Appearing in "Skin-Deep"
- Skinhead (First appearance)
- Nathan Lubensky
- Harry Osborn
- Daily Bugle Staff
- Emma Farrell (Only in flashback)
- Regina (MJ's Friend)
- Robert Farrell's sister (Only in flashback) (unnamed)
- Dennis (stockbroker) (Only appearance)
- Joe Robertson (Recap)
- Tombstone (Recap)
- Glory Grant (Recap)
- Eduardo Lobo (Recap)
- Thomas Fireheart (Photo)
- New York City
Synopsis for "Skin-Deep"
Peter Parker is working on a new web-fluid formula at Professor Edwin Swann's lab at Empire State University. The fluid makes a squishing sound instead of the trademark "thwip". Suddenly, the fluid begins to eat through the plexiglass that he sprayed upon it. This, like his last formula, turns out to be a dud.[Continuity 1] Suddenly, Peter's spider-sense goes off, and he quickly hides his work, leaving a flask of the new formula on a shelf. However, the warning isn't about someone about to walk in on him, but of some kind of commotion going on outside. Looking out the window, Peter is horrified to see a group of white supremacists burning a cross on the lawn of the quad to protest the opening of a Hall of Afro-American Studies. Peter quickly puts on his Spider-Man costume to get photos for the Daily Bugle and diffuse the scene before it gets violent. The leader of the skinheads is a young man with a Swastika tattoo on his cheek named Eddie the Cross. Eddie begins inflaming the witnesses with his racist rhetoric. Just as Spider-Man is arriving on the scene, he witnesses the Rocket Racer arriving on the scene.
Thinking that the Racer is going to get into trouble, Spider-Man tries to stop him. Eddie and his gang think Spider-Man is endorsing them and tells the wall-crawler that they will handle the Rocket Racer. However, Spider-Man explains that there will be no violence, wanting to stop it before someone gets hurt. However, the Rocket Racer is not willing to stand down while there are white supremacists on campus and mentally commands his rocket-powered skateboard to come to his aid. His spider-sense going off, the wall-crawler dodges the skateboard but has to let the Racer go to do so. This allows the Rocket Racer to attack Eddie the Cross, who begins to cower as soon as the tables start to turn. Recovering, Spider-Man stops the Racer from attacking the skinhead and pulls him away as the police arrive on the scene. As they arrest Eddie the Cross and his goon squad. One of the officers remembers Eddie when he was arrested at a Watchdogs rally. As he is being taken away, Eddie the Cross vows to get revenge against Spider-Man, considering him a race traitor because he helped out a black man.
Upon the rooftop, Spider-Man asks the Rocket Racer why he went after the Neo-Nazis so blindly. Robert explains that this day was supposed to be the best day of his life. Having reformed and deciding to go back to school, he brought his entire family with him on the day he registered to attend Empire State University. His mother was proud of Robert until their day was marred when the Farrell family were harassed by Eddie and his gang of skinheads. When Robert tried to defend his family he was swarmed by the gang. When others come to break up the fight, the skinheads fled the scene and Robert vowed to get back at them later as the Rocket Racer. Back at the apartment, he shared with his family, Robert recovered his Rocket Racer costume from his closet and went after Eddie and his friends. In the aftermath, the Rocket Racer realizes that he was just as hot-headed as when he was a criminal and isn't sure what he hates more, himself for the way he behaved or Eddie the Cross and his thugs. Spider-Man tells Robert to go easy on himself as people make mistakes. Spider-Man gets the Rocket Racer to promise to let the police deal with the problems, however, after Spider-Man leaves, Robert vows to do something if the police fail to do their job. On his way home, the web-slinger wonders why Eddie the Cross and his Neo-Nazis chose to protest at Empire State University but decides to put it out of his mind for the night.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane is out partying with some of her friends in the modeling industry. She asks them what direction she should take with her career.[Continuity 2] One of her friends suggests that Mary Jane audition for a role in a popular TV soap opera. Mary Jane actually begins to consider the idea of as a possibility. At that moment, Peter Parker has returned home to his Aunt May's house. Removing his Spider-Man mask, he notices that his bruises suffered during his battle with Tombstone are starting to fade.[Continuity 3] As he goes downstairs, he finds the place feels empty now that Mary Jane's cousin Kristy is in the hospital getting help for her eating disorder.[Continuity 4] The only person that is home is Nathan Lubenski. Asking Nathan if he wants to play Scrabble, but Nathan isn't up for it. In a depressive mood, he tells Peter that life is too short and he wishes May was home as everyone should spend as much time with their loved ones. Sitting on the couch, Peter glumly thinks about how he recently learned that Nathan is suffering from heart failure and his days are numbered.[Continuity 5] This gets Peter thinking of the death of his Uncle Ben years earlier since then he always figured his Aunt May was on the verge of death but she kept on going.[Continuity 6] Looking at the newspaper just makes him think of more of his recent problems. Particularly Joe Robertson's arrest and apparent demise fleeing prison with Tombstone,[Continuity 7] and how Glory Grant shot her lover, the mobster known as Eduardo Lobo when she was actually aiming to Spider-Man.[Continuity 8] He thinks about how these stories got front page news, while his Uncle Ben only had a mention in the obituaries.
Peter then receives a phone call from Harry Osborn, Harry has called to confirm if Peter and Mary Jane are still going to help the Osborns move into their new home. He also tells Peter that he has a surprise in store for them.[Continuity 9] Peter confirms that he will be there, and after he hangs up he is so exhausted that he falls asleep on the couch. When he wakes up in the morning he finds Mary Jane curled up with him on the couch. They are woken up by Aunt May who has prepared breakfast for the couple. Later, when Peter arrives at Empire State University the police is quelling another riot caused by Eddie the Cross and his gang. Among the people watching is Robert Farrel. When Peter goes up to him, he comments on how horrible the situation is. Farrel (unaware that he is talking to Spider-Man) says that the police are ineffectual and that someone should beat some sense into the skinheads. This doesn't bode well for Peter, to make matters worse, as Eddie and his friends are made to leave ESU, Peter is the only one who overhears them plotting to do something to the Building of Afro-American Studies.
That evening, Spider-Man arrives on the roof of the building to find the Rocket Racer staking the place out. He asks Robert what he plans to do, and learns that the Racer intends to beat them up then turn the mover to the police. However, the wall-crawler isn't certain that the Racer can exhibit that much restraint. As Spider-Man tries to talk him out of it, the entire building below them is rocked by an explosion. They witness as Eddie the Cross and his gang flee the burning building. The Rocket Racer chases after them with Spider-Man in tow. When the wall-crawler tries to convince him to not sink to the racists level. However, the Rocket Racer refuses to listen and tries to ward off the masked hero with a barrage of rockets. While Spider-Man is distracted, the Rocket Racer knocks out all the skinheads except for Eddie the Cross, who flees into the science building. Chasing Eddie into Professor Swann's lab, he is about to savagely beat the bigot when Spider-Man comes crashing in through the window. Trying to stop the Rocket Racer from harming Eddie, Spider-Man is too preoccupied to see Eddie grab the flask of experimental web-fluid. Before he can throw it at the two struggling men, the Rocket Racer shatters the flask with one of his rockets, showering Eddie with the acidic fluid.
Eddie screams as the fluid begins to burn through his flesh, much to the horror of both Spider-Man and the Rocket Racer. In a panic, the Racer flees the scene, with Spider-Man following after him, telling him not to leave until the police arrive. When he realizes that chasing Robert is futile, the wall-crawler returns to the lab and discovers that Eddie's body is gone. He sees puddles of liquified skin trailing out the door, but the trail soon dries up. This leaves Spider-Man with a bad falling about the whole situation. Later, at an abandoned junkyard in Long Island City, Eddie's gang returns to their hideout and finds a trail of the liquefied skin. Following it they are horrified to see Eddie, who is still alive. The webbing formula had burned off all of his skin. The skinless man then proclaims that he is no longer Eddie the Cross, calling himself Skinhead the White Redeemer. While the next day at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson has a meeting with his stockbroker who has just discovered who has been buying all of the Daily Bugle stock. The man in question is Thomas Fireheart, the CEO of Fireheart Industries. As far as the broker can tell, Fireheart is a friend of Spider-Man and intends to take control of the Bugle in an effort to destroy J. Jonah Jameson.[Continuity 10]
- Peter last modified his webbing in Amazing Spider-Man #320 in an attempt to make it more durable, but it was too strong and his web shooters couldn't cut it.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. Their marriage, years later, was 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. Mary Jane is looking for a new career direction following her abduction at the hands of Jonathan Caeser in Amazing Spider-Man #307–309. Even though Caeser was arrested, he has used his influence to ruin her modeling career.
- The bruises were inflicted by Tombstone in Spectacular Spider-Man #155.
- Peter and his family found out about Kristy's suffered from bulimia after she suffered a heart attack in Web of Spider-Man #53.
- Peter overheard that someone in the Parker house was dying of heart disease in Amazing Spider-Man #320, he thought it was Aunt May until she told him it was actually Nathan in the following issue.
- Peter's Uncle Ben was shot by a burglar back in Amazing Fantasy #15. At the time of this story, Uncle Ben was murdered roughly 8 years prior per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Joe Robertson was accused of accessory to murder for failing to report a murder committed by Tombstone decades earlier, as revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #139. He pleaded guilty and ended up in jail with Tombstone in Spectacular Spider-Man #150. Both appeared to perish when they fell out of a helicopter when Tombstone forced them to escape in Spectacular Spider-Man #155. However, they survived as revealed in following issue.
- Glory Grant started dating Eduardo Lobo in Spectacular Spider-Man #146. She accidentally shot and killed Eduardo trying to shoot Spider-Man last issue.
- Peter and Mary Jane come to help the Osborns in Spectacular Spider-Man #156. It is here where they are offered the apartment upstairs the Osborns loft in Soho.
- Thomas Fireheart has begun buying up all the Daily Bugle stock since returning to New York in Spectacular Spider-Man #154. This is in order to repay a debt to Spider-Man since their last encounter in Web of Spider-Man #50.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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