- -- nah! Been there... done that! Being Spider-Man is kinda cool!
- -- Peter
Appearing in "Cliché"
- Bank robbers
- Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) (Mentioned)
- Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) (Mentioned)
- Wicked Brigade (First appearance)
- Doctor Doom (Victor Von Doom) (Mentioned)
- Venom (Eddie Brock)
- Sinister Six (Mentioned)
- Mr. Marts, landlord
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker (Mentioned)
- Master Monarch (Only appearance)
- Agitator (Mentioned)
- Aunt May (Cameo)
- Thing (Ben Grimm) (Cameo)
- New York City
- Apple hotel
- Daily Bugle Building
- Boston (Mentioned)
- Washington, D.C. (Mentioned)
- Atlantis (Mentioned)
- Latveria (Mentioned)
- Grimm's flying motor
Synopsis for "Cliché"
As a group of men in powered armor flee a bank carrying sacks of pilfured money, Spider-Man notes in an internal monologue that it's a typical morning for him. Speculating his quarry are probably disgruntled soldiers, he wonders why mundane criminals like bank robbers even bother setting up shop in New York given there's dozens of superheroes living there. Noting that there's no money in banks anymore since it's the year 2000 and everything's done electronically, Spider-Man covers the robbers with a blanket of webbing and lays on a beatdown - like he has almost every day of his life since he first donned the red-and-blues. Complaining that the constant onslaught of criminals, supervillains, and tragedy had begun to wear on him; Spider-Man glances at the onlooking crowd and cynically waits for someone to accuse him of being a bad guy. Instead, he's pleasantly surprised when a child starts cheering for him. The police arrive and open fire on him; though he admits he can't really begrudge them since they risk their lives every day without superpowers. Bidding the police a good day, Spider-Man evades the bullets and web-swings off, lamenting that he needs to get a real life.
Arriving at his apartment and changing out of his costume, Peter laments his life's downturn - having been content with his life and happily married only a few weeks ago, now seemingly widowed and relegated to a low-rent apartment. His landlord, Mrs. Marts, irately reminds Peter he's past due on the week's rent and only has a day to pay her back before she kicks him out. Entering his apartment, Peter laments the return to his old status quo and that everyone says Mary Jane Parker is dead, though he remains confident that she's still alive somewhere. Taking out a box of Frosted Flakes and a carton of milk from his mostly-empty fridge, Peter wonders which of his rogues gallery is behind her disappearance... only to discover the milk has curdled. Opting to go to bed hungry, Peter wonders if he'll ever find a way to break out of his rut and turn his life around, wishing MJ was there to straighten him out. Noting that she never did like him being Spider-Man, Peter tells a portrait of MJ that he misses her and hopes to find her soon; but is cut off as his bed breaks across the middle.
Suiting up again, Peter heads out into the night as Spider-Man - wondering if he's coming down with a cold as he starts sneezing. As he swings across the city, he wonders which of his rogues gallery he'll run across that night and why none of them have thought to move to another city. Wishing that he could fight someone new for once, Peter is suddenly doused in ink by the Squid. Turning to see the cephalopod-powered supervillain and Ms. Fortune standing behind him, Spider-Man mocks their choice of codenames - saying that cutesy animal names and bad puns are passé and that they're like something out of a bad comic strip. Easily throwing them off the roof of the building, Spider-Man states he's not even in the mood to find out what their powers are or why they targeted him. Grumping that he jinxed himself and that even his new supervillains are pastiches of old ones, Spider-Man wonders if he's been at it for too long; only to see Ogre, Lightning Fist, and Razor Wire standing behind him. Razor Fist tells Ogre to wait his turn, offhandedly revealing that they're after the bounty on Spider-Man's head and part of a super-villain team called the Wicked Brigade. Mocking their poor choice of codenames, Spider-Man evades their attacks and laments that his life has devolved into a series of hackneyed plot devices and narrative cliches. He narrowly evades a powerful blast of green energy that takes out Ogre, Lightning Fist, and Razor Wire, hiding on the underside of a ledge as a bukly man in medieval-themed powered armor and a green cloak - addressed as Master Monarch - speaks to a pair of mercenaries. Noting that Master Monarch is blatantly ripping off Doctor Doom, Spider-Man makes a getaway wondering if something happened to bring a new crop of supervillains out of the woodwork while he was away; and decides to contact Ben Urich. Noting that a trip to the Daily Bugle rounds out the list of daily cliches, Spider-Man again laments how episodic and repetitive his life's become.
Sneaking inside the dark offices, Spider-Man notices a man and a woman cowering under a desk - not thinking much of it - and asks if they know where Ben Urich's desk is. The man fearfully begs Spider-Man to be quiet, so he sets out to find Urich's desk on his own. Spider-Man comes across Urich sitting under his desk, the reporter asking if he's gone back to wearing his black suit before remarking on the unpleasant smell. Spider-Man mentions running into a new villain called the Squid and getting inked, but is caught off-guard when Ben reveals that Venom has taken the Daily Bugle hostage and has been playing mind games with them in an attempt to draw out J. Jonah Jameson - who disappeared as soon as Venom arrived. Urich notes that Venom's sealed the exits and disabled the phones, hiding in the shadows and occasionally dragging someone off - followed by screams that are abruptly cut short. Spider-Man sneezes and a voice blesses him... just before Venom grabs Spider-Man from behind - enlarging one of his hands and turning his fingers into tentacles. Spider-Man sarcastically greets Eddie, but Venom says that despite their longstanding animosity he and his symbiote have no time to fight him. Spider-Man decides to pick a fight anyway despite Venom all-but begging him not to, telling Eddie that he's just going along with the cliches life's serving him. Kneeing Venom in the jaw, Spider-Man breaks free and quips that judging by how his day's been going an army of spider-clones will show up any second. He attempts to web Venom up only to run out of web-fluid - lamenting that this always happens in the middle of a fight; but cuts off Venom's cannibalistic catchphrase, saying that's one cliche he can't stand hearing that day. Venom declares that in that case he'll just change things up and actually follow through with his threats for once, tacking Spider-Man through several cubicles.
As they brawl, Spider-Man sarcastically tells Venom he should consider becoming a superhero. Venom asks if anyone takes heel-face turns seriously, and Spider-Man admits they don't - explaining that the trick is for the redeemed villain to wait for the suspicion to die down before turning evil again once everyone trusts him. Venom states that he'll pass; but that given his goal of killing all the members of the Sinister Six, Spider-Man can have fun playing the role of the superhero stuck in the middle of a battle between two villains. Spider-Man states that's happened far too often for his liking recently, then asks Venom why he's after Jameson. Venom incredulously states Jameson isn't the one he's after, but is interrupted by Sandman's sudden arrival. Sandman states that Venom's been chasing him all day and he wasn't sure he could win a one-on-one fight, so he came to the Bugle looking for Spider-Man. Spider-Man complains about getting stuck in the middle of a supervillain grudge match after just saying he wouldn't be doing that; Sandman protesting that Venom is a twisted serial killer obessed with murdering the Sinister Six. Ripping into Sandman with his claws, Venom snarls that they deserve to die for what they did to him; Sandman protesting that all they did was tease him a little. When Sandman boasts that Venom won't be getting a piece of him and should go after an easier mark like the Vulture, Venom bites a chunk out of him and eats it. Horrified and afraid that if he loses more of his mass he'll fall apart, Sandman flees as Spider-Man tackles Venom to prevent him from following. Grabbing Spider-Man and coiling tendrils around his throat, Venom decides to make time for a quick snack before finishing Sandman off and pursuing the rest of the Sinister Six. Before Venom can do anything, Urich tosses his lighter to Spider-Man, who waves it in front of Venom's face. The symbiote recoils so sharply that it nearly separates from Eddie Brock, Spider-Man turning a roll of newspapers into a torch while lamenting that even beating Venom has become tedious and boring since the symbiote's weaknesses are so easy to exploit. Fleeing, Eddie protests that it can't end like this - Spider-Man calling after him that it just did, and so will every other fight they have. Venom dives out the window swearing revenge, Spider-Man banally reiterating that it'll go the same way as always. As the Bugle employees congratulate Urich for saving the day, Spider-Man counts down the exact seconds before Jameson bursts into the room and accuses him of being behind the whole thing.
Wondering why he even bothers being a superhero anymore, Spider-Man can't even bring himself to recite his "with great power" catchphrase. Suddenly remembering he was supposed to pick up Aunt May for a doctor's appointment, Spider-Man picks up the nearest working phone and irritably webs Jameson's mouth shut. Calling May, he apologizes for not being there for her when she needed him; but May tells him that the doctor's appointment isn't until the following day, she's perfectly capable of getting there on her own, and she has a gentleman caller coming by for lunch. Relieved that at least one of his life's cliches didn't pan out, Peter reminds himself that he knows Mary Jane is still out there somewhere. However, as long as he's Spider-Man his life will be an unending cycle of recurring tropes and cliches; villains endlessly breaking out of jail no sooner than they're arrested, inexplicably coming back from the dead, or figuring out who he is and attacking his loved ones. Standing over a burning oil drum, Peter states that he wants -- needs -- a change, and contemplates quitting being Spider-Man and burning his costume... before remarking that he's already been there and done that too, and that being Spider-Man has enough upsides to make the bad parts worth it. Deciding to head home and go to bed before he gets suckered into another cliche like a hero-vs-hero-over-a-misunderstanding fight... Spider-Man flips onto a roof and lands on a box of jelly donuts. Furious, the Thing states that those were his favorite and that the shop's all out of them; declaring that it's clobbering time.
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- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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