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Appearing in "Up From the Depths"
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Up From the Depths"
At the Ravenscroft Mental Institution, Doctor Ashley Kafka has been working hard to try and cure Vermin. The creature is fearful and afraid of her and knowing that this was instinct is deeply rooted in his past. However, that was then, now the Vermin has escaped into the sewers in order to try and get away from the light of the surface world. The creature quickly turns, not wanting to hide away forever anymore and lashes out at the rats that surround him for comfort. Suddenly, his rampage is interrupted by a young boy who has gotten lost in the sewers. Demanding to know why the child is down there with him, the Vermin hears how the boy needs help getting back home. This strikes a chord in the Vermin.
Meanwhile, Doctor Ashley Kafka has called in Spider-Man to help and track down and capture the Vermin. She shows the wall-crawler the various members of the staff and security who were killed during the scape. Spider-Man is not surprised, given the Vermin's past history. Ashley is shocked by Spider-Man's lack of empathy toward the creature, especially when he scoffs at the progress she made while trying to cure him. This is because Spider-Man is still carrying a lot of mental baggage after his last encounter with the Vermin, which started with being buried alive by Kraven the Hunter.[Continuity 1] Kafka explains that she also had her own doubts about curing Vermin but after being persuaded by Reed Richards. She now believes she can uncover the Vermin's original personality prior to his being experimented upon by Baron Zemo.[Continuity 2] Spider-Man, sarcastically tells Ashley that her efforts must surely put the families of Vermin's victim's solace and swings away.
Even as he swings away, the wall-crawler thinks that he was being harsh to the doctor. He wishes there was more he could have done to stop the Vermin. However, he wonders how far he would be willing to go to stop his foe. The fact that he cannot bring himself to kill the creature. This all causes the memories of being buried alive for two weeks come flooding back. The masked hero tries to push these thoughts away and hopes that the Vermin has gone somewhere far away so he doesn't have to confront him again. Unfortunately for Spider-Man, this hardly seems the case. Not far away, the Vermin emerges from the sewers carrying the young boy in his arms intent to carry him safely back home. The creature is surprised the child trust him. When he asks the boy why he trusts Vermin to get him home, the boy doesn't know why he just does. Vermin is surprised by this admission and allows him to trust as well. After they scurry away, Spider-Man is drawn back to their position thanks to a buzz from his spider-sense. Finding nothing at the scene, the wall-crawler continues on his way.
Meanwhile, Harry Osborn is watching television with his son Normie and enjoying the time together. Harry is then accosted by what appears to be the ghost of his father, Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin.[Continuity 3] The specter of Norman accuses his son of allowing his own son to grow up to be as weak as Norman always saw Harry. Trying to get his son's attention, Harry begins yelling at Normie. When the boy finally stops focusing on the movie they're watching. When Normie asks his father why he is yelling, Harry snaps back to his normal personality and apologizes and he tells his son that he loves him. Upstairs, Mary Jane is watching a movie while she waits for her husband Peter to return home.[Continuity 4] She thinks she hears Peter coming in through the skylight, but when she looks up she finds no sign of him. Spider-Man was there, but he was only checking on Mary Jane to make sure she is safe before he goes hunting for Vermin.
Back at Ravenscroft, Doctor Kafka goes over her recorded sessions with Vermin. In this particular recording, she manages to lull the Vermin into a sense of security as the creature goes to sleep. However, Vermin suddenly snapped away, believing that he may be betrayed and attacks the camera. Spider-Man's harsh words have started getting to her. She begins to wonder if the hero was right, that Vermin is an irredeemable monster. As she goes through the Vermin's file, her hope in curing the creature are renewed when she comes across a photo of herself holding a tearful Vermin in her arms. At that moment, Spider-Man is on his way to meet with Doctor Kafka again. However, he hears a woman screaming for help as she is being pulled into a dark alley. Thinking that it is Vermin, Spider-Man swings in and pulls the attacker off the women. Willing to throttle the attacker, Spider-Man stops himself when it turns out to be a normal mugger. He leaves the crook for the authorities and swings off again, vowing not to fail anybody by allowing the Vermin to kill.[Continuity 5]
Meanwhile, Vermin attacks a big rig, pulling the drive out of the windshield and throwing him out into the street. Getting behind the wheel, Vermin assures his young companion that he will get the boy home safely. Later that evening, both Peter Parker and Harry Osborn are in their respective beds with their respective wives. However, both men are troubled by their current thoughts and lie awake. While at that moment, Vermin and the young boy arrive at a large gated mansion. Looking upon the property, the Vermin proclaims that he has finally returned home.
- ↑ Spider-Man's near death experience at the hands of Kraven and his battle Vermin was chronicled during the Kraven's Last Hunt story arc.
Kraven's Last Hunt Web of Spider-Man #31 Amazing Spider-Man #293 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #131 Web of Spider-Man #32 Amazing Spider-Man #294 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #132
- ↑ Baron Zemo used the technology of Arnim Zola to transform an ordinary man into the Vermin in Captain America #272.
- ↑ At the time of this story Norman Osborn was believed to be dead following a battle against Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #122. However, he survived as revealed in Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal #1. Norman will resurface later in Amazing Spider-Man #412.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, the couple's marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here as opposed to husband and wife.
- ↑ Spider-Man recalls how he "failed" his Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy. Ben was killed by a burglar that Peter could have caught earlier, as seen in Amazing Fantasy #15. Gwen Stacy was Spider-Man's first true love who was murdered by the Green Goblin ni Amazing Spider-Man #121.
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