Appearing in "Spirits of the Earth"
- Alan Sinclair (Only appearance)
- Sir Hugh Munro (Only appearance; dies)
- Young Hugh Munro (Only appearance)
- Hellfire Club Inner Circle (Only in flashback)
- Gaea (Invoked)
- New York City
- United Kingdom
Synopsis for "Spirits of the Earth"
While on patrol, Spider-Man can't help but think the city looks beautiful that evening. However, the mood quickly changes when he spots a mugger trying to steal a woman's purse and flees. Spider-Man follows the man into a nearby alley where he meets up with his friend Louis. Spider-Man easily subdues the two crooks and then webs them up on a lamp post for the police. A short time later, the wall-crawler changes back into Peter Parker so he can meet his Aunt May at an east side restaurant for supper. He tells May how he and Mary Jane are going to be taking a second honeymoon.[Continuity 1] He tells May that one of Mary Jane's relatives, Mary MacLeod, had recently passed away. However, in a letter written before her death, she had written Mary Jane a letter, willing to her home in Scotland. Reading the letter to his aunt, Peter explains that there are some legal issues to tie up, but developers have been canvassing the people in town to buy up their properties.
Soon, Peter and Mary Jane make the trek to Scotland. As they are driven into the small town of Lochalsh, they pass by the historic Castle Duncraig. They are soon dropped off outside of an inn where they check into the room they had booked for the week.[Continuity 2] They are welcomed to the inn by its owner, Alan Sinclair. Sinclair knows that the Parkers have come to see Mary MacLeod's cottage and tells Mary Jane that her relative spoke fondly of Mary Jane before her passing. The following day, Peter and Mary Jane visit Mary's grave. Later, at her cottage, Mary Jane looks at the many photos that were taken over the years. She finds one of herself during her christening as a child. She then notices that Peter is looking sullen and asks him why. He admits to her that he misses the rumble of New York City. She tells him that they'll make rumbles of their own once she changes into something more suitable.
They return to the inn they are staying at and after Mary Jane has changed, they go down to the pub. Mary Jane's arrival catches the attention of a trio of men playing pool. One of them, Angus Munro, who finds her attractive. However, she quickly points out to him that she is married and introduces him to her husband, Peter. However, she agrees to play pool with them. While his wife is playing, Peter sits down at the bar and listens to one of the locals complaining about how the town is not the way it used to be. He tells of a strange feeling he has and attributes it to the faeiries of legend. Seeing the astonishing look on Peter's face, Alan Sinclair asks Peter if they don't have ghost stories in the United States. The elderly man takes no offense and claims that the faeiries were the responsible for the recent kidnapping of a young lord named Hugo Munroe. Angus joins the conversation, telling them that Hugo the Elder, the boy's father and Angus' uncle, has sat silently in the pub every night since the boy went missing. He says that his family has lived in the region for sixteen generations, working in the hills. However, now crop refuses to grow and he believes that it is the work of some kind of curse. Mary Jane begins joking about hiring ghostbusters, which makes Hugo Munroe, Sr. angry. Telling her that the faeiries are real and they still haunt this land. Hearing all this, Peter wonders what is really going on, but concludes that he doesn't like Angus Monroe. It's then that they are interrupted by the arrival of an elderly woman the locals know as Dark Mairi of the Shore.
Mairi insists that the faeiries are not responsible for the young lord's disappearance. She insists that over all the generations her family has lived in these lands they have always been good. She tells them that the faerie folk have at rest for centuries and that there is nothing wrong with their homes. Hugo doesn't believe her, and is about to get physical when Peter steps in, telling him to leave the old woman alone. Hugo composes himself and apologizes for his behavior, but Old Mairi has slipped away while nobody was looking. This all gives Peter a lot to think about, and Mary Jane suggests that they go to bed for the night. However, as soon as Mary Jane has fallen asleep, Peter changes into Spider-Man to investigate what's going on. However, Mary Jane wakes up as soon as he leaves his window, wishing her husband good luck and that she loves him. Spider-Man travels to Castle Duncraig to look around. Entering the ancient building, he finds a massive portrait of Hugo Munroe and his young son. He recalls how Alan told Peter about how the Munroe family has suffered many tragedies and that Hugo, his son, and his nephew Angus are the only surviving members of the entire family. He continues to look around for any clue to the whereabouts of young Hugo. He suddenly hears a strange howl coming from outside. Rushing outside, he sees the unbelievable sight of ghosts leaving the castle. Spider-Man's presence is noticed. One of the ghosts draws a sword and begins trying to attack the wall-crawler. Spider-Man manages to dodge the swings from the ghost. Suddenly, the spirit grows to tremendous size and with a swing of his sword, slices through one of the castle towers. Scrambling to stop himself from falling, Spider-Man saves himself with a web-line. Once on solid ground, he discovers that all the ghosts have since disappeared. Finding the entire experience almost impossible to believe, the masked hero decides to return home to the inn and try and get some sleep.
Peter's return wakes up Mary Jane and once her husband is sleeping soundly she decides to go down to the kitchen to make herself some tea. In the kitchen, she is cornered by Angus Munroe, who tries to make an advance on her. However, he is interrupted by his uncle Hugo. Angus takes this as a cue to leave and Mary Jane thanks Hugo for his help. At first, he blames her for what happened by walking around in her night clothes. Mary Jane reminds him what century they are living in and she can dress how she likes, and Hugo apologizes for being so rude.[Continuity 3] He then asks if he can sit down and join her for a cup of tea. Later, Mary Jane wakes Peter up and tells him of her encounter with Sir Hugo and how he invited her to a meeting with the townsfolk about the sale of the land. She also tells him that when he brought up Mairi, she was told that the old woman lives out on an island in the nearby loch that can be walked to during low tide.
Later that day, Peter decides to pay Mairi a visit to see what she can tell him about what's going on. As soon as he arrives on the island, she catches Peter from behind and tells him that she knows why he has come. Looking at the old woman, Peter briefly sees what Mairi looked like when she was a much younger woman. She invites him up to the top of the hill on her island. She explains to him that the faeries are long dead and she looks after their land and that they are not responsible for what is happening. When Peter tells her about the ghosts he saw at the castle, but she assures him that they are not the work of the faerie folk. He tells her that the Earth has her own magics that have since been covered by the glass and steal of the cities. However, in places like this, her magic is still alive. He suggests that Peter look around and see the magic in all the nature around them. After their talk, Peter heads back to the inn more confused than ever on whatever is going on in town. As it becomes dusk, Peter decides to listen in on the town council meeting. Changing into Spider-Man, he listens in from the rafters of the building. In the meeting, Angus is outlying the deal that the businessmen have offered to buy all their properties and asks if Lord Hugh has anything to say. Hugh doesn't and that's when Alan Sinclair takes the podium. He tells people that this is their home, pointing out that they don't know where they are all going to if they sell. Even though they had been facing many hardships of late, they shouldn't give up on their ancestral home. With this final appeal, Hugh tells Mary Jane that someday she may understand and leaves.
Hearing all of this, Spider-Man decides that he needs to learn more about Angus. As the people begin filing out of the meeting hall, Spider-Man watches from the roof. Suddenly, there is a bright flash of light that comes from the castle. Suddenly, horrific ghosts on horseback come flying toward the village. As the villagers begin to panic, the ghoulish horse riders head toward Spider-Man and dissolve into mist. The people see this, spotting the wall-crawler and one of them thinks that he is a demon. The frightened crowd then turns into a mob that tries to attack the wall-crawler. Spider-Man attempts to flee the scene, but it is difficult for him to get away quickly due to the lack of tall buildings. Spider-Man briefly manages to hide out in the shadows of a bridge. He then heads to the churchyard where he hopes he can change into his civilian clothes. However, he has to step past a herd of cows that are resting in a nearby field. Unfortunately, he accidentally steps on the tail of a young calf. The sound of the young cow reacting to this draws the mob in Spider-Man's direction again. Hiding up in a tree, the web-spinner worries that Mary Jane might do something to cover for him that may get her hurt. Suddenly, Mairi arrives on the scene and assures Mary Jane that she has the situation under control.
She approaches the mob and uses their superstitions and her position as the town elder to convince them to disubrse. Once they are gone, Mairi sees right through Spider-Man's mask, implying that she knows that he is Peter Parker. She then convinces Mary Jane and Spider-Man to accompany her to deal with the ghosts that apparently haunt the nearby castle. Spider-Man briefly protests, but the old woman insists that this is what needs to be done. Spider-Man leaves his wife in Mairi's care and scales the castle wall. Mairi tells Mary Jane that while Spider-Man has great strengths, they have their own and asks Mary Jane to provide her own youthful energies to help Mairi with her spell. Mary Jane agrees to do all she can to help. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has gone into the mansion. He thinks about all of his past encounters with the supernatural, usually with Doctor Strange, and the one thing about the ghosts he has experienced here is the fact that they don't set off his spider-sense. In one of the rooms, Spider-Man is confronted with the ghost of the warrior he encountered earlier. Suspecting that this is nothing more than a hologram, the wall-crawler stands completely still. Sure enough, when the alleged specter lunges at the hero, it passes harmlessly through him.
Detecting a hum coming from below, Spider-Man decides to go into the dungeon below and see what's going on. In the dungeon, he finds a drainage plug and pulls it out. There he discovers a huge cavern below. There he discovers a massive crystal, as well as some kind of sophisticated operation, happening that appeared to be mining something from the crystal and shipping it out via a secret underground highway. Getting in for a closer look, Spider-Man happens upon two guards of the Hellfire Club. He overhears them complaining about wanting to get out of the cavern, and they can't wait until the locals leave so they don't have to hide their operation anymore. Spider-Man knocks them out and continues his search. He finds the central hub of the operation. He overhears two scientists talking about an orbiting satellite has just been launched. They are preparing the crystal as acting as a power source for the satellite, which is a powerful weapon they intend to use to dominate the world. It's by this time that Spider-Man is spotted by a security camera and the guards are sent to his location. When Spider-Man webs up the soldiers, the two scientists decide to test out their weaponized crystal on him. Turning in their weapon, it blasts the wall-crawler into unconsciousness.
When Spider-Man awakens he finds himself in a holding cell with Sir Hugh. When Spider-Man begins trying to find a way out, Hugh warns him not to touch the energies creating their cell, showing the wall-crawler his bloodied hands. Hugh explains that they are probably not going to get out alive. He tells Spider-Man how his family used to be wealthy and had fallen on hard times. When these men came looking to purchase the land, Hugh refused and they kidnapped his son in order to force him into complying. They are interrupted by Angus who explains that during his research into the family history, he discovered a previously unspoken branch of their family. That one of his ancestors, Duncan Munro was a member of the infamous Hellfire Club. Duncan was disowned by this family member due to the Hellfire Club's infamy. He explains that he decided to reclaim this lost heritage. Exploring the family castle, he discovered the enormous crystal. He then took a piece of it to the Hellfire Club and showed it to their inner circle. They were impressed and agreed to help him exploit the power of the crystal. With his plan explained, Angus orders the Hellfire Club soldiers to bring out Sir Hugh's son so he can watch his father be executed.
Before committing this execution, Angus explains that they will kill Spider-Man this evening, then eradicate the townspeople the next day. This whole time, Mary Jane and Mairi have been standing in silence holding hands. Apparently channeling the power of the Earth Mother, the ground begins to quake. This causes the cavern to begin to collapse. The damage caused cuts off the power, taking down the energies that keep Spider-Man and Sir Hugh confined. As Spider-Man leaps out to deal with the guards, Angus flees with young Hugh. After Spider-Man has incapacitated the guards, he discovers that Sir Hugh had be shot and is dying. The lord takes a ring off his finger and has Spider-Man promise to give it to his son. Spider-Man pursues Angus, taking down Hellfire Club enforcers along the way. However, once he reaches the tunnel out, he is swarmed by a crowd of soldiers. As he tries to get around them, the back of his head is grazed by a bullet, dazing him. As Spider-Man struggles to stay on his feet, his spider-sense begins going wild, warning him the cavern is about to collapse. Miraculously, the falling debris lands only on the Hellfire Club soldiers. However, Spider-Man didn't survive unscathed, as his arm was injured.
Spider-Man follows the cavern up to the surface where he finds Mary Jane and Mairi. Angus had struck his wife, but she assures Peter that she'll be fine. The wall-crawler then finds Angus at the side of a nearby cliff, threatening to drop young Hugh to his death. Spider-Man confronts him even though he has a broken arm. Angus drops Hugh on the ground in order to pummel the wall-crawler. Watching this, Mairi tells Mary Jane to take her hands again as she believes the magic of the Earth can still help. Surprisingly, Spider-Man finds a new source of strength and beats Angus into submission. Admitting that he is as weak as the rest of his family, Angus decides that there is only one noble way to bring honor to himself. Before Spider-Man can stop him, Angus leaps off the edge of the cliff into the waters below. As soon as Spider-Man rescues Hugh and takes him to safety, there is a sudden volcanic eruption in the cavern below them, destroying all trace of the crystal. Surprisingly, Castle Duncraig survived the blast. Days later, Peter and Mary Jane are preparing to head back to the United States. They stop by Mairi's home one last time where Hugh will be cared for until the family castle is restored to its former glory. Mairi believes that once young Hugh is old enough, he will become a great lord and restore the village to its former glory. After saying goodbye, Mairi tells Peter to remember her and her people once he returns to the big city he calls home. On the flight back to America, Peter believes that he certainly will.
Mary Jane heads for her ancestral home in Scotland with Peter. But their holiday is interrupted by the Hellfire Club and ghosts galore!
- ↑ 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 such, one can assume the that in the new timeline the couple were going on a vacation as opposed to a second honeymoon.
- ↑ Peter states that he got into contact with the inn via cable telegram. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, as this technology has come out of use by the general public with the advances of communications technology.
- ↑ Mary Jane states that it is the 20th century. However this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
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