- Well, the Spider-Man I know would have nothing to do with any of those things. But maybe... ...we should go and see if this is the Spider-Man I know!
- -- Silver Sable
Appearing in "Signs of the Times"
- Silver Sable (Silvija Sablinova)
- Aunt Anna
- Hope Hibbert
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker
- Glory Grant
- Adrian Toomes
- Hobie Brown
- Norman Osborn (Mentioned)
- Ben Reilly (Mentioned)
- New York City
Synopsis for "Signs of the Times"
As Peter Parker is getting ready for classes, Aunt Anna is busy teaching Hope Hibbert, the deaf girl from next door, how to use sign language. After finding his books he takes the newspaper and heads into the kitchen. Hope tries to ask Anna if Peter is Spider-Man by using sign-language. Misunderstanding the girl, Anna "agrees" that Spider-Man is a bad man, thinking that Hope is talking about the front page story on the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 1] While in the kitchen, Peter expresses his displeasure that the Bugle is blaming Spider-Man for the recent kidnapping of Normie Osborn, even though there is proof that it was done by the Green Goblin.[Continuity 2] This leads into another tirade about how Norman Osborn is using his part-ownership of the Daily Bugle to attack his alter-ego.[Continuity 3] However, Mary Jane is sick of hearing about Norman Osborn and his schemes against Spider-Man and tells Peter to give it a break, especially since they are running late for classes.
Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Hydro-Man is reading the newspaper while hiding out from the law. Reading about how the Bugle has a 5 million-dollar bounty on Spider-Man's head, Morrie Bench decides to take advantage of this to draw out his old foe and the money for himself.[Continuity 4] While at the Symkarian Embassy, the Sandman and Silver Sable watch the news. The Sandman can't believe that Spider-Man is capable of doing this. Silver Sable is also disturbed by this and suggests that they investigate and see if this is the Spider-Man they know.[Continuity 5]
Later that day at the Daily Bugle, Peter is approached by Billy Walters who reminds him that they were supposed to go see a movie the night before. Peter feels terrible for blowing him off without a word. That's when Desiree Winthrop arrives looking for Peter Parker after calling for him for some time.[Continuity 6] She has come to talk to Peter about his "cousin" Ben Reilly. Since Ben's tragic death she has had some strange feelings and wants to talk to Peter about them when he has a moment.[Continuity 7] As she is trying to explain herself, Peter overhears reports that Hydro-Man has hijacked a bus full of people and demands that Spider-Man face him, making an abrupt apology, Peter tells Desiree he has to go and rushes out leaving her with Billy. In the Bronx, Hydro-Man has his hostages trapped inside a water tower while he is waiting for Spider-Man. However, it is the Sandman who attacks Bench first. Morrie is not happy to see the Sandman, especially after their last encounter.[Continuity 8] Meanwhile, Adrian Toomes -- aka the Vulture -- is before a judge for his past crimes. Surprisingly, his lawyer manages to convince the judge that due to Toomes old age that he is no longer a threat to society. This ploy actually works and he is released from custody. When asked what he plans to do with his retirement, Adrian tells his lawyer he has one more annoyance to deal with before he can finally rest.
Back in the Bronx, Spider-Man decides to save the hostages while Sandman is dealing with Hydro-Man. After convincing the people trapped in the water tower that he means them no harm he begins helping them out. However, the battle outside damages the water tower causing more danger. Finally, the situation is pacified when Silver Sable arrives on the scene and uses a freeze gun to turn both Sandman and Hydro-Man into ice so the battle can end. With only one hostage left, a woman who was knocked out in the panic, Spider-Man realizes that he is at risk of getting captured if he goes out alone. Instead, he changes into his street clothes and climbs out with her, twisting his ankle in the process. His gambit pays off as he is assumed to be another one of the hostages. Once Peter is out of sight his rigged Spider-Man costume comes popping out prompting officers to open fire on it. When they check on the body, they discover it is merely a dummy made out of webbing used to fool them.
Later that evening, in his spare costume, Peter pays a visit to Hobie Brown to ask him for help on this new idea that he has.
... The Prelude to Identity Crisis continues in Spectacular Spider-Man #256.
- Peter inadvertently revealed his secret identity to Hope in Sensational Spider-Man #18 when she spied him leaving the house in costume.
- Normie was indeed kidnapped by the Green Goblin and rescued by Spider-Man during the Spider-Hunt event.
Spiderhunt Sensational Spider-Man #25 Amazing Spider-Man #432 Spider-Man #89 Spectacular Spider-Man #255
- Osborn bought half ownership of the Bugle from J. Jonah Jameson in Spectacular Spider-Man #249.
- The narrative briefly explains Hydro-Man's origins here. Bench became the Hydro-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #212.
- Silver Sable has reason to suspect that this might be another Spider-Man since she had recently encountered Ben Reilly during his short tenure as Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #407.
- Desiree has been trying to contact Peter since Sensational Spider-Man #21 and tried again in Sensational Spider-Man #24.
- Desiree was part of Ben Reilly's social circle from Sensational Spider-Man #0 until he died in Spider-Man #75.
- The last time Hydro-Man and Sandman clashed they were accidentally merged together into the Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man #217–218.
Events in this story occur behind the scenes that affects the chronology of the following characters:
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