- Hey, if you're going to go against the BIG BOYS, you're going to have to have a tad more staying power.
- -- Spider-Man
Appearing in "Prepare Yourself for...Annex!"
- Dr. Hillman Barto (Main story and flashback)
- United States Army
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- Kuwait (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Prepare Yourself for...Annex!"
Spider-Man is heading home to his wife Mary Jane when suddenly the outside wall of a building blows outward.[Continuity 1] After webbing up the debris before it can fall on the ground, Spider-Man spots a cyborg wearing a pair of combat armor. When the web-slinger attacks the cyborg, he is surprised when its limbs suddenly glow and are replaced with more powerful limbs. When Spider-Man asks the cyborg who he is, it responds by saying it doesn't know. The wall-crawler tries to web up the cyborg, but it summons a jetpack and flies away. Realizing that this new threat is going to be a lot more trouble than he thought, Spider-Man decides to change his plans.
At that moment, Mary Jane is waiting at home for her husband to return. She is smoking a cigarette, while she stresses out over Peter's safety.[Continuity 2] She catches a news report about Spider-Man's conflict with a strange new cyborg, and begins to worry. That's when Peter calls, he tells her that he is cancelling their evening plans to stop the cyborg. She tells him to let the city's other heroes handle this crisis, reminding him that he is supposed to be at the Dunson Awards that evening. Peter tells her to go and cover for him, figuring that it is unlikely that he will win an award since J. Jonah Jameson is among the judges. While Spider-Man is trying to pick up the cyborg's trail, it has attacked a newspaper stand to try and learn who it is. When Spider-Man arrives he tries to web up the cyborg. However, it summons a strength boost to break free and knocks the wall-crawler into a passing bus.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane arrives at the corporate headquarters of Adarco Corporation. There, she is greeted by J. Jonah Jameson who introduces her to the owner, Abner Dunson. Dunson explains that although his area of expertise is robotics, he was an amateur photographer. He began the awards in the memory of his son, David, who had died during a recent military conflict in the Middle East.[Continuity 3] Back at the scene of the battle, Spider-Man pulls pedestrians to safety as the bus starts speeding out of control. Snapping out of his trance, the cyborg he transforms himself into a barricade to stop the bus from speeding further. Noticing that the cyborg now sounds more human than before, the wall-crawler swings off with the cyborg in his hands. Surprisingly, the cyborg doesn't offer up much of a struggle as Spider-Man brings it back to the lab it escaped from. There, they free Doctor Hillman Barto from under debris. When he mentions that Adarco file, the cyborg begins to download the data. Horrified, Hillman orders the unit -- calling it Annex -- to stop. Is it turns out, Annex doesn't remember anything prior to snapping out of his trance.
When Spider-Man demands answers, Barto takes both men into his lab. He explains that he works in the research and development department of Adarco. He has been developing a new technology called the Bio-Regenerative Energy Well (or BREW). The BREW is capable of creating cybernetic prosthesis limbs and transmit them over radio waves to the Annex armor. Since Annex no longer remembers his past, Barto tells the cyborg to sit in a control chair. From there, he uses a back-up to restore Annex's memory. When the armor is shut down and opens up, Spider-Man is surprised to discover that Annex is a young man who is missing his left leg. Annex introduces himself as Alex Ellis, a former soldier. He explains that during the last Middle Eastern conflict he was struck by through the knee by enemy fire. Regardless of this injury, he carried a fellow soldier, David Dunson, to safety. Dunson died, but Ellis was considered a hero and was awarded the Purple Heart of Bravery. Unfortunately, his injuries were so severe that his leg had to be amputated. Although he was fitted with a standard prosthetic, Alex was among the growing number of wounded veterans that asked more. These demands were heard by the military brass who sought out companies to seek alternatives. One of those companies was Adarco, who selected Alex as one of the first human test subjects.
When they began experimenting with the BREW and Annex armor, they discovered that it had access to all of Adarco's weapons technologies. It was when they were testing out this technology that Annex suffered the apparent glitch that made him forget who he is. With the explanations out of the way, Barto examines the Annex systems and discovered that this wasn't a glitch at all. Apparently, the system was built to overwrite Alex's mind with that of David Dunson. Furious over this, Alex puts on the Annex armor and flies off to the Adarco office to confront Abner Dunson. At this time, Dunson is giving a speech to the award ceremony. It soon turns into a rant against Alex Ellis. That's when Annex comes crashing in through the wall to confront Dunson. Abner flees into a nearby lab, where he grabs a headset that allows him to access the weapons in the BREW. That's when Spider-Man arrives, and explains that Doctor Barto managed to stop the transfer of David's memories, but Alex is still at risk of losing his personality the more he downloads from the BREW. This doesn't stop Annex from continuing the battle.
Without any ideas on what to do next, Spider-Man calls Barto and asks for his advice. By this point, Hillman has devised a way of downloading David's memories into Alex's mind to repair the damage done. However, this will create an amalgam of both David and Alex's mind. Going along with the plan, Spider-Man increases the power flow to the computers completing the merger. With David's memories coming to the fore, Annex demands to know why his "father" would do something so horrible. Refusing to accept Annex as his son, Dunson fires his weapon while simultaneously summoning another one. The bullet destroy's the computer, causing his mind to be flooded with junk data driving him insane. As the authorities take Dunson away, Spider-Man witnesses Alex and Hillman taking the rest of the BREW and Annex equipment. They have decided to take their continued research underground and ask Spider-Man to keep their secret. The wall-crawler agrees, and after meeting up with his wife, he tells her everything that happened and believes that this is not the last they've seen of Annex.
Appearing in "Dead Reckoning"
- Deathstorm (First appearance)
- Lawrence (Only appearance; dies)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Dead Reckoning"
The Black Cat has arrives outside the Long Island headquarters of Romulus Exports. At the advice of her colleague Lester Cromwell, she has been hired to help recover a stolen painting.[Continuity2 1] Seeing strange activities, she decides to go and investigate and recover the stolen property. She is unaware that someone is watching her, someone who is not impressed with her interference in his mission. That individual then teleports away.
At that moment, the Black Cat begins to fight the guards, she is surprised by the sudden appearance of Solo, who teleports in an guns down all the guards. The Cat is horrified by the disregard for human life, but Solo isn't concerned. He tells her that if she doesn't like the way he operates she should leave. The Black Cat refuses to leave without getting what she came for. Her spirit reminds Solo of someone he cared about once a long time ago, but pushes this memory out of his mind. He agrees to the Cat tagging along, but warns her not to get in his way.
Elsewhere, a mercenary calling himself Deathstorm kills one of his subordinates for failing to stop the two costumed intruders. Looking forward to the shedding the blood of his enemies, Deathstorm teleports elsewhere. In another part of the facility, Solo goes over the computer records of the facilities inventories. He explains to the Black Cat that this terrorist organisation has been stealing expensive works of art to fund their operations. He quickly finds the location of the Black Cat's painting, sending her on her way. No sooner as the Cat is gone, Deathstorm teleports into the room and attacks Solo. As they battle, it is clear that the pair have a past together.[Continuity2 2] Meanwhile, the Black Cat recovers the stolen painting and takes out one of the guards who tires to ambush her. While upstairs, Solo manages to pin Deathstorm to the ground. Unfortunately, before he can kill his foe, Deathstorm teleports away.
When the Black Cat returns, she asks Solo what happened while she was gone. Solo, visibly upset by his encounter with Deathstorm, tells her to go and leave him alone. Unimpressed with her experience with Solo, the Black Cat is more than happy to oblige.
Appearing in "The Lizard Must be Destroyed"
- Dave Hopkins (Prosecutor) (Only appearance)
- Budd Jacobs (Defense Attorney (Only appearance)
- Dr. Steven Bunche (Only appearance)
- Stegron (Vincent Stegron) (Recap)
- Morbius (Michael Morbius) (Recap)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Lizard Must be Destroyed"
It is the trial of Curt Connors, the prosecution is led by "Cowboy" Budd Jacobs who insists that the Lizard must be destroyed. Even though the Lizard was under the control of Calypso during the time he committed a series of murders, Jacobs insists that even though Connors claims to be cured, he is still a menace.[Continuity3 1] He explains that Connors should be held responsible because he intentionally experimented on himself, an attempt to restore his lost limb, he should be held responsible for the actions of the Lizard.[Continuity3 2] He first calls Martha Connors to the stand, and later her son Billy. Both plead in Curt's defence, even going so far as to say that the Lizard has always protected the family. this does little to sway Jacobs.
He then calls Peter Parker to the stand, a close friend to the Connors. Parker relates to the time that the Lizard saved Billy from Stegron the Dinosaur Man.[Continuity3 3] That's when Jacobs calls Peter's testimony into question, by presenting his book "Webs"to the jury.[Continuity3 4] Jacobs claims that Peter has financial gain whenever Connors becomes the Lizard, as he has made a living taking photos of the creature.[Continuity3 5] Even some testimony from Spider-Man does little to plead the case of Curt Connors. This is followed by testimony by experts in the scientific community. They conclude that although Connors is currently cured of his condition, he has been cured in the past only to turn into the Lizard once again.
Eventually, Curt Connors addresses the court and decides to throw his trial. He suggests that he be locked away in the Vault. Citing that, since he was bitten by Morbius the Living Vampire, the Lizard has become more and more savage.[Continuity3 6] However, he suggests that he can use his time incarceration using his scientific skill to benefit society. When the judge agrees, Curt says goodbye to his family, instructing his wife to return to their home in Florida and destroy his notes.
Appearing in "Estrangements and Reunions"
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Estrangements and Reunions"
J. Jonah Jameson is running down a darken city street as he is being hunted by the Man-Wolf. Cornered in a dark alley, Jonah also transforms into a werewolf and fights back. That's when John Jameson wakes up from this nightmare.
The next morning, he shows up for the first day of his job at Cosmic Concepts, a company that does research and development for NASA. There he meets with his colleague Hector.[Continuity4 1] Hector then shows off his latest invention, a "space aged" riot gear. He offers John to take it home to test it out. After dropping the gear off at home, John goes to meet with his father, J. Jonah Jameson for lunch. Once again, Jonah is trying to push his son into working for the Daily Bugle. John refuses, because he thinks this is yet another attempt by his father to keep an eye on him. Fed up, John decides that lunch is over.
He then meets with Manuel Rourke, who ask for John's help finding his son, Samson. Samson Rourke is a genetic researcher who went missing after an accident. Using the equipment given to him, John tracks down Samson to Avenue A in Alphabet City. There he confronts Samson, mutated into a horrid yellow skinned creature, running with a gang of muggers. With his weapons, he is able to subdue Samson and turns him over to Manuel for treatment. After this experience, John wonders if this is the future that he is destined to follow.
Prepare Yourself For... Annex
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage was erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- ↑ Mary Jane started smoking in Amazing Spider-Man #361 as a means of coping with the stress of Peter's identity.
- ↑ Dunson identifies the specific conflict as Desert Storm. All references to this conflict, the date of September 1990, and the appearance of General Colin Powell in this story should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- ↑ The Black Cat last worked for Cromwell in Web of Spider-Man Annual #8.
- ↑ Solo's past with Deathstorm is revealed in Solo #1-4.
The Lizard Must Be Destroyed
- ↑ The Lizard was enslaved by Calypso in Spider-Man #1-5. He was recently cured in Amazing Spider-Man #365.
- ↑ Curt Connors experimented upon himself, cursing himself to become the Lizard in Amazing Spider-Man #6.
- ↑ Stegron kidnapped Billy in Amazing Spider-Man #166.
- ↑ "Webs" is Peter Parker's book of photographs first published in Amazing Spider-Man #304.
- ↑ The photo that Jacobs presents to the jury is a picture of the time Spider-Man and the Human Torch battled the Lizard circa Amazing Spider-Man #77.
- ↑ The Lizard was bitten by Morbius in Amazing Spider-Man #102.
Estrangements and Reunions
- ↑ Hector mentions how John saved the life of an astronaut. That happened in Amazing Spider-Man #375.
- Poly-bagged & includes an Annex Marvel trading card
- This issue features a series of pin-up images of textless covers of the then upcoming Maximum Carnage crossover event. Carnage and Venom do not actually appear in the issue.
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