Appearing in "Mother Love... Mother Hate!"
- New York City
Synopsis for "Mother Love... Mother Hate!"
At the gravesite of Gwen Stacy, a mysterious man shows up and leaves a single flower on her grave before turning around and leaving.[Continuity 1]
Meanwhile, in Astoria, Spider-Man has interrupted Shriek and Carrion just moments before Shriek can convince Carrion to murder his biological mother, Beatrice McBride. Shriek is furious that Spider-Man continues to interfere in her affairs but doesn't understand why he is silent. Beatrice calls out to Spider-Man, telling her to save her son, Malcolm. Furious that Beatrice is claiming ownership of Carrion, Shriek lashes out at her with a sonic attack. Quickly, and without a single word, Spider-Man lunges forward and savagely beats Shriek into unconsciousness. Carrion is about to attack when his mother calls out and tells him that Spider-Man is their friend. Carrion is confused and stops to think it over while the wall-crawler checks on the McBride woman. However, Carrion decides to side with Shriek and attacks Spider-Man, intending to kill the wall-crawler with his death touch. However, Spider-Man easily overpowers his attacker, and as he thrashes Carrion across the room, he finally speaks. The web-head has come to wonder what the point was to come and try to save Malcolm if all McBride is going to do is allow Carrion to remain in control and try and kill him. As he asks these questions, Shriek comes around and hears Spider-Man once more ask why he should care.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane visits Aunt May in the hospital who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke.[Continuity 2] She decides to talk to May about everything that is going on, even though May not be able to hear her. She explains that her husband, Peter, has completely withdrawn from his feelings.[Continuity 3] The recent tragedies have become too much and he has ran away from everybody.[Continuity 4] She now realizes that Peter is doing the same thing that she has been doing for years, running away from her problems. She has decided that she can't fix their marriage unless she comes to terms with her own past. Tearfully, she explains that she needs to leave and reconcile things with her father.[Continuity 5] However, Mary Jane isn't leaving May alone, she has called her Aunt Anna, who is coming up from Florida to keep an eye on her.
Back in Astoria, Spider-Man has turned the tables on Carrion and begins to beat his foe mercilessly. It's only when Beatrice McBride begs Spider-Man to stop that the wall-crawler realizes what he has done. As he apologizes, his spider-sense tries to warn him, but he is too late to evade a sonic blast from Shriek. She is disgusted that Spider-Man could so easily turn away from savagery and once more tries to get Carrion onto her side. Totally conflicted at this point, Carrion instead decides to turn his touch of death upon himself. Beatrice is horrified and tries to stop her son, but Shriek tries to stop her. However, it finally sinks into her mind that Beatrice truly loves her son. Touched by this, Shriek leaps in and uses her powers to purge the Carrion virus from within Carrion, reverting him back to Malcolm McBride. Checking on Shriek, Spider-Man discovers that she is dying and quickly leaves to get her to a hospital. Meanwhile, the mystery man who visited Gwen Stacy's grave has come to Midtown High. His silent vigil is interrupted by a security guard who asks him what he is doing. The mystery man explains that he used to go to Midtown High for what feels like lifetimes ago.[Continuity 6] The guard can understand his feelings for nostalgia but tells him to go without causing any trouble. No sooner as those words are out of the guard's mouth, does he notice that the mysterious stranger has disappeared.
By this time, Spider-Man has brought Shriek to a hospital. After she is carried away by the doctors on staff, he realizes that he subconciously came to the hospital where Aunt May is resting in a coma. He decides to finally pay her a visit. Climbing into the room, Peter removes his mask and stares at his infirm Aunt for a time before leaving. When he returns home, he finds another note from Mary Jane, telling him that she has left to sort thinks out with her father. This is yet another nail in the coffin for the wall-crawler, who goes out into the night again. Sitting atop a stone gargoyle in the middle of Manhattan, he once more considers that Peter Parker is dead and that only the spider remains.
- Gwen Stacy was murdered by the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121. This mystery man is the clone of Peter Parker, as revealed in Web of Spider-Man #117. The clone was created by Miles Warren in Amazing Spider-Man #149 and had seemingly perished. How it survived is detailed in Osborne Journals #1.
- Although Aunt May really did suffer a stroke in Amazing Spider-Man #391, this is not really her. As explained in Spider-Man #97, May was replaced with an impostor by the Green Goblin at some point during the events of last issue.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- In addition to Aunt May's stroke, Peter discovered that the couple who appeared claiming to be his parents in Amazing Spider-Man #365 were actually impostors, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #388. The real Richard and Mary Parker were killed in action on a government mission two decades earlier, as explained in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
- Mary Jane's father was an abusive alcoholic who broke the Watson family unit as explained in Amazing Spider-Man #259.
- This clone has all of Spider-Man's memories, hence his comments here, however, he never attended Midtown High himself. That said, Peter Parker attended Midtown High until he graduated in Amazing Spider-Man #28. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, it has been roughly nine years since Peter graduated from high school.