- I wonder if the hearse has a siren?
- -- Eddie Brock
Appearing in "The Death Standard"
- Detective Hal Goldman (First appearance)
- Maria Elizabeth Castle (Recap)
- Lisa Barbara Castle (Recap)
- Frank David Castle (Recap)
- Jonathan Caesar (Mentioned)
- New York City
- New Jersey
Synopsis for "The Death Standard"
The Black Cat has broken into Peter and Mary Jane's Soho apartment. She confronts Mary Jane, telling her that she has come to prove her love for Spider-Man.[Continuity 1] She has convinced herself that his recent marriage to Mary Jane was a rebound after they broke up.[Continuity 2] Now that she is devoted to winning Peter's love again, she explains that she has started dating Flash Thompson in order to break his heart. This, somehow, will convince Spider-Man that they need to be together. As Mary Jane tries to calm herself down after this encounter, she is startled by the return of her husband. When Peter asks her what is the matter, she tells her husband that they need to talk.
While in New Jersey, the Punisher and Microchip test out his new stingball grenades that can stun an opponent not wearing eye protection. Microchip figures that Frank will need this considering their investigation into an influx of drugs in New York is somehow the work of people within the United States Army. With Spider-Man assisting them on this investigation, the Punisher still things they need to hurry before this surplus of cocaine ends up on the streets. At that moment at the Vault Prison in Colorado, coroners begin an examination of Eddie Brock, who appeared to have committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell. However, when they try to make an incision, the symbiote springs to life. Turning into Venom, Brock begins killing the coroners, explaining that he had his symbiote disguise itself as his skin to give the illusion that he was dead. Although he regrets killing the two men, Venom's twisted mind justifies it as a necessary sacrifice to rid the world of Spider-Man. Swiping an ID card, Venom has his symbiote take on the form of the coroner's outfit so he can sneak himself out of the facility.
That evening in the Bronx, Spider-Man meets up with the Punisher in his van, where the Punisher tells the wall-crawler that they have tracked the drug shipments to a military installation upstate. When Spider-Man asks the Punisher not to use lethal force this time around. Frank Castle assures the wall-crawler that he won't kill American soldiers, as he was a soldier himself. Elsewhere, Mary Jane and her co-workers are on a lunch break. Their conversation is interrupted by an elderly woman who recognizes Mary Jane for her character on "Secret Hospital". When Mary Jane confirms that is who she is, the woman calls her a tramp and slaps Mary Jane across the face. As the elderly woman walks away, her co-workers ask if she wants to call the police, but Mary Jane tells them it's okay, that the slap in the face was a compliment to her acting ability. As the old woman tries to cross the street, a car speeds by and runs her down. Eyewitnesses on the scene believe that the driver intentionally ran the old woman over.
Meanwhile, upstate, Spider-Man, and the Punisher arrive at the military facility where the drugs are being stored. The wall-crawler is shocked to discover that it is a military academy full of kids. Spider-Man warns Frank not to harm any of the children. This makes Castle think about how his own children were gunned down along with his wife and assures the wall-crawler that he doesn't harm children.[Continuity 3] The pair sneaks into the facility and make their way to the Commandant's office. Suddenly, the web-slinger's spider-sense begins going off. They are soon confronted by one of the children on sentry duty. Spider-Man webs the boy up, and the pair smashes into the office. There they confront the Commandant, Colonel Buchinsky. They demand to know where the drugs are, intending to blow up the entire facility in order to ensure that they don't end up on the street. That's when Buchinsky reveals that the drug trade has replaced gold standard for the American economy, hence why the United States army is dealing in narcotics. This revelation comes as a shock to both vigilantes. Although they lack the credibility to expose the conspiracy, the pair insists on destroying the supply of drugs being stored at the academy. When Buchinsky refuses to divulge their location, the Punisher threatens him with a knife.
They are directed to the basement where they find a massive shipment of drugs. Suddenly, they are ambushed by an army of mechanoids programmed to protect the drug supply. The pair destroys the majority of the robots. With the numbers thinned out, Spider-Man deals with the rest while the Punisher plants bombs to blow up the drugs. On their way out, Spider-Man pulls the fire alarm to ensure that everyone inside evacuates the building before the bombs go off. Outside, the academy children are ushered outside and moments later the facility explodes. Back in Manhattan, Mary Jane returns home and is greeted by Detective Hal Goldman. Goldman has come to warn Mary Jane that her stalker, Jonathan Caeser had just been released from prison following his most recent parole hearing.[Continuity 4]
The conclusion of the two-part Punisher/Spidey saga! And Mary Jane confronts the Black Cat! Meanwhile— watch out for Venom!
- ↑ Spider-Man started dating the Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man #226. He broke up with her in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #100 after discovering she made a deal with the Kingpin.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane got married shortly after Peter's break-up with the Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. The Black Cat learned about this marriage in Amazing Spider-Man #316. However, years later, their marriage was erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. In this altered timeline, Peter and Mary Jane are engaged. One could assume that the engagement is what has the Black Cat so upset.
- ↑ The murder of Frank Castle's family was first revealed in Marvel Super Action #1.
- ↑ Jonathan Caesar was obsessed with Mary Jane and kidnapped her from Amazing Spider-Man #307-309. Although Caesar was arrested, he still used his influence to end Mary Jane's modeling career and get her and Peter evicted from their condo in Amazing Spider-Man #314.
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- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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