Appearing in "Inventing the Hornet!"
- Norman Osborn [Flashback 2]
- J. Jonah Jameson (Only in flashback)
- Swarm (Fritz von Meyer) (Photo)
- Hulk (Bruce Banner) (Mentioned)
- Owl (Leland Owlsley) (Mentioned)
- Ben Reilly (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Inventing the Hornet!"
Identity Crisis continued from Amazing Spider-Man #433...
Outside the offices of the Daily Bugle, the Looter floats to one of the windows via an inflatable balloon. He tries to break into the building with a meteor rigged into a weapon he has called "Schmoopie" to blast through the window. When the gun doesn't work, his deranged mind figures that it is because "Schmoopie" is tired and kicks in the window with his foot. Then, using his enhanced strength, the Looter breaks into the safe in Norman Osborn's office in order to steal the 5 million dollar bounty that has been placed on Spider-Man's head.[Continuity 1] This robbery is interrupted by the new hero calling himself the Hornet. However, the Looter is confused when this apparent stranger knows that his real name is Norton Fester. The Hornet reminds himself that he may give away that he is actually Spider-Man in disguise, thinking back to the events that led up to this masquerade...
With the bounty on his head, Spider-Man had realized that it was becoming increasingly dangerous to be out in costume. Having decided that he could not give up being a hero because Norman Osborn is messing with his life, the web-slinger has decided to come up with no identities to fight crime. To this end, Spider-Man paid a visit to his old friend Hobie Brown, aka the Prowler, to help him develop equipment for a new costumed identity. Hobie shows off a new jetpack that he has been working on but so far it is too heavy for a normal person to carry on their back. The web-spinner shows Brown that this isn't an issue by lifting up the inventor's car with one arm. Spotting an old newspaper article on the ground, Spider-Man sees that it is a story about his recent battle against the Swarm and it gives him some ideas.[Continuity 2] Spider-Man then tried on the prototype jetpack and discovered that its mental controls are incredibly sensitive prompting Hobie to beg the wall-crawler to only test the device when he is outside. Thus the Hornet was born...
The Looter is unphased by the Hornet's entry and is prepared for a fight. Pulling out the gun loaded with "Schmoopie", the Looter threatens to blast the new hero. However, the ridiculous weapon causes the Hornet to laugh in the villain's face instead. Unfortunately, the commotion of the battle has alerted Flash Thompson who has been working late at the Bugle and he goes to check it out. When he rushes into the room, the Looter takes Thompson hostage and threatens to shoot him with "Schmoopie" if the Hornet doesn't let him go. However, in hearing Flash's name, it causes the unhinged villain to entertain everyone with a "flashback" of events that brought him here to the newspaper.
The Looter explains that he had recently acquired the old headquarters of the Owl and started using it as his regular hideout.[Continuity 3] There he was watching television when he caught a news report about the bounty that the Daily Bugle was putting up for the capture of Spider-Man. The Looter then decided that he was going to steal the money using his "legendary" looting skills.
At that moment, unknown to the Looter, Peter Parker was putting on the finishing touches of his new Hornet costume. When his wife Mary Jane came up to check on him, she was impressed although she had issues with the Hornet's color scheme.[Continuity 4] Still, Peter thinks it's perfect and to show Mary Jane he takes her on the flight over the city. Along the way, Peter tells Mary Jane that this new identity makes him feel liberated for the first time in a long time, especially after all the troubles they have been having lately. Just as things are about to get romantic, the Hornet flies through a flock of geese, getting the turbines of his jetpack jammed up with feathers. This causes the couple to plummet, but thankfully Peter had the forethought to wear one of his web-shooters and swings them to safety. Once they are safely on a nearby rooftop, Peter realizes that he is running late to meet up with Billy Walters to see a movie and has to go. At the theater, Walters is annoyed that this is the fourth time that Peter has blown him off. That's when he spots the Vulture flying in the sky overhead. With things getting weird, Billy decides that he should just go home before there is any trouble.
This whole time the Hornet has been thinking how to handle this hostage situation. Although he was willing to call the Looter's bluff on his weapon when it was just the two of them, he's not sure if he wants to take that risk with Flash's life at stake. Instead, the Hornet convinces that the Looter has his gun on the wrong setting. When the villain checks to make sure, it gives the Hornet the opportunity to fly in and begins laying into his foe. This gives Flash the opportunity to recover the weapon making the Looter surrender as he doesn't want anyone to hurt his "Schmoopie". Although the Hornet and Flash think the weapon is "powered" by a harmless rock when the Looter lunges for the weapon he is taken out by the Hornet's tranquilizer darts. That's when S.H.I.E.L.D. agents come bursting in to recover the Looter's weapon, which contains a meteor that he actually he had stolen, and is actually quite dangerous.
Later, as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are taking the Looter away, Flash Thompson introduces the Hornet to the press and tells them how this new hero defended the bounty money offered for Spider-Man's capture. That's when Norman Osborn arrives on the scene and personally thanks the Hornet. Completely falling for Peter's disguise, Osborn offers the Hornet an opportunity to work with him. Instead of answering, the Hornet takes questions from the press about if he is going after Spider-Man. He assures them that they won't have to worry about the wall-crawler anymore. As the press begins asking more questions, Spider-Man realizes that they have confused him with the Avenger known as Yellowjacket and abruptly excuses himself. Watching the Hornet's television debut at a bar is Billy Walters who wonders why Peter Parker is always ducking out on him. Also watching this story is the Vulture, who wonders what the Hornet meant by telling people not to worry about Spider-Man anymore. In a fit of rage, he smashes his television, vowing to kill Spider-Man once and for all, or taking his vengeance out on the Hornet if this new hero has done something to prevent the Vulture from attaining his ultimate goal.
... Identity Crisis continues in Amazing Spider-Man #434.
- Norman Osborn has put a bounty on Spider-Man's head after he tricked the wall-crawler into attacking him in Spectacular Spider-Man #250. He then turned the heat up, and increased the bounty, by having Spider-Man framed for the murder of Joey-Z in Spider-Man #88.
- Not long prior to this story, Spider-Man -- although this was Ben Reilly, not Peter Parker -- fought the Swarm in Sensational Spider-Man #9–10.
- The Owl constructed his Aerie in Daredevil #3 and used it for his hideout for a time before abandoning it.
- 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.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters: