Peter gasped in shock as Harry Osborn, someone he thought dead, was standing over him very much alive
"Well," Harry said. "Are you going to take my hand or not?" It was then Peter realized Harry was extending his hand to help him up. "Geez, what are you thinking?" Harry asked as he quickly pulled Peter's mask back on. "You're out in the open!"
"I-I really don't know Harry," Peter answered. "I was heading home from Stark Solutions, let my mind wander, ended up here, and broke down to my anguish.* But I want some answers myself mister!" You died holding my hand in the ambulance!"** Harry gave Peter a look he missed so much from his old friend, the look of you know as well as I do.
"The Goblin Formula may have been too toxic for me at the time I took it,*** but it did still have the regenerative powers of my father's original formula."
"And let me guess," Peter interjected. "You went through the same find a similar body type, leave the country thing." Harry nodded his head.
"And I also, finally got that time I needed for myself and I've overcome all my fears I've ever had Pete," Harry added. "I'm complete now."
"That's great to hear pal!" Peter said as he shot a webline and took Harry in his arms. "So are you through with being the Goblin?" Harry paused and fear crept into Peter's chest. Harry saw this and laughed.
"Yes, Peter. I'm through with my father's tainted legacy."
"Good," Spider-Man said as he lifted himself and Harry into the air. "Now let's get back to my apartment so we can catch up. It's good to have someone to talk to again."
"Yeah," Harry said. "I'm having that exact same feelingâ€¦.."
*See last issue.
**See Spectacular Spider-Man #200
***See Spectacular Spider-Man #189
"Norman, Norman, Norman," Miles Warren chuckled to himself aloud in the confines of his car early the next morning. "Didn't you think I would have a surveillance feed in my lab?" Within Warren's Catskills laboratory was a timed pumpkin bomb left by a passing through Norman Osborn.* Let's see now...15 minutes until the bomb goes off, but only 5 minutes to download all my files and information to my new lab I just acquired! But now Norman going to be after me with a vengeance, and I have to stay one step ahead. And there's no way that I'm ready for him, he'd snap my neck as easily as Kaine did Doctor Octopus and the Grim Hunter. But thanks to his son Harry's return from the dead, that'll keep him distracted enough for me to regain my beloved Gwen, perfect my cloning process, kill Spider-Man, kill the Osborns and be happy again! Finally, I'll experience true joy again. My heart fills with just the thouâ€¦BEEP!
"Ah, the downloading is complete!" Warren's voice was filled with a sinister hint of irony only known to him. "Always one step ahead Norm, always one step ahead!" He then turned the car around and began to drive away just as the he hit the self-destruct button for his entire lab. As he drove away you could hear his maniacal laughter filling the air over the smoke and burning embers.
Crash! Norman Osborn's hand went through his glass display case in his Osborn Industries office.
"Mr. Osborn, is everything okay?!" asked his secretary Cynthia James as she threw his office door open.
"Ohâ€¦.yes, Ms. James. Everything is fine. I was just trying to reach one of my old trophies and it slipped. Could you be kind enough to get me some bandages from downstairs?" Norman said half politely, half annoyed.
"Be right back Mr. Osborn," James said as she took her leave quickly obviously noticing his annoyance. Warren escaped! He must've had a video camera in his lab! I should've known that. Now he's escaped and I have absolutely no bead on him and I'll never get my revenge on him. How could I fail? I should never fail! And I still don't know who this hacker is! I'm no Goblin, I'm a failure. Maybe I should jump out of this window, maybe I should... Norman's insane mental ramblings were cut short when he saw an article in the Daily Bugle that caught his eye.
"Clone of Gwen Stacy to speak today at conference at Stark Solutions." A slow evil smile crept upon the face of Norman. That's it! Warren will come to that conference looking to capture Gwen to perfect his cloning process! I'll nab him before he gets to her and might even be able to torture Peter by killing her right in front of him again since he's working for Stark Solutions now!
"Mr. Osborn, here's your bandage," Ms. James said timidly.
"Thank you very much Cynthia," Norman said genuinely. "And Cynthia?"
"Yes, Mr. Osborn?" James said with a hint of fear.
"I'm giving you a raise..."
Steven McCoy carefully surveyed his office one last time. Keys...check, coat...check, and I think that's it. Now to go pick up Miss Stacy from her apartment. McCoy then walked over to the window and flung it open. It's too hot in here though, by the time I return it should be more breathable. He then opened his door and left, locking it behind him.
That was close! Spider-Man thought to himself. Thank goodness McCoy left the window open. Now to check that journal... He sprung into the spacious office without a sound. Man, one of these days I'm gonna have to concentrate on work and get me a nice office like this! If I can ever give up the webs however... He then ambled over to the shelf where McCoy had placed Warren's journal. He leafed thru the pages quickly. The process...subjects...failure...success...Gwen Stacy...Gwen...himself... And with that Spidey reached the book's end.
"What?" he said aloud. "There's nothing about me at all? I'm almost disappointâ€¦" His words were broken as he heard a key being pushed into the office door. Why did I ignore my Spider-Sense? he wondered. He tried his best to leap out the window but was stopped by McCoy's voice.
"Spider-Man? What the hell are you doing in here?"
"Ahhhâ€¦" Spidey stuttered, "Would you believe I'm the cleaner?"
"Your wit does not humor me bug," McCoy replied. "I'm inferring you're here to get a look at Warren's journal since he obviously cloned you with that exact dupe that ran around here about a year back, right?"* Spider-Man was speechless and merely nodded his head.
"And you found nothing. Now if you'll please leave before I give J. Jonah Jameson the story he's been waiting for since you first showed up 9 years ago."
"Geez, no complimentary coffee?" Spidey asked as he shot a webline out the window. He then swung away. Good thing I came back when I did. McCoy thought. Mr. Stark would never forgive me if I lost that journal. He then picked up the address he had left behind and once again locked his office door behind him. But not before he locked the window.
*The Scarlet Spider, duh!
About 15 minutes later McCoy pulled his Mercedes in front of Gwen Stacy's apartment. She was standing on the sidewalk obviously a little perturbed.
"You're late McCoy," she said bluntly. "You're lucky I'm even doing this for you." McCoy heard her words but could do nothing but stare in awe. Gwen was still a very beautiful woman even for a clone. "Are you going to let me in or not?" she asked impatiently. McCoy returned from his daydream and quickly circled the Benz and let her in.
"Excuse me Miss Stacy, you know how New York traffic is."
"Yes I do, and excuse my attitude, I'm just a bit nervous about all of this," she replied.
"Of course," McCoy said. "It's not everyday you make history". She smiled at him and he wished she would do it forever. Imagine me, a man of science being awestruck by a woman. That hasn't happened since Mary died... He then put the car into gear and drove back into the smog that was the Manhattan traffic.
"So you're the head of scientists at Stark Solutions, huh?" Gwen asked.
"Yes, I never imagined Tony Stark would tap me to be the head of the new company but as luck would have it, he did." McCoy responded. "What do you do Miss Stacy?"
"Gwen please," she said in almost a purr. "I work as a secretary in my neighborhood at Hale And Dennison Law Offices."
"Sounds like it pays well." McCoy responded.
"It does, but I've always felt I was missing something. Maybe this will change that." she said with a bit of worry. McCoy took a glance at her as she turned her head to look out the window. I think it's best to leave her with her thoughts. G
Gwen looked at Steven out the corner of her eye just catching him glancing at her legs coming out of her miniskirt. It's nice to know you've still got it though. She smiled to herself and resumed her glancing.
Not far behind Gwen and Steven was another man dressed rather dapperly. Miles Warren drove his car through traffic with fierce determination. I cannot...will not lose my Gwen again! Once she sees me that should trigger her cloned implants that will erase all her memories previous of the night Spider-Man had to go and ruin my perfect scenario!* Then I'll have the answer I've searched for years! Then I can carry about my plans for the world! Warren then went back to concentrating on McCoy's Mercedes up ahead.
*See Web Of Spider-Man #125
Liz Osborn closed her president's office door at Osborn Chemicals quietly behind her as she sipped her first cup of coffee. She would not get that first drink down however.
"Hello Liz," came a voice Liz hadn't heard in over 2 years. She immediately dropped her coffee.
"Harry?!" she exclaimed, half frightful and half joyful.
"Yes, my dear," Harry said rising from Liz's chair. "It's me, no fakes, no clones, no hologramsâ€¦me." Liz ran over to him and embraced him.
"How Harry?" she asked. "I buried you." Harry then recounted the story he had told Mark, Normie and Peter. Liz looked at him and smiled.
"I've already seen Mark, Normie and Peter," he added. "Everything is going to be okay now." It was just then Liz snapped.
"Okay?!" she screamed. "How is everything okay?!" Harry was stunned. "You left me and Normie for 2 years Harry! You think you can just walk back into our lives just cause you had to find yourself? How did you get in here anyway?"
"I had a key and I got here early," he managed weakly.
"I can'tâ€¦won't allow you to do this Harry!" she hollered. "I understand you needed that time away but you should of told me! And I'm seeing somebody too! So you better be finding someplace to stay Harry cause you are not sleeping in MY bed tonight!" Harry's look of surprise had given into a look of acceptance.
"I understand Liz," he said swallowing hard. "I'll just be on my way then. Tell Normie I love him." He then reached for the doorknob.
"Harryâ€¦wait." Liz said at the last possible moment. She moved towards him and embraced him. "I'm glad you're alive, I'm glad your here, there's just so much that's changed. And don't think I'll stop you from seeing Normie, he needs you. And don't you think I don't love you anymore Harry, I've never stopped. I just need some time, you know?" Harry pulled away from her hug smiling.
"I understand Liz, I had no right," he said. "Now if you'll excuse me I have to go find Peter to see if he'll take me as a roommate again. I'll see you Liz."
"Bye Harry," Liz called after him. As she watched him go she knew she did the right thing. Then she heard a coffee cup shatter.
"Liz!" her secretary Susan screamed. "Did you see...I mean was that...oh my God..." her words trailed off as Liz put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Sit down Susie," she said with a sigh.
Peter glanced at his watch again as he finished jotting down the final notes of his latest experiment. I haven't had butterflies in my stomach like this since...the first time I asked Gwen on a date, my wedding day... His thoughts trailed off as he thought of Mary Jane once more. He quickly shut the thought out. I still can't believe Warren didn't say a word about cloning me in his journal. If Ben were alive, he'd be awful jealous. But with that problem out of the way I still have to track down Osborn. I'm still half hoping he has Mary Jane. He did it with Aunt May even though she died of natural causes a few months later.* Maybe just maybeâ€¦
"Peter!" came a voice Peter hadn't heard for a very long time. He turned as Gwen flung into his arms and embraced him.
"Gwen!" he responded. "How are you?"
"You two know each other?" McCoy asked surprised.
"I knew the real Gwen Stacy, she was my girlfriend in fact until the Green Goblin murdered her, so Gwen and I here have what you might call a symbiotic bond," Peter said.
"I see," Steven said almost showing his disappointment. "I do hate to interrupt, but Gwen I have to go over how this conference will go with you and Parker you have work to do." McCoy said sternly.
"I'll talk to you later Peter," Gwen called as she and McCoy walked into his office. One of these days, I'm gonna give you a good one McCoy... Peter thought with a sinister glee. Right across the...
"Hey Pete!" Peter was pulled out of his vicious thought by an approaching Harry Osborn. "Hey Pete," Harry says slyly. "I kind of need a place to stay and I was wondering if you could take me in for a while."
"Um...ahh...sure Harry," Peter managed somewhat convincingly. "That'll be great! But just for awhile right?"
"Of course, just till I get back on my feet," Harry answered.
"Then it's settled," said Peter as he offered his hand to Harry.
"Deal," Harry said as he shook Peter's hand firmly. "See ya later Pete." Harry said as he turned to leave.
"Wait Harry, Gwen's here and she'll probably want to see you!" Peter called after him.
"I'll be back before it's over, gimme a break," Harry said with a smile. He then exited out of the front door.
Peter glanced at his watch. Half an hour till showtime. I can't believe I just took Harry in just like that. I still have doubts that he's completely sane and what if it hinders my web-slinging? And how come I felt so attracted to Gwen after all these years and while in mourning? And what if Norman shows up trying to nab Gwen to call me out...no, I will not ever let that happen again. Matter of fact I better go slip my costume under my clothes. He then headed for the dressing room.
Meanwhile, outside, being passed by one Harry Osborn as we speak, is Miles Warren. Thank goodness Osborn didn't recognize me. That could've been trouble. Miles thought. Now all I'll have to do is wait for the right time and just appear in Gwen's vision. That will trigger her pre-programmed instructions to return to her husband Miles, without a whim, without a worry. Then and only then I will defeat Norman and Peter and succeed in my plans. He then stopped to go into a florist.
No sooner did Warren enter those doors did the sleek limousine of Norman Osborn go cruising by at a low speed. I know where you are Miles. thought Osborn. No more games, no more manipulation, no more cloning. It all ends hereâ€¦today. And the same to anyone who gets in my way. Norman then exited the limo and entered a coffee shop across the street from the florist.
Peter Parker finally emerged from the dressing rooms, carefully tucking in his shirt to hide his suit beneath. The first person he met was Gwen.
"Oh Peter, I'm nervous," she said taking his hand.
"Don't be, you do great," Peter said in an attempt to comfort her.
"Are you sure Mr. Parker?" Gwen asked with a mischievous smile.
"Positive," Peter said smiling but not feeling so uptight around Gwen as he has at first. "Now go," he ordered.
"Thanks Peter," Gwen said as she marched up the steps to McCoy and the just arriving Tony Stark.
Thank goodness that's over. he thought. Now to take my own advice. His roaming eyes caught J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson coming in.
"Parker, we're about ready to start so could you take your seat?" McCoy asked more in an order form than a question.
"Right-O boss," Peter said with dry sarcasm. He took his seat and watched as McCoy took his seat next to Gwen. Tony Stark then approached the podium.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen," he began. "As you all know we are here for a very important breakthrough in scientific research. Today we will speak to Miss Gwen Stacy, a living clone of the original Gwen Stacy, murdered 7 years ago by the Green Goblin." Outside of the front entrance, Miles Warren held his bouquet of roses tightly.
"Finally Gwen, we will reunited!" he said aloud. "Finally, I will achieve happiness! Finally I can get rid of all our enemies!" He looked at his watch and stepped inside. As he did that Norman Osborn exited the coffee shop and was right on Warren's heels.
"And now," McCoy finished his speech. "Miss Gwen Stacy." A round of applause went up around the auditorium as Gwen approached the podium.
"You'll have to forgive me, this is my first speech." she said nervously. She glanced at Peter who was busy writing notes, no acting like he was writing notes. He was looking at her out of the corner of his eyes. "And I'm a clone, a exact copy of someone else."
I'm proud of you Gwen. Peter thought to himself. This takes a lot of guts, but it's time Warren's successes be used for a greater good. I wonder if she'll want to come to MJ's funer...spider-sense! The sharp pain in the back of his head made Peter wince in pain as he whirled around his seat. He did not like who he saw: Miles Warren.
"I'll now field any questions you have," Gwen said with a smile as she wrapped up her speech. Then she saw him as the first question was asked. She was frozen for she couldn't believe it, for there was no way, and for he had roses?
"Miss Stacy? Miss Stacy? Miss Stacy?" the reporter asked with puzzlement.
"Oh, no I live a normal life. I just have all of the original Gwen's memories up until the day Warren cloned me." She said coming out of her daze. What's wrong with her? Miles asked himself. Why didn't the implant work? We should be in my car leaving by now! What could've went wrong? He backed his way towards the door. I'll have to achieve my goal some other way then. Then no one can stopâ€¦ He felt a strong hand grip his shoulder causing him to drop his flowers.
"Hello Warren," Norman Osborn said menacingly. "I think it's time we had a little chat." He turned for the door with Miles in hand only to be run into by Harry. "Harry!" Norman said shocked.
"Dad." Harry said with no sign of joy. Norman let go of Warren and took Harry outside the auditorium. He hugged him.
"Harry you're alive! My son alive! I knew you were stronger than what you showed."
"Yes dad, I am stronger than you thought. I'm not the wimp you always thought I was anymore." Harry said coldly.
"Now we can defeat all of our enemies together!" Norman said smiling.
"No." Harry said flatly. "I'm through carrying out your sick little legacy, I'm not the Goblin anymore. I'm not going to be your whipping boy and I'm not going to be your damn pawn!" Norman stood back speechless. His look of surprise turned into a stare of utter hatred.
"If you are not with me, you are against me," he said.
"Then so be it." Harry said as he turned and went into the auditorium. Norman then remembered Warren. He looked in the auditorium, no. Outside, no. Dammit! He escaped me again! But not for long. as a wicked smile came across his face.
"I want to thank you all for coming. Have a good afternoon!" Tony Stark said as the conference concluded.
"So how was I?" Gwen asked Peter.
"Great!" he responded.
"Sorry I missed it Gwen," Harry said.
"All that matters is you're here now." she consoled.
"So Pete are we all heading over to your place before MJ's funeral?" Harry asked.
"MJ's funeral?" Gwen said shocked.
"You didn't tell her Pete?" Harry asked.
"Didn't get the chance. Look why don't we all just head for my apartment? We all have some catching up to do." Peter suggested.
"Good idea," Gwen said obviously shook up. Harry led her out the door, but not before Peter slipped a minidot tracer onto her arm. I'm gonna need that tracer later, especially with Miles Warren and Norman Osborn showing up like they did today. he thought. The last thing I need is to lose Gwen all over again.
*Marvel Anthology Presents #9
NEXT ISSUE: Mary Jane's funeral, plus Spider-Man (sorry about his lacking presence this issue)! And what are Warren and Osborn's plans for Gorgeous Gwendy? Be here for part 3 of "Finality"! And email me some letters about what you think!