Appearing in "Second Rate Choices"
- Manny (robber) (Only appearance)
- Carrie (robber) (Only appearance)
- Darryl (drug dealer) (Only appearance)
- Rich Gannon (First appearance)
- Carl (shopkeeper) (First appearance)
- Steve (shopkeeper) (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Second Rate Choices"
While hunting for Venom, Ben Reilly takes a break to get something to eat.[Continuity 1] He forgot how great Chinese food was in New York City was, but wonders if this is his own memory or something that Peter Parker remembers. That's when he notices that a check cashing store across the street is being robbed. At first, he tries to convince himself not to get involved because he is just a clone, but just like the real Peter Parker, Ben Reilly cannot stand idle while people are in danger. Only having time to put on his mask and web-shooters, Ben quickly handles the thieves and webs them up. As he leaves, one of the patrons asks who he is, to which Ben replies that he doesn't really know. Ben then web-slings away just as the police arrive on the scene.
Elsewhere in the city, a homeless man named Rich Gannon is walking the streets when he happens upon a discarded five dollar bill. Realizing how much food he can purchase with the money, he goes to a nearby grocery store. However, the store owners take a strong disliking to the homeless man and refuse him service. Rich tries to explain that he's homeless because he can't find work, explaining that he used to work for Stark Industries. These explanations fall on deaf ears, and Rich is forced to leave the store. Later at a hospital in Queens, Peter Parker visits his Aunt May to talk, even though she is still in a coma.[Continuity 2] After Peter leaves, Ben Reilly enters the room through the window so he can also spend time with May. After telling her that he came back to New York for her, Ben has to quickly hide when Peter comes back looking for his keys.[Continuity 3] Finding them on the bedside table, Peter feels like he is being watched, even though his spider-sense is not going off. Once Peter leaves, Ben comes out of hiding, but seeing the original Parker is just another harsh reminder for Ben that he is a clone. After saying his goodbye's to May, Ben leaves the hospital. He thinks about what Peter was saying about living life like you deserve, making him wonder what sort of life he deserves since all of his memories are those of another man.
Going up to the rooftops, Ben sits and thinks about all these memories he has. He thinks about all the people he knows, thanks to Peter's memories. He even feels a twinge of pain when he thinks of Peter's first true love, the late Gwen Stacy.[Continuity 4] All this just leads Ben back to questioning why he even exists. Walking the streets, Ben ends up in the Lower East Side. He passes by a local street gang, their leader taking offense that Reilly did not show the proper respect. He also passes by Rich Gannon who is panhandling on the street. He is disappointed when Ben ignores him as well and wonders how he can earn a living so he can get food to eat. After dumpster diving, Rich at least has something to eat. He's not proud of it, but trying to survive on the street is getting harder and harder. That's when Rich runs afoul of the local gang who rough him up for being homeless. Coming back from buying groceries, Ben tries to help, but the gang members pull their guns and tell him to get lost. Reilly returns to his apartment where he changes into the Scarlet Spider. He catches up with the gang when they are hassling another passerby. He makes short work of the most of the gang members, but their leader takes Rich hostage, threatening to shoot him if the Spider doesn't leave.
However, the Scarlet Spider makes short work of the gang leader and tells him that this is his neighborhood now. He soon webs up the gang members and calls the police. Things also start looking up for Rich when he is offered a job. In the aftermath of this episode, the Scarlet Spider decides that perhaps he can make a life for himself after all.
Appearing in "A Conflict of Interests!"
Synopsis for "A Conflict of Interests!"
James Kapoztas is the CEO of Az-Tex Automotive Company. The company has been in the news when a family was killed when an airbag system failed to deploy in one of their vehicles. Although Kapoztas was taken to court, he managed to get off by placing blame on his Mexican factory. As he arrives at his New York City office, James is ambushed by the vigilante named Cardiac who has come to make him pay for his crimes. Dodging Cardiac's beta-blast, Kapoztas hits a silent alarm to summon security. However, Cardiac easily knocks them out. Unfortunately, before Cardiac can eliminate his target, he is interrupted by Spider-Man. As the pair fight it out, James makes a run for it, but suffers a heart attack once he gets outside of his office. Meanwhile, Spider-Man breaks Cardiac's Beta-Staff, forcing the villain to escape. Rushing into the hallway, Spider-Man notices that James is having a heart attack. Getting the secretary to call an ambulance, the wall-crawler begins giving Kapoztas CPR.
Meanwhile, Cardiac returns to Mercy General Hospital and returns to his civilian guise of Dr. Eli Wirtham. He once more thinks about how the death of his brother led to his undergoing the extensive enhancements to become Cardiac. Moments after he exits the supply closet, an ambulance arrives carrying James Kapoztas. He is shocked to see his target and Spider-Man but is relieved that they do not recognize him out of costume. Soon he finds himself preparing to treat the very man he tried to kill. Eli finds himself conflicted, since his Hippocratic Oath as a doctor insists that he do no harm. In the operating theater, Eli thinks about how easy it would be to kill James on the operating table and make it look like an accident. Despite his conflicting feelings, Wirtham does what he can to save Kapoztas' life. Spider-Man thanks Eli for saving James' life, and then goes back out looking for Cardiac, unaware that his enemy was right in front of him.
That evening, Cardiac returns to the hospital to finish his job but is ambushed by Spider-Man. As the two fight it out, Cardiac tries to convince Spider-Man that killing Kapoztas is justified, asking Spider-Man how he would feel if it was his family that was destroyed by his shoddy airbags. However, Spider-Man insists that every life is important and that nobody should die before their time. As the battle rages, James Kapoztas begins to flatline, prompting a nurse to rush in and try to restart his heart with defibrillation. Despite her best efforts, she cannot resuscitate James, and he soon dies. Seeing that his target has died, Cardiac decides to flee the scene. Unable to catch his foe, Spider-Man vows to eventually capture Cardiac, because he is still responsible for James Kapoztas' death.
Returning to the hospital, Spider-Man apologizes for failing to save James. Eli Wertham tells the wall-crawler that he did the best he could, that they all did. When Spider-Man leaves, Wertham wonders if he did do what he could to save James, or if he held back in some way. He also wonders if in doing so, he has made himself no better than the people he kills.
Appearing in "To Protect and Serve"
Synopsis for "To Protect and Serve"
In Downtown Manhattan, Boomerang is tormenting his ex-girlfriend, a bank teller named Jane Leonard. His rampage has drawn the police and a news crew who is covering the situation on live television.[Continuity2 1] At the Parker residence, Mary Jane enters the living room to watch Casablanca with her husband, Peter Parker.[Continuity2 2] However, there is no sign of Peter and the television is on the news. She gets upset when she sees Spider-Man fighting Boomerang on television, particularly because he promised to take the night off. At first, she hopes he gets his fool head blown off, but instantly begins to worry about Peter getting hurt.
Not wanting to stress herself out, Mary Jane decides to stop watching the television and fretting over Peter. She tries to ignore the news coverage by reading a magazine. She happens to read an article about the wife of a police officer. The woman talks about how her husband was always leaving to help others, often at the expense of their relationship. However, she soon came to realize that her love for him get the inner strength he needed to go out and do what he needed to do. This article really speaks to Mary Jane, and she begins watching the news again. Unfortunately, it is just as Spider-Man goes crashing through a window with Boomerang. Suddenly, there is an explosion and Mary Jane fears the worse. However, she is relieved when Spider-Man comes out of the rubble. When Peter finally returns home, she tells her husband that she loves him.
Second Rate Choices
|The Exile Returns|
|Web of Spider-Man #118||Spider-Man Unlimited #7||Spider-Man #52||Web of Spider-Man #119||Spider-Man #53|
- The narrative states that this story takes place between Web of Spider-Man #116 and Spider-Man #52.
- Aunt May suffered a stroke in Amazing Spider-Man #391. However, the woman seen here is actually an impostor, who took May's place sometime in Amazing Spider-Man #392. This is not revealed until Spider-Man #97.
- Ben Reilly was believed to have died in Amazing Spider-Man #149. His survival is detailed in Osborne Journals #1. Ben recently resurfaced in Web of Spider-Man #114.
- Gwen Stacy was murdered by the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
- Although he is wearing the Scarlet Spider costume here. Ben Reilly isn't officially given this name until Spider-Man #52
A Conflict of Interest:
|Back From the Edge|
|Spider-Man Unlimited #7||Amazing Spider-Man #395||Spectacular Spider-Man #218||Amazing Spider-Man #396||Spectacular Spider-Man #219|
To Protect and Serve:
- The narrative states this story takes place prior to Amazing Spider-Man #388. However, the Official Marvel Index to the Marvel Universe: Amazing Spider-Man places this story as happening after Amazing Spider-Man #398.
- 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.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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