Harry Osborn was shaken violently out of his peaceful sleep. Silently, he was tucked under an arm and had the other hand covering his mouth. Within seconds they had went through Peter Parker's skylight and set upon the roof with a small thump.
"Why did you do it Harry?" Peter asked through clenched teeth. Harry sat up and looked at him bewildered.
"What are you talking about? I haven't done anything." Harry responded as he stood up. Peter looked ready to kill him. He had been so busy with rescuing Gwen Stacy and taking down the Jackal and Green Goblin to think about Harry's sudden return. And it hadn't hit him until he had chosen to visit his parents' graves after he left the other cemetery. *
*See last 4 issues - Spidey Tracker Kelen.
"My parents, why did you have constructs created of my parents, let me get close to them, then take them away? Why?!" * Peter was furious and Harry took a few steps back.
*See Amazing Spider Man vol. 1 #386-#388 for the "Lifetheft" story line and Spider-Man vol. 1 #45, Spectacular Spider-Man #211, Web of Spider-Man #112, and Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #389 for the "Pursuit" storyline. This is where it was revealed that Peter's recently returned parents were robots created by Chameleon and Harry Osborn. - Back Issue Knowledge Base Kelen.
"I thought I wanted you to feel the pain that I felt when my father 'died'." Harry gestured with 2 fingers on each hand. "I wasn't in my right mind then Peter, I've changed, haven't you noticed?" Peter's anger seemed to lower as thought about Harry's words.
"But how do I trust you again Harry, what if this is all an act?" Peter asked as he approached Harry. Harry stood his ground and offered his hand.
"I will prove to you that you can trust me, how I don't know how but when the time comes I'll know," Peter looked at the hand momentarily then eventually accepted it.
"I'm holding you to that too," Peter remarked. "Now let's go back in before…"
"Gwen wakes up?" they heard her call from below. "Too late for that, what are you guys doing up there anyway?" Harry dropped through the skylight first.
"Talking," he quickly answered and then headed back for the couch. Peter followed him down.
"How are you feeling?" he asked as he forced a smile.
"Better. I think I'll be going home today. What's on your agenda?" she asked as he tied Peter's robe around her tighter. Peter shrugged as they entered into the bedroom.
"Work, hear all about how Spider-Man broke into Stark Solutions the other night from McCoy, you know fun stuff," he answered as he webbed his clothes up and then started to change into his costume. "But I'll be in touch." Gwen noticed something was wrong with Peter however. I wonder what's nagging at him now? She started to head out of the room when Harry came and flung the door open.
"Come on you two, you've got to see this!"
"You are now seeing live shots of businessman Norman Osborn being taken into Ravencroft Maximum Security Prison. He has been sentenced to six months in jail for various acts as the Green Goblin as of late. He was arrested and arraigned last night with no trial after being captured along with Miles Warren by Spider-Man. Warren was in a hospital recovering from various injuries he suffered when he somehow managed to find a gun and ultimately kill himself…"
"What?!" Peter shouted at the television. "Warren killed himself?!" He was in total shock.
"Forget that Pete, didn't you hear? We put my dad away for 6 months! I say we celebrate, what time do you get off of work?" he asked Peter. But Peter was already pulling his mask down and heading out the skylight.
"I'm not in the mood for celebrating right now. You two have fun," He replied. Harry and Gwen looked at each other not knowing what to say next. And with a thwip, Spider-Man was gone.
The man had been waiting a long time for this. He sat atop a roof across the street from a warehouse he had been staking out since dawn. And now it looked as if his waiting would pay off.
A large, burly man exited first. He looked up and down the sidewalk, and then motioned for someone to follow. A smaller man obeyed and entered the waiting limo, his face hidden by a hat and glasses. Once he was inside, the large man again scanned the area and upon seeing nothing, joined the other man inside the vehicle. A few minutes later they pulled off, heading east. The man leapt off of the rooftop and alongside the warehouse. He held his staff close to his chest as he easily pried the boards from the closest window. As he glanced inside, he saw darkness. Deciding it was safe; he silently slid into the room just as a glow came from a far corner.
"I'm here," Cardiac said in a menacing tone. "Now tell me what it is you want." The other simply smiled wickedly at the vigilante, dropped their cat to the floor and crossed their arms.
"Why Cardiac, don't you know?" Jack O' Lantern asked as she came closer. "I'm simply out to do what I always want to do…kill Spider-Man."
Even as he assisted Steven McCoy with an experiment, Peter Parker's thoughts wandered. He could not keep his eyes off the Daily Bugle's headline: Osborn Sentenced; Warren Found Dead. How could he kill himself? It just doesn't seem right. All these years of torturing me, even beating death again, and he's just going to kill himself? I may have to look deeper into this…
"Parker?!" McCoy snapped bringing Peter back to reality. "I asked you how Gwen was doing," Peter rubbed his head and smiled a bit.
"She's doing much better than I thought she would, I'm just glad Spider-Man was able to save her," Peter replied. McCoy's expression showed disgust.
"Spider-Man, bah!" he took off his goggles and began to wash his hands. "All that goofball hero does is get in the way."
"What do you have against him Dr. McCoy?" Peter asked, remembering his encounter with McCoy as Spidey the other day. McCoy shrugged and started to leave the room.
"I just feel that the city doesn't need any colorful wannabe heroes running around, and I'm not particularly fond of spiders," With that he opened his office door and closed it after him. That just doesn't sound right McCoy; I might have to check into you as well. Glancing up at the clock, he decided to take his lunch break since his experiments would not conclude for a few more hours. One bathroom and quick change later, Spider-Man was heading for Ravencroft.
At that same moment within Ravencroft, Norman Osborn came to grips with his situation.
"Damn bug, wanna squash him, maim him, kill him!" he mumbled slamming his fists together. Then a smile came across the fiend's face as he looked out his cell window. "But he still doesn't know does he?" With the remark Norman fell back onto his cot to laugh hysterically for many minutes. Then a blank look over took Osborn's face as he sat up on his bed. "I expect him to visit me soon," Norman then picked up his book and went back to reading.
Every time I think my life will get a little easier, I get hit from all sides! Spidey thought as he swung high above Manhattan. I don't know whether I can trust my best friend Harry Osborn, Miles Warren is dead, Kaine is on the loose again, Norman is going to Ravencroft, and it doesn't end! But I have to know if Norman was involved with MJ's death, I have to know! He shot a webline to his right and began to swing towards his destination when screams could be heard below him. A twinge from his spider-sense told him to duck and roll to the right just as a tree trunk came flying behind him. "Look pal, I really don't feel like having to call Green Peace on you so, why don't you just lie down and take it easy?" Spider-Man quipped as he leaped before his opponent.
"You never change do you punk?" a gruff voice asked as he stepped closer. Spider-Man's spider-sense reacted a second before a powerful fist smashed a crater where he had been standing.
"I recognize that voice, but it's been so long," Spidey remarked as he evaded more blows from his unknown attacker. Upon being distracted by a woman's scream as the two broke into open section of Central Park, the attacker finally planted a few knuckles to the Spider, which was enough to send him down in a heap. The man laughed as he stood over Spidey.
"You've grown soft since our last encounter hero, for surely you know that Man Mountain Marko never stops getting stronger!" Spider-Man's pain vanished, as he couldn't hold in his laughter.
"You?!" Spidey yelled. "I've whipped you so many times, I've made S&M go out of style," he added as he promptly got to his feet. While Marko stood trying to figure out a good comeback, Spider-Man lashed out with a mean left hook across Marko's jaw. The gargantuan stood, rubbed his chin momentarily, then fell to the floor. "What did I tell you Marko?" Spidey asked as he webbed up his downed enemy. Marko smiled knowingly.
"It's not over yet web-slinger," he said as Spider-Man turned to look at the damage. No sooner did he turn his back, he was surprised by twin blasts of energy. Rolling back to his feet he could only put a hand to his head.
"Jack O' Lantern too?" he said. "What is this lame villain takeover day?" Mad Jack launched herself at Spidey and greeted his teeth with a sharp kick.
"Lame will be the last thing you will call me or my comrades Spider," she said as grabbed him by the front of his costume. "Understood?" In reply Spider-Man sent a sharp kick to her midsection and rolled away. Before Mad Jack could get to her feet Spider-Man had sent twin webs towards her, which Jack O' Lantern promptly disposed of. But while distracted Spidey manages to slip closer and plant a few sharp punches to the flaming dome of Mad Jack. Like Marko before her, she too falls into a heap.
"Like I said," Spider-Man said as he sent stingers into Mad Jack and Marko's legs. "You could've let me know I was going to have today off?" His joke was cut off by a beta power blast directly into his back. "Oh no…" Peter muttered to himself.
"It is time I extract vengeance upon you Spider-Man," Cardiac said as he readied his staff for another shot. "You are the true evil I have left unblemished. No more!" Another blast narrowly missed Spidey as he took to the surrounding trees.
"I knew it was only a matter of time before you crossed that thin line Cardiac," Spider-Man said as he ducked and rolled away from Cardiac's attacks. "Looks like I'm gonna have to bring you down…" He leapt over Cardiac's clumsy staff swing and connected with a right foot to the vigilante's chest. "…the hard way." He was then swept off his feet by a low sweep and soon had the staff pressing into his neck.
"You think this is a game Spider-Man?" Cardiac asked as the Spider struggled with him near a pond. "Stop struggling and accept your fate!" An elbow managed to give Spider-Man the breathing room he needed but he stumbled right into Man Mountain Marko's waiting arms. After applying a vicious bear hug to the web-wonder, Jack O' Lantern and Cardiac closed in on the downed hero.
"How does it feel knowing you're about to die?" Mad Jack asked as she closed in with a deadly gas. Marko had Spider-Man in a tight grip and he knew that he didn't have the several minutes he'd need to escape. It was then that Jack O' Lantern got a taste of Cardiac's power staff. "What do you think you're doing Cardiac?" she asked furiously as she blasted her wrist gauntlets at him.
"What would be the proper words I'm looking for?" Cardiac mused as his staff slammed into Mad Jack's midsection. A quick uppercut resulted in Jack O' Lantern falling to the grass unconscious. "Gotcha," Spider-Man executed a roundhouse that sent Marko spinning the opposite way, soon sharing Mad Jack's prone state. Spidey immediately turned to take on Cardiac.
"I don't know why you just turned on Jack O' Lantern and Marko like that, but this isn't over," Spider-Man stated. Cardiac did nothing but fold his arms.
"In order for me to find out any information on an individual I was tracking, I decided to go undercover with one of his associates in an attempt to learn his identity. But neither Beck nor Marko knew. You're involvement just gave me the proper incentive to take those two out." Spider-Man looked at Cardiac like he was crazy.
"You think I'm about to let you walk free just because you were only 'pretending' to be a bad guy? Get real," he said as he prepared to take on Cardiac once more.
"I had hoped it would not come to this," Cardiac whispered. He swung his staff, which Spidey quickly grabbed. Anticipating this, Cardiac's staff began emitting voltage, which promptly sent Spider-Man to the ground. "One of these days Spider-Man, you and I will have that talk you want to have so badly," he commented as he slipped away. It took Spidey a few minutes to recover from his shock and it was then that the church bells rang one o' clock. McCoy is gonna have my head. I better get these two into custody. As he left, the skies gained an ominous gloom.
Several hours later, Ravencroft. Norman Osborn had not removed his eyes from his book ever since he had begun reading it so many hours ago. But he knew he was coming.
"Norman," the voice came from outside his window. Norman did not look up.
"Yes?" he answered in a pleasant tone.
"Did you or Warren have anything to do with Mary Jane's death?" Spider-Man asked from outside in the pouring rain.
"Peter my boy, I had nothing to do with your precious wife's death. Warren did not either because I was tracking his activities from the moment he killed my daughter," Peter cringed when Norman referred to May as his own. "It was neither one of us,"
"And why should I believe you?" the Spider screamed through the howling winds. Norman chuckled a bit as he turned his page.
"As if you don't already know Peter," was Norman's only response. "By the way, when you see Harry, tell him that his father loves him."
The Soho apartment of Peter Parker. And one Harry Osborn. Although things between Harry and Peter had been great ever since his return, Harry could not get the thought out of his mind. I did have robots of his parents made and I tortured him with it! Why won't my father's legacy leave me be?! Gwen had returned to her own apartment a few hours ago and job hunting today hadn't gone well. Plus he and Liz weren't on great terms. Yep, it looks like a quiet night in for me tonight. It was then he heard a familiar thump come form the bathroom. Seconds later, Peter stuck his head out and looked at Harry.
"Why aren't you ready?" he asked. Harry looked surprised.
"Ready for what?" Harry asked curiously. Peter tossed him a towel.
"Get cleaned up, we're going out to celebrate!" Peter smiled, and then disappeared into his bedroom. Harry could only shake his head in wonder.
"What goes on in the head of yours Peter Parker? That's all I'd like to know,"
NEXT ISSUE: Venom returns! That's right, everyone's favorite symbiote is looking to do what he's always wanted. Kill Spider-Man! But what is a certain shield-slinging hero doing fighting him? And no it's not who you think!