Appearing in "The Twilight Heroes"

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Synopsis for "The Twilight Heroes"

Years Ago:[Continuity 1]

A planet explodes, sending debris across the universe. One piece came to the planet Earth, breaking in two as it entered the atmosphere. One half ended up in a junkyard in Smithville, Pennsylvania. The other half ends up crashing in a nearby farmers field.

One Year Ago:[Continuity 2]

Ludlow Grimes is toiling away, plowing his field by horse. Suddenly, his plow blade strikes a rock. Ludlow digs it out and suddenly feels strange, but dismisses it as getting too much sun. When his wife calls him back to the farmhouse for dinner, he simply tosses the rock away and heads in. Down at the homestead, Ludlow is greeted by his wife and children as they set the kitchen table. When Ludlow's wife tries to swat a fly, Grimes offers to do it for her. With a single swat, Ludlow not only kills the fly but smashes through the front door with his bare hands. Ludlow is confused by what happened, but his family is frightened. His wife now thinks her husband is a monster and tells him to get out.


Ludlow Grimes has smashed his way into the home of Fred Hopkins, who has just been outted as the Smithville Thunderbolt by Spider-Man and reporter Roxanne DeWinter. Ludlow pronounces himself the true Smithville Thunderbolt and intends to kill Hopkins. Spider-Man gets between the two men and tells Frank to flee. However, Hopkins can't bring himself to go, wishing there was something he could do, but doesn't feel confident as his powers are fading. Meanwhile, Roxanne DeWinter snaps photos of the battle, intent on getting the scoop on this story in order to advance her career and get out of Smithville. Eventually, the Smithville Thunderbolt loses his nerve and flees. Spider-Man continues to struggle with Ludlow, and tells Roxanne to get out as well. However, she refuses to leave until she is finished her roll of film. Spider-Man, manages to briefly stun Grimes and tells Roxanne to get a move on. She agrees and tells Spider-Man that she will call the cops after to drops her film off to be developed. The pair begins to fight again, but Ludlow gets frightened off by the sound of a police siren and flees the scene. With an officer banging on the door, Spider-Man takes his leave as well, wondering what he should do next.

Changing back to Peter Parker, the hero goes to the Smithville Gazette to try and stop Roxanne from developing the film. However, he arrives too late, as she has finished processing the photos. He tells her that he knows what happened and who Frank Hopkins is and pleads with her to destroy the pictures. He tries to convince her that this revelation will ruin Frank's life and he doesn't deserve it after all he has done for the community. Roxanne refuses to listen because she is still chasing fame and heads off to the printers with her photos. Meanwhile, Frank Hopkins has changed back into his civilian clothes and returns to his home. Talking to the police, he pretends to have no idea what happened at his home. After assuring the police that he isn't in any danger, he goes back into his home. There he pulls out his binder full of newspaper clippings of his exploits as the Thunderbolt. He laments on how he is a nobody without his powers, which are now fading. Knowing that Roxanne DeWinter will ruin his life with her exposé, he takes a gun out of his deskdrawer and briefly considers murdering her. However, he can't bring himself to take a human life and decides to find some other way.

Elsewhere, Ludlow travels through a nearby swamp, confident that nobody will find him here. Looking at his reflection in the water, Grimes begins to think back to the events of the past year. He remembers how his wife thought he was a monster since he got his powers and kicking him out of his own home. He went to the local church for guidance, but the priest insisted that his powers were the product of the devil and shunned him. Soon, a lynch mob was out searching for him forcing him to flee into the wilderness. For a whole year, Ludlow lived off the land. One day he happened upon a newspaper article about the Smithville Thunderbolt and became jealous how he was respected and treated as a hero with his powers. Grimes then came up with his plan to kill the Thunderbolt and take his place so that he could be considered a hero. This all brought him to Hopkin's home and his clash with Spider-Man. Later, as rain begins to fall over the town, Roxanne DeWinter drives the Smithville Gazette news van to the printers. Still intending to try and convince Roxanne to drop the story, Peter has changed back into Spider-Man and is hitching a ride on the roof of the van.

As they drive down a country road, they are spotted by a downed tree to block the road. When Roxanne is forced to stop, her car won't move and rocks begin to tumble down toward the road. As Spider-Man leaps into action, Roxanne tries to flee, only to be carried to safety by the Smithville Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, Spider-Man discovers that the rockslide was fake, another one of the Thunderbolt's fake rescues. Before the heroes can remove the tree, they are ambushed by Ludlow Grimes. As Roxanne slips into her van and tries to get away. However, when Spider-Man tosses Ludlow, it strikes the van knocking it over the side of the road and down a cliff. Seeing that the van is caught in some tree branches, the Thunderbolt overcomes his fears to climb down and try and save Roxanne. While Grimes and Spider-Man battle it out, Frank manages to save Roxanne, who is grateful that he had done so, even without his powers. By this point, Ludlow has knocked Spider-Man out and is annoyed to hear that Hopkins has no powers. Ludlow is about to lambaste Frank but sees how frightened he looks and realizes that they are the same. By the time Spider-Man recovers from Grimes' beating, the situation has defused itself.

The next day, the life of Ludlow Grimes takes a fortuitous turn, as he is enlisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Finally finding a place to belong, Ludlow is finally happy. After witnessing this, Peter Parker is about to head out, when he sees that Roxanne still published the story about the Thunderbolt's true identity. Furious, Peter goes down to the Gazette office and confronts DeWinter over this revelation. She still doesn't care as she is confident that this will boost her career. Suddenly, they hear a mob heading toward Hopkin's home, thinking it is a lynch mob, Peter rushes to see what he can do to stop them. However, much to his surprise, the townspeople have come to celebrate their local hero. Roxanne is about to gloat about how her story caused no harm she is suddenly silenced by the sound of a gunshot. Peter forces the front door open and discovers that Frank Hopkins committed suicide. Sadened by this turn of events, Peter Parker walks away without saying another word. Roxanne DeWinter, however, pulls a camera out of her handbag and takes a picture of Smithville's fallen hero.


Continuity Notes

  1. This story states that the flashback occurs 30 years ago. As established last issue, this apparently takes place in 1954. Marvel has yet to confirm if this should be considered a topical reference (in that it moves forward with the Sliding Timescale) or a factual one (in that these events are locked in 1954 and the Modern Age slides further and further away from this date.)
  2. Unlike the above flashback, this flashback is part of the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, it will always happen one year prior to this story.

Chronology Notes

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

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks

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