Appearing in "There Once Was A Spider..."
Other Characters (The Present):
Other Characters (The Future):[Continuity 1]
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
- Fantastic Four
- Silver Surfer
- Spider-Man 2099
- Spider-Man 2211
- Inhuman Royal Family
- Machine Man
- Doctor Strange
- Captain Marvel
- Power Man
- Iron Fist
- Moon Knight (Marc Spector)
- New York City
- Earth-98105 (Only appearance)
- Captain America's Shield (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man Armor Model 4 (Only in flashback)
- Mjolnir (Only in flashback)
- Silver Surfer's Surfboard (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man Armor Model 16 (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "There Once Was A Spider..."
1000 Years in the Future
A pair of archeologists named Lana and Zack are digging through the ruins of old Manhattan when they come across what appears to be one of the web-shooters used by the legendary hero known as Spider-Man. Zack believes this discovery is a great one since Spider-Man is well regarded as one of the most important players during the so-called "Age of Heroes".[Continuity 2] They decide to go back to their lab to examine the web-shooter further. Noticing a brown stain on the side of the device, Lana hopes that it is a sample of Spider-Man's blood. At the lab, they wonder if this web-shooter was present during Spider-Man's final battle, the truth of which has been lost to history and hotly debated by scholars to this day. Placing the device in a Synthemax machine they scan it and confirm that the web-shooter is genuine. Lara is excited as, other than the Kirby and Ditko museums, they are in possession of one of the few artifacts to survive the Age of Heroes. Zack thinks of the sense of history, although there had been many successors to the role of Spider-Man over the last 1000 years, this device was worn by the original who saved the world countless times. With a sense of wonder, Zack looks out a window and wonders what a man of such courage and vision was like in real life...
Peter Parker is looking out the window and brooding over his lot in life. Noticing this, his wife Mary Jane asks Peter what's the matter.[Continuity 3] Peter tells her that he is thinking about how his old enemies keep coming back from the dead and his new ones get deadlier all the time and wonders why he still bothers being Spider-Man.[Continuity 4] Seeing that her husband is in a dour mood suggests that he take the day off and leave the heroics to others like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four so she can cheer him up. However, this idea quickly gets quashed when Peter accidentally turns on the television by sitting on the remote and sees a news report about a young girl named Londa Greico who got trapped in the sewers that are rapidly flooding due to the torrential rain hitting the city. After a moment of consideration, Mary Jane agrees to let Peter go out as Spider-Man and save the young girl, knowing that he'll succeed.
Zack and Lara are recounting the history of Spider-Man, going through their historical records which suggest that the web-slinger was often called upon to assist other heroes such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Zack figures that due to his constant heroics, Spider-Man must have been hailed as a hero by the public, figuring that there must have also been a museum that celebrated the hero.
When Spider-Man arrives on the scene where search crews are trying to find a trace of the missing girl, an officer on the scene tells Spider-Man to get lost, even though he wants to help.[Continuity 5] Although Spider-Man swings away, he refuses to do nothing and is merely getting out of sight before climbing down a nearby manhole cover to conduct his own search.
Lara has just finished her examination of the stain on the web-shooters and confirms that it is the blood of an enhanced super-human. Although they cannot conclusively confirm if it is Spider-Man's blood, it does lend credibility to her theory that it may have been at the site of Spider-Man's last battle. However, Zack isn't convinced, reminding her of some theories that believe that Spider-Man had a secret underground headquarters where he stored all his crimefighting equipment. However, Laura doesn't buy this, as there is no evidence that this so-called "Spider-Cave" ever existed let alone other stories of the so-called Spider-Cycle and Spider-Copter.[Continuity 6]
Spider-Man crawls through the sewers as the waters begin to rise and fears that he might not make it to the trapped girl on time. However, he refuses to give up until he finds her.
Zack and Lara have since begun talking about Spider-Man's wife Mary Jane. When Zack pulls up an image of her from her modeling days, Lara is taken away by how beautiful she is. When she asks what happened to Mary Jane, Zack tells her that once again, historians disagree. Some believe they were divorced, others think she may have been killed by one of Spider-Man's foes. However, Zack likes to the possibility that the couple ended up living happily ever after. He remarks how some scholars believe that Mary Jane was the "first lady" of the Heroic Age. Lara points out that others would dispute this suggesting that either Susan Richard or Janet van Dyne would more accordingly fit that description.
Regardless, Lara figures that given Spider-Man's reputation in the super-hero community that Mary Jane must have hosted a lot of colorful parties. One thing is for certain, she figures that Mary Jane was probably the envy of all her friends.
Lara would be wrong, as Mary Jane waits at home looking out the window all by herself. Worrying over her husband's safety, Mary Jane sheds a single tear.
While in the city sewers, things are becoming more dangerous as the constant rain is compromising the structural integrity of the tunnel. Thankfully, he finds Linda Grieco but when he tries to swing to her aid a part of the tunnel collapses on his arm. This cuts him and wrecks one of his web-shooters. Quickly, the web-slinger tosses the web-shooter into the water and binds his wound with webbing. Even with one free hand, he assures the young girl that he can save her. Asking her to trust him, Spider-Man wraps her up in an air-tight cocoon that he can strap onto his back. He then dives into the water and uses his powerful legs to spring-board himself up to the manhole cover above.
Once on the surface, Spider-Man tells the rescue crews that he found the girl. However, instead of the hero's welcome, the police officers accused him of kidnapping the girl and keeping her prisoner. As they try to swarm Spider-Man and pull his mask off, the web-slinger wonders why he bothers and swings away.
The examination of the blood sample is completed and it is confirmed to be Spider-Man's blood. This gives Zach an idea and he asks if the sample can be replicated. When Lara asks what he is thinking he tells her that since there hasn't been a Spider-Man for a few hundred years and he could be the Spider-Man for a new millennium. Telling her that no matter what happens the world needs heroes as well as those that believe in them.
As Spider-Man escapes the angry mob that thinks he had something to do with the little girl being lost, little Linda Greico watches as her savior flees for his life.
- All the characters listed here are based on the inaccurate historical records of this post-dystopian future. All appearances here are unsubstantiated and likely rife with inaccuraces given the nature of the telling. These appearances are all flashbacks and the characters only appearances unless otherwise stated.
- Lana and Zack comment on various periods of Spider-Man history, making reference to the Onslaught and Maximum Carnage events.
Onslaught Impact Two Amazing Spider-Man #415 Avengers #402 Generation X #19 Green Goblin #12 Incredible Hulk #445 Iron Man #332 Punisher (Vol. 3) #11 Spider-Man #72 Wolverine (Vol. 2) #105 X-Factor #126 X-Force #58 X-Men Unlimited #12
- 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.
- The two individuals that Peter is specifically thinking about are:
- Norman Osborn, for the longest time everyone believed he died in Amazing Spider-Man #121. He actually survived as explained in Osborne Journals #1. Peter recently learned of his survival in Spider-Man #75.
- His newest villain is the Black Tarantula, who Spider-Man faced for the first time in Amazing Spider-Man #432.
- The officer sarcastically states that he wants to date Selma Hayek. At the time of this story the actor was 32 years old at the prime of her career. This reference should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- It's interesting to note that although at the time of this story Spider-Man did not have a Spider-Cycle. However, on Earth-616 he would later develop one in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 4) #3.