Appearing in "Dragon in the Dark"
- New York City
Synopsis for "Dragon in the Dark"
Atop the Empire State Building, Spider-Man looks down upon New York City. Thinking of his newfound powers, he just wants to help people but they have only made the public more afraid of him like he is some kind of monster, and he's not too certain if he isn't.[Continuity 1] As it begins to rain he shouts out to the heavens, asking whoever may be listening how he can maintain great responsibility when he has too much power. Fed up with these new cosmic powers, Spider-Man decides to quit, tossing his mask off the side of the building. As it so happens, the Wizard is passing by and has the good fortune of catching Spider-Man's mask as it flutters to the ground. Seeing the wall-crawler swinging away, he decides to take this to his fellow prime movers in the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy what they think about this latest development. When he meets with Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, Magneto, the Mandarin, and the Kingpin, they believe that it is a fake. The Wizard insists that this is the genuine article, saying he overheard Spider-Man complaining about having too much power. This does not sit well with the Kingpin, as he does not want his old foe to quit unless he was utterly destroyed. The Wizard suggests that they use the mask to track the masked hero. Doctor Doom finds this ridiculous and excuses himself to continue his own experiments, telling them that when they have something worthy of his attention to getting in touch with him. Their mysterious benefactor suspects that Doom is engaging in his own agenda.
The Wizard still insists his plan will work and shows them how they will track Spider-Man down, with the android known as Dragon Man. The Wizard explains that he upgraded Dragon Man and is certain that the creature can destroy the wall-crawler. With that, the mad scientist has the Dragon Man get Spider-Man's scent from her mask. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is back at his Soho apartment has taken a shower.[Continuity 2] Getting dressed he finds a note from his wife Mary Jane reminding him that they are meeting with her cousin Kristy for supper.[Continuity 3] On his way out, he runs into Liz Osborn and her son Normie, who are on their way home. He asks Peter if Mary Jane can come and watch Normie, and Peter is sure she'll agree. She notices that Peter looks a little down, but he brushes this off as being worn down from being busy. After Peter leaves, Liz thinks how she knows better after all the years she has known Peter she can tell when he is depressed about something.
At that moment, Dragon Man arrives on the roof of Parker's apartment, following Spider-Man's scent. However, when the creature finds no sign of its prey in the apartment it continues to follow the trail. Down in a nearby subway station, Peter Parker waits patiently for the train when suddenly his spider-sense goes off. Suddenly, Dragon Man comes crashing through the roof, forcing Peter to make a break for it down the subway tunnel. The android follows after him. As Dragon Man catches up, he breathes a stream of fire on Parker. Meanwhile, Doctor Doom has fully examined the portion of Spider-Man's cosmic powers that he siphoned from the robot TESS-One.[Continuity 4] The results are promising, and Doom figures that sooner or later he will steal the full power for himself. He is unaware that his boasts are being overheard by the prime mover's secret benefactor. He muses that Doctor Doom's will is as strong as his own, and hopes that this will not force him to destroy Doom. While at the Queens Medical Center, Mary Jane has met up with Kristy for dinner. After her time in the hospital, Kristy has finally admitted that she has an eating disorder.[Continuity 5] She opens up to Mary Jane that her eating disorder stemmed from her troubled family home. The pair begins to bond and repairs the rift between each other.[Continuity 6] Looking at the time, Mary Jane realizes that Peter is running late and hopes that he is okay.
While in the subway tunnels, Spider-Man has survived Dragon Man's flames and has changed into costume. He attacks the creature only to be engulfed again. Although his costume is completely burned away, the hero uses his powers to create a new costume out of stray molecules in the air. However, having to do this two times in a row has given him a headache and made him angry. As he resumes his attack on the hero, Spider-Man's spider-sense begins to go off again. This warns him of a subway train coming his way. Although he leaps out of the way, he can't stop Dragon Man from striking the vehicle. Quick thinking, he uses his mentally controlled webbing to cushion the subway train. When the android comes in for the attack again, the wall-crawler uses his powers to create a web-shield to protect the fleeing passengers. He makes the webbing durable to the flames. The web-slinger then waits until Dragon Man has exhausted his flames enough before attacking the creature again. He slams the creature up through the tunnel ceiling up onto the street. Spider-Man webs up the creature, and assures the startled people that after he drops Dragon Man off at the Vault, he is quitting heroics once and for all, and they won't have to fear him any longer.
Shockingly, the subway train survivors climb up onto the street and hail Spider-Man as a hero. Spider-Man is surprised to see everyone cheering him on, restoring his faith in the people of New York City. High above, the Wizard witnesses the defeat of Dragon Man and fears that his failure should turn his fellow conspirators against him. While back in Latveria, Doctor Doom has completed his experiments and is about to transfer the portion of Spider-Man's power into himself.[Continuity 7] Unfortunately, when he tries to extract the power from Tess-One's head, it causes his machine to explode. As he is being overheard by the prime mover's mysterious benefactor. He overhears Doctor Doom as he discovers that someone tampered with his machine and vows to get revenge once he finds out who it is. While at the Osborn residence, Liz answers the phone and tells the caller to not call again. When Harry asks who it was, she says it was someone trying to sell time-shares. However, she is lying as her step-brother Mark Raxton who has just been released from prison and wants to come home.
An Acts of Vengeance tie-in! "With too much power comes too much responsibility— I quit!" exclaims Spider-Man after suffering the hatred of a united New York society. But when the Wizard sends Dragon Man after Spidey, the web-spinner and society find themselves forced to re-think their decisions.
- ↑ Peter gained the power of Captain Universe in The Spectacular Spider-Man #158.
- ↑ The narrative states that Peter and Mary Jane had recently moved into this loft apartment because it is owned by their friend Harry Osborn. They were offered the apartment in The Spectacular Spider-Man #156. Prior to that, they had been living with Peter's Aunt May since they were evicted from their condo in Amazing Spider-Man #314.
- ↑ Peter and Mary Jane are identified as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage was erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545.
- ↑ Doctor Doom sent TESS-One after Spider-Man in The Spectacular Spider-Man #160.
- ↑ Kristy is a recovering bulimic, her condition known in Web of Spider-Man #53.
- ↑ Kristy's parents practically disowned her before Mary Jane's eyes in Web of Spider-Man #58.
- ↑ Doom recounts how this process is much like the time he stole the Silver Surfer's powers. That happened back in Fantastic Four #56-61.
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