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Real Name: Cynthia Bernhammer

Identity/Class: Human, American citizen

Occupation: Lawyer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Lance Bannon, Kate Cushing, Aaron DeWeiss, J. Jonah Jameson, Martha Jameson, Nick Katzenberg, Stuart McPhee, Joy Mercado, Puma (Thomas Fireheart), Joe Robertson, Martha Robertson, Randy Robertson, Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Ben Urich, Mary Jane Watson

Enemies: Grizzly (Maxwell Markham), Hobgoblin (Jason Philip Macendale, Jr.), Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Lady" (nickname used by Tombstone), "beautiful" (nickname used by Nick Katzenberg)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
                                   previously New York City, New York, U.S.A.

First Appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man I#145 (December, 1988)

Powers/Abilities: Cynthia Bernhammer possesses no known superhuman abilities. A gifted, sought after lawyer, Bernhammer was known for her dogged determination and dedication to her clients. Not easily intimidated by supervillains, her main weakness seemed to be falling in love with "bad boys" like sleazy paparazzo Nick Katzenberg.

Height: 5'8" (by approximation)
Weight: 210 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blonde


(Spectacular Spider-Man I#145  - BTS) - Hoping to help his friend and colleague Robbie Robertson, J. Jonah Jameson acquired the legal services of Cynthia Bernhammer. She immediately came to Robertson's aid, even as Robbie offered himself as a witness against Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln), who 20 years ago had committed a murder that Robertson decided to conceal because he feared for his life.

(Spectacular Spider-Man  I#145) - Bernhammer, joined by Jameson and Robbie's son Randy, went to the New York federal court to plead Robertson's case. Following the arraignment that was scheduled for next week, Robbie was allowed to temporarily go free. He shocked everyone when he announced he didn't want a trial. The guilt he felt from keeping quiet for two decades while Tombstone was free to kill others was too much for him. Instead of trying to get him off, he asked Bernhammer to plead guilty at the arraignment. Despite the pleas of both Bernhammer, his son and J. Jonah Jameson, Robbie refused to change his position. 

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#149 - BTS) -  Bernhammer, acting on Robbie's wishes, pleaded guilty which inevitably led to a trial. The proceedings were held at the Pennsylvania federal court in Philadelphia.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#149) -  During the trial, Bernhammer called Tombstone to the stand in an attempt to make the case that Robbie had only kept quiet about the murder Lincoln had committed out of fear he'd be his next victim. Tombstone denied, even brushing off allegations he was the one who had wounded Robertson earlier that year when he threatened to expose his crimes. Tombstone, with a smirk on his face, stated the obvious: he was a confessed murderer, adding: "Lady, if I wanted Robbie dead, he'd be dead. Honestly, I'd never hurt the guy. He's my friend." Annoyed that the major point of her defense strategy had effectively been undermined, Bernhammer shot Tombstone a dirty look.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#150) - Bernhammer was at Robbie's side on Friday, when judge R.M. Ingersoll announced the jury's verdict: Robertson was found guilty of misprision of a felony. Despite Bernhammer's protests, the judge reconvened the court for sentencing on Monday, claiming the severity of the case warranted this haste. As Robbie was being taken away, photographer Nick Katzenberg jumped up to get some snapshots of the event. This angered Robbie's son Randy, who assaulted Katzenberg, forcing the judge to have the courtroom cleared. Cynthia later joined Kate Cushing, Lance Bannon, Ben Urich and other friends and colleagues of Robbie's at the Robertson family home in Jackson Heights, Queens. 

(Web Of  Spider-Man I#50) - Bernhammer accompanied Randy, his girlfriend Amanda and Martha Robertson as they went to visit Joe. However, Robertson seemed more concerned with the latest Daily Bugle headline than by the fact he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison. This angered Randy, who yelled at his father to stop thinking of the Bugle and consider what'd happen to his family if he wound up in prison.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#150) - A few days later, during the sentencing, Bernhammer stood next to Robbie when judge Ingersoll delivered his verdict. He flat out dismissed Bernhammer's argument of  "extenuating circumstances," feeling they boiled down to one thing: Robbie had been afraid to come forward 20  years ago but fear was to be no excuse for betraying his fellow citizens, his profession as a journalist or himself. He then sentenced Robertson to the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg for 36 months (3 years).

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#150 - BTS) - To his shock, Joe found his prison cell at Lewisburg was right next to Tombstone's.

(Web Of Spider-Man I#58 -  BTS) - At some point, Tombstone staged a prison break and left Lewisburg while chained to Joe, who was believed dead following the incident. However,  the two old friends spent several weeks hiding within an Amish community until Joe was able to find his way back to civilization. He immediately surrendered to the federal authorities, and called in Cynthia Bernhammer for further legal counseling.

(Web Of Spider-Man I#58) - Bernhammer was on a train headed for Philadelphia with Martha, Amanda and Randy Robertson, as well as Joe's Bugle colleagues Joy Mercado and Peter Parker. They were discussing the latest developments in Joe's case, with Peter asking if Cynthia happened to know what became of Tombstone. Bernhammer replied that only her client's welfare mattered to her and she had not even asked.  

(Web Of Spider-Man I#58 - BTS) -  Unbeknownst to everyone riding the Amtrak train, Spider-Man's old foe the Grizzly (Max Markham) had boarded the train, ready to prove himself against the wallcrawler. Peter's spider-sense warned him of the impending danger, allowing him to quickly excuse himself and change into his Spider-Man gear, ready to confront Grizzly, who had started to tear up the roof off all the wagons looking for his prey. 

(Web Of Spider-Man I#58) - Bernhammer, Joy Mercado and the Robertsons looked on as Spider-Man fought Grizzly, a confrontation that seemingly ended with the webslinger drowning and the Grizzly, satisfied with his apparent victory, leaving the train alone. Eventually the Robertsons, Bernhammer, Parker and Mercado reached Philadelphia, where they were briefly reunited with Joe Robertson and Aaron DeWeiss, the Amish man Robertson had stayed with for several weeks. Bernhammer told DeWeiss that the fact that Joe had voluntarily surrendered should weigh in his favor as federal marshals showed up to take Joe into custody again.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#158 -  BTS) - Bernhammer represented Joe Robertson during the appeal of his sentence for misprision of felony, which was complicated by the fact that he unwillingly participated in a prison breakout organized by Tombstone.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#158) - Cynthia Bernhammer stood with Joe Robertson's friends and family as he was led into the Pennsylvania courtroom. She told Martha, who was surprised her husband looked so strong, that some men grow with adversity. She then informed Randy that the odds of Joe's appeal were excellent before the prison break and had even entertained hopes of a reduced sentence or even a commutation, but at that point, everything was unsure. Her train of thought was interrupted by Nick Katzenberg, who shamelessly tried to exploit the moment by shooting several candid shots of the proceedings. Bernhammer told Nick to take his camera out of her face before she squashed him like a little bug. Ashamed, Katzenberg apologized. Cynthia then watched Joe interact with the many friends who'd come to attend his appeal including J. Jonah Jameson. He then learned that it wasn't the Daily Bugle who had been paying for Bernhammer but Jonah himself. Robertson wanted to thank his old boss but Jameson and Bernhammer pointed out money wasn't the issue and that what they needed was a miracle. As if on cue, the party was approached by Stuart McPhee, a White House advisor whose brother, Joe "Bruiser" McPhee, had served with Robertson at Lewisburg. Because of the acts of kindness Joe showed Bruiser, Stuart offered to try and get Robertson a presidential pardon.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#159 - BTS) -  Despite their rocky initial encounter, Bernhammer and Nick Katzenberg hit it off. Cynthia was enamored by the bad boy paparazzo, who was kind enough to gift her an autographed picture Cynthia carried everywhere.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#159) - Bernhammer accompanied Stuart McPhee to the White House, where Stuart would personally plead with the President to pardon her client Joe Robertson. As Stuart left her alone in the limo going up to the President's place of business, Cynthia couldn't help but feel McPhee was an admirable man, listing his many positive traits such as honesty, self-awareness, consideration and respectability. She then pulled out the signed headshot of Nick Katzenberg and proceeded to swoon over it, wondering just why "lowlife worms like Nick set her heart twittering like a schoolgirl". She finally decided it might be his one dimple.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#160 -  BTS) - The budding romance between Bernhammer and Katzenberg came to full bloom when she invited him to dinner at her place. Both the meal and the date were a success.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#160) - Cynthia Bernhammer went to J. Jonah Jameson's Midtown Manhattan penthouse to  update him on the Robertson trial and possible pardon. She told him the President was considering Robbie's case but was then distracted  by the arrival of Nick Katzenberg, who had decided to drop by to discuss possible assignments with Jonah. Upon seeing Katzenberg, Cynthia began to blush and swoon, feeling slightly embarrassed when Nick openly thanked her for cooking dinner the other night. When Jonah inquired if the two of them were an item, Nick bluntly told Jameson it was none of his concern.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#161 - BTS) - Stuart McPhee's lobbying proved successful and the President granted Joe Robertson a full pardon.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#161) -  Bernhammer was present when the warden read the President's pardon, which officially released Joe Robertson from prison.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#161 -BTS) - Tombstone and Hammerhead watched from a distance as Robertson, Bernhammer and all the associated friends and family left the penitentiary. Hammerhead lamented the fact that Robertson got to walk free, even though he'd testified against Tombstone, who was now on the run forever. Against Tombstone's wishes, Hammerhead decided to set things right by hiring Hobgoblin to kill Joe Robertson.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#161) - Cynthia Bernhammer, her date Nick Katzenberg and other Bugle colleagues like Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Thomas Fireheart and J. Jonah Jameson attended a welcome home party for Joe.

(Spectacular Spider-Man I#161 - BTS) - When Hobgoblin attacked, Bernhammer kept out of harm's way as both Spider-Man and Puma engaged the demonic mercenary. In the end, both the heroes and Joe were saved by two expertly timed sniper shots fired by Tombstone from an unseen location. As Hobgoblin beat a hasty retreat, Tombstone mumbled to himself that nobody got to kill his pal Joe Robertson...except him.

Comments: Created by Gerry Conway and Sal Buscema.

The creation of the Cynthia Bernhammer character, as part of writer Gerry Conway's ongoing "Trial of Joe Robertson" arc, is an interesting one, especially when you consider Conway would eventually become a writer for typical police procedurals like Law & Order, Matlock and Perry Mason. She feels like a character he'd been workshopping, possibly for a plus sized actress to play. Unfortunately, Kathy Bates wasn't available at the time.

Whatever became of the budding romance between Cynthia and Nick Katzenberg remains unrevealed. One can assume it didn't go anywhere, seeing as she wasn't around when Nick contracted lung cancer from smoking and still tried to hit on Mary Jane Watson-Parker while on his death bed. 

Profile by Norvo.

Cynthia Bernhammer should not be confused with

images: (without ads)
Spectacular Spider-Man I#145, p8, pan1 (main image)
Spectacular Spider-Man I#149, p7 pans5&6 (overbluffed by Tombstone)
Web Of Spider-Man I#58, p10, pan3 (only cares about her client's welfare)
Spectacular Spider-Man I#158, p11, pan7 (not amused by Katzenberg)
Spectacular Spider-Man I#160, p8, pan2 (ever ready to cook for Katzenberg)

The Spectacular Spider-Man I#145 (December, 1988) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
The Spectacular Spider-Man I#149 (April, 1988) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
The Spectacular Spider-Man I#150 (May, 1988) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Web Of Spider-Man I#50 (May, 1989) - Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Web Of Spider-Man I#58 (December, 1989) - Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
The Spectacular Spider-Man I#158 (December, 1989) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
The Spectacular Spider-Man I#159 (Mid-December, 1989) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
The Spectacular Spider-Man I#160 (January, 1990) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
The Spectacular Spider-Man I#161 (February, 1990) - Gerry Conway (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)

Last updated: 09/09/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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