- Just thinking that it's really strange sometimes, the way things work out..!
- -- Peter Parker
Appearing in "Powerless & Responsibility"
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker
- J. Jonah Jameson
- Dr. Ashley Kafka
- John Jameson
- Mindy Brown
- Aunt Anna
- Hope Hibbert (1st in Shadows. Unidentified.)
- Living Monolith (Ahmet Abdol) (Cameo)
- Mike (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
- New York
- Patrol car
- Prison van
Synopsis for "Powerless & Responsibility"
At Ravencroft Institute, Doctor Ashley Kafka and John Jameson assess the damage done to the facility after DK finally snapped and escaped from his cell. Burned into the floor is a message that reads "Thank you I'm so sorry." Ashley has been treating David Kalen for the depression caused by his survivors' guilt and transformation into the sludge monster known as DK. Now that he has broken free, she fears for the safety of her patient and for the general public as, during his last attempted escape, he killed two guards in the process before surrendering. She believes that Kalen may have escaped in order to commit suicide.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man stands dazed in the Prowler's apartment, a side effect from being bitten by Morbius the Living Vampire, leaving him and the Prowler at the mercy of the Vulture.[Continuity 1] The Vulture gloats how he is finally going to kill the Prowler and defeat Spider-Man, something that he was never able to do when he was an old man.[Continuity 2] When Spider-Man tries to focus and attack, he is easily swatted away by his foe. However, the Vulture pushes things too far when he uses his wings to slice the Prowler, prompting Spider-Man to renew his attack and web up his longtime enemy. Checking the Prowler, Spider-Man realizes that the novice cat-burglar will bleed out unless he does something and uses his webbing to bind the Prowler's wounds. With the Vulture all webbed up, Spider-Man then rushes the Prowler to a nearby hospital for immediate medical attention. With the Prowler took care of, the wall-crawler then pays a visit to Hobie Brown in his hospital room.[Continuity 3] He tells Hobie and Mindy that the new Prowler is an orderly named Rick Lawson. He was there on the night that Hobie was first brought to the hospital and learned that he was secretly the Prowler. Lawson then learned where Hobie lived and broke into his apartment to steal his Prowler costume. That's when Hobie and Mindy reveal the good news, the doctors have reported that Hobie is making great strides in his recovery and he could be walking again within a few weeks. Hobie thanks Spider-Man for dealing with the phony Prowler, as it did a lot to help him focus on his own recovery.
Later, Peter Parker returns home to Queens to develop his photos and have a private conversation with his wife, Mary Jane, without her Aunt Anna interrupting them.[Continuity 4] Mary Jane tells Peter that she doing well in school and has been racking up a lot of credits that go toward her psychology degree. Peter then tells her about how J. Jonah Jameson has Peter mentoring Billy Walters, the new freelancer at the Daily Bugle and how it has been hampering his ability to work as Spider-Man. He also talks about the close call with the Prowler and how he managed to get him to the hospital before he bled out. Since they finally have a moment alone, the couple decides to take advantage of the situation to have a moment of romance. Outside the darkroom, Anna Watson worries why Peter and Mary Jane are taking so long in there as she wants to talk to them about the new neighbors that moved in next door. She is particularly concerned about their young daughter, who stands outside for hours staring at the Parker house without saying a word. Meanwhile, the Vulture returns to his hideout, furious that Spider-Man has once more interfered with his plans. However, now that he has youth on his side, the Vulture vows that he will destroy the wall-crawler once and for all.
Soon, Peter Parker is at the Daily Bugle turning in his photos and tries to convince Jameson to assign Billy to someone else. However, Jonah won't do it, pointing out that not only is Walter's turning out to be a good photographer, he is also great at writing stories. However, when Billy enters the office to get Jonah's feedback, Jameson blows him off, saying he needs work. Peter is shocked and tries to get Jonah to give Billy positive reinforcement when they are interrupted by a news report about a disturbance in Central Park. The cause is DK who has come looking for Spider-Man. Wanting to resolve this situation, Peter asks Jonah to assign him to the story, and insists on bringing Billy Walters along. Soon the pair arrive at Central Park, and Billy is willing to bet that Spider-Man will arrive on the scene, even though Peter says it will be unlikely.[Continuity 5] Billy surprises Peter by telling him to go ahead and get photos while he hangs back and gets the story. This allows Peter to slip away, set up his camera, and change into Spider-Man. When the wall-crawler confronts DK, the creature tells Spider-Man to keep away. Allowing his face to resume human form, DK explains that his body is deteriorating, rotting him from the inside out. Since he is dying, DK explains that he wanted to get Spider-Man's attention to thank him for helping him. Then, much to Spider-Man's shock and horror, DK dissolves into a puddle of goo.
As he tries to make sense of this situation, Spider-Man is then ambushed by the Vulture. Thanks to his spider-sense, the wall-crawler dodges the ambush causing the Vulture to crash into the muck that was once DK. To everyone's surprise, some part of David Kalen is still alive and begins trying to wrap the Vulture in his mucky form. Pleading with DK to stop, Spider-Man man manages to use his webbing to pull the Vulture free. However, when he gets a good look at the Vulture's face what he sees comes to a shock. When the authorities arrive, Spider-Man slips away and changes back into Peter Parker. He meets up with Billy and pays up for losing his bet. However, Peter is still distracted by what he saw after saving the Vulture and remarks about how strange life is. As the authorities carry the Vulture away, the villain is still in a state of shock as his exposure to DK has robbed him of his youth and he is now old once more.
For years, the Living Monoloith's massive stone form has been drifting in space under constant observation by SHIELD and NASA.[Continuity 6] Rendered harmless in the void of space, the massive statue begins to drift into space. However, this is about to change as a portion of the Monolith's stone form breaks free from his body and begins to drift back into Earth's atmosphere....
- The Morbius bite sends Spidey spinning off into a lethal world of vertigo as he confronts the Vulture in an aerial battle to the death.
- Plus: meet Peter Parker's new neighbors!
- At the time of this story, Morbius had recently bitten Spider-Man as seen in Spider-Man #77.
- The Vulture isn't aware that this isn't Hobie Brown, the original Prowler, who ruined one of the villain's plans in Prowler #1–4. He mentions how he used to be "old", Adrian Tooms was always an elderly man until recently when he regained his youth in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
- At the time of this story, Hobie Brown is recovering injuries sustained from a serious fall while participating in the Great Game, as seen in Spider-Man Unlimited #14.
- 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.
- Peter suggests that Spider-Man is too busy watching the Rosie O'Donnell Show to catch the news. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Particularly since that particular talk show ended in 2002.
- The Living Monolith was ejected into space during the events of Marvel Graphic Novel #17. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, the Monolith's defeat happened roughly three years prior to this story.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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