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Molten Man

Appearing in "Aftermath"

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Synopsis for "Aftermath"

Landing on a rooftop, Spider-Man suddenly detects a presence on the roof. When that person reaches out, Spider-Man whirls around and grabs their hand. It turns out to be the wall-crawler's old foe the Molten Man, who tells Spider-Man to take it easy, since he arranged this meeting. Mark Raxton is surprised at the hero lashing out with such ferocity like that. Spider-Man apologizes, explaining that he is worried about Mark's brother-in-law, Harry Osborn. When Raxton asks why he's worried about Harry, as he thinks Osborn is out of town on business. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Spider-Man reveals that Harry became the Green Goblin again, and escaped during his last battle with the wall-crawler.[Continuity 1] This revelation angers Mark, who doesn't think it's fair that Harry Osborn should suffer like this again.[Continuity 2] Spider-Man calms him down and tells him that they need to find Harry and get him help. When Raxton asks why Spider-Man wasn't able to catch the Green Goblin, the wall-crawler explains that he hasn't slept in days. Suddenly, his spider-sense goes off, but when Spider-Man whirls around he sees nothing. He dismisses the sensation like it was just a false alarm, unaware that he was briefly being watched by the Green Goblin.

The Goblin had briefly considered Spider-Man then and there but is still confused about what he should do now that he is the Green Goblin again. Deciding that he needs time to thing, the Goblin returns to the Soho loft where he lives with his family. There he enters the bedroom of his son Norman. Removing his mask to reveal who he really is, Harry tells Norman not to be afraid. He tells Norman that he has to go and he is not sure when or if he will come back again. However, he wanted to see his son one last time before he left to remind the boy that no matter what that he loves him. That's when Liz walks into the room to find out what the noise is. Seeing Harry with his Goblin mask on is the last thing Harry wanted to see and flees, ignoring her cries. More confused then ever, the Green Goblin decides to embrace his power and begins tossing pumpkin bombs at the people in the streets below.

Meanwhile, at the mental health facility run by Ashley Kafka, Edward Whelan is undergoing treatment. Kafka has managed to get through to Edward's human side that he has reverted back to human form. However, Edward begins losing control, and despite Ashley's encouragement to fight it, Edward transforms into the Vermin once more. Vermin then begins trashing the room he is in contained in, forcing the psychologist to fill it with knock out gas. That's when she is interrupted by the arrival of Spider-Man, who hears Vermin's threats toward her before being knocked out. The wall-crawler wonders how this could be a good thing. She explains that her theory that Edward's transformation into Vermin was as much psychological as it was physical is proving true.[Continuity 3] That her work and Vermin being forced to confront his abusive father is starting to free Edward's psyche from his subconscious.[Continuity 4] Vermin's threats toward her is proof that Vermin is losing control over the shared body and that eventually, Edward won't need Vermin anymore. After getting this update on Vermin's status, Spider-Man tells her that he has to go. However, Kafka asks if there was anything else Spider-Man wanted to know. He is concerned about when she saw him with his mask off the other night. She assures him that it was too dark to get a good look at his face and, respecting his secret identity, put his mask back on as soon as possible. Satisfied with this answer, Spider-Man thanks her and swings away.

As Spider-Man swings through the city, he can't help but relate with Vermin. He recalls how the Green Goblin exposed him to hallucinigentic gas that allowed him to see how much the death of his own parents still impacted his life, and coming to terms with their loss.[Continuity 5] Suddenly, the wall-crawler is struck by another jolt from his spider-sense. He quickly lands on a nearby rooftop, and thinking it's Harry calls out to him. However, there is not a single soul to be seen. While at the Osborn's Soho apartment, Mark Raxton comforts his step-sister Liz. He tells Liz that he loves her, something that she knows. While upstairs, Peter Parker has returned home and is asking his wife Mary Jane, how he could have been so stupid as to allow Harry to escape during their last battle.[Continuity 6] Mary Jane listens to his rant for as long as it takes to finish brushing her teeth. She sits Peter down on their bed and tells him not to say another word. When he protests, she kisses him and the two roll over onto the bed. Later, when Mary Jane is apparently asleep, Peter gets up and changes back into Spider-Man. He then goes back outside to search for Harry. However, Mary Jane is still awake, and after her husband is gone she hopes he finds Osborn but prays that he be careful.

Spider-Man is swinging acorss the city once more, racking his brain trying to think where Harry could have gone. Suddenly, his spider-sense goes off again, but this time he sees the cause. Seeing a green clad arm poking out from behind a building roof access, Spider-Man swings down and grabs hold. Much to Spider-Man's irritation, it's not the Green Goblin, but his Frog-Man, the young hero who has been trying to become Spider-Man's sidekick for some time.[Continuity 7]


Continuity Notes

  1. Harry's return to the role of the Green Goblin was chronicled in Spectacular Spider-Man #178183.
  2. Mark Raxton feels indebted to Harry Osborn after Harry got him a job and gave him a second chance after he wanted to go straight in Web of Spider-Man #62.
  3. Baron Zemo transformed Edward into the Vermin in Captain America #272.
  4. Edward was sexually abused by his father at a very young age as revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #182.
  5. This realization happened in Spectacular Spider-Man #181. Peter's parents, Richard and Mary, died when Peter was still very young as explained in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
  6. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple as opposed to husband and wife.
  7. Frog-Man has attempted to become Spider-Man's sidekick starting in Marvel Team-Up #121.

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