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Quote1 Y'know, Parker, you really ought to watch where you're going. Imagine if that was an iron lamppost, instead of soft, cuddly me! Quote2
-- Flash Thompson

Appearing in "Castles in the Air"

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Synopsis for "Castles in the Air"

On his penthouse rooftop, Councilman Randolph Cherryh entertains a female guest.[Continuity 1] Their romantic evening is interrupted when a bat-like creature suddenly attacks them. However, all the creature wanted was the fruit that was served out on the table. Taking some of the food, the creature disappears as quickly as it appeared.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man is running late for school and swings across the city. He arrives just in time, changing into Peter Parker along the way. As he rushes into the school he is too focused on the morning edition of the Daily Bugle, which has a report on the bat-creatures attack. So engrossed in the story, he is tripped by Jason Ionello and knocked to the ground by Flash Thompson. His fellow students get a good laugh at Peter's expense, especially when they notice what news story he was so interested in.[Continuity 2] When Tiny McKeever starts picking up Peter's notebooks, he thinks Tiny is trying to help. However, Tiny is taking them away, intending to copy them for himself. Unable to do anything without potentially blowing his secret identity and backs away when Tiny threatens him. After school, Peter decides to go out on patrol as Spider-Man to try and blow some steam. Unfortunately, he cannot find any criminals no matter how hard he looks. He is worried about bringing in money with crime photos. He ultimately gives up and goes home to study, although he is concerned about Aunt May, who has struggled to keep a roof over their head ever since Uncle Ben was murdered.

The next day, Peter Parker goes to the Daily Bugle to try and make another attempt to ask out Betty Brant. However, he is interrupted by J. Jonah Jameson who is furious that even though the bat-creature -- dubbed Batwing by the press -- has struck again, nobody has been able to get a photo of the creature. Peter tries to explain that he was simply asking Betty for a copy of the Bugle's file on Batwing. This prompts Jonah to tell the Parker boy to stop wasting everyone's time and go out there and get a photo of Batwing, especially since Councilman Cherryh is offering a huge reward for the creature's capture. That night, Peter changes into Spider-Man to pay a visit to the Councilman. There, he discovers that the official has hired men to guard the roof. Quickly webbing up the bodyguards, Spider-Man tells Randolph that he intends to capture Batwing and collect the reward. ALtohugh Cherryh has nothing nice to say about Batwing or the wall-crawler, Spider-Man is looking forward to making Randolph pay him the reward money. Later, after changing back into Peter Parker, the web-head goes to the McKeever household to recover his stolen homework. Peeking into Tiny's window, he spots his notes on Tiny's desk and recovers them with his web-shooters. Before he can leave, he witnesses as Tiny enters his room with his father in tow. Mister McKeever is furious that his son is doing poorly in school that they might pull him off the football team. Witnessing Tiny being verbally abused by his father, Peter decides to leave, deciding that this is none of his business. He tries to justify this thinking by reminding himself that Tiny is a cheat and a bully and is only getting what he deserves. However, Peter's justifications cannot shake off the twinge of guilt he starts to feel.

Later that evening, Spider-Man watches Cherryh's rooftop patio from the shadows of a nearby building. Although he is focusing on capturing Batwing, he cannot keep his mind off Tiny McKeever. Sure enough, Batwing returns to the scene of his first attack, causing a panic. As the security guards begin firing at the creature, Spider-Man swings down to capture it. The wall-crawler webs up their guns, for fear that they might hit one of the party goers. This allows Batwing to get away, much to the chagrin of Randolph. As Spider-Man swings off after Batwing, Randolph orders his men to prepare a helicopter as he wants to follow and make sure the wall-crawler succeeds in capturing the creature. Spider-Man's attempts to subdue Batwing over the city are met with resistance. Eventually, Batwing leads him to the shore, where the creature tries to hide under a dock. There, Spider-Man shines his signal-belt on Batwing and gets a good look at his face. He's shocked to see that the creature is afraid of him and is in tears. Even more amazing, the creature is able to speak and explains that it was only trying to get food to feed itself. The web-slinger is also surprised to discover that Batwing is only a boy. Because it is hard for him to talk, Batwing hands the wall-crawler his diary. Reading it, Spider-Man learns that the boy went on an expedition into the Carlsbad Caves with his father, Doctor Santini. Unfortunately, something startled his father causing him to fall down a hole to his death. Batwing's recollection is not clear as to what frightened Doctor Santini, but it could have been a gunshot. Lost alone in the cave for days, the young boy ate and drank what he could to survive. Getting water from puddles, the boy noticed that the water tasted strange. He eventually made it out alive and was returned home. However, there, he began to transform into the bat-like creature he is now. His devoutly religious mother thought that her son had become a demon and forced him out of the home. Unsure of what to do, Batwing came to New York City because it offered many sources of food and places to hide. However, he is now afraid for his life because everyone he has encountered has tried to kill him.

When Spider-Man offers to get Batwing some help, the boy panics, thinking that he will be turned over to scientists to be experimented upon. As he tries to escape, he runs into Randolph Cherry's armed guards. With Batwing subdued, Randolph congratulates Spider-Man for helping the creature. However, now that he knows the truth about Batwing and seeing how frightened the boy is Spider-Man webs up Randolph's men, allowing Batwing to escape. He tries to convince Batwing to seek help from Reed Richards or Henry Pym, but Batwing's only concern is finding a new place to hide where nobody will find it. When the wall-crawler tries to explain the situation to Randolph, the politician is uninterested and vows to use his influence to have him branded a criminal and arrested. Tired of listening to this, Spider-Man webs Cherry's mouth shut and stuffs him into a garbage can before swinging away. After he has gotten away, Spider-Man thinks about Batwings fate and hopes that the authorities and the media will discover the creature's diary and realize the boy is no threat. However, he has come up with a conclusion as to what to do about Tiny McKeever. The next day, Peter Parker pays Tiny a visit at home. Noticing that the bully is sporting a black-eye, Peter asks how he got it. Tiny makes up an excuse that he got it playing football, obviously trying to hide the fact that his father abuses him. Peter convinces Tiny that he needs a tutor and he begins studying the McKeever to raise his grades and get him back on the football team. Although Peter doesn't know how to fix all the problems in the McKeever household, Peter figures that this will at least help get things back o nthe right track.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. Chronologyically speaking, this story takes place Amazing Spider-Man #6 and 7.
  2. One of the other students makes fun of Peter, asking if he thinks he is Sergei Kravinov. At the time of this story, Sergei was a simple celebrity known for his animal hunts as this story takes place prior to his first attempt to hunt down in Spider-Man, that happened in Amazing Spider-Man #15.

Chronology Notes

A Flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Batwing:
  2. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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