Appearing in "Hearts and Powers"
- Cardiac (Elias Wirtham)
- Rhino (Aleksei Sytsevich)
- Hammer Industries/Sapirdyne Chemicals
Races and Species:
- Spider-Man's Suit
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters
- Cardiac's Beta Staff
- Rhino's Retro-Design Battlesuit
- Venom Symbiote
Synopsis for "Hearts and Powers"
Slipping past the guards in a warehouse, Spider-Man takes photos of chemicals that are used in the production of cocaine that is being kept there. As the wall-crawler begins taking photos for the Daily Bugle, his spider-sense begins to go off. Suddenly, one of the walls blows open, revealing a costumed individual calling himself Cardiac. The guards open fire, but the bullets bounce off Cardiac's invulnerable hide. He then turns his staff on the barrels of chemicals and blast them. That's when Spider-Man intervenes. At first, Cardiac is delighted to see a fellow crime fighter, but when Spider-Man points out that he can't just blow up property at a legitimate operation, Cardiac considers the wall-crawler an enemy and tries to blast the hero. Spider-Man dodges the blast, and while he is avoiding getting crushed by debris Cardiac makes his escape. Hearing police sirens, Spider-Man leaves the scene and changes back into Peter Parker. As the officers are cordoning off the area, he meets up with reporter Joy Mercado and confirms that he managed to get pictures inside. While Peter worries that the coincidence of Spider-Man and Peter Parker being in the same place might compromise his double identity, Doctor Elias Wirtham considers the implications of being Cardiac due to his Hippocratic oath as a physician. However, Wirtham takes to heart what Spider-Man told him during their battle, that the world is not perfect.
The next morning, Mary Jane has just finished acting a scene for her character on the soap opera "Secret Hospital". On break, she finds her husband, Peter Parker, have come bring her breakfast.[Continuity 1] Peter is glad that the scene, which involved Mary Jane kissing a co-actor, is all part of the script. This causes Mary Jane to feel guilty by the comment, given what almost happened between her and actor Jason Jerome.[Continuity 2] However, this unease is quickly forgotten as the couple sit down to eat.
Meanwhile, at Wirtham Tower, Elias checks his schedule for the day. Learning that he has a charity function to attend that evening, he tells his secretary to cancel the appearance as he has more pressing matters to attend to. Entering his office, he remembers the vow that he made to someone special that set him on this course to take preventative measures to stop those whose illegal activities are ignored, hence his attack on the Spirdyne Chemicals warehouse the night before. He intends to use his newfound powers to right these sorts of shady operations.
At that moment, Justin Hammer is enjoying a tranquil vacation within his secret facility hidden within an arctic iceberg. He is informed of the financial losses caused by Cardiac's attack on the Sapirdyne Chemicals. Upset at being interrupted, Hammer tells his assistant to send his costumed operative the Rhino, as he has prepared a new suit of armor for the villain.
While at Empire State University, Peter Parker is busy working on a scientific experiment in his advanced chemistry class. Unfortunately, he is unable to focus on his work when he realizes that the chemicals he is using were produced by Sapirdyne. He decides to look into the company to find out what Cardiac's attack was all about.
Later that evening, at Rykers Island, Eddie Brock exercises in his cell, much to the annoyance of his cellmate, Cletus Kasady, a notorious serial killer. Brock explains that he needs to keep his body in peak physical condition so that he can avenge the death of the symbiote that made him Venom.[Continuity 3] When Cletus explains that one can do what they want if they have the will to do it, which wearies Brock, who is unhappy with being cellmates with the killer. Looking out the window of their cell, Cletus is frightened by something he sees looking in on them. However, when they go for a closer look, there is nothing there.
Later that evening, Spider-Man swings across the city. Along the way, he passes the Osborn Chemical Company and he briefly wonders what his friend Harry's company does with the chemicals they create. Soon, he arrives at his destination, the Sapirdyne Chemical factory. Also arriving at the scene is Elias Wirtham, who changes into his costume inside his van and prepares to attack the facility. When Cardiac gets past the main gates, he is ambushed by the Rhino who is protecting the facility. Unprepared for an encounter with a super-villain, Cardiac begins to panic. As he flees the Rhino, Spider-Man arrives on the scene and attacks the Rhino. However, the Rhino rams into the wall, damaging the catwalk that Cardiac has fled to. Spider-Man comes to Cardiac's aid, and when he tries to web up the Rhino, his webbing dissolves once it hits the villain's costume.[Continuity 4] When the Rhino charges again, Spider-Man manages to knock over a drum filled with liquid teflon to trip up his enemy.
In response, the Rhino pulls free a number of wires and throws them at Spider-Man, forcing the wall-crawler to dodge them. Before the Rhino could attack the hero, Cardiac interferes, sending the Rhino crashing through a wall. With the Rhino distracted, Cardiac uses his staff to blast the vats of chemicals he came to destroy, despite the protests from Spider-Man. With the live wires snaking on the ground near the highly flammable chemicals all the combatants flee the scene just moments before the chemical plant explodes. Spider-Man stays on the scene as firefighters. He hopes they can find a clue as to why Cardiac attacked the facility, as he doesn't have anymore answers than when he first arrived. When the reports of the incident get to Justin Hammer, he is amused to discover that Spider-Man tried to stop Cardiac and decides to use this to his advantage.
The newest anti-hero on the block is Cardiac- and he's going after white collar criminals! Spider-Man is on hand to stop him, but who's going to deal with the rampaging Rhino?
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- Jason Jerome attempted to seduce Mary Jane into having an affair with him. Although initially confused, she quickly rejected his advances as seen in Spectacular Spider-Man #166–172.
- The Venom symbiote was seemingly killed by Styx's cancerous touch in Amazing Spider-Man #333.
- Spider-Man remarks that his webbing dissolved on Rhino's costume much like it did during a recent encounter with the Scorpion. This is because both outfits were designed by Justin Hammer, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #318–319.
- This was the first comic book Robert Kirkman ever bought. He stated on a Kevin Smith podcast that he has been trying to buy enough copies to fill a long box.