Appearing in "Targets!"
- Gaunt (Mendel Stromm)
- Cell-12 (First appearance)
- J. Jonah Jameson
- Joe Robertson
- Dr. Seward Trainer
- Shirley Washington
- Devon Lewis
- Spider-Skeleton (Photo)
- The Burglar (Mentioned)
- Uncle Ben (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- New York
- Portland, Oregon (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Targets!"
This story continues from Sensational Spider-Man #4...
J. Jonah Jameson has called together his staff to celebrate the front page photo that allegedly proves that Spider-Man stole a skeleton from the morgue. Jameson has issued a $100,000 reward for anyone who can return the skeleton as Jonah intends to prove that it is the dead body of the original Spider-Man and that the current one is the killer.[Continuity 1] That's when Joe Robertson enters the room and tells Jonah that he got off the phone with the police commissioner. The commissioner is upset by Jonah's reward, feeling that it will hamper his investigation by drawing out every crackpot in the city. Jonah admits that he hopes the police find the skeleton first because then he wouldn't have to pay out the reward.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings across the city, his mind worried with thoughts about Jessica Carradine. Jessica was the daughter of the burglar who shot his Uncle Ben years ago, and she has bore a grudge against Spider-Man ever since his arrest and subsequent death. To make matter worse, Jessica had recently snapped a photo of Spider-Man with his mask up, compromising Ben's double identity.[Continuity 2] Returning his mind to the job at task, he recalls how his relationship with Peter Parker has been strained after Seward Trainer refused to meet with Peter to examine the Spider-Skeleton.[Continuity 3] When he arrives at Trainer's lab, he sees no sign of his old friend. The entire place is being packed up and moved, prompting Spider-Man to tag one of the crates with a spider-tracer in the hopes of tracking it to Seward's new home later. He still tries to find Seward and finds no trace and decides to head back home.
There, Ben begins changing out of his costume and try to keep his mind of Jessica while he gets ready for his shift at the Daily Grind. That's when he notices that it is very cold in his apartment. Going downstairs he asks his landlord, Tilde, why there is no heat in his apartment. She angrilly tells him that she doesn't provide heat to deadbeats who don't pay their rent. Ben is confused by this until Tilde tells him that his rent cheque bounced. He doesn't know why and tells her that he will straighten everything out soon and rushes out the door. While at the hotel room Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane have been staying, Peter is amazed by how much money Jonah paid him for photos of Spider-Man with the skeleton.[Continuity 4] Not only that, but Jameson paid for their hotel stay and their tickets to fly back to Portland.[Continuity 5] Mary Jane suggests that they head home on an earlier flight. However, Peter wants to stay and find Seward Trainer in roder to learn the identity of the Spider-Skeleton and find out once and for all who he really is. Mary Jane, however, doesn't care about anything other than the fact that Peter is her husband and the man she loves. She also reminds him that he can't play super-hero anymore now that he lost his powers and reminds him of his new responsibilities of being a father to their unborn child.[Continuity 6]
While at the Multivex corporation, the mystery man known as Gaunt has forced Seward Trainer into his employ. He demands that Trainer work to restore his broken body back to its former glory, something that Trainer figures he can accomplish. Going to the bank to find out what went wrong, Ben learns that the IRS has flagged his account and he won't have access to his money until they are satisfied with the results of their investigation. Reilly decides to swallow his pride and as his boss, Shirley Washington at the Daily Grind, for an advance on his pay. However, when he arrives at the coffee shop his spider-sense warns him about the two men who are talking to Shirley when he comes walking in. Going into the staff area in back to change into his work uniform, he notices that he has Jessica's shoulder bag in his locker. When he walks out of the back room, Ben asks what the two men wanted. Shirley and her son Devon explain that they were police officers who came to warn them that Ben has had violent altercations with past employers. He assures them that this is a big misunderstanding and begs them to believe him. At that same moment, Peter and Mary Jane have just finished some shopping. During their time out, Mary Jane has convinced Peter that they need to go back to their normal lives in Portland. However, the couple is unaware that they are being observed from the shadows by a cyborg who works for an organization calling itself Cell-12.
Back at the Daily Grind, Jessica Carradine arrives to collect her bag. In the backroom, she admits that they have a lot to talk about, but here is not the right place and time and promises to call him later. Simultaneously, Peter reiterates his commitment to moving forward when he and Mary Jane are wrapped up in an energy whip and pulled into a nearby alley. They find themselves confronted by the cyborgs calling themselves Cell-12: As massive and deformed Nardi, the snake like Andros, energy whip weilding Lasher, and their leader the cannon armed Bramer. Although they have come for Peter Parker, they refuse to let Mary Jane go since she will likely try and call the police. While Lasher detains Mary Jane, the rest of the group beat on Peter, who is defenseless without his spider-powers. They have come to deliver a warning from their employer who is not happy with Peter's attempts to contact Seward Trainer and investigate the Multivex Corporation. By this time, Spider-Man is out web-slinging, and comes to the rescue of a couple and their child who are being mugged in an alley.[Continuity 7] As he swings away the young boy calls the wall-crawler a hero, a sentiment that Ben Reilly doesn't agree with. When he returns to his apartment, he is shocked to discover that his apartment has been cleared out. Whoever was responsible left a message scrawled on the floor that reads "We know who you are!!", filling the wall-crawler with paranoia as he tries to figure out who is responsible.
Back in the alley, Nardi holds tightly to Peter Parker while Andros beats him senselessly. Mary Jane begs them to stop, but they don't until Bramer is satisfied that Parker has gotten the message from their employer. The group then drop Parker to the ground and leave in silence as Mary Jane runs to the aid of her unconscious husband. While back at his apartment, Spider-Man is upset that he has been left with nothing but his costume and the clothes on his back. That's when he realizes that if his attackers know who he really is, his friends at the Daily Grind could be in trouble. He quickly web-slings back to the coffee shop only to see that it is in flames.
... Blood Brothers continues in Spider-Man #68.