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Appearing in "Destiny's Web"

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Synopsis for "Destiny's Web"

Working away in a lab, Peter Parker does not miss being Spider-Man now that he is finally pursuing his true career passion, science. It has been three weeks since he took up his job for GARID Labs in Portland. He fought hard for this job for a few reasons, the first to get himself as far away from New York City as possible. The other is the fact that Giard was the company responsible for the experiment that accidentally irradiated the spider that gave him his spider-powers.[Continuity 1] He hopes to use this opportunity to examine his radioactive blood to learn all he can about it. As he is looking through the various projects that the lab has been working on. One that has caught his eye is a synthetic skin development. He is interested in its application for necrotizing fasciitis and wonders what they are expecting to accomplish. That's when Peter's spider-sense begins going off, he wonders why it is going off. That's when he sees Doctor Monica Staphos asking Eric Schwinner to change his decision to pull treatment on block six. However, Schwinner tells her that he doesn't have much choice in the matter. He refuses to budge on this because her project, dubbed SSD, is not ready for usage and she is trying to ram it through the system, and the other being that she is arguing about it out in the open in front of the other employees. Frustrated, Monica storms off.

Eric apologizes to Peter for the display, but Peter is used to dealing with louder people when he was in the newspaper industry. He tells Schwinner that working for Giard is a dream come true. Eric notes that it is ironic that Peter was once at one of their public displays when he was a teenager and now he is working for the very same company. On his way home from work, Peter thinks about the fateful experiment that gave him the powers of Spider-Man, and how the murder of Uncle Ben led him to using his powers to fight crime. However, Peter reminds himself that that wasn't his experiences, but shared memories he has with Ben Reilly. He recounts how he recently discovered that he is nothing more than a clone of the real Peter Parker.[Continuity 2] Although he spent the last number of years, he decided to retire after learning that his wife Mary Jane was pregnant.[Continuity 3] As he drives home, Peter realizes how much he and Mary Jane have grown up.[Continuity 4]

When Peter gets home, he discovers that Mary Jane has burned dinner. She is upset because she wonders how she is going to be able to raise a child when she can't take care of them. She wonders if they are ready for parenthood, but Peter assures her that they will be fine, even though Mary Jane worries that they are too young to be parents.[Continuity 5] After ordering dinner, Peter and Mary Jane go to sleep for the night. However, Peter can't fall asleep and goes digging around in their unpacked boxes to find his Spider-Man costume. Peter wonders why Mary Jane insisted on him keeping the costume since he wouldn't be able to resist putting it on.

Back in New York City, Ken Ellis asks Ben Urich if he can go over his notes about the trial of Peter Parker so he can try and determine the connection between the Scarlet Spider and the original Spider-Man.[Continuity 6] Overhearing this, Joe Robertson tells Ken that there is a no story and he should leave Peter Parker alone. However, Ken insists on poking into it. Ben Urich hands Ken his notes and tells him that he can get Parker's new number from Betty Brant.

The next day in Portland, Monica Staphos is not willing to abandon her synthetic skin project just because Schwinner is concerned about the well being of their test subject, a convict named River Verys who is suffering from a terminal case of flesh-eating disease. That's when she is contacted by Calvin Falconer, the head of security. He tells her that Verys is causing problems, and she goes down to see what the situation is, knowing that Eric will be upset if River dies while in their care. She goes down to check on him and discovers that he has been on adrenal overdrive since being exposed to her SSD project. Although this is troubling, she tells Calvin to contact her if River is still in this state two hours from now. Going back upstairs she ignores Peter Parker when he tries to say hello to her. Once again, Peter's spider-sense begins buzzing once more and he wonders why she is setting it off. Deciding to look into her current work, he discovers that the files have restricted access. He then looks at her past experiments, learning that they all have to do with necrotizing fasciitis. In one test the patient died, and in the other, the patient was released when they couldn't be cured. Deciding to look into this further, Peter prints off the reports. Having found lab results on her current patient the day before, Peter prints them off and compares them to the tests carried out on himself and Ben Reilly by Seward Trainer, because something about it looked familiar. Sure enough, a karyotype in the patient's cell structure matches that of Peter Parker, leading Peter to determine that the patient has undergone some kind of radiation therapy. Figuring that this could gave him insight into his own genetic structure, Peter decides to locate this patient.

Peter goes down to block six and begins making small talk with the guard to learn more about this wing of the facility. Just as he learns that this is where they experiment on volunteers from the penal system, their conversation is interrupted when Bill Galannan -- Eric Schinner's business partner -- walks past with Calvin Falconer. Falconer has told Galannan about the situation with River Verys. Galannan is upset about the damage the death of River could cause to his company. Although Galannan claims that this is out of concern for the ethics of his family company, Calvin knows that Bill is more concerned about their corporate image. Furious, Bill goes looking for his partner in order to figure out what to do next. Hearing all of this, Peter convinces the guard that he was asked by Monica Staphos to check on the patient. This allows him to get a sample of Verys' tissue. Confirming that he is suffering from flesh-eating disease, he discovers that Monica's synthetic skin derivative is intended to create a self-replicating artificial replacement for the tissue lost by the disease. Taking a closer look, he also learns that the structure of this synthetic skin has been irradiated at the same wavelength as the spider that gave him his powers. He decides to add some of his own blood to the formula, and it jump starts the derivative with the power it needs to multiply faster than the virus. Although it appears that this is a potential cure for River Verys, Peter believes in patience and decides to leave his experiment overnight to see what happens.

As Peter leaves for the night, Monica is getting berated by Eric and Bill, who warn her that if she continues to operate unethically they will fire her. After they leave, she expresses her upset at Calvin for not warning her that Bill was coming to lay down the hammer on her. He admits he didn't do so because he was upset with her, but also he figured Parker would have told her since he was there. This revelation comes at great interest to her and she decides to look into Peter's interest in her project more closely. Meanwhile, Peter is at a Lamaze class with Mary Jane. While practicing their breathing exercises, the Parkers can't help but laugh at this situation. However, Mary Jane notices that Peter looks tired, which her husband brushes off as nothing, reminding her of what little sleep he got during his career as Spider-Man. After class, Peter tells her what's going on at work, and assures her that this will have nothing to do with Spider-Man, saying that this may help them understand what to expect from their unborn child. Meanwhile, Monic goes over Peter's files and finds his tests on her synthetic skin formula. Seeing that he has appeared to perfect the cure, she runs the untested formula down to block six and pressures River to accept this next treatment.

The injection causes River Verys to transform into a spider-like creature. With his newfound strength and webbing abilities, he kills the guards and breaks free from his cell. Monic flees the scene and gets to a phone where she puts in a panicked call to Peter Parker. Peter is woken up by the call and hears just enough about what happened before Verys kills Monica. As he rushes for the box containing his Spider-Man costume, Peter wakes up his wife who asks what happened. When Mary Jane hears about the situation, she tells Peter to call the police, but he refuses to do so. He tells her that it is his responsibility because it was his blood sample that caused the transformation. He then tries to use their unborn child as another motivator for stopping this creature, saying that they can understand more about the child's physiology with this. Mary Jane is very angry at Peter for lying to her and tells him not to use their baby as an excuse to go back on his promise. He apologizes to Mary Jane and after putting on his Spider-Man mask, he leaps out the window telling Mary Jane that he has no choice.


Continuity Notes

  1. This experiment took place in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  2. He mentions how the Jackal created a clone of Spider-Man, that happened in Amazing Spider-Man #149. Peter was told that he was the clone and Ben Reilly the original Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #226. However, this was a deception that was orchestrated by the Green Goblin, as revealed in Osborne Journals #1.
  3. 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. Mary Jane revealed that she was pregnant in Spectacular Spider-Man #220. Peter agreed to retire as Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #229.
  4. Peter recalls how Mary Jane used to work at the Gloom Room A-Go-Go. Mary Jane worked there in Amazing Spider-Man #59.
  5. Civil War #2 states that Peter was 15 when he got his spider-powers. While Marvel Graphic Novel #46 states that Mary Jane is roughly a year younger than Peter. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, this would make Mary Jane and Peter are roughly 23 and 24 respectively.
  6. Peter Parker was accused of murder in Amazing Spider-Man #400 until he was cleared of all charges in Spectacular Spider-Man #226. Ken also refers to the Scarlet Spider as his "friend" because he was the first reporter to cover him in the Daily Bugle as seen in the Exile Returns story arc.
    The Exile Returns
    Web of Spider-Man #118 Spider-Man Unlimited #7 Spider-Man #52 Web of Spider-Man #119 Spider-Man #53

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