Appearing in "Hornet's Nest"
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker
- Aunt Anna
- Hope Hibbert
- Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
- Billy Walters
- Norman Osborn
- Normie Osborn
- Hobie Brown
- Mindy Brown
- Flash Thompson
- Avengers (Cameo)
- Edwin Jarvis (Cameo)
- Heroes for Hire (Cameo)
- Fantastic Four (Cameo)
- Frankie Richards (Cameo)
- Looter (Norton Fester) (Recap)
- Yellowjacket (Hank Pym) (Mentioned)
- Chris Kapostopolis (Mentioned)
- Thunderbolts (Mentioned)
- Iron Man Armor Model 16
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Vulture's Wings
- Hornet's Suit
Synopsis for "Hornet's Nest"
Identity Crisis continues from Amazing Spider-Man #434...
Since first appearing on the scene, the Hornet has become a media sensation after preventing the Looter from robbing the bounty money put on Spider-Man's head, as well as other crimes committed in the city.[Continuity 1] This news attracts the interest of the Avengers, who decide to keep an eye on developments. The Heroes for Hire also watch the report, although Luke Cage doesn't like a hero who helps people for free.[Continuity 2] Also watching is Norman Osborn, who, unaware that this is really Spider-Man in disguise, plots to manipulate Hornet to serve his own needs. At the same time, Hobie Brown is excited to see his technology being used, much to the exclaim of his wife.[Continuity 3] While the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four is concerned that this could be another situation like their recent clash with the Thunderbolts, but the Thing assures her that if the Hornet is not on the up-and-up they'll clobber him as well.[Continuity 4] Yet another person watching these reports is the Vulture, who is fixated on the Hornet's statement to the public assuring people that they won't have to worry about Spider-Man anymore. This angers the villain, who wanted to destroy Spider-Man and for all, and plots to go after the Hornet so the wall-crawler will be his, and his alone.
While at his home, Peter Parker tells his wife Mary Jane how exciting it was to be the Hornet and how he fooled everybody, including Norman Osborn.[Continuity 5] He is confident that he can continue using his powers for good without having to worry about bounty hunters interfering with him. However, Mary Jane is concerned that Peter is getting to close to his enemy, especially with an upcoming press conference and warns him to be careful. Peter assures Mary Jane that he will and she decides that she wants to be at the conference to see Osborn get fooled for herself. That's when Mary Jane's Aunt Anna comes in with Hope Hibbert, the deaf girl from next door. Anna tells them that Hope wanted to say hello before taking the bus to school. They are impressed by how quickly Hope is learning sign language. While Mary Jane and Anna are occupied with dinner plans, Peter is surprised when Hope makes the same hand gesture that Spider-Man does when using his web-shooters. This shocks Peter who wonders if Anna figured out his secret identity, unfortunately, Anna rushes the girl off to the bus stop before he can try and learn more.[Continuity 6]
Later, while the Hornet is out on patrol, he is still thinking about how Hope may have figured out his double identity. However, his thoughts are interrupted when he is confronted by the Human Torch. This comes as a shock to Peter, as he has always worked with the Torch and fears he won't be able to disguise his voice in a way that Johnny Storm won't recognize. The Torch, meanwhile, has come to give the Hornet a warning if the "new" hero goes after his pal, Spider-Man. The Hornet assures the Torch that he hasn't done anything to Spider-Man, and the Torch leaves him off with a warning. As Johnny flies off, Peter can't help but smile as he never knew how much Johnny Storm actually cared about his alter-ego. Soon, the Hornet arrives at the Daily Bugle and changes back to Peter Parker. After stashing his costume he bumps into Billy Walters in the breakroom and remembers that he blew Walters off again while he was busy fighting the Looter. When Peter tries to apologize, Billy figures that Peter just doesn't want to be friends and tells him to forget it. Unable to fully explain himself, Peter can't do anything but sit there as Billy walks out of the room. Soon, everyone is gathered up on the roof for Norman Osborn's public speech with the Hornet. After setting up his camera, Peter slips away and makes his appearance as the Hornet. Norman Osborn then has his new assistant, Flash Thompson, present the Hornet with a massive check as thanks for helping stop the Looter. As the Hornet accepts the check his spider-sense begins going off warning him of the arrival of the Vulture, who seeks to defeat the Hornet so he can have Spider-Man all to himself.
As the two battle it out in the sky, the Hornet quickly realizes that he is out of his element as the Vulture has more experience fighting in the air. Deciding to switch tactics, the Hornet goads the Vulture into following him down to a nearby rooftop. There, the Hornet strips off his gloves and lunges at the Vulture, managing to grasp the villain with his sticky fingers. By this point, the Vulture has come to realize that the Hornet is actually Spider-Man and loudly proclaims this within earshot of the gathered crowd. Although most don't react, this strikes a chord with Norman Osborn. While the Vulture is distracted, the Hornet slams him into the side of a billboard, knocking him out. Although everyone celebrates the Hornet as a hero while he turns the Vulture over to the police, Norman Osborn can only glare at him. When Peter returns home, Mary Jane finds him up in the attic packing away his Hornet costume. He tells her how this identity is dead as his cover was blown. Although this is a disappointment, Mary Jane assures Peter that they'll find a way to get by and delights in hearing how Norman Osborn took learning the truth. When Peter remarks how Norman looked like he was hit over the head with a sign, he looks across out the window and sees Hope Hibbert looking at him from the house next door. Remembering his earlier encounter with her, Peter starts to tell Mary Jane what happened with Hope that morning.
... Identity Crisis continues in Spider-Man #91.
- A bounty was put on Spider-Man after he was tricked into attacking Norman Osborn in Spectacular Spider-Man #250. This was increased when the wall-crawler was framed for the murder of Joey-Z in Spider-Man #88.
- At this point, the news reports mention a recent "extended absence" of the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Not long ago, the Avengers and FF were believed to have been killed in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. In reality, they were trapped in a pocket dimension as seen in the Heroes Reborn event. They returned to their native dimension in Heroes Reborn: The Return #1–4.
- It should be noted that this is the last time that Hobie and his wife Mindy are seen together. It is later revealed in Prowler (Vol. 2) #1 that she eventually divorced him due to his constant costumed heroics as the Prowler.
- The Thunderbolts were secretly the Masters of Evil pretending to be heroes. This ruse was recently exposed in Thunderbolts #12.
- 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.
- Hope has figured out Peter's double-identity when she saw Spider-Man coming and going from the Parker home in Sensational Spider-Man #18.