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Appearing in "The Valley"
Synopsis for "The Valley"
High above New York City a crow flies in a swirl of mist. It approaches an apartment window and rests on the window. Inside, Thomas Fireheart tries to keep himself under control as his Puma aspect, shifting back and forth between human and feline form. Ultimately, the struggle ends with the Puma winning. Transforming into his animalistic form Thomas Fireheart begins ripping apart his apartment. Spotting the crow watching in the window, the Puma lunges at it and grabs it. The Puma holds the bird close to its face, contemplating devouring it, but suddenly lets it go. As the crow flies away, Thomas Fireheart slides to the floor, exhausted from the ordeal. Elsewhere in the city, Mary Jane returns home to the apartment she shares with her husband Peter Parker.[Continuity 1] When she flips the light switch, she discovers that the bulb has burned out. Until she can change it, she goes to a nearby window to open the blinds and let the moonlight in. When she turns around, she is shocked to see her husband hanging upside down from the ceiling, his eyes closed, arms crossed. Thinking the worse, Mary Jane screams, waking Peter up from his sleep. He comes down off the ceiling and calms down his wife, who thought he was dead. Peter explains that he had troubles sleeping and began pacing the apartment and must have dozed off.
Mary Jane is relieved that Peter is okay, particularly after all their recent troubles.[Continuity 2] When Mary Jane asks Peter to come to bed with her, he tells her that he can't sleep. This leads to an argument about Peter wanting space, which ends with Parker telling his wife that he has a lot on his mind and he doesn't need his wife dumping on him as well. He regrets the words as they come out of his mouth, but changes into Spider-Man and goes out web-slinging anyway. As he swings through the city, mist starts to swirl up enough, as he thinks about everything that has happened recently. The biggest thing on his mind is the fact that his parents have seemingly returned from the dead after being out of his life for 20 years.[Continuity 3] His thoughts to continue over how many of his villains have intruded on his civilian life. The whole time he thinks about this, he is unaware that a crow is following him in the mists.
Eventually, the crow goes off in its own direction, fling to another apartment building where a window is open. The crow enters the apartment and hovers over a wheelchair where it suddenly takes on human form. This man is Jesse Black Crow, who awakens from this recent blackout hungry and afraid. He thinks about the last time he has ever felt understanding or peace. His mind drifts back over the years. He remembers growing up under the care of his grandfather on the Navajo reservation.[Continuity 4] His thoughts then rush ahead to years later, when he left the reservation after the death of his grandfather. He got a job working in construction, which led to the accident. He ends up falling 20 stories and was confined to a wheelchair as a result. He remembers the pain he felt from his recovery. At first, it felt like part of him died, but he soon came to realize that part of him actually learned to fly. Now his mind is plagued by the blood and pain his people have endured over the centuries. As he wonders if something exists inside him, he has vague memories of adventures with great warriors.[Continuity 5] Suddenly, Black Crow is enveloped in mist and the shadow images of a spider and a puma appear about him. He falls out of his wheelchair and calls out to these visions, demanding to know what they want. Suddenly, Jesse Black Crow disappears into the mist. In his place comes Black Crow, agent of the Earth Mother, the door between man and the Great Spirit. He has work to do this night and going to the window, he transforms into a crow and flies out into the night sky.
Elsewhere in the city, the Puma travels on the rooftops of the city, his mind struggling with his dual nature: His role as a businessman and that of a champion to his people. He begins howling at the rage. Black Crow appears before him disguised as Spider-Man in his black-and-white costume. He tells the Puma to let out his rage on him as much as he'd like. The Puma mauls the image of Spider-Man, seemingly to death. Seeing his foe apparently dead causes the Puma to pause long enough to revert back to human form. He can't make sense of the savage loss of life. As he picks up "Spider-Man's" body, it suddenly turns into a crow. As the bird flies away, it tells Thomas Fireheart that if he wants to know more, to follow it. Simultaneously, in another part of the city, Spider-Man purchases some flowers to take back to his wife to apologize for snapping at her earlier. However, as he turns to head back home, his perceptions suddenly become distorted and he is ambushed by what appears to be the Puma. It's the Black Crow again, goads Spider-Man into a battle. The wall-crawler gives in to his rage and beats the illusion of the Puma into submission. It too turns into a crow and invites Spider-Man to follow it to learn more about his own feelings. Both men chase after the crows that bid for them to follow. They both leap into a large swirl of mist, finding themselves transported to the middle of the desert, side by side.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage was erased from existence by the demon Mephisto as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- ↑ She mentions Peter's recent ordeals with Richard Fisk (Web of Spider-Man #84-89), the Vulture (The Spectacular Spider-Man #186-188), and the Green Goblin (The Spectacular Spider-Man #189).
- ↑ Peter's parents were killed while on a mission for the CIA, as explained in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. Peter met the people claiming to be his parents in Amazing Spider-Man #365. However, these are impostors as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
- ↑ The narration during this point mentions that it is currently the 20th century. this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- ↑ Black Crow sees visions of Captain America, Hawkeye, and Doctor Strange. Black Crow's alter-ego fought alongside them in Captain America #290-300, Marvel Fanfare #39 and Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #25 respectively.
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