerer from the middle ages. He explains how he was a disciple of the sorceress Morgan le Fay and how they studied the Darkhold, a collection of all of Earth's black magic. Using their mystical skills, Morgan's coven summoned the elder demon known as Chthon. However, the elder demon proved too powerful for them to control and they were forced to trap Chthon's essence within Wundagore Mountain. Believing the Darkhold to be too dangerous in the hands of others, Magnus stole the book and hid it in a monastery tower. In retaliation for this betrayal, Morgan le Fay killed Magnus. However, his soul endured for centuries, eventually taking possession of Herbert Wyndham's former partner, Jonathan Drew.

Magnus tries to warn Herbert that he needs to leave Wundagore, lest he awaken Chthon. The High Evolutionary scoffs at all of this, telling Magnus that he is a man of science and believes in no such thing as demons. However, deep within the bowls of Mount Wundagore, the essence of Chthon hears this and begins to bellow with laughter.

... This story continues in Uncanny X-Men Annual #12.

Continuity Notes

Evolutionary War
X-Factor Annual #3 Punisher Annual #1 Silver Surfer Annual #1 New Mutants Annual #4 Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22 Fantastic Four Annual #21 Uncanny X-Men Annual #12 Web of Spider-Man Annual #4 West Coast Avengers Annual #3 The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8 Avengers Annual #17

Drug War Rages

  1. The date on the newspaper reads May 26, 1988. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. This drug war started in Punisher Annual #1.
  2. This story refers to Peter and Mary Jane as husband and wife. However, years later, the demon Mephisto erased their marriage from existence in Amazing Spider-Man #545. Now the couple is considered to have been a common-law couple as opposed to being married.

Kindred Spirits

  1. The date stated here is factual, as the High Evolutionary has demonstrated a means of slowing his aging process.

Chronology Notes

Events in this issue occur behind the scenes that affect the chronology of the following characters:

Kindred Spirits:

High Evolutionary:

  • Previous Page 56-57 Next - The High Evolutionary creates Bova.
  • Previous Page 58-60 Next - The Evolutionary learns about Chthon.

Chthon:

  • Previous Page 60 Next - Morgan le Fay summons Cthon.
  • Previous Page 61 Next - Chthon is trapped in Mount Wundagore.

Magnus:

Morgan Le Fay:


Publication Notes

  • Also includes unpublished covers of The Amazing Spider-Man, one by Larry Lieber and Jack Abel, and the other by Bob Layton.
  • This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for info.[2]

Solicit Synopsis:

Meet the hottest new hero in the Marvel Universe — Speedball, the Masked Marvel! He's got to help Spider-Man and Daredevil stop the Kingpin's implacable drive to increase the supply of illegal drugs in New York City!


  • No trivia.


See AlsoEdit


  • None.


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Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
  2. This story is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:



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