Appearing in "After the Fall"
Synopsis for "After the Fall"
On a private Caribbean Island, Doctor Andrea Janson is running experiments on Morbius the Living Vampire, who thinks she is trying to cure him of his accelerated bloodlust.[Continuity 1] As super-heated blood courses through his veins, Morbius screams. Unphased by his scream, Andrea asks him if it is really called for. Morbius understands, but the pain and the hunger are too much for him to control. She finds this all mundane, recalling how she used to admired Michael for his work. However, after he turned himself into this abomination she was horrified and was plagued by nightmares so bad that she needed to get therapy. After this, her desire to help him is nothing more than he desire of solving a scientific puzzle that needs to solve. She is then interrupted by the mystery man named Crown who has come to tell her that their employer are in need of her talents immediately. Instead of reacting in fear, Andrea kisses Crown and tells him that she has done all that she can with Morbius and that he is ready. That's when both Crown and Andrea shout "Hail Hydra". Hearing this, and realizing what this means, Morbius begins to scream once more.
In New York City, Betty Brant is hard at work at the Daily Bugle. She thinks about how she is spending her evening burying herself in her work instead of going out on a date. She looks at a note informing her that Flash Thompson had called, but decides against calling him. It's hard enough for her to be treated as a serious reporter when she started her career as the publisher's secretary, the last thing she wants is to get back together with an old flame that has some serious emotional problems in his life.[Continuity 2] Her thoughts are interrupted by J. Jonah Jameson who asks Betty what she is doing at the office so late. Betty explains that she is investigating an old murder that happened a few years ago at Empire State University.[Continuity 3] Jameson reminds her that he told her to drop that story and focus on the Morbius. He then tells her to forget both stories, handing her a file and telling Betty that she should focus all of her attention on this instead. Reading the file she is surprised that Jonah is assigning her to this as it is the type of story usually reserved for Ben Urich. Jameson says that she is ready for it and to make travel arrangements with his secretary. As he walks out of the bullpen, Jonah asks Betty to be careful.
The following morning, Spider-Man is web-slinging across the city in a hurry as he is running late. Although he is complaining about how Spider-Man continues to interfere with his personal life, he wonders what his life would have been like if he hadn't been bitten by the radioactive spider that gave him his powers all those years ago.[Continuity 4] Suddenly, Spider-Man is struck by a powerful headache, an side-effect of being bitten by Morbius, and begins to fall.[Continuity 5] As he plummets to the street below, Spider-Man tries to fire a webline, but his hands are so shaky he ends up tangling himself up. Thankfully, he is saved when the hero SHOC flies by and catches the wall-crawler in midair. SHOC quickly gets Spider-Man up to the safety of a rooftop and abruptly leaves, telling the web-slinger that he can't stop and talk. As Spider-Man untangles himself he notices that SHOC is flying in the direction of Empire State University, the place where they first met.[Continuity 6] Meanwhile, on Long Island, Don Fortunado returns to his mansion and is pleased to see his Hydra agents have returned with Crown and Doctor Jansen. They both report that they believe they have been able to isolate the unique properties of Morbius' blood that will greatly benefit Hydra. He tells Jansen to continue focusing on her work. He then informs Crown that they have gotten closer to the son of Professor William Fields and that his mission to retrieve the boy. When Crown promises to do so, Fortunato reminds him that he has failed in the past, and that such failure will not be tolerated now. Inside, Don Fortunato finds his superior within Hydra waiting for him inside. When the Don assures this man that Crown will succeed, his master hopes that he does, for the sake of the Fortunado family.[Continuity 7]
When Peter Parker finally arrives at Empire State University, he is greeted by his wife Mary Jane and Betty Brant.[Continuity 8] Betty has been upset with Peter since he ran out on her while she was trying to talk about her complicated relationship with Flash Thompson. Peter humbly apologizes and Mary Jane forces Betty to accept it after explaining how Peter was being pressured into having dinner with the Stacy family, something that he wasn't very comfortable with doing.[Continuity 9] Betty also tells them that she is leaving down and needs them to look after her cat. That's when they ware joined by Neil Akin, who tells them that Doctor Lanning isn't in today and so the research team -- which includes Neil and Peter -- have the day off. That's when Paul Stacy arrives and reminds Peter that he still has to report for their tutoring station. He abrasively reminds Peter that if his marks aren't brought back up-to-snuff, he is finished.[Continuity 10]
After this stressful interaction, Peter suggest they all go for coffee. Soon, Mary Jane heads off leaving Peter in the company of Betty Brant and Neil Akin. Since Betty is researching a story about Professor Fields, she asks Neil to give her a tour of the research building some day soon. However, she tells them that she has to go, telling them that she is being sent to Latveria on assignment.[Continuity 11] When Peter and Neil later leave the coffee shop, Peter suddenly feels faint, causing Neil concern. With his spider-sense going off, Peter looks up in the sky and notices that that it has gotten really dark of a sudden. Both men suddenly come up with excuses to depart. As Peter tries to slip away and change into Spider-Man, he still feels dizzy. He is also interrupted by Abby Levin who asks him if he is okay. As Hydra agents come falling out of the sky, Peter suggests that they get off the street. The Hydra soldiers confront Peter and demand to know where Neil Akin went, threatening to kill Abby if he doesn't talk. With no other choice, Peter attacks the terrorists, telling Abby to make a run for it. Although Peter does his best to fight them off, his dizziness gets the better of him and they soon swarm him. However, before Peter can get seriously hurt, Neil comes to his rescue. As the Hydra agents open fire on Neil, Peter is astonished as Neil suddenly transforms into SHOC.
When the Hydra agents try to flee, SHOC enlagens his hands and grabs them and slams them into a nearby wall, burying them in rubble. Both Peter and Abby are surprised to see all of this. SHOC asks them to keep this their little secret, as he is trying to maintain a secret identity. That's when Crown falls out of the strange blackness in the sky. SHOC is looking forward to fighting Crown again as the black-clad terrorist was responsible for the death of his father. However, before SHOC can attack, Crown grabs Peter and threatens to kill him if SHOC doesn't power down and surrender. Peter tells him not to do it, hoping his strength will return fast enough for him to break free. However, SHOC has gotten to know Peter and can't bring himself to let Crown kill him and complies with the demands. Satisfied, Crown then teleports away with his Hydra minions as well as Neil and Peter Parker as his prisoners. When Peter wakes up, he is in a cell deep below Staten Island. As he wakes up the guards outside wish him luck with his cellmate who will likely be hungry when he wakes up. Just as Peter wonders how things could get any worse his cellmate -- Morbius the Living Vampire -- wakes up. Proclaiming that he is hungry, Moribus then breaks free from his shackles and advances on Peter Parker.
What part does Hydra really play in the deadly game of organized crime? And just how badly do they want Spider-Man dead? Also, more on Captain Arthur Stacy and his simply stunning daughter.
- Morbius has been suffering from an increased hunger after feeding on Nate Grey in X-Man #24.
- Betty Brant goes through quite a bit of her personal history here. These items are:
- That she used to be J. Jonah Jameson's secretary before she became a reporter. She first took up the job as secretary in Amazing Spider-Man #4. She worked as his secretary on-and-off for years until became a reporter in Web of Spider-Man #91.
- Betty dated Flash Thompson dated from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #109 until Spectacular Spider-Man #148.
- Flash has been trying to rekindle their romance since Spider-Man #75. This has been complicated by the fact that Flash had developed a serious drinking problem as Betty learned in Spectacular Spider-Man #243-244.
- This would be be the murder of Professor William Fields, which was depicted in Spider-Man #76.
- Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider back in Amazing Fantasy #15. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, that happened roughly nine years prior to this story.
- Morbius bit Spider-Man back in Spider-Man #77.
- Spider-Man first met SHOC in Spider-Man #76.
- This man obscured in the shadows, however he is revealed to be Baron Strucker next issue.
- 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.
- Peter is not comfortable around the Stacy family since he still blames himself for the deaths of George Stacy and his daughter Gwen who died in Amazing Spider-Man #90 and 121 respectively.
- Peter points out that Paul has grown a goatee since they last saw each other. That was in Amazing Spider-Man #422.
- Betty's trip to Latveria is chronicled in Spider-Man Unlimited #16.
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