Appearing in "You Can Go Home Again!"
- Steve Petty (First appearance)
- The Living Brain (Apparent Destruction)
- Tarantula (Luis Alvarez) (First appearance)
- General Ramone (First appearance)
- Roland Rayburn (First appearance)
- Jake Dorman (First appearance)
- Ronda Kramer (First appearance)
- Miguel Sanchez (Only appearance; dies)
- Dr. Karl Mendoza (First appearance)
- Flash Thompson (Recap)
- Liz Allan (Recap)
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- South America
Synopsis for "You Can Go Home Again!"
Spider-Man is swinging towards Queens, chastising himself for being late for his first day as a substitute teacher at Midtown High, his old high school. He thinks about how Mary Jane reminds him that he makes things worse for himself. He also recalls how his old principal had called him in to substitute as a favor. The wall-crawler is not looking forward to it because he hated high school because he was bullied all the time. En route, Spider-Man spots a speeding cab about to cross an intersection, putting it on a collision course with an ambulance that is passing the opposite direction. Quick thinking, he fires a web at the taxi's back tire and pulls it out of the path of the ambulance. It is a close call for the cab driver, however, his passenger the wealthy Roland Rayburn assures that sometime soon, Spider-Man is going to know his name. Changing into his civilian guise in a nearby alley, Peter Parker looks at his old high school. Seeing all the graffiti and the styles the students are wearing, he realizes that the place has changed a great deal since he last attended.[Continuity 1] Peter thinks this is a mistake, but still heads up to the school, because he was given a temporary teaching certificate from the principal.[Continuity 2]
As he arrives he witnesses a fight about to break out between the school jock Jake Dorman and Steven Petty. Peter steps in and breaks it up. He is shocked by how familiar the situation is, as it reminds him of all the times that Flash Thompson bullied him in high school. He splits the two boys and that's when Steve Petty recognizes who Peter Parker is. He is excited by this because he knows that Peter won the Central Queens Science Fair six years prior and had seen his trophy in the display case. Peter explains that he has been asked to substitute for a week, and skirts Steven's questions regarding his current career. Hearing that Steve was being bullied because Jake is a dumb jock, but tells Parker not to worry about it. Peter tells Steve they should talk about it and invites the teen to join him for lunch. Steve is excited at the prospect, promising to show Peter the lab he made in the basement of the school. When Peter finally reports to his classroom, he finds the students stand-offish and unhelpful and discovers that it is going to be a very long day.
Meanwhile, in the town of Santa Maria, located in a dictatorship in South America. The town has managed to avoid most of the tyranny of the past twenty years, but this is the day that all changes as this is the day where the notorious soldier known as El Araña has come to down. This ruthless man parks his jeep out front of a church. He then demands that the padre release a young man named Miguel Sanchez into his custody, as the boy has spoken against the regime running the country. The priest refuses to let him in, so El Araña forces his way in. He then orders his soldiers into the church to recover the boy. When Miguel is brought out, he continues to criticise the current government. In response, El Araña shoots the boy dead. He is then told by one of his soldiers that General Ramone wants to see him immediately. Before leaving, El Araña orders his soldiers to wipe out the entire town as a lesson to anyone who thinks about providing sanctuary to traitors in the future.
Back in America, the lunch bell finally rings at Midtown High, much to the relief of Peter Parker. Meeting up with Steve, Peter is shown around the school, and he is impressed by the computer lab. Steve explains that his father, a former employee of International Computing Machines, donated them to the school a few years prior as a public relations move. When Peter asks Steve what his father did for the company, Steve just says that his father wasn't a scientist, like Peter is. When Peter isn't looking, Steve closes a closet door, hiding a hulking form that is lurking in the shadows within. When Peter tries to set Steve straight on his "career" in science but the boy changes the subject to his work. He comments about how he and his fellow students studying electronics engineering are called Phreaks, after old-time hackers who used to hack the telephone system. Seeing some mechanical parts on a nearby table, Peter asks the boy what it is for. Steve explains that he is working on robotic limbs for paraplegics. Peter learns that Steve spends all his free time working in the lab, as he'd rather be here than anywhere else. Troubled, Peter tells Steve that it is important to make friends. relating to his own high school experience. Steve counters this by saying his father told him that he shouldn't depend on other people. Parker says the boy's father was wrong and if he gives people half a chance he could make friends, even with someone like Jake. This idea upsets Steve, who insists that he needs nobody and storms out before Peter can say anything else. Peter's cries for Steve to come back go unheard of, but he still believes that Steve could make friends if he tried.
At that moment in the lunch room, Jake's girlfriend Ronda calls Steve over to their table so Jake can apologize for his behavior. However, as Jake gets up, Steve's leg gets caught in the chair and he accidentally dumps his lunch tray on Jake's pants. Angered, Jake shoves Steve into a nearby pillar. The force of the shove knocks Steve's glasses off, sending them to the floor where they shatter. The two teens are about to come to blows once more, but Peter Parker intervenes once again. Furious at this interference, Steve tells Peter to butt out of his business, telling him that he will deal with Jake in his own way before storming off. Following after Steve, Peter tries to convince him to come out of the locked closet in his lab. Suddenly, Peter's spider-sense begins to go off. Just then, a massive robot comes smashing through the doorway and rockets past him. Catching a glimpse of the robot, he recognizes it as an upgraded version of the Living Brain, a robot created by ICM that he encountered in high school.[Continuity 3] Peter quickly makes the connection between ICM and Steve Petty and realizes what is going on.
Using a remote control device, Steve commands the Living Brain to go outside and attack the students out in the schoolyard. Spotting Jake and Ronda, Steve sends the robot after them. the pair tries to escape in a Driver's Education vehicle, but there are no keys inside. The Living Brain then flips the car over. When Jake tries to pull himself free the robot grabs him by the throat and begins choking him. That's when Spider-Man swings in and kicks the robot hard enough to free Jake. The wall-crawler then wraps up the robot in a chain-link fence and then ushers Jake and Ronda to safety while the Living Brain struggles to free itself. However, while Spider-Man is distracted, the Living Brain grabs him from behind. With the robot crushing his elbows, the web-slinger is at risk of blacking out. When the Brain tries to ram the hero into a wall, Spider-Man lifts his legs out, giving him the leverage he needs to spring back into the robot and break free from its grasp. Steve is furious to see that Spider-Man is interfering, remembering how the wall-crawler humiliated his father the last time he battled the Living Brain. By this point, Spider-Man is back on his feet trying to recover from the attack. Suddenly, the Living Brain whirls back to life reaches out and grabs his ankle.
The robot then tosses the wall-crawler through a window and into the school. Struggling to his feet, Spider-Man begins looking for a power source he can use to short-circuit the Living Brain. Spotting an elevator. Prying the doors open and climbing down the shaft. There he waits for the Living Brain to follow him down the shaft. When Steve directs the robot to strike at the hero, Spider-Man dodges out of the way causing the robot to slam his fist into an electrical box. The power surge shuts down the robot, leaving it a smoldering pile of slag. With the battle over, Spider-Man begins thinking about his next challenge: what to do about Steve Petty.
At that moment, in San Pablo, a helicopter carrying El Araña lands at a nearby military base. There El Araña meets with General Ramon. Ramon tells his soldier that he is going to be experimented upon by Doctor Karl Mendoza so he can be the successor of the state's costumed operative, the Tarantula. He is told that his mission will be to travel to the United States to track down dissidents who have fled to the United States for refuge. While back in Queens, the police are carting away the remains of the Living Brain and begin securing the scene.[Continuity 4] Inside the school, Peter goes looking for Steve calling out to him and trying to tell the boy that he can understand. However, his words are for nothing as there is no trace of Steve Petty anywhere.
Peter Parker discovers "You Can Go Home Again" when he returns to Mid-Town High as a substitute teacher only to run into the all-new Living Brain!
- Peter states he has been out of high school for six years. Peter graduated in Amazing Spider-Man #28. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 this story takes place near the end of "Year Seven" of the Modern Age. Per the scale, Peter had been out of high school roughly five years prior. Since it is so close to the timescale roll-over, Peter is likely rounding up here.
- Earlier in the story, Peter said that he took the job as a favor to his old principal. As identified in Amazing Spider-Man #4, Peter's principal during high school was Andrew Davis. Here he names a Principal Scott as being in charge of the school. One could assume that Davis was not the acting principal at the time, but still involved with the staffing at Midtown High in some capacity.
- Spider-Man previously clashed with the Living Brain in Amazing Spider-Man #8.
- Although the Living Brain is seemingly destroyed here, it, or at least a replica of the original model was later enlisted years later to assist Otto Octavius during a period of time he possessed the body of Peter Parker, as seen in Superior Spider-Man #1.
- The cover to this issue is an homage to the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #8.