Appearing in "To End the Begin"
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker
- Spider-Man (Ben Reilly)
- Daily Bugle staff
- Tendril (Death)
- New York City
Synopsis for "To End the Begin"
Ken Ellis has come to the Parker home in Queens threatening to reveal that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, providing a mock-up of the front page of tomorrow's edition of the Daily Bugle. Mary Jane, Peter's wife, is angered that this he would come to their home and make threats like this, knowing that this is nothing more than a mock-up used to try and scare her.[Continuity 1] She tells Ken to stop harassing her and her family, however, the reporter intends to get to learn the connection between Peter Parker, Spider-Man, the Scarlet Spider and the allegedly new Spider-Man that has been sighted in Manhattan.[Continuity 2] Mary Jane insists that there is no connection to be found and slams the door in Ken's face. That's when Ben Reilly leaps down from the ceiling, where he was hiding to avoid being spotted by Ellis. As they try and figure out what to do about this latest development, Ben suddenly begins to grin as an idea begins to form in his mind.
Meanwhile, in Portland, Peter Parker is out as Spider-Man searching for the serial killer named Tendril. He is seeking the killer out in order to cure him of his condition, a synthetic skin derivative that was tainted by his own DNA. The clock is ticking because Peter has contracted necrotizing fasciitis and curing Tendril will also produce a cure for himself, although it will cost him his spider-powers in the process. With a tracking device, the wall-crawler is closing in on Tendril. As he goes, he tries to keep his mind off the fact that Mary Jane has left him because he decided to become Spider-Man again after he promised to retire.[Continuity 3] He tracks the killer down to a room at the Hotel Governor and interrupts Tendril before he can claim his next victims. Unfortunately, Spider-Man is forced to stay behind and free Tendril's victims when the killer flees. Just as he frees the victims, the authorities arrive on the scene, in order to avoid being delayed further, Spider-Man flees the scene. Back in Manhattan, Mary Jane pays a visit to Joe Robertson at the Bugle to complain about Ken Ellis harassing her and her husband for his story.[Continuity 4]
In Portland, Spider-Man picks up Tendril's signal again and follows him onto the roof of the Governor. There they are joined by Dryrot who has come to help capture Tendril so he can also benefit from the cure that could come from them. While Tendril and Dryrot are occupied with each other, Spider-Man prepares an Isotopic Genome Accelerator that he created at GAIRD to deal with Tendril. Sneaking up behind Tendril, Spider-Man manages to jolt the killer with the accelerator but the three of them are caught in the discharge of energy. Recovering from the blast, Spider-Man notices that both Tendril and Dryrot have been mostly reverted back to human form. Suddenly, his spider-sense goes off, prompting the wall-crawler to depart as the authorities arrive on the rooftop. The next morning, Ben Reilly pays a visit to J. Jonah Jameson as Spider-Man and torments the publisher by webbing him to his chair and insulting the day's edition of the Daily Bugle before departing. After this recent insult, Joe Robertson tells Jonah about Ken Ellis' story about the wall-crawler. Furious at Spider-Man, Jonah orders Joe to have the story killed. When Joe goes to tell Ken Ellis the news, Ken is unphased and threatens to take the story to the Daily Globe. Joe decides to call the city editor at the Globe, Barry Fink, and tell him about it. Ellis then talks to Fink, he learns that Barry will also pass on the story since Joe Robertson isn't interested in it. Learning that Joe is good friends with editors at New York's other publications. Realizing that he's not going to win, Ellis decides to give up on the Spider-Man story and refocus his attention on the Havershaw murder. Joe then goes to a nearby diner and tells Mary Jane the good news, and asks her what she is planning on doing next.
While in Portland, both Tendril and Dryrot have been brought back to GAIR for the final experiment that will hopefully cure them of their conditions. The process is supervised by Eric Schwinner and Peter Parker. When they activate the device, Tendril tries to resist the process and break free. With the machines overheating, Peter realizes that the only way to complete the process is including his own DNA in the process. To that end, Peter exits the control room and puts himself in physical contact with the device. His body surges with pain he hasn't felt since the radioactive spider first bit him. The addition of Parker's DNA completes the process and the process to restore Tendril and Dryrot back to human form. In the aftermath of the process, Peter examines himself and learns that he has been cured of his infection, but his spider-powers have also been stripped away.[Continuity 5] Forced into retirement, Peter Parker returns home and packs up his Spider-Man costume and wonders if it was all worth it in the end. That's when Mary Jane returns home, much to Peter's surprise as he thought she left for good. She then shows him the note she left for him, the note that Peter didn't bother reading in its entirety. As it turns out, the letter told Peter that she wasn't leaving him for good, but only going back to New York for a photo shoot and that she would be back in a few days.
With his spider-powers gone, Peter is able to focus on his career, his wife, and his upcoming daughter. He also finds new ways to help those in need, by volunteering at a homeless shelter and living up to his motto, with great power comes responsibility. The greatest adventure for Peter Parker now is the excitement of being able to find out who he is all over again.
- 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.
- What Ken Ellis doesn't know is this:
- That Peter Parker was the original Spider-Man, becoming the masked hero in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- The Scarlet Spider and the new Spider-Man is actually Ben Reilly. Reilly was a clone of Peter Parker created in Amazing Spider-Man #149. He resurfaced in Web of Spider-Man #117 and became the Scarlet Spider in Web of Spider-Man #118.
- Recently, Peter retired as Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #229.
- Ben was forced to give up his identity of the Scarlet Spider in Web of Scarlet Spider #2 taking on the mantle of Spider-Man in Sensational Spider-Man #0.
- Peter retired as Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #229.
- In addition to everything else Mary Jane mentions, she also talks about Peter's recent trial. Peter was arrested for murder in Amazing Spider-Man #400. This murder was actually committed by Kaine years earlier, as seen in Spider-Man: The Lost Years #3. Peter was cleared of all charges as seen in the Trial of Peter Parker story arc.
The Trial of Peter Parker Web of Spider-Man #126 Amazing Spider-Man #403 Spider-Man #60 Spectacular Spider-Man #226
- Although Peter loses his powers here, they begin to return in Spectacular Spider-Man #237.
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