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Appearing in "Before I Wake"

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Synopsis for "Before I Wake"

This story continues from Spectacular Spider-Man #220...

Standing outside of a brownstone in Manhattan's Upper East Side, Doctor Octopus takes stock in the life of Peter Parker.[Continuity 1] He believes that Peter Parker has it all, a wonderful home, and a beautiful wife.[Continuity 2] Upon learning all this, Otto wonders if his old foe really wants to embrace death as much as he claims.[Continuity 3]

Meanwhile, inside the Parker home, Peter Parker has just heard that Mary Jane is pregnant.[Continuity 4] This brings great joy to Peter and he begins to leap around the room. Thinking to himself, he prays that Aunt May wakes up from her coma and live long enough to meet this child.[Continuity 5] With this new revelation, Peter doesn't want to give up and die anymore and wonders how he is going to tell Mary Jane about the poison that threatens to kill him. Seeing how sad her husband now looks, Mary Jane assumes that Peter is worried about their finances. Peter tells her not to worry about anything, once more excited by the news that they are going to have a baby. Even though Mary Jane notices he is feverish, Peter rushes to the shower, telling her that they need to go to the hospital and tell May the good news, hoping that this could snap her out of her coma. While her husband is in the bathroom, Mary Jane's mood goes from joy to concern. She is now considering Peter's altered DNA and wonders what sort of child she may have as a result.

Soon, Peter and Mary Jane are at the hospital where Aunt May now rests. Peter tells May that he is going to have a child and begs for her to come out of her coma so she can meet his child. Unfortunately, May doesn't come out of her coma, and the Parkers leave. However, this news has caused a stir in May, who is teetering on the brink of letting go and allowing herself to pass away. Although her mind is tired and wants to let go, she feels that something keeps her tethered to the world of the living. Later, Peter and Mary Jane go out for dinner at a fancy restaurant to celebrate the good news. However, Peter begins to feel dizzy and drops his glass on the ground. A man takes charge of the situation, suggesting that Mary Jane take her husband home. However, as the Parkers have come here often, she mistakes this man as a staff member that they have not met yet. The man corrects her, saying that he doesn't work at the restaurant and then abruptly leaves.[Continuity 6] Suddenly, Peter's spider-sense goes off and he sees Doctor Octopus standing on the roof from across the street. Despite Mary Jane's protests, Peter insists that he needs to go adn rushes off to change into Spider-Man.

Spider-Man is furious that yet another villain is invading his civilian life and is tired of it, and attacks Octavius.[Continuity 7] Although the wall-crawler is trying to attack him, Otto insists that he has come to try and help cure Spider-Man of the poison that is slowly killing him. Spider-Man begins to vaguely remember being in Octavius' lab recently. Growing weak again, Spider-Man asks the Doctor why he wants to help. Otto explains that Spider-Man gives him a sense of continuity and inspires and wants to save Peter Parker's life so they can continue their rivalry. With no other choice, Spider-Man accepts the offer and takes otto's hand.

Meanwhile, Stunner is spending her time away from her lover to test out her powers. As she exercises across Central Park. There she grinds to a halt when someone shouts a warning to stay away from Doctor Octopus. She looks around for the source of the warning but finds no trace of who said it. Not far away stands the assassin known as Kaine. He is satisfied with giving her his warning and leaves Stunner to her fate. At that moment, at Doctor Octopus' lab, the villain has crafted what he claims is an antidote for the wall-crawler. Despite his reservations, Peter drinks the antidote and fees better at first. However, he suddenly screams in pain and falls to the ground. Otto stands as his foe seemingly dies, and smiles. Suddenly, Peter's soul leaves his body and he finds himself among the souls swirling around the portal to the afterlife. Parker refuses to accept the fact that he is dead.[Continuity 8] That's when he is approached by the spirit of Nick Katzenberg. Nick reminds Peter that souls that are unwilling to accept that they are dead are stuck among the living until they finally resign to the fact that have moved on.[Continuity 9]

Refusing to accept the truth, Peter flies back to the city below. He finds himself drawn to the hospital where Aunt May has been in a coma since her stroke. There he is visited by her spirit, who tells Peter that he shouldn't be here and that he has a great adventure ahead of him. When he asks her where he needs to go, she points out a bright star in the sky. Reminding him of his favorite story, Peter Pan, May tells Peter fly to the second star on the right and keep on flying until morning. With these words echoing in his head, Peter flies up toward the star and enters the light.

... This story continues in Spectacular Spider-Man #221.

Notes

Continuity Notes

Web of Death
Amazing Spider-Man #397 Spectacular Spider-Man #220 Amazing Spider-Man #398 Spectacular Spider-Man #221
  1. Doctor Octopus discovered Peter Parker's secret identity last issue. Although Doctor Octopus knows Spider-Man's double identity here, he will be made to forget it following his first death in Spectacular Spider-Man #221. This is because when he is later resurrected in Amazing Spider-Man #427, the process was conducted using brain engrams taken prior to Otto discovering who Spider-Man really is.
  2. 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.
  3. Peter Parker has been slowly dying after being poisoned by the Vulture during the Back from the Edge story arc.
    Back From the Edge
    Spider-Man Unlimited #7 Amazing Spider-Man #395 Spectacular Spider-Man #218 Amazing Spider-Man #396 Spectacular Spider-Man #219

  4. Mary Jane revealed that she was pregnant in Spectacular Spider-Man #220.
  5. Aunt May suffered a stroke in Amazing Spider-Man #391. However, the woman laying in a coma in the hospital is actually an impostor. As revealed in Spider-Man #97, May was replaced with this impostor sometime during Amazing Spider-Man #392.
  6. This mystery man is Jacob Raven, a police officer from Salt Lake City. He has come to New York as he has mistaken Peter Parker the man who murdered his partner, Louside Kennedy. The real killer is his clone, Kaine, as revealed in Spider-Man: The Lost Years #13.
  7. Spider-Man mentions Venom, the Puma, and the Green Goblin. Each discovered Spider-Man's secret identity by one reason or another. Venom learned everything about Peter Parker after bonding with his former symbiotic costume as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #300. The Puma was able to determine Spider-Man's identity by following Parker's scent as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #257. Although Peter doesn't specify it, both Norman and Harry Osborn discovered Peter's double identity and used it to attack him as the Green Goblin. Norman learned the secret in Amazing Spider-Man #39, while Harry learned the truth in Amazing Spider-Man #135.
  8. Peter last saw this depiction of the afterlife when he was battling for the soul of Kraven the Hunter in Amazing Spider-Man: Soul of the Hunter #1.
  9. It was reported that Nick Katzenberg died of lung cancer in Spectacular Spider-Man #216.

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