Appearing in "Hermit-Age!"
- Mister Fantastic
- Human Torch
- Jonathon Ohnn
- Cloak (On-screen)
- Dagger (Recap)
- Cloak (Recap)
- Silvermane (Recap)
- Answer (Recap)
- Aunt May (Recap)
- New York City
- Tibet (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Hermit-Age!"
Spider-Man is web-slinging through the city to clear his head. His mind thinks back to recent events, primarily his recent clash with the Kingpin who had attempted to revive his rival Silvermane as his slave. This led to Spider-Man joining forces with the vigilantes known as Cloak and Dagger to stop him.[Continuity 1] He also thinks about his personal problems, such as his Aunt May being upset with him for quitting grad school,[Continuity 2] and the tension in his relationship with the Black Cat.[Continuity 3] Lastly, he thinks about the alien costume he brought back to Earth from the Secret Wars.[Continuity 4] Has just recently learned that the costume was a symbiotic creature that was trying to permanently bond with him. After making this discovery, he had the costume removed and gave it to Mister Fantastic for observation.[Continuity 5] As he swings onward, Spider-Man suddenly has a craving for a bottle of Lotto Cola and wonders why unaware that he had done some of his thinking atop of a billboard advertising the popular soft drink.
The effective advertising is the work of one Timothy Quail, an incredibly anxious man who works for an advertising firm. When his bosses demand that he give a presentation on their next ad campaign, the reclusive Quail resists and has to be dragged down to the boardroom. One of the ad executives wonders how this timid man can be so great at advertising. His co-worker explains Timothy's story, explaining that is a native New Yorker, who grew up a loner that kept to himself. However, at a very young age, he discovered that he had the uncanny ability to come up with solutions to the problems of others. As a child, he used this to help his friends ask girls out and how to get out of trouble with their parents. Soon his intuitive knowledge of human nature became known to the children of the neighborhood who would line up for hours to get his advice. However, young Timothy Quail hated all the attention his gift brought him. When he grew old enough, he moved out of New York and hid from civilization in the mountains of Tibet. However, knowledge of his amazing gifts soon brought travelers to the cave he called home. It didn't help by this point that Quail had grown a long beard and wore robes. Eventually, Timothy discovered that he could package things for sale and abandoned his hermitage to return to New York and work in advertising. One boon to this new job is that most executives in the industry leave him alone until he has to make a presentation.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man scours the city looking for some crime to photograph for the Daily Bugle. The only thing he finds is some men removing trash from the side of the building. His spider-sense goes off, and he decides to go down and ask them what they are doing. However, the men clearing the rubbish, claim that they are not doing anything illegal. When one of them mentions J. Jonah Jameson's anti-Spider-Man editorials, Spider-Man becomes frustrated and leaves, thinking he needs to hire a good PR man. As he leaves, he wonders what could have triggered his spider-sense, and hopes that it is not a side effect of being a host to an alien symbiote. After the Spider-Man leaves, the men gloat over being able to trick him, as the "trash" they are removing is actually stolen loot. At that moment, at the advertising firm on Madison Avenue, Timothy Quail is congratulated for his latest presentation, and he is told to take the rest of the day off. Outside, Timothy is grabbed by some men and ushed into a limo. The man waiting for him in the passenger seat wants to know all about his abilities.
Later, at the Baxter Building, the Human Torch enters Mister Fantastic's lab and is almost tricked into thinking that Spider-Man's symbiote costume has escaped from its containment cylinder. However, before Johnny can open the cylinder, he is stopped by Mister Fantastic. Reed reveals the symbiote's trick by bombarding it with a sonic blast, revealing it was hiding on the ceiling of its cell. Johnny thanks Reed for stopping him before he made a serious error in judgement. At that moment, at the Kingpin's headquarters, the crime boss curses Spider-Man and the Black Cat for interfering with his plans to use Dagger to cure his wife Vanessa from her catatonic state.[Continuity 6] He vows to get revenge against his two costumed foes, however with the apparent death of the Answer, he wonders who will succeed him as the Kingpin's chief assassin.[Continuity 7] At that moment, in the Kingpin's lab, his scientists are busy cleaning up the damage done during the clash between the Kingpin and Cloak. One of them is a scientist named Jonathon Ohnn, who decides to review the footage of the battle. Noticing the strange energies eminating from Cloak, Ohnn discovers that this energy comes from another dimension. He figures after significant examination, Jonathon could duplicate Cloak's powers.
The next day, Peter Parker arrives at the offices of the Daily Bugle to see Joe Robertson about getting a photo assignment. Unfortunately, Robertson has nothing for him, but he tells Peter to look into a series of robberies that have been committed of late. He tells him how a bunch of thieves robbed a building disguised as workmen. Peter realizes that these were the men he encountered as Spider-Man the day before. Peter tells Joe that he'll try to drump up some leads on that story. On his way out, he happens upon Flash Thompson who is visiting Betty Leeds. Flash is gloating about how he could have taken on the Asgardian warriors they encountered together recently.[Continuity 8] When Peter tries to greet Flash, he accuses him of interfering with his relationship with Sha Shan and storms out.[Continuity 9] When Peter asks Betty what she is doing hanging out with Flash, she tells him that even though she is married she can have male friends and tells him to mind his own business.[Continuity 10]
Meanwhile, the mobster who has kidnapped Timothy Quail has been using his abilities to try an edge over the major players in the city's organized crime. This has been made complicated by the conflict between the Kingpin and the Rose, as well as the return of Silvermane and the Hobgoblin.[Continuity 11] With Qauil's success, the mobster decides that it is time for a big hit and they begin planning. That evening, Peter Parker changes into Spider-Man and goes to the roof of his apartment to meet up with the Black Cat. When she arrives, Spider-Man demands to know where she got her new powers. When she sputters at this, he reminds her that some of the other heroes he was with on Battleworld during the Secret War told her about her hunt for powers. This combined with her ability to hold her own against super-powered villains, somehow knowing the Answer worked for the Kingpin, and how the Kingpin said she owed him a debt, things are not adding up. The Cat makes up a series of lies, including how this debt was carried over from her father before his death.[Continuity 12] When Spider-Man presses her for answers, the Black Cat gets upset and tells him that if he can't trust her, then they have nothing more to talk about and swings away.
Spider-Man tries to follow after her, but his spider-sense warns him of some danger below. All he sees are a number of joggers. However, upon closer examination, Spider-Man notices that the leader of the pack is scrawny, while the other joggers are overweight. Spider-Man decides to follow after them to figure out what's going on. Suddenly, the juggers come upon an armored car, and the men start strong arming the guards. Spider-Man swoops in to stop them, and rounds up the crooks neatly. When one of them tries to attack Spider-Man from behind, Timothy Quail warns him. With the mobsters being arrested, Spider-Man asks Quail about his involvement in the whole scheme. Timothy explains that he was forced into helping the mobsters due to his unique abilities. After hearing his explantion, and his desire to be left alone, Spider-Man suggests that Quail just change his "package". The next day, Peter's photos appear in the Daily Bugle. The advertising firm wonders how Timothy Quail was involved, but he appears to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. This is because Quail has found the best "package" to hid himself and his talents with, disguising himself as a homeless man. As he wheels a car full of trash down the street, Timothy is happy that people are now going out of their way to avoid him, much to his delight.
- ↑ Spider-Man's battle with the Kingpin and Silvermane with Cloak and Dagger occurred in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #94-96.
- ↑ Aunt May has been upset with Peter since he told her he quit grad school in Amazing Spider-Man #253.
- ↑ The relationship between Spider-Man and the Black Cat has been strained since she secretly got bad luck powers from the Kingpin in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #89.
- ↑ Spider-Man obtained this alien costume in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8.
- ↑ Spider-Man turned his alien costume over to the Fantastic Four in Amazing Spider-Man #258.
- ↑ Vanessa Fisk has been in a catatonic state since Daredevil #180.
- ↑ The Answer was seemingly disintigrated during the climax of last issue. However, he survived and is living in a disembodied state, as revealed in The Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #1.
- ↑ That happened during a freak blizzard last issue. This was caused by the opening of the Cask of Ancient Winters in Thor #349.
- ↑ Flash thinks Peter is trying to steal Sha Shan away from him after seeing the two of them together in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #95. He is unaware that the pair were talking about Flash and Sha Shan's faultering relationship.
- ↑ Betty has been married to Ned Leeds since Amazing Spider-Man #156. Of late, she has felt neglected by her husband who has been too focused on his work.
- ↑ The Rose has been attempting to usurp the Kingpin as head of organized crime in New York since Amazing Spider-Man #253. Silvermane was resurrected by the Kingpin in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #94 after his seeming demise in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #70. The Hobgoblin was also considered among the dead after he was defeated by Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #251. However, he has since resurfaced in Amazing Spider-Man #257.
- ↑ Walter Hardy, Felicia's father, was a professional cat burglar who had recently died as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #195.
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- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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