Appearing in "The Spirits is willing; The Flesh..."
- Technomancer Corporation
- Uncle Ben (Only in flashback)
- Burglar (Recap)
- Mark Gruenwald (Spirit)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Spirits is willing; The Flesh..."
Things inside the Aleister Building are not looking good for either Spider-Man or Doctor Strange. While the wall-crawler is at the mercy of the Gremlyn lord known as Buel, Strange's physical form is at risk of harm from his army of minions. Sensing that his physical body is in danger, the Doctor's astral form returns to his corporeal form and evades an attack. However, when he tries to take down the attacking Ogre with a mystical bolt, the creature defiantly deflects it. Simultaneously, Spider-Man manages to evade Buel's ectoplasmic blast. Realizing that he is out of his depth, the web-slinger decides to make a strategic retreat. Back outside, Doctor Strange realizes that he is not being attacked by a real Ogre and uses his spell to reveal that his foe is actually two Gremlyns standing one atop the other, hence why they were not vulnerable to his specific spell. That's when Strange figures out that Buel was merely creating distractions in order to keep Strange from getting to Spider-Man. It's at that moment of realization that the Aleister Building begins undergoing a strange transformation.
Inside, Buel continues to stalk Spider-Man, explaining how he seeks to obtain the 'Sphere of 'Sara-'Kath to achieve ultimate power. However, Spider-Man has intentionally lured Buel to the portal from which he came from and uses his webbing to knock the mage back through the portal. Left without their master, the remaining Gremlyns flee back into the portal with him. That's when the astral form of Doctor Strange arrives and tells Spider-Man that he is going to seek out the men with the knowledge needed to shut down the portal. Elsewhere in the building, he finds Master Om and Maegis Gunther Senreich the members of the Technomancer Corporation responsible for accidentally unleashing Buel upon the world. As the three sorcerers confer on what to do next, the wall-crawler suddenly feels the same force that called him to this location to begin with. Unable to resist this call, Spider-Man is compelled to follow it to the source. Seeing that Spider-Man is wandering off, Strange asks him where he is going. When told about the strange presence compelling him to go, Doctor Strange tells Spider-Man to focus on the task as all reality hangs in the balance. When Strange uses the word "responsibility" it causes Spider-Man to recall how his lack of responsibility led to his Uncle Ben getting shot by a burglar in a botched home invasion.[Continuity 1]
Back under control of himself, Spider-Man joins Doctor Strange as he crosses over into Buel's dimension, leaving Om and Senreich behind. When Buel returns to Earth he discovers that his foes have escaped into his dimension and orders his Gremlyns to take the two Techomancers with them. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange travel through a number of strange dimensions in order to get to the place within the Technomancer building where the 'Sphere of 'Sara-'Kath is located. There, Strange instructs Spider-Man to remove the 'Sphere before it is too late. However, from another portal, the strange force that has been calling to him sings out once more causing the web-slinger to become distracted. This allows Buel to obtain the 'Sphere for himself. However, in his elation over his victory, the Gremlyn lord lowers his guard enough to allow Doctor Strange to bypass his mystical barriers and physically enter the building. In the ensuing mystical battle, the 'Sphere is knocked out of Buel's hands allowing the web-slinger to grab it. Under orders from Doctor Strange, Spider-Man swings past all of Buel's mystical defenses down to the basement of the Technomancer building where he uses the 'Sphere to shut down the portal to Earth. As a result, Buel and all his creations are banished from this dimension, ending his threat. In the aftermath of the battle, Doctor Strange assures Spider-Man that he will be keeping an eye on the Technomancers in future.
When the Sorcerer Supreme is about to leave, Spider-Man demands to know what the strange force that drew him to the Technomancer building, to begin with. Strange tells him that there are some things that man is not meant to know. When the web-slinger calls Strange arrogant, it reminds the sorcerer about how arrogance is what led to the accident that ruined his career as a surgeon and put him on the path to becoming Doctor Strange.[Continuity 2] Strange decides to try and answer Spider-Man's questions. With a mystical portal opened, Spider-Man walks in and feels as though he has crossed over into paradise. There a spirit passes through a body. Returning to Earth Spider-Man says goodbye to the passing spirit. When Strange asks the web-slinger what it was, Spider-Man ironically tells him that there are some things even the Sorcerer Supreme must not know and swings off, thanking the Doctor for showing him what he saw.[Continuity 3]
- Peter's Uncle Ben was killed by a burglar that Peter Parker could have stopped earlier. This was seen in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- This is reference to Doctor Strange's origins, which were first told in Strange Tales #115.
- In an interview for CBR writer Todd DeZago stated that the spirit that Spider-Man encounters here is that of the late Mark Gruenwald, who passed away on August 12, 1996. This story was dedicated in his memory. It is also interesting to note that the 'Sphere of 'Sara-'Kath was named after Mark's wife Katherine and daughter Sara.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Issue was dedicated to Mark Gruenwald.
- The splash page accidentally says "Stan Lee Presents: The Spectacular Spider-Man"