Appearing in "Dust to Dust"
- United States
Synopsis for "Dust to Dust"
With his feet glued to the ground, Spider-Man is helpless as Styx touches the wall-crawler's face with his deadly touch. Fortunately, since Spider-Man's mask is made of synthetic material, Styx's touch has no effect. This allows the web-slinger to leap out of his boots and cling to the roof above him. Still, Spider-Man finds himself on the defensive fighting Styx and Stone in such a confined place. While outside, Cardiac has just finished beating up an abusive boyfriend on the street. This distraction has delayed his confrontation with Stone and hearing the sound of battle above, he realizes that he may be too late. Back inside, Spider-Man manages to snare Stone's shoulder cannons with a web-line and begins whipping him around the room. He tosses Stone into his partner, forcing Styx to scramble so as not to touch his ally. That's when Cardiac comes crashing into the room, demanding that Spider-Man stop. As he keeps Spider-Man at bay with beta-wave blasts, he tells Styx and Stone to flee as has a business offer for them. Deciding to trust Cardiac for the moment, the pair flee the scene. However, as Styx exits the room, he is unaware that he has been tagged with a spider-tracer. The wall-crawler is too busy demanding answers from Cardiac, that he is caught off guard when Cardiac blasts the pool water under the hero. After recovering from the deluged of water, Spider-Man discovers that Cardiac also made good his escape.
Later that day, Peter Parker is taking his parents on a tour of the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 1] Inside, they pass by J. Jonah Jameson's office, where Mary notices there is a book with Peter's name on it laying on the desk. It's a copy of Peter's book "Webs" which showcases Peter's various Spider-Man photos.[Continuity 2] That's when Jonah enters the office and wants to know what they are doing there, as Jameson is still upset that the Parkers won't seel the Bulge an exclusive to their story.[Continuity 3] When Mary asks if she can borrow one of Jonah's copies of "Webs", he tells her that she can keep it since it was going to be recycled. After the Parkers leave for lunch, Jonah goes back into his desk drawer, which has multiple copies of "Webs" and replaces the book that Mary had taken.
Meanwhile, Elias Wertham meets with Gerald Stone in a diner. When asked if he is Cardiac, Elias denies it, saying that he is an associate to his alter-ego. He asks Gerald how he went from a medical researcher to an assassin for hire. Stone begins recounting how he was experimenting on the homeless in an attempt to develop a cure for cancer. One of his patients was a man named Jacob Eichorn. The vaccine that Stone developed didn't cure Eichorn, but turned him into a living cancer that consumes the life from organic beings with a single touch. Stone devoted his life to trying to cure Eichorn but needed more money. He figured becoming hired men, they could earn the money he needed to try and develop a cure, as well as send Eichorn -- now called Styx -- against criminal elements to sate his hunger. Hearing all this, Elias offers his help, giving Stone control of a research facility and all its resources to try and cure Styx, and having Cardiac as an overseer. Stone is ecstatic and thanks Wetham for his assistance and leaves to tell Jacob the good news. However, Elias Wertham has an ulterior motive. After seeing the opulent lifestyle that Styx and Stone have been living, he has decided that Stone has totally changed and deserves punishment at the hands of Cardiac.
When Stone beings transporting Styx to Cardiac's lab, they are unaware that they are being followed by Spider-Man. At the lab, Cardiac informs Styx that they are going to make it so he does not kill again. When Styx protests this, Stone knocks him out with a single punch. Styx was then placed in a machine that Stone thinks will cure his friend and former patient. However, after looking at the computer read-outs and discovers the Cardiac isn't trying to cure Styx, but kill him. When Stone tries to free his friend, he is quickly knocked out by Cardiac. That's when Spider-Man arrives and tries to convince Cardiac that he doesn't have the right to decide who lives and who dies. The pair come to blows while arguing ethics. While they are preoccupied, Stone wakes up and gets his shoulder cannons from his van. Finding Spider-Man and Cardiac's struggle to be pathetic, Stone frees Styx. He then vows to come back and feed Cardiac to Styx himself. They attempt to escape in Stone's Turbo-Sled, but Spider-Man and Cardiac work together to force them down. The crash knocks both villains out, and Spider-Man asks Cardiac if they need to continue fighting. Cardiac feeds a story to Spider-Man about how he has realized the errors of his ways and that he was merely inspired by Spider-Man. However, this is all a distraction that allows Cardiac's hawk-glider to swoop in and pull him away. With the police approaching, Spider-Man decides to head for home, hoping that one day Cardiac can see the errors of his ways.
- This couple appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #365 claiming to be Peter's parents. Richard and Mary Parker died on a mission for the US government, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. However, these people are impostors, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
- Webs was first published in Amazing Spider-Man #304.
- Jonah has been trying to get the exclusive story since Amazing Spider-Man #368.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters: