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Appearing in "Hope and Other Liars"

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Synopsis for "Hope and Other Liars"

Running late for dinner at his Aunt May's house, Spider-Man swings across the city. Along the way, he spots a little girl toss a teddy bear out of her apartment window. There's a man in a costume on the roof that leaps after the toy, ripping off an electrical wire to swing down and catch it. This causes debris to fall from the side of the building, Spider-Man swings down and catches it in webbing before it lands on people on the street down below. As the costumed man gives the girl her teddy bear, Spider-Man swings up and scolds him for acting so recklessly. That's when Spider-Man recognizes him as Captain Zero, a former patient of the Plesant Valley Sanitarium.[Continuity 1] Taking Captain Zero up to the roof, Spider-Man learns that Plesant Valley was shut down due to malpractice and that Captain Zero, aka David Stack, is now being treated on an out-patient basis. He also learns that Doctor Hope, who ran the illegal Mad Dog Ward, had agreed to be committed for his part in the criminal activities at the facility. With no idea how to handle someone like Captain Zero, Spider-Man tells him to be more careful in the future and leaves so he can dwell on this.

Meanwhile, at a city mental health clinic, Doctor Hope sits in his room droning on about harnessing the reptillian side of the brain. The facility doctors have been using this knowledge in their new experimental wing where they have been injecting animal DNA and cybernetics they have been trying to breed an army of efficient warriors. They take Doctor Hope down into this win in the hopes that they can continue the work on his greatest achievement, Mad Dog patient Vol 1 2020, aka Brainstorm.

By this time, Peter Parker has arrived at his Aunt May's house for dinner, joining his aunt and his wife Mary Jane.[Continuity 2] He has to come up with excuses as to why he looks so disheveled and why he forgot dessert, something he doesn't really like doing, even if it is necessary to maintain his secret identity. The following day, Peter is late for a meeting with J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. When he tries to offer an excuse, Jonah isn't interested in hearing any because he has work to do. Peter is soon paired up with Maggie Lorca, a reporter covering a story on the Liars Anonymous Clinic, a organization that treats pathological liars. Peter tells her that he looks forward to working with her and they arrange to meet later that afternoon. With time to kill, Peter changes into Spider-Man and heads for home to surprise his wife. However, on the way, he spots some men attempting to steal an armored car. Trying to stop it, Spider-Man is ambushed by the mental hospital experiments. He manages to fight them off, but only webs up three of the four, the last managing to escape. After taking a few pictures for the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man wonders if his regular white-lies are doing more bad than good and if he went too easy on Captain Zero earlier.

Tracking down the novice hero, Spider-Man tries to convince him that being a hero is too dangerous. Zero takes this hard, which makes the wall-crawler feel guilty. When Captain Zero asks why Spider-Man couldn't just leave him to be happy, the web-slinger relates his most recent battle to him. Hearing what the strange thieves were saying, Captain Zero recognizes it as some of the "reptillian brain" theories of Doctor Hope. Thanking Captain Zero for the tip, Spider-Man decides to go and check it out. While back at home, Mary Jane tries to read through the latest "Secret Hospital" script, and finds that she can't stand the hack writing of the current storyline. She decides to go up onto the roof and get some sun in order to relax. There, Mary Jane finds a young boy named Daniel up on the roof. The boy is wearing a strange helmet with antenni on it. He explains that his face is a space alien and he is on their roof in the hopes of contacting him. When Mary Jane asks the boy who his guardians are, the child tells her that he is homeless. Feeling sorry for the boy, Mary Jane invites the kid in for something to eat.

By this point, Peter Parker is running late for his assignment with Maggie Lorca. When he arrives at the Liars Annonymous Clinic, he makes some excuses to Maggie about why he was late. As he snaps photos for the article, she tells him about what she learned from the clinic about chronic liars. All of this hits a little too close to home for Peter who idsmisses the advice. Getting a ride home from Maggie, Peter suggests that they look into what happened to Doctor Hope as a potential freelance story, saying that they work well together. Maggie likes the idea and soon, Peter is dropped off at his apartment. Watching from the window, Mary Jane watches Peter's body language and fears that he might be cheating on her. When Peter comes upstairs, he quickly changes into Spider-Man to go out and get some air. Mary Jane begins asking him questions about his day and who dropped him off. Even though Peter's answers are matter-of-fact, she is still worried that he may be lying to her. While back at the new Mad Dog Ward, the psychologists in charge have continued Doctor Hope's experiments on Mindstorm, causing him to undergo a frightening transformation.


Continuity Notes

  1. Spider-Man was forced into a temporary stay in Plesant Valley as seen during the Life in the Mad Dog Ward event.
    Life in the Mad Dog Ward
    Web of Spider-Man #33 Amazing Spider-Man #295 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #133

  2. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased of existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.

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