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Appearing in "Skin Deep"

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Synopsis for "Skin Deep"

Spider-Man has spent the entire night searching for the killer known as Tendril in order to bring him to justice. As the sun begins to rise, the wall-crawler is exhausted and his mind continues to focus on the fact that his wife Mary Jane has left him.[Continuity 1] Although he thinks he is doing the right thing, he can understand why his wife left.[Continuity 2] He remembers seeing the letter waiting for him when he came home. He didn't even bother reading the whole thing before his anger prompted him to crumple it up and toss it away. After checking his voicemail messages, Peter realizes that he is running late for an appointment Calvin Falconer. The pair were going to go out and visit Paul Contoni, a previous patient of the late Doctor Monica Staphos, a man who may hold the key to curing Tendril of his condition. As Peter rushes to make his appointment, Tendril pays a visit to his mother's grave.[Continuity 3] He thinks about how she died of a drug overdose when he was only two years old, leaving him in the care of his father, an abusive drug addict. He thinks about what this has left him, and decides that what little he has -- anger, hatred, and pain -- is for him to give to the world. With that, the man who has once River Verys walks off to carry on his destiny.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Mary Jane has been staying at Aunt May's old house.[Continuity 4] When she is awoken by the alarm clock, she wonders why Peter hasn't called her and she wonders if he even read her note.[Continuity 5] While in Manhattan, Ken Ellis is getting ready for the day after a late night of watching all of Spider-Man's television appearances.[Continuity 6] He has been investigating the connections between Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Since Joe Robertson refuses to fly Ken out to Portland, he decides to question others who had past encounters with the wall-crawler, starting with his co-worker Betty Brant. Back in Portland, Peter Parker and Calvin Falconer -- GAIRD's head of security and a former SHIELD agent -- arrive at the home of Paul Contoni.

Contoni, who suffers from a horrifying skin disease tells both men to go away, even though he knows why they have come he has no interest in helping them catch Tendril. Falconer is about to go back into his jeep to get his tranquilizer gun but Peter stops him. Parker points out that after everything Contoni has endured, he has every right to privacy and to shut the outside world out of his life. Although Calvin thinks this whole trip was a waste, Peter has already decided to pay Paul a visit later, as Spider-Man. Back in Manhattan, Ken Ellis sits down with Betty Brant to talk about her past history with Spider-Man and Peter Parker. She relates to the time that her brother Bennett got in deep due to his gambling debts. Initially, she blamed Spider-Man for her brother's death but now realizes that it was really Doctor Octopus that was responsible.[Continuity 7] She doesn't recall Peter being there to take photos of Spider-Man that time, but she remembers how Parker always did reckless things in those days, like the time he impersonated Spider-Man to save her from Doctor Octopus.[Continuity 8] Betty then recalls how she and Peter used to date back then, and then talks about how Peter looked after his Aunt May because his uncle was murdered.[Continuity 9] Ellis finds this all interesting, noting to himself how the murder of Ben Parker happened between Spider-Man's last television appearance and the beginning of his career as a superhero. Meanwhile, Mary Jane is at a photo shoot for a new line of maternity clothing, but her mind is still on Peter. After the shoot, she tries to call her husband again but gets the voice mail. Unsure what to say, she hangs up without leaving a message, and worries about Peter even more than before. Later that day, Ken Ellis returns to the Daily Bugle and tries to convince Joe Robertson to let him go to Portland to follow his story. Robertson still refuses to sign off on the flight reminding Ellis that he still has the Havershaw story to investigate, especially if he wants to get the front page for that story. Ellis then storms out of Joe's apartment and bumps into Mary Jane. He's surprised to see her in Manhattan, but his questions are shrugged off.

It's evening in Portland when Peter Parker returns to Paul Contoni's home as Spider-Man. Swinging between the trees he becomes aware of some strange brown flakes and follows them to their source. With his spider-sense tingling, he is horrified to see what Contoni has become -- a creature of dead skin cells. What's even more surprising is the fact that he is brawling with a grizzly bear. Against his better judgment, the wall-crawler keeps between Contoni and the bear, separating the two combatants. Spider-Man tries to convince Paul to help him with Tendril, but the man-monster refuses and lashes out. At first, the web-head calms Paul down by appealing to the fact that they both were changed by accidents. He even suggests that his help can not only help cure Tendril but Paul as well. Spider-Man also explains that it could help him learn more about the baby he has on the way. When Spider-Man implies his concerns about his child turning into a monster, Paul becomes enraged again and attacks. His first blow sends Spider-Man crashing into Contoni's home. There he finds a family photo and realizes that his family left him when the cure for his necrotizing fascitis turned him into the creature he is now. Spider-Man reminds him that a cure would mean that Paul could get his family back. As Contoni begins to listen, Tendril stalks the streets of Portland, finding himself a fresh victim. Back in Queens, Mary Jane invites Ben Reilly over for coffee so the two can talk about Peter. She is surprised to see that Ben bleached his hair blonde. Ben explains that he needed to do something to change his look so people stopped mistaking him for Peter Parker.[Continuity 10] Their get-together is interrupted by a visit by Ken Ellis who shocks Mary Jane with a preview of the front page of tomorrow's Daily Bugle. The cover story reads "Spider-Man Identity Revealed!" showing a cross-sected picture of Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

Back at GAIRD, Paul is convinced to come in for tests which are being run by Peter Parker and Eric Schwinner. They believe that they might be able to cure Paul of his condition but they will need to capture Tendril in order to do so. The stakes are much higher for Peter Parker, who has just discovered that he has contracted necrotizing fasciitis and the potential cure will come at the cost of his spider-powers.

Notes

Continuity Notes

Clone Saga Reading Order
Prelude
The Double
Web of Spider-Man #117 Amazing Spider-Man #394 Spider-Man #51 The Spectacular Spider-Man #217
The Parker Legacy
Amazing Spider-Man #400 Spider-Man #57 The Spectacular Spider-Man #223
The Lost Years
Spider-Man: The Lost Years #1 Spider-Man: The Lost Years #2 Spider-Man: The Lost Years #3
Act One
Power and Responsibility
Web of Spider-Man #117 Amazing Spider-Man #394 Spider-Man #51 The Spectacular Spider-Man #217
The Exile Returns
Web of Spider-Man #118 Spider-Man Unlimited #7 Spider-Man #52 Web of Spider-Man #119 Spider-Man #53
Back From the Edge
Spider-Man Unlimited #7 Amazing Spider-Man #395 The Spectacular Spider-Man #218 Amazing Spider-Man #396 The Spectacular Spider-Man #219
Web of Life
Web of Spider-Man #120 Spider-Man #54 Web of Spider-Man #121 Spider-Man #55
Web of Death
Amazing Spider-Man #397 The Spectacular Spider-Man #220 Amazing Spider-Man #398 The Spectacular Spider-Man #221
Funeral for an Octopus
Spider-Man Unlimited #8 Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #1 Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #2 Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #3
Smoke and Mirrors
Web of Spider-Man #122 Amazing Spider-Man #399 Spider-Man #56 Spider-Man: The Clone Journal #1
Players and Pawns
The Spectacular Spider-Man #222 Web of Spider-Man #123 Amazing Spider-Man #400
Aftershocks
Spider-Man #57 The Spectacular Spider-Man #223
Mark of Kaine
Web of Spider-Man #124 Amazing Spider-Man #401 Spider-Man #58 The Spectacular Spider-Man #224 Spider-Man Unlimited #9
Crossfire
Web of Spider-Man #125 Amazing Spider-Man #402 Spider-Man #59 The Spectacular Spider-Man #225
The Trial of Peter Parker
Web of Spider-Man #126 Amazing Spider-Man #403 Spider-Man #60 The Spectacular Spider-Man #226
Planet of the Symbiotes
Amazing Spider-Man Super Special #1 Spider-Man Super Special #1 Venom Super Special #1 Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special #1 Web of Spider-Man Super Special #1
Act Two
Maximum Clonage
Spider-Man: The Jackal Files #1 New Warriors #61 Spider-Man: Maximum Clonage Alpha #1 Web of Spider-Man #127 Amazing Spider-Man #404 Spider-Man #61 The Spectacular Spider-Man #227 Spider-Man: Maximum Clonage Omega #1
Growing Pains
Amazing Spider-Man Super Special #1 Spider-Man Super Special #1 Venom Super Special #1 Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special #1 Web of Spider-Man Super Special #1
The Exiled
Web of Spider-Man #128 Amazing Spider-Man #405 Spider-Man #62 Spider-Man Unlimited #10
Time Bomb
The Spectacular Spider-Man #228 Web of Spider-Man #129
The Greatest Responsibility
Amazing Spider-Man #406 Spider-Man #63 The Spectacular Spider-Man #229 Spider-Man: The Parker Years #1
Act Three
Virtual Morality
Scarlet Spider Unlimited #1 Web of Scarlet Spider #1 Amazing Scarlet Spider #1 Scarlet Spider #1 The Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1
Cyberwar
Web of Scarlet Spider #2 Amazing Scarlet Spider #2 Green Goblin #3 Scarlet Spider #2 The Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2
Nightmare in Scarlet
Web of Scarlet Spider #3 New Warriors #67 Web of Scarlet Spider #4
The Sensational Spider-Man
Wizard Mini-Comic #3 Sensational Spider-Man #0 Amazing Spider-Man #407 Spider-Man #64 The Spectacular Spider-Man #230 Spider-Man Unlimited #11
The Final Adventure
Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #1 Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #2 Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #3 Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #4
Act Four
Media Blizzard
Sensational Spider-Man #1 Amazing Spider-Man #408 Spider-Man #65
The Return of Kaine
The Spectacular Spider-Man #231 Sensational Spider-Man #2 Amazing Spider-Man #409 Spider-Man #66 The Spectacular Spider-Man #232
Web of Carnage
Sensational Spider-Man #3 Amazing Spider-Man #410 Spider-Man #67 The Spectacular Spider-Man #233
Blood Brothers
Sensational Spider-Man #4 Amazing Spider-Man #411 Spider-Man #68 The Spectacular Spider-Man #234 Sensational Spider-Man #5 Amazing Spider-Man #412
Redemption
Spider-Man: Redemption #1 Spider-Man: Redemption #2 Spider-Man: Redemption #3 Spider-Man: Redemption #4
Peter Parker Returns
Sensational Spider-Man #7 Amazing Spider-Man #414 Spider-Man #71 The Spectacular Spider-Man #237
Loose Ends
Amazing Spider-Man #415 Spider-Man #72 Sensational Spider-Man #8 The Spectacular Spider-Man #238 Sensational Spider-Man #9 Amazing Spider-Man #416 Spider-Man #73 The Spectacular Spider-Man #239 Sensational Spider-Man #10 Amazing Spider-Man #417 Spider-Man #74
Revelations
The Spectacular Spider-Man #240 Sensational Spider-Man #11 Amazing Spider-Man #418 Spider-Man #75 Spider-Man: Revelations #1 Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal #1
  1. Peter mentions how he and Mary Jane recently moved to Portland to start their family. Mary Jane announced she was pregnant in The Spectacular Spider-Man #226 and Peter retired as Spider-Man in The Spectacular Spider-Man #229.
  2. 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.
  3. According to the headstone, Janet Verys was born in 1952 and died in 1973. These dates should be considered topical references. Instead of specific dates, readers should interpret this to mean that Janet Verys was born forty-four years prior to this story and that she died twenty-three years prior to this story at the age of twenty-one.
  4. The narrative of the story refers to the home as belonging to the "late May Parker". At the time of this story, everyone believed Aunt May to have died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. However, this was an impostor as explained in Spider-Man #97.
  5. There is a wedding photo of Peter and Mary Jane seen on the nightstand here. The couple were married in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. Since reality was altered in Amazing Spider-Man #545 in such a way that Peter and Mary Jane did not get married, one could assume this picture either changed or no longer exists following the change in the timeline.
  6. The image on Ken's television is of one of Spider-Man's earliest televised appearances from Amazing Fantasy #15.
  7. Bennett Brant seemingly died in Amazing Spider-Man #11. However, he survived and will resurface years later in Venom Vol 2 #1. How he survived is explained in Venom Vol 2 #21.
  8. Peter "impersonated" Spider-Man to save Betty in Amazing Spider-Man #12. The reality of the situation was that Peter's lost his powers at the time because he was fighting off a flu bug, allowing Doctor Octopus to unmask him. Since Peter did not display any spider-powers at the time, everyone thought he was impersonating Spider-Man.
  9. Betty and Peter dated from Amazing Spider-Man #8 to 18. Peter's Uncle Ben was murdered in Amazing Fantasy #15.
  10. Ben bleached his hair in Sensational Spider-Man #0.

Publication Notes

  • This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for more info.[1]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. This issue is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:



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