Appearing in "Angst!"
- Normie Osborn
- Daily Bugle
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker
- Jacob Conover
- Uncle Ben Parker (Illusion)
- Gwen Stacy (Illusion)
- Captain George Stacy (Illusion)
- Ben Reilly (Illusion)
- Baby May Parker (Illusion)
- Aunt May Parker (Illusion)
- Aunt Anna Watson (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Angst!"
Spider-Man is a prisoner of the deadly Doctor Angst who has the wall-crawler wired up into a device that will amplify the subjects electromagnetic field. Angst, with his minion Sir by his side, explains that this is to push the masked hero's mental and physical limits. However, the mad scientist assures Spider-Man that his employer doesn't want the wall-crawler dead or broken, but this is only to dest Spider-Man's limits. As Doctor Angst activates his device, Spider-Man screams in agony, disturbing Sir. After assuring Sir that this is necessary, Doctor Angst continues his tests, wondering what thoughts are going through the masked hero's mind.
Peter Parker is at the Daily Bugle showing Norman Osborn his recent photos for a report on a hospice for the terminally ill.[Continuity 1] Although Norman praises Peter for the stunning work, their long history as antagonists looms large over the conversation.[Continuity 2] Feeling uncomfortable, Peter tries to leave but bumps into Normie Osborn, Norman's grandson, who is happy to see his "Uncle Peter". This causes Peter to pause long enough for Norman to start needling him about the murder of a drug dealer named Joey-Z, a death that the authorities are blaming on Spider-Man. As he is Spider-Man, Peter is certain that Norman had something to do with the killing to make his life miserable.[Continuity 3]
Before Peter can comment, Joe Robertson storms past them on his way to J. Jonah Jameson's office. Peter is shocked to hear that Joe Robertson has recently resigned from the Daily Bugle and can't believe that this is happening.[Continuity 4] Moments later, Robertson comes storming out of Jonah's office confirming to everyone that he's quit. Peter follows Joe into his office and tries to convince Robertson not to leave. Unfortunately, Joe has had enough and can no longer work for the newspaper so long as it is partially owned by Norman Osborn. After Joe packs up his things and leaves, Parker rushes into J. Jonah Jameson's office and tries to convince Jonah not to let Joe go. Instead, Jameson shouts at Parker to mind his own business and to get out of his office. As Peter leaves, Jameson breaks down in tears, blaming Osborn for everything that is happening. Composing himself, Jonah reaches into his filing cabinet. Inside there is a gun, which he intends to use in order to serve the justice he feels is sorely needed.
Completing the first test, Doctor Angst decides to begin his next, one that will bombard Spider-Man with his most haunting memories. Suddenly, the wall-crawler is suddenly surrounded by all those he cared about who died during his career as Spider-Man: His Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy and her father George, and finally Ben Reilly and he and Mary Jane's child, whose name is too painful for Peter to recall.[Continuity 5] Seeing these phantoms, Spider-Man cries out, pleading with them, telling them that he did what he could to save him. Sir watches his master torture Spider-Man and something about it stirs up some empathy from the powerhouse. However, these haunting phantoms are replaced by the appriation of Aunt May, who tells Peter that he is not a failure, reminding him of all the others he has saved over the years. Finally, she tells Peter that she is proud of him before vanishing like the other spirits. Doctor Angst picks up a strange reading from his machines and is bothered that Spider-Man's vitals are returning to normal.[Continuity 6] As the mad scientist begins recalibrating his machine, Spider-Man's mind drifts back once more...
Still at the Daily Bugle, Peter is talking to Jacob Conover, who is praising Norman Osborn for giving him his old job back.[Continuity 7] However, their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Peter's wife, Mary Jane, who has come to meet with him for lunch. On their way out, Peter tells her how disturbed by the state of the Bugle since Norman Osborn took over. However, he can't bring himself to quit as he wants to keep an eye on his old enemy. As Norman watches them leave from his own office, Mary Jane warns Peter that Norman will be watching him as well. Peter then asks how things are going with Aunt Anna, and Mary Jane assures him that not only does she no longer believe that Peter is having an affair, she laughed off Mary Jane's revelation that Peter is secretly Spider-Man. However, Mary Jane is more concerned with how strange her aunt has been acting lately. On their way out, they bump into Ben Urich who tells Peter that he has a meeting with Norman Osborn and figures that he is going to get fired. After hearing that Joe Robertson just quit, Ben is spoiling for a fight with Osborn and storms into his office. Peter decides to stick around and see what happens next.
When Ben barges into Norman's office, his anger is quickly quashed when he notices that Osborn's grandson is in the room. Norman pulls out a copy of Ben's book "Legacy of Evil", and tells Urich how upset he was about the accusations that he was the Green Goblin.[Continuity 8] However, instead of firing Urich for the harm he has caused, Norman believes that Ben was genuine in his attempts to reveal the true identity of the Green Goblin. He tells Ben that he wants him to uncover the real truth. This strikes the veteran reporter speechless as he leaves Norman's office. Osborn follows right behind him and announces to the rest of the bullpen that Ben Urich has just agreed to clear his good name. He then greets Mary Jane with a kiss on the hand and walks out of the office. Seeing all this leaves Peter fuming over how easily Osborn could so easily manipulate people.
Doctor Angst decides to move onto the next phase of his experiments and begins playing into Spider-Man's fears. To facilitate this, he orders Sir to approach Spider-Man. In the hero's mind he sees himself as a toddler being approached by his Uncle Ben who tells him that his parents are dead.[Continuity 9] This strikes a nerve in the wall-crawler who breaks free from his bonds and lashes out on Sir. The powerhouse quickly restrains Spider-Man long enough for Doctor Angst to inject the web-slinger with a tranquilizer so they can strap him back into the machine again.
Mary Jane tells Peter they need to go to lunch now otherwise they won't have time before her afternoon classes. Unfortunately, Peter's spider-sense begins going off warning him of danger coming from Norman Osborn's office. Inside, Sir has knocked out Noman's bodyguards while Osborn shields his grandson from the attacker.
That's when Spider-Man comes crashing in through the window to stop Sir, even though Normie Osborn is scared of the wall-crawler and the Daily Bugle staff thinks that the web-spinner is trying to attack Osborn again. With Spider-Man on the scene, Sir makes his escape in a helicopter, prompting the web-slinger to follow after him. This all played into Doctor Angst's plot to capture Spider-Man. While he was busy fighting Sir, the web-slinger is incapacitated with an electrical jolt and taken prisoner.
When Doctor Angst reaches down to inject Spider-Man with a tranquilizer, Spider-Man reveals that he is fulling in his witts and knocks the scientist away. When Doctor Angst orders Sir to stop the hero, the brute merely stands by and eventually leaves Doctor Angst to his fate. Although Spider-Man is furious over this deep violation of his being, he refuses to kill Angst. Instead, he tells the scientist to send a message to Norman Osborn that if he continues attack him at this rate, Osborn will fall and fall hard, and Doctor Angst will fall with him. After Spider-Man leaves, Norman Osborn emerges from the shadows, completely unafraid of the web-slinger's threats. As they leave the building, Doctor Angst admits that he is not afraid of Spider-Man as the hero is incapable of committing murder. However, he is concerned about his assistant, Sir, who was influenced by Spider-Man's defiance and has no such compunctions against killing.
- It is specifically stated that this is a hospice for those who are suffering from AIDS. The type of illness should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. At the time this story was published, the AIDS epidemic was at its height. Since then, treatment for the virus has improved that the illness is not necessary as terminal as it once was.
- As Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, the pair has clashed for years, following their first battle in Amazing Spider-Man #14. Norman discovered Peter's secret identity in Amazing Spider-Man #39–40 and used this knowledge to make Peter's life difficult for years.
- Joey-Z was murdered in Spider-Man #88.
- When Norman Osborn forced J. Jonah Jameson to sell him half-ownership in the Daily Bugle in Spectacular Spider-Man #250 it upset Joe Robertson that he eventually resigned in Amazing Spider-Man #431.
- These individuals in Peter's life died as follows:
- Ben Parker was killed by a burglar that Peter could have stopped during his early days as Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- George Stacy died saving a child from falling debris during a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus in Amazing Spider-Man #90.
- His daughter Gwen, Peter's first true love, was murdered by the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
- Ben Reilly, Peter's clone, was also murdered by the Goblin in Spider-Man #75.
- Most tragically, baby May Parker, Peter and Mary Jane's unborn daughter was stillborn thanks to early labor set off by the machinations of Norman Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man #418.
- This story is suggesting that Peter is being visited by the actual spirit of his Aunt May. This is not the case. At the time of this story, everyone believed Aunt May had died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. In reality, this was an impostor, the real May will turn up alive and well during the Final Chapter story arc. As such, this apparition could be written off as just another product of Peter Parker's mind.
The Final Chapter Amazing Spider-Man #441 Spider-Man #97 Spectacular Spider-Man #263 Spider-Man #98
- Conover was laid off when the Daily Bugle in Amazing Spider-Man #417. When Osborn took over part ownership of the Bugle, he rehired Conover in Amazing Spider-Man #428.
- Ben's investigation into the Green Goblin led to his true identity was exposed as Norman Osborn. His book was published in Spider-Man: Legacy of Evil #1.
- Peter Parker's parents died while on a secret mission for the government, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.