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Appearing in "'Twas a Night Before Christmas..."

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Synopsis for "'Twas a Night Before Christmas..."

At Westside Medical Center, Ben Urich tries to convince Detective Lewis to open up about El Uno, one of the Black Tarantula's minions who has been under guard at the hospital after surviving a bomb blast.[Continuity 1]Lewis refuses to talk about the situation because it is tied up with other law enforcement agencies. However, the situation is taken out of their hands when El Uno takes this moment as his opportunity to escape police custody. Hearing him crashing out of the window in his hospital room, the police are powerless to stop El Uno from getting away. Although the police scramble to find him, they fail to recapture El Uno.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is out holiday shopping and spots a pair of boots that his wife, Mary Jane would love, unfortunately, they are very expensive.[Continuity 2] This gets him thinking about how tight money is as Peter isn't making much selling photos to the Daily Bugle and that he and Mary Jane returning to school at Empire State University is making money tight. When he sees a happy family together, it reminds Peter of all the painful struggles they have endured, Mary Jane deserves those boots.[Continuity 3] That's when Peter gets a notification from the Daily Bugle, telling him that he has a photo assignment.[Continuity 4] On the way to the Bugle, Peter hopes that it is a good paying gig as he could use the extra money. At that moment, the Rose is decorating his hideout for the holidays. His bodyguard, Delilah, questions how he can be festive when they have made an enemy of the Black Tarantula. She is particularly upset that El Uno was able to beat her during their last battle. That's when the Rose informs her that El Uno managed to escape police custody and that she will have an opportunity for a rematch.

By this time, Peter Parker has arrived at Washington Square Park to get photos of a street prophet that has been gaining notoriety. Peter can't wait to get this assignment over with because it will earn him enough money to buy the boots he wants to get Mary Jane. this prophet turns out to be Nate Grey, the so-called X-Man, who has been giving people advice or using his telepathic powers to help those in serious need. As Peter Parker arrives, his spider-sense begins to go off as Nate detects him among the crowd. The two stare at each other quietly, leaving Peter to wonder what to do next. Eventually, Nate approaches him and reveals that he knows that Parker is a super-hero and suggests that they skip the unspoken custom that heroes need to fight first and just start talking. While in Argentina, the Black Tarantula catches Chesbro, his assistant, setting up a Christmas tree. He is furious that his assistant would set up such a childish thing and demands it be taken down. He is still angry that El Uno has been captured. However, Chesbro tells his master that El Uno escaped capture and has yet to contact them. The Black Tarantula warns Chesbro that he better be right.

Back in New York City, Peter and Nate are unable to shake the crowd of loyal followers. Nate decides to use his telepathic powers to cloud the crowd's mind so that he can telekinetically lift himself and Peter onto a nearby rooftop. Peter takes issue with this as he doesn't believe that Nate is using his powers with any sort of responsibility. Grey doesn't like the fact that Parker is dictating how he should be using his powers, especially when he keeps his own secrets. To illustrate this point, Nate uses his telekinetic powers to rip apart Peter's street clothes, revealing his Spider-Man costume underneath. The two agree to stick to the truth before discussing anything further. While on the Westside, Delilah watches as police arrest a man found on the street in his underwear. While the officers don't believe his story about being robbed, Delilah knows that she is getting close to tracking down El Uno, unaware that the strong man is stalking her from behind. By this time, Peter Parker has just finished telling the X-Man about how he became Spider-Man. Explaining how his Uncle Ben was murdered because he didn't act taught him a great deal about responsibility.[Continuity 5] Hearing this, Nate realizes that he and Peter have more in common than first glance. Taking Peter by the hand, Nate has Parker see visions from his past. He sees the world that Nate grew up in, an alternate reality where the mutant Apocalypse took over North America and turned it into a charnel house. The X-Man then takes Peter to a specific memory, and revealing how he was manipulated by the mad geneticist known as Sinister and it lead to the death of his mentor, a man named Forge.[Continuity 6] Since Peter has a few errands to run, he invites Nate to join him as he web-slings across the city as Spider-Man. Along the way, Nate keeps on picking up thoughts from Peter's mind, particularly Parker's most recent tragedy and tries to offer advice.[Continuity 7]

As Spider-Man and X-Man go to take pictures of the damage caused by El Uno escape from police custody, the man in question finally ambushes Delilah. As the pair fight it out, Peter sells his photos to the Daily Bugle, gets the money he needs to buy Mary Jane her boots, and then convinces Nate to come back to Queens with him for Christmas dinner. Nate accepts and is warmly welcomed by both Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna. As the Parker bid farewell to Nate for the evening, Delilah defeats El Uno by tossing him into a fuel truck. Although El Uno is seriously burned and in a great deal of pain from the explosion, Delilah promises him that he will not fee it for very long. In Queens, Peter makes a comment about how this evening was almost perfect as he sees Nate out. Grey picks up a stray thought and later that evening he uses he telepathic powers to make Peter have a dream about his Aunt May.[Continuity 8] In the dream, Aunt May tells Peter not to blame himself for not being there when Mary Jane gave birth. After he assures him that it was not his fault, Aunt May tells Peter that her namesake is also at peace and that they will be reunited someday. Before Peter drifts into a dreamless sleep, he thanks his Aunt May, unaware that this was all the work of Nate Grey.

While in South America, Chesbro reports to his master with a present that was just delivered to them by the Rose. When they open up the package they discover El Uno's severed head in the box.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. This story is depicted as taking place on Christmas Eve. It's of note to point out that the last time Christmas was depicted was in Spider-Man Holiday Special #1995 when Ben Reilly was Spider-Man. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, both of these publications fall under the four-year span of "Year 9" of the Modern Age. As such, the fact that Christmas is celebrated twice during the same year doesn't make any sense. To explain this contradiction is a matter of interpretation. However, one could assume that the holiday being celebrated here is a topical reference as opposed to a literal one.
  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 is referring to the death of their baby, May Parker, who was stillborn in Amazing Spider-Man #418.
  4. Peter is depicted using a pager here. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as pagers are considered an obsolete technology.
  5. Spider-Man's origins and the murder of his Uncle Ben were all covered in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  6. Nate comes from an Earth-295, a reality where Charles Xavier was murdered and Apocalypse took over North America. That reality was created when Legion traveled back in time in an attempt to murder Magneto but accidentally killed his own father instead. That happened in X-Men Vol 2 #42. The experiences that Nate relate here occurred in X-Man #1-4. Nate ended up on Earth-616 following the events of X-Men Omega #1.
  7. Nate is referring to the recent deaths of Ben Reilly and Peter's unborn daughter, May. The tragedies happened during the Revelations story arc.
    Revelations
    The Spectacular Spider-Man #240 Sensational Spider-Man #11 Amazing Spider-Man #418 Spider-Man #75 Spider-Man: Revelations #1 Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal #1
  8. At the time of this story, everyone believed that Aunt May died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. In reality, that woman was an impostor as explained in Spider-Man #97.

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