Appearing in "Shadow of the Cat"
Synopsis for "Shadow of the Cat"
Swinging across Manhattan, Spider-Man thinks about how he sometimes forgets how big the city is and sometimes wishes there were two of him, but then quickly changes his mind.[Continuity 1] The wall-crawler then focuses on the task at hand, finding someone who has been tearing a path across the city's underbelly, stop him, and then get home to get a good nights sleep so he can focus on his studies in the morning. He briefly wonders what he was thinking when he decided to go back to school when he already has enough pressures including keeping his marriage together.[Continuity 2] When he arrives at a local dive bar for answers but seeing the storefront window broken and men laying on the street he realizes that he is too late. Going inside, Spider-Man admits that the beat up crooks make his life easier, he just can't condone senseless violence. When one of the patrons notices it is Spider-Man he is relieved and tells the others they can stop playing dead since the wall-crawler is here to protect them.
As the men get off the floor, their leader explains that the man who attacked them tonight said he would be back to finish the job if they didn't get what he wanted. Seeing these tough guys in abject fear, he wonders who is responsible for this. When he notices a cat at the bar, the feline arches its back and hisses at him, making him also wonder what Betty Brant has gotten him into.
Earlier That Evening...
Peter and Mary Jane are relaxing at home when the phone begins to ring. Mary Jane pleads with Peter to leave it be as this is the first night they have had by themselves after everything they have endured in recent times, especially after Peter is still recovering from being bitten in the neck by Morbius the Living Vampire.[Continuity 3] When the answering machine picks up, Betty Brant tells Peter to pick up the phone because she has a photo assignment. Telling Mary Jane that they need the money, Peter picks up the phone to see what Betty wants. Betty is investigating the kidnapping of a young child of a wealthy family and she wants Peter to join her at the building on Park Avenue where the child was snatched to take pictures. Peter isn't sure if he wants to take the assignment because it sounds like tabloid material, however, Betty rings the doorbell, revealing that she is standing outside to pick him up.
Spider-Man has found another gang of thugs who have been beaten up by the mystery attacker. These men are in better shap and Spider-Man hopes he can get more answers from them. However, when he signs his spider-signal on them, the men turn around and begin shooting at the wall-crawler. Dodging the bullets, Spider-Man tries to reason with the shooters but is forced to knock them out. Looking around the scene of the attack he spots the symbol of a cat that has been burned into a piece of wood on the scene. As this is the only clue to who the attacker is, Spider-Man wonders who the Cat could be.
Betty Brant and Peter Parker arrive at the Park Avenue apartment building where the kidnapping took place. The place is swarmed with police who don't give them a second look when they walk inside. As they pass through the lobby they see a dozen cops that have been beaten up and need medical attention. With the sheer number of injured people, Betty can't believe that this is the work of a single man. As they enter the elevator, Peter tells her that there is only one way to find out...
On the Lower East Side, three mobsters are trying to make it to a nearby safehouse when they cross paths with a black cat. When one of them suggests that they shoot the feline, their leader tells them that wouldn't be a good idea. That's when the mystery attacker ambushes them from behind, demanding to know what happened to the kidnapped child. The men insist that they don't know anything about it, but one of them heard that the kid could be being kept at the docks.
Although he doesn't kill them, the attacker gives them a beating that they will never forget before picking up his cat and sprinting away.
Arriving at the apartment, Peter and Betty notice that the door has been broken off its hinges. Peter suggests that they leave, but they are invited in by the woman whose child was kidnapped. She says that the person responsible is her husband, Shen Kuei, also known as the Cat a martial artist of great skill.[Continuity 4] She goes on to say that Shen was a master of espionage but recently started focusing on darker pursuits, forcing her to leave him. As such, she is convinced that it was her former husband who took their son. Hearing this, Peter abruptly tells Betty that he can't be party to this and that it is a job for the police before storming out. However, this is all in order to slip onto the roof and change into Spider-Man to begin the search that would later take him on a wild goose chase all over the city.
On the docks on Manhattan's West Side, the Cat arrives and demands the kidnappers give up his son as it is he that they want and not the boy. He then quickly turns and tries to kick the person sneaking up behind him. Thanks to his spider-sense, Spider-Man is able to dodge the blow which is strong enough to shatter some nearby crates on impact. The Cat continues to attack, while Spider-Man tries to explain that he is a hero and he has come to help. Stopping his attack, Shen Kuei tells the wall-crawler that he doesn't need any help. However, Spider-Man's spider-sense begins going off again and he shoves the Cat out of the way to avoid an electrical blast.
That's when they spot the men who have kidnapped the Cat's son, the mercenaries known as Shockwave and Razorfist. The two men tell the Cat not to make any moves or his son will be killed. They explain that their employer wanted to send a message to Shen, to tell him that he is to not interfere with their operations in New York City.[Continuity 5] The Cat tries to explain that he has no interest in getting involved. Still, Razorfist is certain that won't be the case for very long. To prove his point, Shen offers them whatever they want. When they demand his life, the Cat willingly offers his surrender despite Spider-Man's protests. When Spider-Man tries to stop him, the Cat is able to fight his way free and gets Spider-Man to promise to make sure his son stays safe, as the boy is more important than his own life. Spider-Man agrees and swings off as Razorfist leaps down to battle the Cat.[Continuity 6] With the Cat gaining the advantage in the battle, Shockwave begins threatening his son in order to remind the martial artist that he is supposed to lose this fight.
That's when Spider-Man comes up behind Shockwave and knocks him out with a single punch. With his son in safe hands, the Cat then chops off Razorfist's mechanical hands and razor blades with a single blow from each hand. Before knocking out Razorfit, the Cat tells him that because of the actions of his employer the Cat will remain in New York City and investigate him now, just the thing they were trying to avoid. In the aftermath of the battle, Spider-Man is glad he was able to prevent the Cat's child from getting murdered, happy to help a family avoid suffering the same loss that he and Mary Jane have.
When Peter Parker returns home, both Mary Jane and Betty Brant are waiting for them. They tell him the news that Spider-Man helped rescue the kidnapped boy and that he is safe. Hearing this, Peter hugs his wife. When she asks him why he is hugging her, he tells her that it is for everything they have and all the things they have lost and apologizes that there wasn't more he could do. As they embrace, the couple are unaware that, outside, there is a black cat sitting on the railing of their poorch looking in on them.
FROM THE PAGES OF THE UNCANNY X-MEN COMES SHANG-CHI! IN CHAPTER ONE OF A THREE-PART SAGA, THE MARTIAL ARTS MASTER KNOWN AS THE CAT CREEPS INTO THE BIG APPLE. WHEN THE MASTER OF KUNG FU GETS INVOLVED, ITS ALL THE WEB-SPINNER CAN DO TO DODGE THE FLYING FISTS OF FURY!
- This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the recently finished Clone Saga.
- 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.
- The Parkers have been through a lot recently:
- Mary Jane mentions the discovery that Norman Osborn is still alive and that they recently lost their unborn child due to a miscarriage. These events happened during the Revelations story arc.
Revelations Spectacular Spider-Man #240 Sensational Spider-Man #11 Amazing Spider-Man #418 Spider-Man #75 Spider-Man: Revelations #1 Osborne Journals #1
- The woman says that there is only one martial artist more skilled then Shen Kuei. She is referring to Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu, who first clashed with the Cat in Master of Kung Fu #38–40.
- The identity of Shockwave and Razorfist's employer is never revealed.
- As they fight, the Cat mentions Razorfist's recent defeat at the hands of Elektra. That happened in Elektra (Vol. 2) #5–6.