Marvel Database

Appearing in "A Promise to Keep"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Colm Mulligan (First and only known appearance)


Other Characters:

Races and Species:



Synopsis for "A Promise to Keep"

This story continues from Spider-Man #62...

The Scarlet Spider swings over Manhattan, thinking about how he wanted to leave this city, but events conspired to keep him here. After incidents involving his friend Seward Trainer, he realizes that he can't leave.[Continuity 1] Still, after discovering that he was the real Peter Parker, after all, Ben decides that perhaps he and the Scarlet Spider are destined to stay in New York City after all.[Continuity 2] Elsewhere in the city, the Vulture soars over the city, considering his latest scheme. It's not ideal, but it is the best thing he can do at this present time. Suddenly, the high-flying villain is wracked with pain and he begins to fall from the sky. Landing on top of a car parked on the street, the Vulture is thankful that his body armor took the brunt of the fall. That's when he notices that his hands are becoming twisted with arthritis. He then realizes, to his horror, that his newfound youth is fading away and he is becoming old again.[Continuity 3] This upsets the villain greatly and he rants and raves over it until a shop owner comes out to see what all the commotion is about.

Meanwhile, at the Mulligan home in Queens, young Jimmy Mulligan argues with his father, Colm, over his career prospects. Colm wants his son to go to college, however, Jimmy wants to go and work with a crook named Whitten and make it rich. Jimmy points out that he makes more in a week than his father pulls in all month, Colms warning that Witting is looking for a fall person falling on deaf ears. Having heard enough, young Jimmy leaves the dinner table and rushes up to his bedroom. At that same moment, the Scarlet Spider comes upon the scene where the Vulture crashed. There the frightened shop owner tells him how the Vulture fell out of the sky and then took off again. Questioning the man's story because he is drunk, the wall-crawler decides to buy a newspaper from his stand. Looking on the date on the Daily Bugle, he realizes that today is the anniversary of the death of his Uncle Ben.[Continuity 4] This fills the Spider with guilt, as his Aunt May taught him better. As he web-slings toward Queens he thinks about the tragic loss of his Uncle Ben. At that same moment, the Vulture interrupts a mugging in order to use his Juvenator device to steal the youth of the thief. However, it is not enough to maintain his age, the Vulture also turns the device against the mugger's intended victim as well.

Later, Ben Reilly pays a visit to the grave of Ben Parker and apologizes for not doing enough to stop his murder.[Continuity 5] His graveside vigil is interrupted when his spider-sense begins going off. Ben then leaps up into a nearby tree and watches as Colm Mulligan comes up to Ben's grave to pay his respects. Colm has come to pay his respects because Ben Parker was always there for him and helped out when he can. With his current family problems, Colm wishes he could be as great a man as Ben was. He recalls when they both worked in a textiles factory years earlier. He remembers one day in particular when one of their co-workers got his arm caught in one of the machines. Thanks to Ben's quick action they helped free their colleague before he lost his arm. While on break, Colm confides in Ben, telling him that he feels like he is wasting his life as he is had children before getting an education and as a result is now stuck in this dead-end job. Parker reminds him that he does this job out of a greater sense of responsibility and that he does so for his family. He convinced Colm to pursue further education on top of his job, but despite Ben's sterling recommendations, Colm doesn't have the money to get into school. Realizing that this is keeping Colm from realizing his potential, Ben then gave Colm his paycheck as a loan to help him go to school. Tragically, later that evening, Ben Parker was murdered in his own home. Realizing that the Parkers needed the money more than he did, Colm never cashed the check. As a result, Colm remained in the same dead-end job, and now his son Jimmy is falling in with a bad crowd.

Overhearing all this from the treetops, Ben begins to cry because he never realized that his uncle was charitable to those in need right to the very end of his life. Quickly changing out of his costume, Ben decides to approach Colm. Introducing himself as "Peter Parker" and offers to help Colm with his son Jimmy. At that same moment, Jimmy is at a meeting with Whitten and his men. They plan on robbing an electronics factory to steal components that will make current technologies obsolete.[Continuity 6] When Whitten orders them to kill anyone who interferes with them, Jimmy begins to have second thoughts, making Whitten angry when his orders are questioned. With no other choice but do as he is told, Jimmy finally starts to wonder what he has gotten himself involved in. Meanwhile, the Vulture arrives at Metro Electronics intending to steal the same technology in order to stabilize the Jenervator harness that he maintains his youth. He thinks about the troubles he has been having, recalling his recent arrest.[Continuity 7] When he suddenly became old, he took advantage of his transfer to the geriatric ward of the hospital for observation in order to escape. Shortly thereafter his youth returned and he went about his business until his age began to fluctuate again.[Continuity 8] He wishes that Bestman Electronics had not gone bankrupt, as it would have provided him with the technological means to fix his harness and avoid breaking into Metro Electronics.[Continuity 9]

It's then that Whitting and his men break into the warehouse to make their theft. However, when they attempt to murder the security guard, Jimmy protests. However, before they can harm the security guard, they are interrupted by the Vulture who drains the youth of the gang members. As the guard and Jimmy cower in the corner the guard station, the Vulture demands that they help him. Not far away, the Scarlet Spider webs up two members of Whitten's gang who managed to escape and forces them to talk. Although the Scarlet Spider gets the drop on the Vulture, the villain manages to knock the web-slinger aside and escape with the stolen equipment and the guard as a hostage. When the Spider follows after him, the Vulture drops his hostage, but they are saved thanks to the web-spinner's quick action.[Continuity 10] After rescuing the guard, he is told how the Vulture has been stealing the youth of the gang members. Having spend his evenings reading up on technical manuals and theorizes that the Vulture is stealing the electromagnetic fields around his victims brains. Meanwhile, Jimmy returns to Whitting and tells him what happened. The boy also tells the thief that he quits, as he didn't sign up to commit murder. In response, Whitting beats the boy within an inch of his life and dumps him off at home. Seeing the state his son is in, Colm Mulligan rushes the boy to the emergency room for immediate medical attention.

Forced to wait for tests to learn of Jimmy's condition, Colm decides to pay Whitting a visit and pay him back for what was done to Jimmy. By this time, the Scarlet Spider calls the Mulligan household and learns what happened to Jimmy and what his father is going to get revenge against Whitting. Meanwhile, Colm, busts in on Whitting and discovers that his office as just hit by the Vulture, with Whitting the only survivor. At first Colm is willing to murder Whitting for what he has done, but has second thoughts, deciding murder wasn't worth throwing his life away. After Colm drops the gun, Whitting tries to grab it, but the Scarlet Spider arrives and webs it to the floor. He then webs the crook up and tells Colm to go and be there for his son. At that moment, Spider-Man is swinging back home after doing some grocery shopping. He is suddenly struck with another vision of Mary Jane being murdered and fears for her safety and that of her unborn child.[Continuity 11] When the vision finally subsides, Spider-Man decides to rush back home and make sure Mary Jane is safe, and try and figure out what these visions mean.

At that moment, the Scarlet Spider has tracked down the Vulture and forces him to the ground. As the two fight it out, the web-slinger manages to rip off one of the Vulture's wings. Depsite this, the Vulture manages to grab the Scarlet Spider and tries to use his newly built devices to drain him of his youth. This has no effect on the wall-crawler, much to the Vulture's surprise. The Scarlet Spider then webs the Vulture to the wall and then crushes the devices. When the Vulture demands to know how the Scarlet Spider counteracted his devices, the web-slinger declines to explain and leaves him for the authorities. As the police take the Vulture into custody, the Scarlet Spider watches from the rooftop across the street. He is relieved that the vest he rigged up to negate the effects the the Vulture's device had worked. With the danger over, the Spider changes back into Ben Reilly and checks in on the Mulligans. He is delighted to hear that Jimmy is going to recover and decided to enroll at Empire State University like he father wished. When invited in for dinner "Peter Parker" declines, telling them that he has to get to work. As he walks away, Colm Mulligan and his wife remark about how responsible "Peter" is and believe that his Uncle Ben would be proud of the man he has become.

... The Clone Saga continues in Spectacular Spider-Man #228.


Continuity Notes

The Exiled
Web of Spider-Man #128 Amazing Spider-Man #405 Spider-Man #62 Spider-Man Unlimited #10
  1. The Scarlet Spider was recently protecting Trainer from Doctor Octopus, as seen in the Exiled story arc.
    Exiled #1 Journey into Mystery #637 New Mutants (Vol. 3) #42 Journey into Mystery #638 New Mutants (Vol. 3) #43

  2. Ben was told that he was the real Peter Parker in Spectacular Spider-Man #226. However, this was all a deception created by the Green Goblin as revealed in Osborne Journals #1.
  3. The Vulture regain his youth in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
  4. Ben Parker was murdered by a burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, his murder happened roughly nine years prior to this story.
  5. Next to Ben Parker is a grave for his wife, May. At the time of this story, everyone believes May died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. However, this woman was an impostor as revealed in Spider-Man #97.
  6. Speaking of obsolete, Whitten says this technology will replace CD players. This is obviously a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale because CD players are already obsolete.
  7. This arrest would have been following the events of Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #13.
  8. This "business as usual" refers to his attempt to eliminate Kaine last issue.
  9. The Vulture failed to take control of Bestman Electronics in Prowler #14.
  10. The situation reminds the Scarlet Spider about the way Gwen Stacy died. She was killed in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
  11. 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 previously had a vision of this tragedy in Amazing Spider-Man #405. As revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #228, these "visions" were implanted into Peter's mind by the Jackal as part of programming to force him to kill his wife.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

Publication Notes

See Also

Links and References


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