Appearing in "SHOC"
- 🢐 Anna Watson 🢒
- 🢐 Betty Brant 🢒
- Dr. Sydney Lanning (First and only known appearance)
- 🢐 Flash Thompson 🢒
- 🢐 Jill Stacy 🢒 (First appearance)
- 🢐 J. Jonah Jameson 🢒
- Marjory Fields (Only in flashback) (First and only known appearance)
- William Fields (First and only known appearance; dies) (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "SHOC"
Seven Years Ago[Continuity 1]
Professor William Fields is finishing up his work at Empire State University, assuring his wife and son that he will be done in a minute and they can then start their Christmas vacation. That's when some group of men in dark outfits intrudes upon the family. Their leader demands that Professor Fields hands over his work. Instead, the Professor ushers his wife Marjory and son Todd out of the lab. The armed men respond by opening fire upon the Fields family. Getting to cover, William gives his wife his lab notes and tells her to get them to his associate Sydney Lanning. the Professor then helps them out of a fire escape. On their way out, William tells Todd to look after his mother. As the pair rush down the fire escape, the building suddenly explodes, sending both landings onto the snow on the ground below. Recovering from the fall, Todd looks up at the burning building and sees a man standing in the flames. The being in the flames tells the boy that his father is gone and to remember this moment. His final words to Todd Fields is a warning that he will be back to take what is rightfully his.
Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane are running late for the start of their day.[Continuity 2] Rushing to get dressed, the stop in the kitchen long enough to grab some breakfast-to-go from Mary Jane's Aunt Anna. On their way out the door, Peter tells Mary Jane about how busy his day is. He is also motivated to try and get some photos to sell to the Daily Bugle as it will help them pay for their education bills. However, in order for Peter to meet his schedule, he quickly changes into Spider-Man as web-slinging will get him around the city faster than relying on public transit. Although this is to his benefit, Spider-Man wants to swing across the city to make sure he isn't getting rusty, especially after his recent and humiliating defeat at the hands of the Trapster.[Continuity 3] As arrives at the Daily Bugle and begins changing into his civilian identity, Peter thinks about how he needs to get back into the game since taking a break from web-slinging, especially with most of New York City's defenders now missing and presumed dead.[Continuity 4]
In the lobby, Peter bumps into Flash Thompson and they ride the elevator together up to the Bugle offices. Flash brings up that Gwen Stacy's uncle, Arthur, has returned to New York City. When Flash asks if Peter plans on visiting Stacy, Peter avoids answering the question. At the top of the elevator, they are greeted by Betty Brant. Betty is not happy to see Flash and tells him that she has work to do with Peter and tells Flash to show himself out. As they walks across the office, Peter spots J. Jonah Jameson berating some interns and comments about how he is as cheerful as ever. At Betty's cubical, Peter asks her what is going on between her and Flash. However, Betty refuses to talk about it and quickly changes the subject.[Continuity 5] Betty gets down to business and tells him that she is investigating an unsolved crime, the death of Empire State University's Professor Fields, and the mysterious disappearance of his wife and son. She has learned that his colleague Sydney Lanning is picking up the research where Fields left off. Since Peter has been trying is trying to apply to be on Lanning's research project, she was hoping he could give her some info. However, Peter declines her outright, not comfortable with the idea. Noticing the time, Peter has to go because he has an appointment elsewhere.
He soon arrives at Empire State University late and misses his chance to meet with Doctor Lanning. It is here that he meets Neil Aiken, the student who wants to hire Peter as a tutor. As it turns out, Lanning had to cancel their meeting after a call from one of the research buildings and had to abruptly cancel their appointment, much to Peter's relief. Elsewhere on campus, Mary Jane is at the administrative desk where she is having problems getting her school transcripts. When someone overhears Mary Jane's name they are surprised to see her. When Mary Jane turns to face this other person, who this person surprises Mary Jane as well. Out on the campus grounds, Peter learns that Neil is hiring Peter as a tutor in the hopes it will give him the edge to get onto Doctor Lanning's project. That's when there is an explosion of energy coming out of the research building. Peter rushes to the building, telling Neil to get help but the youth refuses to leave before he sees what's going on. Inside the lab, they discover a group of black-clad men who have Doctor Lanning and his research team hostage. The leader, a man named Crown, has Lanning at gunpoint and demands that the scientist turn over Professor Field's research information.
However, the Doctor warns that they don't know what will happen when they shut down his experimental generator, or what they energy it taps will do. However, Crown knows exactly what he is dealing with and threatens to kill Lanning if he doesn't comply right away. In order to demonstrate how serious he is, Crown orders his men to kill the two students who just entered the room. Both Peter and Neil flee as they are fired upon by the armed men. Needing to deal with Neil so he can change into Spider-Man, Peter shoves the boy into a janitor's closet and bars the door. He then clothesline's the goon that has been chasing them. Back in the lab, Crown makes his demands once again, threatening to kill the lab assistants if he refuses. Fearing for his life, one of the scientists tries to make a run for it and is incinerated for his troubles. That's when they are interrupted by Spider-Man who knocks out Crown's minions. When Crown tries to shoot the wall-crawler, he easily dodges his blasts.[Continuity 6] Still, despite his efforts, Spider-Man soon finds him in Crown's crosshairs. However, before the villain can pull the trigger he is ambushed by an armor wearing man called SHOC.
This comes as a surprise as the SHOC he knew was dead, but after hearing this other individual speak in youthful slang, he realizes that this is a successor to his old foe. Because of the sudden arrival of SHOCK, Spider-Man is able to attack Crown but is caught off guard when the villain displays the ability to alter the form of his body. In the ensuing battle, SHOC orders the scientist to shut down the generator before it explodes and kills everyone on campus. Crown soon grabs both heroes in his massive hands, telling them that once he masters Professor Field's secrets he will become a god. However, Spider-Man manages to fire webbing in their foe's face. As Crown is trying to pull out the webbing SHOC realizes that time is running out. In order to try and save the university, he uses his armor to interface with the generator in the hopes of stabilizing it. He then convinces Spider-Man to toss Crown's men into the rift created by the machine as it will send them back to where they came from. When Spider-Man asks where that is, SHOC assures him that it is not a place he would ever want to visit. As the wall-crawler tosses Crown's minions into the rift, Crown manages to get the webbing off his face. Before he can resume his attack on SHOC, Crown is kicked into the rift by Spider-Man. The web-spinner then uses a web-line to pull SHOC to safety before he is pulled into the rift himself. Thanks to all the energy SHOC has absorbed, when the generator explodes it does minimal damage and there is no loss of lives. After thanking Spider-Man for his help, SHOC refuses to explain what this all was and departs.
Changing out of his costume, Peter frees Neil who is furious at Peter for locking him in the closet and tells him to never do something like that again. Outside, Peter is joined by Mary Jane who wants to introduce him to Jill Stacy, Gwen Stacy's cousin.
- Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, the events of this flashback take place sometime during "Year Two" of the modern age.
- 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.
- Spider-Man last fought the Trapster in Sensational Spider-Man #12.
- Peter had retired as Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #229, but was forced to return to the mantle of Spider-Man when his successor, Ben Reilly, was murdered by the Green Goblin in Spider-Man #75. At the time of this story, everyone believes the Avengers and the Fantastic Four perished battling Onslaught in Onslaught: Marvel Universe #1. In reality, they survived and have been living in a pocket universe as seen in the Heroes Reborn event. They will ultimately return in Heroes Reborn: The Return #1–4.
- Betty and Flash had a very troubled relationship in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #109 until Spectacular Spider-Man #148. Betty has been chilly with Flash when he recently tried to rekindle their romance last issue.
- Spider-Man makes a quip about a twelve step program for costumed villains and that he heard about it on an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael talk show. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Particularly since the talk show has been off the air since 2002.