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Appearing in "Guilt by Association"

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Synopsis for "Guilt by Association"

Spider-Man has sneaked onto the movie set to get some exclusive photos for the Daily Bugle. Unfortunately, he happens upon his foes Styx and Stone on the set of a movie studio. Thinking they are up to some kind of criminal activity, Spider-Man attacks them. That's when filmmaker William Grant enters the room and demands to know what is going on. As it turns out, Grant hired Styx and Stone to protect the studio after a rash of vandalism. When one of the studio security guards pulls a gun in an attempt to get control of the situation, he is killed by the cancerous touch from Styx. Spider-Man is horrified by this and renews his attack. That's when Stone uses his blasters to ignite some oil drums to cover their escape. Spider-Man is forced to save the life of William Grant, allowing the two villains to escape. On the roof, the pair try to make their escape on Stone's Turbo-Hopper, but they are ambushed by Cardiac. Cardiac has come to eliminate Grant because of his recent documentary film on cults, Grant did nothing while a family was sacrificed by a death cult. Since Spider-Man might catch up to them, and they haven't paid by Grant, the pair try to destroy Cardiac as well.

Cardiac fights back and in the ensuing clash, Stone's mask is torn away. Cardiac instantly recognizes his attacker now that he is no longer wearing his mask. This moment of recollection pauses Cardiac long enough for Stone to blast him in the face with gas and blow out the roof beneath his feet. Landing in the burning movie studio, Cardiac is satisfied that Grant won't be making another film for some time and leaves as he has other concerns to deal with. By this time, Spider-Man arrives on the roof and finds no trace of anybody. With nothing to show for this expedition, Spider-Man swings back home and changes back into Peter Parker. There, his wife Mary Jane tells him that her role on "Secret Hospital" is coming to an end.[Continuity 1] With the prospect of being out of a job, Mary Jane wonders what she will do.

At this time, Cardiac returns to the office building he owns as Doctor Elias Wirtham. As he undergoes repairs to his body, Cardiac thinks about the events that led up to his crusade against the greedy. He remembers how his brother died of an illness that could have been curable, had the pharmaceutical company that created the drug hadn't surprised the treatment until it became more profitable. That's when he underwent his transformation into Cardiac. With the aid of his closest associates, he had his heart replaced with a beta-particle reactor and replaced his skin with a vibranium mesh. With his repairs done, Cardiac then begins focusing on his next target, Stone. Meanwhile, Styx and Stone are meeting with William Grant to demand payment. Grant is less than happy with their performance now that his studio is in ruins. However, after Styx uses his cancerous touch to kill a plant, Grant changes his mind.

Later, Peter Parker meets with his parents at Empire State University, where his father Richard is giving a lecture on their experience in a Russian prison camp.[Continuity 2] Watching the speech, Peter is proud of his parents. Not long after, Spider-Man pays a visit to William Grant to find out where he can find Styx and Stone. Given the amount he has to pay to repair damage to his studio, Grant is more than happy to give them up. At that same moment, Cardiac is informed about Stone's current whereabouts. When his assistant points out that Stone used to be a bio-technician, Elias admits that he already knew that.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man arrives at Styx and Stone's home and ambushes them. While Stone rushes out of the room to get his shoulder cannons. Spider-Man is left on the defensive against Styx in the small room. At that moment, Cardiac has arrived, but before he can join the battle he spots a man abusing his ex-girlfriend on the street and leaps down to stop it. Back inside, Stone manages to glue Spider-Man's feet to the ground, wrap his arms in a bolo, and spray him in the face with knock out gas. This stuns Spider-Man long enough for Stxy to clamp his deadly hands on Spider-Man's face.


Continuity Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Since Amazing Spider-Man #365, this couple has claimed to be the parents of Peter Parker. His parents were killed in action as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. These people are impostors, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388. Richard states that they were in a Soviet prison camp. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 80s.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:


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