Although Spider-Man has had many enemies, only a handful were as determined as Alistair Smythe to kill Spider-Man. Doc Ock for example is a genius just as willing to kill Spider-Man as The Green Goblin. There is no shortage of genius villains that have been especially ambitious to take him out of the picture. However, one stands out from the others. Using a so-called Spider-Slayer created by his father, Smythe is determined to get revenge for his father’s death in Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19.
The first time we see Alistair Smythe, he is working for The Kingpin, hired to create inventions. After Kingpin hears about Smythe trash-talking him, he lets him go. The inventor takes the money he earned from Kingpin and decides to use it to improve his father’s invention, The Spider-Slayer. It is a saucer-shaped flying device invented to kill Spider-Man. Since Smythe believes that Spider-Man is responsible for his father’s death, he decides to seek the wall-crawler out and finish the job.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man as ordinary citizen Peter Parker is struggling to repair his friendship with Mary Jane. She had just recently found out about his identity. He missed their dinner date at Mary Jane’s upper east-side apartment. She wants to get closet to Peter, but his job as Spider-Man is getting between them. The next day, Mary Jane meets with Peter’s Aunt May and her Aunt Anna, who are out eating lunch in a restaurant that happens to be in a tall building. Her aunt asks if her and Peter are having a lover’s quarrel, and Mary Jane tells Anna that they haven’t been lovers for a long time. (This is a rather odd thing to mention, not only in front of her family, but also in front of Peter’s aunt who raised him.)
While this happens, Alistair Smythe crashes through the window in his Spider-Slayer flying saucer. He used a tracking device planted in a hat given to Aunt May (who then gave it to Aunt Anna) in order to try and discover who Spider-Man is. Smythe inadvertently kidnaps Anna using a mechanical arm, thinking that she must be Spider-Man’s aunt. Mary Jane grabs onto Anna and the two of them fly off with the Spider Slayer. Smythe hears Mary Jane refer to Anna as her aunt, and he thinks that Spider-Man must actually be Mary Jane. It becomes clear that Smythe is more of a madman than a genius. He also seems to be fat and with terrible hair, a decision apparently made for him to look dumb as well.
After bringing Mary Jane and Aunt Anna to his warehouse, Alistair Smythe uses his computer to come to the ludicrous conclusion that Mary Jane had been using an exoskeleton in a male body shape and with hydraulic muscles, along with suction cups and mechanical web-shooters. Mary Jane falsely admits that she is Spider-Man in order to save her aunt’s life, and says that she will lead Smythe to the exoskeleton. The two of them fly away in the Spider-Slayer. Spider-Man finds the warehouse after talking to The Kingpin and kicks through the garage door of the warehouse. He manages to save Anna, and goes to find Mary Jane.
Alistair Smythe gets tired of Mary Jane’s lies and decides to drop her from the sky. Spider-Man arrives just in time to catch her. He lures Smythe’s Spider-Slayer into some electric lines at an Amtrak station, trapping him inside. With the villain now defeated, he then goes to check on Mary Jane, and tells her that he wanted them to get back together, but after seeing her in danger, he knows that is not a good idea. Amazing Spider-Man 19 not only has the first appearance of Alistair Smythe, but also gives hints about Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s relationship, a love story in the making. In fact, this is a major point in their relationship. That is, when she’s not falling out of the sky or something. Be a smart cookie and grab this issue (Affiliate Link) right now while it’s hot. It’s known for being one of the few Spider-Man comic books that were both written and illustrated by women.
Now, why does Smythe look like a fat clown without makeup, when he looks muscular and attractive in later comics? The world may never know.