Appearing in "Webs of Time"

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Synopsis for "Webs of Time"

Prologue

Guards at the Mexican Temple of Tirod stop an oncoming jeep thinking that it is a load of tourists who can't read the signs warning that this site is off limits. However, it turns out to be a pair of locals named Rosita and her brother Rufino. They insist that they have been to the temple plenty of times and should be allowed passage. Despite the fact that Rosita tries her best to seduce their way in, the guards turn them around. As it turns out, the pair were actually working as a distraction for two American explorers named Teddy and Cheryl who don't buy the local superstitions about the site and have come to explore the site for the thrill. When they hear something moving in the darkness they go to investigate, but Teddy thinks its nothing more than harmless insects. However, they run into something deadly and their screams are heard by the guards who rush into the temple to see what is going on. There they find impossibly old bodies strung up on webs. What is more fantastic is one of the guards notes that Cheryl's camera is a current model, yet looks just as ancient as the mummified corpses that have been strung up. That's when something comes out of the shadow and attacks them as well.

Chapter One: Time Waits for No One

The Black Widow and the Scarlet Witch arrive at Avengers Mansion just as Jarvis is receiving documents from Stark Industries that were requested by Tony Stark. When Wanda asks why the data wasn't transmitted electronically, Jarvis explains that Tony requested the information be sent physically as it would be delivered by an operative code-named "Dark Condiment".[Continuity 1] Hearing this name explains everything for the two women who find this both amusing and interesting. While in the training room, Iron Man and undergoing a training session with Hawkeye. The session is being monitored by Giant-Man and the Wasp who are using an old battle between Hawkeye and the original Iron Man to train the youth to be the equal of his future self.[Continuity 2] From the observation booth, the Wasp asks why they aren't having Tony wear the exact same armor as in the recording to train young Tony. Hank points out that Stark needs the specific armor he is wearing in order to live and says the purpose is to learn all of Iron Man's old fighting techniques with this new armor.[Continuity 3]

Things turn when Hawkeye uses an arrow with a concussive mechanism that affects Iron Man's armor, threatening to short it out. As the others rush to his aid, Iron Man insists that he can help himself and manages to discharge the energy overload. However, in the process of doing so, Iron Man buries Hawkeye under a ton of debris. Fearing the worst, Iron Man searches the rubble for Hawkeye with Giant-Man and the Wasp. When they find no trace of their teammate, Iron Man fears the worst until Hawkeye emerges from an escape hatch. He explains that Tony's older self-created these hatches in their training room five years ago and tells young Tony that he is going to need to learn to control his temper if he is ever going to measure up to his future self.[Continuity 4] That's when Jarivs interrupts them to inform Iron Man that the documents he requested have arrived.

Meanwhile, in Jamaica Bay, someone wearing an original Spider-Man costume comes to the rescue of people caught in the middle of a drive-by shooting. This wall-crawler webs up the shooters car and then quickly rounds up the gang members and takes them away of the scene. Eyewitnesses cheer on Spider-Man, however, they soon notice that the shooters car has suddenly aged by hundreds of years for some strange reason.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Tony meets with "Dark Condiment" turns out to be Pepper Potts, who is delivered all the files that will get Tony up to speed on what his future self was able to accomplish. It soon becomes clear that Tony has arranged for this delivery so he can flirt with Pepper Potts, whom he was instantly smitten with. Pepper doesn't like where this is going, and gets offended when Tony suggests that his future self was a jerk for letting her throw her life away by marrying Happy Hogan.[Continuity 5] Stark doesn't seem to realize how inappropriate his advances are to a married woman, but this increasingly uncomfortable scene is interrupted by Jarvis who comes to tell Pepper that her husband is waiting for her in the parking garage. Tony finally gets a clue and tries to apologize, but Pepper is still upset with him. After she has gone, Tony dismisses Jarvis and begins chastising himself for being so stupid.

The next day in Brooklyn, Henry Gyrich is brought to a crime scene where the bodies of the drive-by shooters have been discovered. To the horror of officers on the scene, these bodies have been strung up on webs and their bodies have been aged some 90 years. However, Gyrich is the only one to recognize the identities of the shooters.

At that moment, Thor is answering an Avengers distress call that is being transmitted on a wavelength that hasn't been used in years. He arrives at the scene just as Giant-Man is thrown out of a nearby warehouse. Pym warns Thor that it is a trap, and the thunder god is soon attacked by someone who appears to be Spider-Man.[Continuity 6] Thor is having trouble trying to catch the wall-crawler, who attempts to web up Giant-Man. However, the webbing is severed when Captain America arrives and tosses his shield through it, saving Giant-Man. As the battle continues, Henry Gyrich has come to Avengers Mansion to brief the team on the strange murders and his theory that they are connected to Spider-Man. Since Spider-Man is a considered a member of the Avengers, Gyrich orders the team to clean-up the situation before the government does.[Continuity 7] As the Avengers argue over logistics with Gyrich, Ben Reilly catches a news report about "Spider-Man's" actions in Jamaica Bay and worries that this is another clone created by the Jackal.[Continuity 8] Quickly changing into Spider-Man, Ben swings across the city and pays a visit to one of the eye-witnesses. Unfortunately, she is too frightened of the wall-crawler to provide any important information, but the wall-crawler catches a news report about his impostor's battle with the Avengers on the woman's television.

Back at Avengers Mansion, the teams meeting with Gyrich is interrupted by a distress call from the Wasp who alerts them that she, Captain America, Thor, and Giant-Man are in serious trouble before the transmission is cut off. By this point, Spider-Man has arrived on the scene and finds the Avengers webbed up in the warehouse. He also manages to get the drop on his impostor, who believes himself to be the real Spider-Man and that Ben Reilly is the impostor. When Spider-Man tries to web up the impostor's hands, he is surprised when the webbing rapidly ages and crumbles to dust. Suddenly, the phony Spider-Man says that it is the time for something called the "joining" and web-slings into a nearby portal. Not willing to let his impostor get away without learning what this is all about, Spider-Man manages to snare the fake with a web-line and is pulled through the portal in the process.

Chapter Two: Having the Time of My Life

Spider-Man finds himself being pulled through a strange plane of existence where he can see the faces of everyone he knew as both Peter Parker and Ben Reilly flash before his eyes. Spotting his impostor, Spider-Man tries to resume the chase but soon finds himself reliving the day the Green Goblin murdered Gwen Stacy.[Continuity 9] The web-head is caught off guard when Gwen's lifeless body suddenly changes into the burglar who murdered his Uncle Ben.[Continuity 10] Confused, Spider-Man watches as the burglar breaks free and flees with Uncle Ben chasing him. The scene changes yet again, and Spider-Man finds himself being attacked by Thor, Giant-Man, the Wasp, and Captain America. However, they are wearing older costumes then each of these Avengers currently wears. That's when Spider-Man recognizes where he is, the Temple of Tirod, where he and the Avengers once fought Kang the Conqueror and his Spider-Man robot years earlier.[Continuity 11] Looking at one of the computer monitors, Spider-Man sees Iron Man approaching the scene. However, before he can respond he is struck from behind by his impostor's webbing. This causes the wall-crawler to hallucinate that he is a young child again at his Aunt May's dinner table. However, this table is in the middle of a cemetery and he is soon confronted by the zombified corpse of his Aunt May and the ghosts of his parents, who all welcome him back to the family.[Continuity 12]

Spider-Man is snapped out of this hallucination by the rapid blows of Quicksilver, who thinks that Spider-Man is responsible for what happened to his fellow Avengers. Disorientated, Spider-Man manages to fight off the speedster's attack. The wall-crawler finds himself back in the warehouse, but before he can explain himself he is incapacitated by the Vision's intangible hand.

Chapter Three: Killing Time

At Columbia University, young Tony Stark struggles to stay awake during a lecture when the class when he suddenly feels a heart attack coming on as something interferes with the device that is keeping his heart beating. That's when the Spider-Man impostor comes crashing in and webs up everyone in the classroom and they begin rapidly aging. Apparently, this impostor has been absorbing temporal energies from people in order to create a temporal meltdown. Calling Tony his master, this fake Spider-Man grabs the youth and teleports away. By this time, the Avengers return to headquarters with Spider-Man, however they have already figured out that this is not the wall-crawler that has been attacking people. When Gyrich reveals that he knows this as well, it angers the Black Widow who punches the government agent across the face. This is because the government has arranged to have the Temple of Tirod secured so scientists can examine the strange webbing. The scientists examine the strange energy distortions the webbing is giving when suddenly, the webbing begins to expand and envelop them.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Spider-Man is recovering from the beating he took and is trying to make sense of all the images he saw when Quicksilver was beating on him. One was Captain America during the time the Star-Spangled Avenger was still trapped in suspended animation in the Arctic.[Continuity 13] In the next, he was Janet van Dyne at some point 10 years in the past. Although not frozen in ice, Janet was unable to move as though she was aware she was trapped in a single moment of time. The next was Thor during the period he was in exile before his return in the modern age.[Continuity 14] The last vision was of Hank Pym while he was still in utero, also stuck in a single moment of time. He realizes that these Avengers are all trapped in a pocket of time and that he narrowly avoided the same fate. At that moment, the Avengers are being briefed by Henry Gyrich, and they finally put together the fact that the rogue Spider-Man is actually a robot duplicate that Kang used to attack the Avengers years earlier. Wanda points out that the robot never had powers to drain the chronal energies from people, and Gyrich explains that the recent Timeslide event somehow affected the Spider-Man robot, connecting the robot's original web with the time machines that Kang left in the temple.[Continuity 15] That's when they are joined by Spider-Man who fills them in on the fate of the other Avengers. They are then informed by Quicksilver that the Spider-Man robot had just kidnapped Iron Man, and how it thinks it is his master. Furious, at being kept in the dark, the Avengers demand answers from Gyrich.

Quicksilver quickly runs to Mexico and enters the temple where Iron Man is being held by the Spider-Man robot -- now calling itself the Timespinner. With all the energies it has stolen, the Timespinner is now able to extend the field that allows him to absorb the chronal energies around him causing everything and everyone around the temple to start rapidly aging. When the Avengers and Spider-Man arrive in a Quinjet they are stricken by the same effects. The only people left standing are the Vision (due to his artificial body), Crystal (who, as an Inhuman is longer lived than normal humans), and Spider-Man (who theorizes that the Timespinner refuses to acknowledge his existence). Inside the temple, Quicksilver is also unaffected by the Timespinner's powers due to his unique metabolism. There he overhears the Timespinner telling Iron Man that he is intending of reducing the coming centuries to dust for his "master" to rule over, thinking that Iron Man is Kang. However, these explanations elicit no response from Iron Man. Young Tony has been aged to an adult and as he thinks over the Timespinner's offer, Quicksilver blows his cover to try and convince Tony not to go through with the robot's plans. At the suggestion that he is going crazy as his older self did, Tony gets upset and blasts Quicksilver with his repulsor rays. That's when Crystal arrives and orders Iron Man to step away from her husband.[Continuity 16] While the Timespinner is busy battling Crystal, Iron Man decides not to go with the robot's ploy and begins destroying the machines. When the Webspinner tries to stop him, Spider-Man distracts the robot long enough for the Vision to phase his hand through the robot's head causing it to explode in a brilliant flash of light.

Epilogue

With the destruction of the Timespinner, all the damage done by the robot is set right. Teddy and Cheryl are exploring the temple again as though nothing happened. This time, instead of finding the Webspinner, they come across a harmless spider-web. While in New York, all of the affected Avengers are happy to be free of the time trap, all except for the Wasp who still mourns the loss of her humanity.[Continuity 17] While in the Avenger's garage, Spider-Man and Tony Stark talk about the whole experience. Tony recalls how being aged to a full grown adult caused all the memories of his battle with his older self to come flooding back. However, he quickly realized that he had to break the cycle and make sure he doesn't become like his older self and that's why he turned against the Timespinner. As Hawkeye reminds Tony that he has another training session, Tony concludes by saying that he needs to learn from his past and his future to make a better present and that the Avengers will help him accomplish that.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. Wanda specifically asks why Stark Industries didn't "modem them in" as in to send them via a dial-up internet connection. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as this is considered an obsolete technology.
  2. The battle that they are playing back during this training session is the first time Hawkeye and Iron Man fought each other in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. This Tony Stark is a younger version of Stark who replaced his older self in the present as explained during the Crossing events.
    The Crossing
    {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers #390}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers: The Crossing #1}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Iron Man #320}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Force Works #16}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers #391}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Iron Man #321}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers #392}}
    {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Force Works #17}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Iron Man #322}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Force Works #18}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|War Machine #21}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Iron Man #323}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers #393}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Force Works #19}}
    {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|War Machine #22}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Iron Man #324}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Force Works #20}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|War Machine #23}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers #394}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers: Timeslide #1}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Iron Man #325}}
    {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Avengers #395}} {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man #1}}
  3. Young Tony has been on life support since his older self ripped out his heart in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  4. The Avengers here speak as though young Tony will grow up to be their Tony Stark. However, this is not the case. As specified in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}, the Avengers trip into the past to recruit young Tony Stark actually created a divergent reality which has since been classified as Earth-96020. The Tony Stark of Earth-616 died in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. However, {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }} explains that the Tony Stark of Earth-616 was resurrected by Franklin Richards at the end of {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }} and he will resurface again in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  5. Although the Tony Stark of Earth-616 was smitten by Pepper Potts for years, but she ultimately married Happy Hogan in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  6. Spider-Man comments that Thor is no longer speaking with "thees" and "thous". Thor's powers were affected during the Worldengine event that took place from {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}-{{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. A side-effect of this condition also affected his Shakespearian dialect. Thor will resume his typical method of speech and his full power in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }} after he is revived during the Heroes Reborn event.
  7. At the time of this story Spider-Man had reserve status membership in the Avengers since {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  8. The Jackal has been creating clones of Spider-Man since {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. The first was Ben Reilly, who at the time of this story thinks he is really the original Peter Parker. He was tricked into believing this in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}, however, this was all a lie as exposed in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  9. The Goblin murdered Gwen in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. Although Ben Reilly is a clone, he has all of Peter Parker's memories up to {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  10. Peter Parker's Uncle Ben was murdered by a burglar in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  11. Spider-Man and the Avengers were attacked by Kang back in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, that battle happened roughly nine years prior to this story.
  12. Peter Parker's parents have been dead for a little over twenty years after this story, as seen in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. At the time of this story, everyone thinks May Parker died in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. In reality, this woman was an impostor as revealed in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  13. In 1945, Captain America ended up frozen in ice and was put into a state of suspended animation until he was revived in the modern age, as detailed in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  14. As explained in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}, prior to the modern age of heroes Thor was exiled for his arrogance, trapped in the mortal form of Donald Blake and only became free when Blake recovered Thor's hammer in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  15. This is another reference to the Crossing event. Gyrich and the Avengers state that they battled Kang during that event. However, it is later revealed in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }} the whole Crossing event was orchestrated by Immortus who was creating various crisis to prevent the Avengers from becoming an intergalactic army.
  16. This story takes place during a period where Quicksilver and Crystal are married. The couple were wed in were married in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.
  17. The Wasp was transformed into an insect-like form during the Crossing as seen in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}. She will eventually be restored back to human form in {{Expansion depth limit exceeded|comic| | }}.

Publication Notes

See Also

Footnotes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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