Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #161

Issue Date: 
October 1976
Story Title: 
And the Nightcrawler Came Prowling, Prowling

Len Wein (writer), Ross Andru (art), John Romita Sr. (cover), Mike Esposito (inks)

Brief Description: 

A sniper’s aim barely misses Peter Parker, but kills young Eric Hoffman, a close friend of the X-Man Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler investigates the scene, finding Spider-Man, a “known” criminal, and they fight. Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson finds more evidence linking Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and the costumed vigilante known only as The Punisher isn’t happy with whoever has been impersonating him and committing murders – and The Punisher believes that Spider-Man and Nightcrawler are responsible!

Full Summary: 

Xavier’s Westchester Mansion:

Nightcrawler is hanging upside-down by his tail from a gymnastics ring in the X-Men’s gymnasium, reading the newspaper. The headlines read: “Wall-Crawling Killer Still At Large!” and “3rd Sniper Victim.” While Nightcrawler reads, Wolverine jumps off a trampoline and slashes the cable holding the ring up, sending Nightcrawler to the ground. Nightcrawler becomes severely agitated at Logan’s ongoing pranks, and demands an apology from him. Wolverine continues to play the agitator until Colossus drops his weights and comes over, threatening to report them both to Cyclops. Without continuing his struggle against Wolverine, Nightcrawler suddenly realizes that he has some things to do, and rushes out of the mansion.

Coney Island:

Aboard the world-famous Tornado roller coaster, a set of crosshairs zoom in on the head of teenager Peter Parker. The crosshairs do not follow the rollercoaster’s movement, as Peter and Mary-Jane ride. Peter feels sick to his stomach from the ride, while Mary-Jane merely laughs at Peter’s discomfort. As the ride finally comes to an end, much to Peter’s delight, MJ insists that they go back for another ride. Peter refuses, offering to buy hot dogs for everyone – including Harry Osborn and his date, Liz Allen. As the four of them order hot dogs at the Nathan’s stand, the crosshairs return, still zooming in on the roller coaster. This time, a gunshot is fired, and hits an unfortunate victim. The man falls off the ride to the ground, and the crowd screams, terrified. Seeing the body, Peter runs from his friends, giving the excuse that he is off to get pictures for the Daily Bugle. Peter ducks behind a ride, and takes of his shirt, revealing his Spider-Man costume.


While Spider-Man and his amazing friends enjoyed their evening at Coney Island, and before the roller coaster murder occurred, Nightcrawler, without his usual image-inducer disguise, prowled the shadows. The 3rd sniper victim from the newspaper headline was actually Eric Hoffman, a friend of Kurt’s. As Kurt thinks to investigate his murder, he hears a gunshot, and a body falls from the roller coaster. He looks up, and sees a man with a rifle on the rooftop. The man drops the rifle to the ground, and runs. Nightcrawler climbs to the rooftop to pursue, but the man locks a solid steel door behind him, leaving Nightcrawler behind. Nightcrawler goes back to the rifle, carefully wrapping it with his coat to prevent damaging the evidence. However, before Kurt can continue searching for the killer, Spider-Man swings in, seeing Kurt with the rifle, and a classic misunderstanding occurs. Spidey thinks that Kurt is responsible, and kicks the mutant to the ground. Nightcrawler wonders if Spider-Man was the man that he just watched get away. Kurt decides that he has to incapacitate Spider-Man and ask questions later. Kurt hits Spidey with a couple of quick jabs, but Spider-Man returns with a ferocious blow that sends Wagner flying. Spider-Man then tries to web Nightcrawler to the wall, but Kurt dodges enough so that only his tail is caught by the web. Kurt then tears the bricks from the wall that he is webbed to with his tail, and flings the bricks at Spider-Man. Kurt retrieves the gun, and escaping, wonders what need Spider-Man would have for a gun with such powers. With Spidey and the cops chasing him, Nightcrawler scales the Ferris wheel. Spider-Man tackles him at the top of the wheel, and the two exchange shouts claiming that the other is the killer. In the frey, the rifle once again falls to the ground, and the police claim it. Seeing that there is nothing left to fight for, Nightcrawler teleports away with a blast of brimstone. Spider-Man shakes his head, wondering if he’s just seen a full-fledged demon. Spidey then retrieves his time-activated camera from its hiding place, and swings toward the Daily Bugle. Nightcrawler sees that Spider-Man has taken pictures of them, and panics.

The Daily Bugle office:

Spider-Man swings in through a window, meeting Joe “Robbie” Robertson. Spider-Man asks what kind of information is available about the sniper killings. Robbie replies that the incident at Coney Island has implicated Spider-Man, but that his sources say that the vigilante called The Punisher is responsible. Spider-Man asks “What would you say if I told you I’ve seen a pointy-eared demon with a long forked tail?” Robbie tells Spider-Man to go get his head checked.

While Spider-Man chats with Robbie, J. Jonah Jameson is eavesdropping. He hears Spider-Man say that he will give the Bugle an exclusive if Robbie’s information is good for anything. He also says that he’ll let “that Peter Parker kid” take the pictures. Jameson sneaks back into his office, and pulls out a package of photos he received. He thinks about how these pictures will bring about the end of Spider-Man and the murders. The pictures are of Spider-Man carrying the dead body of the Spider-Clone. The Clone’s mask is off, revealing (rather distinctly) the face of one Peter Parker! The photos also show Spider-Man dumping the Clone’s body into an incinerator.


The Punisher, on a tip from “Joey Whisper,” busts up a craps game on the Rockaway by knocking out the sentry and blowing away the four gangsters playing. The only gangster that didn’t put up a struggle, Snake-Eyes, surrenders after seeing what became of his associates. The Punisher demands to know who is impersonating him and is dragging his name through the mud.

59th Street Bridge:

Spider-Man drops to the street to catch his breath, trying to piece together the information Robbie has given him and the events of the past night. Nightcrawler jumps in, catching him off guard, and steals his camera, tearing out the film. The two of them fight up the cable-car wire, with neither gaining the advantage. However, the cable car stops, and the heroes freeze, perplexed as to what would stop the car. The answer is revealed by the man in black holding a semi-automatic rifle:

“There they are – EXACTLY where Snake-Eyes said they’d be – and one of them is the man I’ve come to kill!”

Characters Involved: 

Spider-Man / Peter Parker

Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine (all X-Men)

The Punisher (unnamed)


Mary-Jane Watson

Harry Osborn

Liz Allen

J. Jonah Jameson

Joe “Robbie” Robertson

Story Notes: 

The Spider-Man photo in Nightcrawler’s newspaper is credited to none other than Peter Parker.

Peter is most likely pretending to be sick on the rollercoaster. Surely Spider-Man can handle a little tossing and turning…

“Robbie” Robertson deduced Spider-Man’s secret identity on his own, but chose to protect his friend rather than expose him to J. Jonah Jameson.

Issue Information: 
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