Appearing in "Game's End"
- Daily Bugle
- Cardiac (Eli Wirtham)
- Nightwatch (Kevin Trench) (Apparent death)
- Rocket Racer (Robert Farrell)
- Prowler (Hobie Brown)
- Great Game
- Roderick Kingsley
- Paris Scott (Corpse)
- Marla Madison-Jameson
- Chu Chi-Huan (Only appearance; dies)
- Dr. Ashley Croix
- Nolan Croix
- Devon Lewis
- George Vandergill
- Emma Farrell
- Dr. Chen
- Miss Saunders (Mentioned)
- Dr. Damon Morelle (Mentioned)
- Silver Sable (Silvija Sablinova) (Mentioned)
- Kaine (Mentioned)
- Justin Hammer (Mentioned)
- Shirley Washington (Mentioned)
- New York City
- Bimini (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Game's End"
A man wakes up strapped to the side of a building dressed in a Scarlet Spider costume. Struggling to get free, he tries to swing to safety, only to have his "web-line" cut by a sniper's bullet. The phony Scarlet Spider then falls to the street below dying on impact. The shooter is informed that they have earned two thousand points for the kill, but the still are required to recover the mask from their kill. The shooter assures his master that this will be the easiest part.
When the body is shipped to the morgue, Peter Parker joins Ken Ellis to investigate the story. When Peter learns that the person in the Scarlet Spider costume was Asian, he is relieved to know that it isn't his "brother", Ben Reilly. Returning to the Daily Bugle to report their findings, Peter Parker is ordered by J. Jonah Jameson to get pictures of the murderer. When Peter points out that they don't know who the killer is, Jameson immediately accuses Spider-Man of the killing. That's when Spider-Man arrives to cause Jonah some grief. Assuring the publisher that he will catch the real killer, the wall-crawler departs after playing one of his trademark pranks: webbing Jonah to the seat of his chair. Later, Ben Reilly meets up with Peter Parker to compare notes about the death of this Scarlet Spider impostor.[Continuity 1] From what Peter has learned, Ben figures that this is the work of the Great Game, a group of super-human who battle each other to the death based on wagers made by the obscenely wealthy.[Continuity 2] At first, Ben isn't overly worried about the members of the Great Game killing each other for money, but Peter points out that someone dressed up like Ben's former costumed identity was murdered and deserves justice.[Continuity 3] Their discussion is interrupted by Betty Brant who has come to join Peter for lunch. Having met Peter's "cousin" previously, Betty accepts it when Ben asks her out on a date.[Continuity 4] With Ben gone, Peter asks Betty if she can get him access to the Bugle's computers so he can look up some information.[Continuity 5]
Back at the Bugle, Betty does a search for James Johnsmeyer, one of the men Ben stated was involved with the Great Game. Peter learns that Johnsmeyer is a wealthy businessman who, most recently, has attempted to purchase Morelle Pharmaceuticals following the death of its founder Damon Morelle.[Continuity 6] However, the company's current chairperson has refused to sell. When Peter decides to go and pay a visit to Morelle Pharmaceuticals, Betty insists on tagging along. When they arrive there, Peter tries to convince Betty to call off her date with Ben, and she suspects that he might be getting jealous. There they meet with Ashley Croix, who tells them that her company has discontinued "Project: Sharkskin" following the death of her husband. As she tells Betty about the current status of the company, Peter peaks into a room and sees Ashley's son Nolan using his technorganic enhancements to play basket ball. Ashley catches Peter and tells him that area is off limits when suddenly the building is attacked by Polestar, one of the members of the Great Game. He takes Nolan hostage and demands that Ashley turn over the details of Project: Sharkskin. Peter tries to leap at Polestar, but without his powers he is easily swatted away. That's when the masked vigilante known as Nightwatch comes crashing in to stop Polestar. Although Polestar's weapons are no match for Nightwatch's enhanced costume, he is soon joined by his teammate El Toro Negro. With Polestar using his magnetic powers to interfere with Nightwatch's costume, El Toro Negro manages to gun down Nightwatch, apparently killing him.[Continuity 7] With Nightwatch dead, everyone is horrified when El Toro Negro then turns his gun on Polestar and blows his head off. Still dazed from the blow he received from Polestar, Peter wonders where Spider-Man could be.
The next day, Ben Reilly is working at the Daily Grind when Peter comes to show him the front page news about Nightwatch's death.[Continuity 8] Peter asks Ben to speak in private and they go into back of the Daily Grind. There, Peter expresses his disappointment in Ben, had he been at Morelle the night before, Nightwatch might still be alive. However, Ben points out that he has his own life and is not at Peter's beck and call whenever there is trouble. Still, Peter is upset that he couldn't do anything himself, and Ben can empathise telling Peter he'll look into the Great Game now.
Later that day, James Johnsmeyer is telling his boss that he has yet to acquire Morelle Pharmaceuticals when, suddenly, Cardiac comes crashing into his office. James runs for his life, leaving his assistant to try and deal with the vigilante. Cardiac easily knocks the woman aside, but then Spider-Man arrives to stop him. The battle between the two take them outside where Spider-Man learns that Cardiac is not part of the Great Game, but is seeking to rescue Nolan Croix and avenge the death of Nightwatch. After hearing about how El Toro Negro is a rogue player in the Great Game, Cardiac takes off, warning Spider-Man to stay out of his way. In the aftermath of the battle, Spider-Man grabs a piece of paper that is swirling in the air. It mentions a company calls Chi-Huan Associates and decides to investigate this lead. Breaking into the building, he sneaks into the president's office unaware that someone has spotted him. The wall-crawler's search is interrupted by Joystick who thinks that Spider-Man has tracked her down and attacks him. During the fight, Joystick lets slip that Chu Chi Huan -- the owner of the company who is missing -- is her sponsor and after hearing that El Toro Negro might be involved, she makes her escape. As he recovers from the attack, Spider-Man realizes that he almost forgot about his date with Betty Brant.
Quickly running home to get changed, Ben arrives at Betty's apartment late and is surprised that she is dressed so formally. As it turns out they are going to a Bugle fundraiser for the Century Club. At the party, Ben is introduced to J. Jonah Jameson and his wife Marla. As they mingle among the crowd, Betty points out James Johnsmeyer. She tells Ben that her research discovered that his company filed for bankruptcy only to be revived as a holding company for Justin Hammer. Reilly then listens in on a conversation between Johnsmeyer, J. Jonah Jameson, and George Vandergill. Johnsmeyer offers Jonah the opportunity to lessen the financial burden on the Daily Bugle and finally be rid of Spider-Man. This is an interesting proposition to Jonah, but his wife reminds him of the trouble he has gotten into by bankrolling both the Spider-Slayers and the Scorpion.[Continuity 9] This prompts Jonah to politely decline, which makes Marla very proud of him. Jonah then bumps into Roderick Kingsley, who has renounced his citizenship and only comes into the United States every three months to conduct business. He overheard Vandergill's offer and tells Jonah that he was stupid not to take up the offer.
Later that evening, Ben and Betty are on their way back home when he spots the Prowler in a brawl with the Rocket Racer. Betty hopes that Ben isn't going to be like his "cousin" Peter and run off when there is trouble, telling him things are just about to get interesting. Before Reilly can say anymore about the issue, Betty kisses him. As it turns out, the Prowler and Rocket Racer are pretending to fight each other. They are interrupted by the Great Game who is insulted that the pair would sully the traditions of the Great Game. El Toro Negro fires a rocket at the pair. Although they manage to dodge the missile, they are injured by the blast. When Spider-Man learns about their injuries he visits them in the hospital. The Rocket Racer got off easy with only a broken arm, the Prowler on the other hand is in a coma. The Racer explains that the pair have not been getting a lot of work from Silver Sable lately, so they decided to sign up for the Great Game and try and earn some extra money.[Continuity 10] Asking who their sponsor was, Spider-Man pay a visit to Paris Scott only to discover that someone murdered him. Interrupted by one of Scott's assistants, the wall-crawler convinces him that he had nothing to do with Scott's death and get access to Scott's files in order to get a master list of sponsors in the Great Game. Reading the names, Spider-Man is disappointed to see J. Jonah Jameson's name on the list.
Sure enough this makes him a target of El Toro Negro who attempts to gun down Jameson with a sniper rifle as he is in bed with his wife, Marla. Spider-Man arrives just in time to save Jonah's life. However, as Spider-Man tries to take down El Toro Negro, he is interrupted by Chance. The two are about to attack the wall-crawler when he is saved once again by Cardiac. Although he is grateful for the save, Spider-Man doesn't want another death on his conscience, he lures Chance and El Toro to the Johnsmeyer building where they go crashing through the roof that is still under repair.[Continuity 11] It's there that things get more complicated as Joystick arrives to take down El Toro again. However, Toro easily overpowers her and reveals that his defeat at her hands, was all part of a deception. James Johnsmeyer convinced him to take a dive and then pretend to go rogue. This was a two fold plot: Not only did Johnsmeyer put in wagers that resulted in better odds, but for every sponsor that El Toro killed, Johnsmeyer scooped up their companies. However, this secret deception is exposed thanks to Spider-Man activating the monitor feeds in Johnsmeyer's office giving all the Great Game sponsors a front row seat to El Toro Negro's exposition.
After Spider-Man webs up El Toro Negro, Chance and Cardiac arrive on the scene. Chance grabs El Toro and flies away, prompting Spider-Man to order Cardiac to go after them. However, Cardiac is only concerned with rescuing Nolan and leaves El Toro to his own fate.[Continuity 12] When El Toro wakes up he finds himself bound in the presence of Justin Hammer. Hammer has decided that El Toro is a failure and seemingly kills him.[Continuity 13] The next day, Ben meets with Peter who apologizes for dictating to Ben what he should be doing as Spider-Man. However, after what happened to Hobie Brown, the Prowler, Reilly has learned Peter's point the hard way. Peter has also decided that he overstepped his boundaries with his feelings about Ben dating Betty Brant. He then suggests that Ben should go be with her because he she likely needs a shoulder to cry on after Ken Ellis beat her to the front page on the Daily Bugle. He finds Betty at a nearby park where he encourages her not to give up on being a reporter. That evening, J. Jonah Jameson receives a payment check from Justin Hammer for his involvement in the Great Game. Spider-Man soon arrives and scolds Jonah for his decisions, telling him that he would be wise to use the money to pay the medical expenses of Hobie Brown, who is still in a coma after his involvement in the Great Game.
The Great Game reaches its final round— but it stops being a game when one of Spidey's allies dies! Nightwatch, Rocket Racer, Cardiac, Prowler— who has fought his last fight? It's a super-powered battle royal as heroes and villains clash for the elusive grand prize! Plus: the Web-Slinger comes face-to-face with the Game's real mastermind! Could it be someone we've seen before?
- Ben makes mention that Peter no longer has his spider-powers. Peter lost his abilities in Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #4, but they will eventually return in Spectacular Spider-Man #238.
- Ben battled the Great Game a number of times in the past during the Cyberwar and Return of Kaine story arcs as well as Spider-Man #64.
Cyberwar Web of Scarlet Spider #2 Amazing Scarlet Spider #2 Green Goblin #3 Scarlet Spider #2 Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2 The Return of Kaine Spectacular Spider-Man #231 Sensational Spider-Man #2 Amazing Spider-Man #409 Spider-Man #66 Spectacular Spider-Man #232
- Ben Reilly was forced to give up his identity of the Scarlet Spider in Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2.
- Betty met Ben Reilly in Sensational Spider-Man #7. The reason why Peter is shocked that Ben asked Betty out is because both he and Betty had a relationship in the past that ran from Amazing Spider-Man #7–18. Ben knows this because, as a clone of Peter Parker, he shares all his memories and feelings up to Amazing Spider-Man #149.
- Peter states that he was "downsized", he was recently let go from a staff job at the Daily Bugle as the paper was struggling to stay afloat, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #416.
- Damon Morelle was killed by Warbringer in Nightwatch #10.
- Although Nightwatch is seemingly killed here, he turns up alive and well in She-Hulk (Vol. 3) #6. There he explains that he allowed the world to think he was dead so he could assume a low profile.
- Before Peter arrives, Devon Lewis asks Ben to put the radio on Howard Sterm's radio show. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Tiemscale of Earth-616.
- J. Jonah Jameson bankrolled the destruction of Spider-Man by developing the Scorpion and the original Spider-Slayer in Amazing Spider-Man #20 and 25 respectively.
- Rocket Racer and the Prowler were a part of Silver Sable's group the Outlaws that were formed in Web of Spider-Man #50. This team was last seen together in Web of Spider-Man Annual #7.
- The roof of the Johnsmeyer building was damaged when it was attacked by Kaine in Spider-Man #66.
- Although Cardiac is determined to rescue Nolan Croix, the boy is never seen again. This plot line is yet to be resolved.
- Although El Toro is seemingly killed here, he was actually left brain damaged and disfigured. He will resurface again in Spider-Man/Deadpool #20.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters: