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Quote1 Tell Peggy thanks, Cap. Thanks... but no thanks. Quote2
-- Gwen Stacy

Appearing in "The Life of Gwen Stacy. Part 4"

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Synopsis for "The Life of Gwen Stacy. Part 4"

Gwen Stacy notes that her trial only took six months, noting that everyone said that it was because she was a special case but that the truth was that they just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. Gwen was assigned Jennifer Walters as a defense attorney, and even Spider-Ham was brought in to testify on her behalf. District Attorney Foggy Nelson laments to George Stacy that he unsuccessfully tried to get the case dismissed. Sitting in a jail cell, Gwen furiously denouces Nelson for having dropped the charges for murder and manslaughter related to Peter Parker's death after she refused to accept any bargains or plea deals. Walters explains that Nelson likely dropped the heaviest charges in order to avoid exposing his not-so-secret connections to the Kingpin, Gwen lamenting that she wanted to be held accountable for all her misdeeds and that her actions have to have consequences. Urging Gwen to stop looking to other people for approval, Walters states that she knows all too well what it's like to think and feel that you can't be what other people believe is right. However, Walters states that she and the rest of the people in the courtroom are not superheroes and don't know or understand what being one is like, and therefore Gwen being tried by a jury of her peers is impossible. Walters states that Gwen thought she could prove her father right by doing what he'd wanted to do - going before a court and telling her side of the story - but that she's not her father and her words don't carry the same weight or influence as his; warning her that she's not on trial for what she's done but what Spider-Woman might do, and that people are terrified of her. Dejected by this, Gwen is brought the court a final time and sentenced to two years in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Maximum Security Prison - the same one she'd broken into as Venom.

Gwen notes that the security has been heightened since she was last there - prisoners being put in individual cells and outfitted with power-inhibitor chips. She's surprised that the inmates are allowed to interact with each other at all, but realizes that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to have incidents happen so as to learn from them. Spotting Cindy Moon in the mess hall, Gwen goes to sit with her only for her old enemy to snap at her to go away and furiously ask if she's trying to get them both killed. As Gwen stammers that she thought they might be prison buddies, Cindy immediately shuts her down and calls her fresh meat. As Gwen calls after her, a food tray smashes into her face and sends her sprawling, an inmate named Titania furiously shouting that she's sick of all the new inmates attacking her to establish tough reputations for themselves and decided to go for a preemptive strike. Fading into the crowd, Cindy tells Gwen that the first of prison is to get a reputation of being as mean and vicious as possible as quickly as possible so as to be left alone, preferably by attacking someone bigger and meaner than you and hoping they don't kill you. As Titania smashes Gwen through a table, Cindy tells Gwen that if she doesn't want to have every inmate going after her she has to make them fear her. As Titania snarls at her to stand up and fight back, Gwen starts to transform into Venom before her inhibitor collar kicks in. As guards subdue Titania, Gwen declares that she's done fighting but is bashed over the head with a stun baton and knocked out.

In her cell, Gwen laments that she didn't really care whether she was found guilty or innocent, only that she got a fair trial. Sneering at her own naivety, Gwen wonders how many of the other inmates - even ones she fought in the past, like Cindy Moon, Frank Castle, and Kitty Pryde - really deserve to be locked away forever; noting that she got off easy compared to them thanks to Foggy Nelson's meddling and her father's status, and everyone knows it. A guard fetches Gwen, who asks where they're going and is zapped for her trouble. Dazed and struggling to suppress the angry symbiote, she is tossed into the dark exercise room and promptly punched in the face. Knocked to the ground, several other inmates kick and beat her, telling Gwen that she's wrong if she thinks they'll get bored of attacking her if she doesn't fight back. A pink-hared woman called Diamondback says that Gwen's friend Captain America got her and her gang - the Serpent Society - arrested. Holding a toothbrush shiv to Gwen's neck, the Diamondback says that her gang embodies the Ouroboros - with no beginning and no end - and are going to make Gwen wish there was an end to the suffering they're about to inflict. Before she can attack, her shock collar is activated and the Vulture steps out of the shadows. Diamondback protests that she paid him for the time, and Vulture rasps that she'll get what she paid for one day. As Gwen is revolted by the rasping sound of his voice, the Vulture dismisses Diamondback and her gang - holding up a shock collar activator as added incentive for them to leave. Gwen asks Toomes why he'd save her, and Toomes remarks that she was right about him just wanting to feel special, and that now she owes him for saving her and knows that he could have her humiliated or killed on a whim.

Over the next two weeks, Gwen is randomly attacked by the Serpent Society - sometimes out in the open and sometimes as ambushes, the guards having been bought off by Toomes and doing nothing to intervene. Lamenting the sense of paranoia she's starting to develop, Gwen wonders if the guards let the attacks happen because they were paid off by Toomes, because they're just as trapped and bored as the inmates, or if they're getting orders from higher up the S.H.I.E.L.D. food chain. During yard time, Gwen warily eyes the Serpent Society members as they work out, noting that the moniker "Vulture" suits Toomes perfectly. Gwen worries that the next time he sics the Serpent Society on her they might go too far and kill her, and is scared that the self-loathing part of herself thinks they should. Determined to find a way to get the Vulture and his cronies to leave her alone, Gwen considers unleashing Venom on him - the shock coller not preventing her from using her powers, just making it painful to do so. As the symbiote hisses eagerly and starts to cover her, Gwen stops and scolds herself for relapsing into the same reckless behavior that got her thrown in prison to begin with. Noticing a security camera aimed at her, Gwen rants at it and demands to know why the people watching her are letting her get psychologically and physically tortured, lamenting that every time she tries to do the right thing it backfires. Calming down, Gwen glumly states that she did this to herself with her actions and choices, and that that's how she'll get out of prison. At mealtime, Gwen watching Toomes wisecrack with a group of corrupt guards and steal food from another inmate with impunity. Gwen notes that Toomes had been a genius but the indignity of not being noticed had driven him mad, but that in prison he was able to focus his intellect and climb to the top of the pecking order. Noting that she didn't become Spider-Woman to punch people in the face but to help others in need, Gwen spots Titania about to punch another inmate in the face and picks a fight with her, using her superhuman agility and reflexes to make a show of effortlessly dodging the larger woman's attacks. Effortlessly picking Titania up, Gwen cracks a joke and then lets Titiania slam her into the floor hard enough to crater it. Indignantly storming off, Titania gives Gwen the finger and goes after her with a vengeance over the next several days, beating Gwen to a bloody pulp. At mealtime, Toomes sneers that Gwen might have entertained the other prisoners for a time, but her act lacks charm and pathos. As he leans in to threaten her, a guard tells him to back off and one of the other prisoners tells her to break a leg.

Six months into her sentence, Gwen - who was gifted Cindy's cat poster - is visited by Captain America, who says that Gwen shouldn't be surprised that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping a close eye on her. Gwen wryly retorts that she's not, Captain America saying that Director Carter feels it's a waste for someone with Gwen's talents to rot in prison and wants to offer her a job. Gwen responds with sarcasm, asking Captain America what she thinks, and Captain America replies that her superiors think she can convince Gwen to willingly sign on but know that she won't let them forcibly conscript her. Captain America tells Gwen that S.H.I.E.L.D. is looking to put together a task force of inmates with uncommon combat abilities, and have already recruited Cindy Moon,Black Cat, the Punisher, Wolverine, and Shadowcat. Despite being offered her freedom and a licence to operate as a superhero if she accepts, Gwen turns down the offer; saying that she doesn't want to be in prison but is because the system is broken and corrupt in a way only a person like her will see the benefits of. Gwen states that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s offer has made her see that unless she holds herself accountable for her misdeeds no-one will, and that she intends to serve her sentence in full. Gwen tells Captain America that most people who go to prison never get a second chance, and that when her sentence ends she can't just go rushing back out and do the same things that got her arrested in the first place. Lying alone in her cell, Gwen watches her father through the eyes of a Venom spider she left in his hospital room, and vows to do things right.

Solicit Synopsis

THE LIFE OF GWEN STACY Part 4

• The secret identity of Earth-65’s Spider-Woman stands revealed…

• …and now her alter-ego, Gwen Stacy, must stand trial!

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