DOWN AND OUT IN FOREST HILLS
It's Christmas Eve, and Peter Parker, his wife Mary Jane, and Aunt May return to Peter's condo at Bedford Towers to discover that he and Mary Jane are being evicted. The eviction notice is handed to them by Jonathan Caeser's lawyer, Malcolm Kinderman. Kinderman explains that while his client is in jail, he is still within his rights to evict the Parkers. When Mary Jane asks about the money she invested in their condo, Malcolm explains that her money will be tied up in legal litigation, which should be over -- in a number of years. Stuck without a home, Aunt May offers to store Peter and Mary Jane's possessions and offers to put them up in her boarding house. Peter thanks his Aunt for the offer, but tells her that they already have a place to stay. Meanwhile, at the J.C. Herdling, owner Howell Thurston III is complaining about how inconvenient and costly it is that Christmas Eve has fallen on a Saturday this year. He is particularly upset of the extra expense of hiring a security firm to transport the day's receipts to a vault in Manhattan. He is at least glad that his assistant, Clark, is dutifully working for him on Christmas Eve as he has done for the past 23 years. Clark, admiring the pistol he has hidden in his briefcase, assures his boss that he is going to find this holiday season particularly rewarding. Hours later, Peter and Mary Jane send Aunt May off in a cab, assuring her that they will be by that evening for Christmas dinner. Soon, some movers are by to pick up the Parker's belongings off the side of the street. With this unpleasantness out of the way, Mary Jane gives up trying to guess where Peter has arranged for them to stay now that they are homeless. Peter admits that he doesn't actually have a place lined up. He tells his wife that after establishing himself on his own, he feels that going back to the house he grew up in to live with his Aunt now would be like taking a big step backward. Passing by Central Park, the couple witnesses a purse snatching. Peter resigns to the fact that he has to do something about it. Quickly changing into Spider-Man, Peter chases after the mugger, quickly catching him in a spider's web. Returning the purse to the woman, she is grateful as it is all the money she has. As a reward, the woman gives Peter a box of homemade macaroons. With the situation under control, Spider-Man swings off so he can get on with his holiday plans. Meanwhile, at a private security firm in Flushing, the armored car scheduled to pick up the money from J.C. Herdling takes off without signing out. The guard on duty is surprised that they took off like a bunch of amateurs, unaware that the real truck drivers have been tied up and gagged behind a stack of boxes. Later, at the office of the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker has come to J. Jonah Jameson for leads on a photo assignment. Jameson tells Parker he has none and tells him to enjoy the Christmas party that is being thrown at the Bugle. Checking with his wife, Mary Jane tells him that his lawyer suggests that they sue Caeser to get her investment back, but that will take some time. Still, Mary Jane doesn't want to dwell on the situation right now and goes to mingle with the others at the Christmas party. Still trying to figure out where he and Mary Jane will stay, Peter considers who to ask to help. He decides against Joe Robertson and his wife, as they are busy preparing foe Joe's impending court date. He also considers asking Joy Mercado but decides against it thinking it might create tension in his marriage, much like the situation with Mary Jane's cousin, Kristy. In desperation, Peter even briefly considers asking J. Jonah Jameson. After the party, Peter sends Mary Jane ahead to Aunt May's while he finishes some last minute shopping. In reality, he's still mulling over who to ask to put them up. He tried asking Harry and Liz Osborn but decided against it after hearing how many families had come to visit them for the holidays. This leaves Flash Thompson, so Peter goes to see him at the gym where he teaches kids how to box. Flash explains that his apartment was recently trashed, and he had been staying in a backroom at the gym. But, after hearing how much a bind that Peter and Mary Jane are in, he offers it to them, and he will stay at the local YMCA. Peter is thankful for the help but still feels lousy. While back at J.C. Herdling, Howel Thurston is overseeing the transport of the day's income when suddenly Clark makes his move. Pulling the gun out of his coat, he sticks it in Thurston's back, revealing that he intends to rob it, having hired men to take the place of the real security guards. At that moment, Peter has stopped by the cemetery where his Uncle Ben has been buried.[Continuity 6] He wishes his uncle was there to give him advice, conflicted between his need for independence and the assistance being offered by his Aunt May. While at the department store, Clark and his men are interrupted by a security guard. They take the store Santa as a hostage, allowing them to escape with the armored car full of money. Hearing the sirens from the police, Peter leaves his Uncle's grave in order to investigate the problem. Spider-Man leaps onto the roof of the armored car, causing it to crash near the cemetery. From there, Spider-Man rounds up all of the phony guards. When Clark threatens to shoot Spider-Man, the hero is surprised when the mall Santa sneaks up behind Clark and knocks him out with one of the bags of stolen money. After the thieves are turned over to the police, Spider-Man changes back into his civilian guise. As he does so, Peter spies his Aunt May standing at her late husband's grave. When he approaches May, she reveals that she comes to visit Ben's grave every Christmas, but never told him because he didn't want to ruin the holidays for Peter. Feeling like a heel for letting his own pride get in the way of his Aunt May's offer for help, Peter decides to accept he assistance. Later, back at May's home, Peter and Mary Jane celebrate the holidays with May and Mary Jane's cousin Kristy. Pulling Mary Jane aside, Peter worries about keeping his double-identity secret living under the same roof as both May and Kristy but is glad that he has made his Aunt May happy. Mary Jane is happy as well, and when she kisses Peter, Aunt May playfully scolds them for not kissing under the mistletoe.