Spider-Man: Crawl Space #1 “New Ways to Live” Written by Kevin Cushing Excerpt by J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, and various Pencils, inks, and letters by Ted Brandt Colors by Brandon DP
*This story takes place 2 months after Amazing Spider-Man #567, replacing #568 and upwards.
Panel 1: From above we see Peter and Mary Jane sitting across from each other at an outside table of a small coffee shop. They are smiling and happy, talking like it’s old times. PETER & MJ (burst): Hahahaha!
Panel 2: We’re closer in on them now, looking from the side as they’ve absent mindedly taken hold of each other’s hands. PETER: Ya know MJ, when we get together like this, I have a hard time remembering why we ever split up in the first place. MJ (whispering): Because we had to…
Panel 3: MJ looks a little sad, and is withdrawing her hand. PETER: What was that? MJ: Nothing. What about that girl you’ve been seeing? Carlie? PETER: Carlie’s nice. We’ve been on a few dates, nothing serious. And to be honest, it’s not her I’m thinking about when I’m with her.
Panel 4: Now Peter’s looking a bit despondent, but MJ is trying to put on a happy-go-lucky act. MJ: Come on tiger, you always manage to get the girl everybody else wants. Isn’t your roommate still mooning over her? PETER: Well Vin…Vin’s not doing so well these days. His father died a couple weeks ago and he’s taking it pretty hard. I’ve tried to be there for him, but he doesn’t wanna be helped. He’s just angry. He’s having a hard time accepting it.
Panel 5: Small panel focusing on MJ, looking to the side and whispering to herself sadly. MJ (whispering): Reminds me of somebody…
Panel 1: MJ is looking across the street, and looking from behind her we can just make out the form of Aunt May outside a little flower shop. MJ: Look Pete, isn’t that Aunt May?
Panel 2: Peter is waving and calling across the street. PETER: Hey foxy lady, come on over and say hi!
Panel 3: Focusing on Aunt May, who can see Peter and MJ, but wasn’t going to intrude. She is smiling that sweet old lady smile of hers and waving back. AUNT MAY: Peter’s such a sweet boy, but I wish he would get his head out of his behind and worry about his own happiness instead of me once in awhile.
Panel 4: Small panel from above and behind of Aunt May walking across the street.
Panel 5: The same, but now we’re looking at her through the crosshairs of a sniper scope.
Panel 1: Full page. Aunt May, in the middle of the street, has been shot through the heart. We can still see the bullet, flying toward the ground as it was shot in a sharp vertical angle. Aunt May is just beginning to fall, her eyes rolling back in her head.
Panel 1: Peter and MJ are darting up, shocked. Peter is already leaping over the table beside them. PETER (burst): Aunt May!!!
Panel 2: On a rooftop across the street we see Killshot, still looking through the scope of the sniper rifle he’s holding. KILLSHOT: Heh, kill shot.
Panel 3: We are looking through the scope again, and seeing Peter looking directly up at Killshot. Still in motion, he’s tossing a manhole cover he’s just picked up.
Panel 4: Killshot has dropped the rifle and is turning to run. KILLSHOT: Oh $&%^!
Panel 5: The manhole cover is hitting Killshot in the back, turned flat so as to distribute the impact and knock him out instead of killing him. KILLSHOT (burst): Oof!
Panel 1: Peter is sliding in right under Aunt May, moving his arm to hold up her head. MJ is right behind, almost to them.
Panel 2: Peter is sitting in the middle of the street cradling Aunt May, and MJ is standing over them with her hand on Peter’s shoulder. PETER: Hold on Aunt May, hold on, we’re going to get you help, just hold on. AUNT MAY: No Peter…
Panel 3: Focusing on Aunt May, who is looking straight up, seemingly at a light no one else can see. Her eyes are barely open, but she is smiling. AUNT MAY: It’s time…this is the way…it was supposed to be. I remember now…don’t fight it again…let me be with my Ben.
Panel 4: Aunt May’s hand is on Peter’s face, earnest. AUNT MAY: Get free of him…and live your life…I’ve already lived mine.
Panel 1: May’s eyes are closed, her hand is fallen, she lies dead in Peter’s arms. MJ stands crying behind him.
Panel 2: Peter clutches Aunt May to him, crying and screaming. PETER (burst): Noooooooooooooo!!!!
Panel 3: A bright red light has appeared around Peter’s hands on May and MJ’s hand on Peter, with a little red line connecting the three.
Panel 4: Peter is suddenly looking up with his eyes open, the red light now glowing from his eyes. PETER (burst): Aaahh!!
Panel 1: Full page. In the center we see Peter with the red light in his eyes, in the same position as before. All around him is a swirling collage of his memories that he’s seeing for the “first” time. We see images of his wedding, quiet nights with MJ, his unmasking on TV, Aunt May being shot the first time, and Mephisto.
Panel 1: We’re back on the street now, with Peter coming out of the vision, stunned. PETER: Gah!
Panel 2: MJ is over Peter’s shoulder looking concerned. MJ: Peter, what is it? PETER: I – I’m not sure what that was. It’s like I knew something for a second, but now it’s gone.
Panel 3: MJ is leaning in, Peter’s head is back down looking at his dead aunt. MJ: Peter – PETER: MJ, you call an ambulance to get her out of here.
Panel 4: Close on Peter’s face, furious. PETER: I’ve gotta go take care of a guy on a roof.
Panel 1: The apartment of Vin Gonzales and Peter Parker. Vin is kneeling in the middle of the living room floor, his arms raised up, fury on his face. VIN: Do you hear me?! Does anybody hear me?!?! I’ll do anything!!!
Panel 2: A red mist is overtaking the room, with Vin still in the same position at the center of it.
Panel 3: Solidified now in the mist is Mephisto with a smile on his face, and Vin pulling his arms down to stare at him. MEPHISTO: Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name. Ha! Christ I love that song!
Panel 4: Vin just stares and Mephisto stands amused with himself. MEPHISTO: Sorry, sorry. Is what’s puzzling you the nature of my game? Hehehehehe. Heh. Ok, I’m done. So you want to make a deal, do you?
Panel 5: Vin is trying to screw up his courage and pretend he’s not scared. VIN: Y-yeah. I want you to give me my father back. I’ll give you my soul, I don’t care. MEPHISTO (whispering): Every cop is a criminal, I love it.
Panel 6: Vin is getting angry at being ignored. VIN: %&$^ you and your jokes! Do you want my soul or not?
Panel 1: Mephisto has a mockingly hurt look on his face. MEPHISTO: Why does everyone think I want their soul? Did I really do it that often? Can’t a demon diversify to keep up with changing times?
Panel 2: Vin is screaming, furious. VIN (burst): Then what the &%^$ do you want?! MEPHISTO: I want your body.
Panel 3: Beat panel. Vin and Mephisto just stare at each other.
Panel 4: Mephisto has his arms spread for a grand explanation. MEPHISTO: Let me rephrase that. Something just happened not too far from here that’s going to cause me some problems. I need an agent on Earth to, sort of, be my representative. VIN: What, you want to make me the new Ghost Rider?
Panel 5: Mephisto is smiling again. MEPHISTO: Hahaha, no no no, I’ve had too many Spirits of Vengeance come back to bite me in the ass. You’re going to relinquish control of your body whenever I choose to a very loyal agent of mine. You’re going to be my Death Rider. VIN: And then you’ll give me my father? MEPHISTO: And then I’ll give you your father.
Panel 1: The rooftop from which May was shot. Peter has Killshot up against a large chimneystack, still unconscious. PETER (burst): Wake up!
Panel 2: Peter is smacking Killshot across the face, and Killshot’s eyes are open, as this has woken him up.
Panel 3: Peter is slamming Killshot against the chimney. PETER: Who hired you?! Who?!
Panel 4: Killshot is genuinely scared, begging for his life. KILLSHOT: I don’t know man, I swear! Some guy with no face came to me with an envelope full of money and a target; he said his employer wanted her dead. That’s all I know! That’s all I know!!
Panel 5: Peter looks confused. PETER: You mean – you weren’t hired to kill me? KILLSHOT: Dude, they call me Killshot because I kill who I mean to. If I’d been hired to kill you, you’d be dead.
Panel 6: Thin wide panel pulling upwards, away from the scene, establishing its end.
Panel 1: Wide panel overhead the street where May was shot. Peter stands in the middle of all the commotion, and MJ has her arms around him. They are the only thing still in the middle of a flurry of motion. Aunt May is being put in a body bag and the police are leading Killshot away in handcuffs.
Panel 2: Close up on Peter and MJ’s faces from the side, lying over one another’s shoulders as they are in a tight embrace. MJ looks grief stricken, while Peter looks so angry he could lose it at any moment.
Panel 3: Peter is pulling MJ away, his hands on her arms, facing her now. PETER: I’m sorry, MJ. I have to go.
Panel 4: Small panel of Peter’s angry face, half covered by an image of his black mask. PETER: I need to get a change of clothes.
Panel 5: As Peter has turned to go, MJ is grabbing him by the arm to stop him. MJ: No. Not again. This is not going to happen again!
Panel 6: Peter, now looking concerned, has turned back to her. PETER: MJ, what are you talking about? What do you mean again? MJ: … We need to talk.
Panel 1: Wide, thin panel across the top of the page. The apartment of Peter Parker and Vin Gonzales, now empty of Vin and his demonic companion. Peter and MJ sit on the couch in the middle of the living room, hands together; Peter is looking worriedly at MJ while she is just staring at their hands. CAPTION: You close your eyes and kiss your hand then you blow it. But it isn't meant for me, and I notice. If the choice was ours alone, Then why'd we both choose letting go? Does it end like this?
Panel 2: Same. MJ: This happened once before.
Panel 3: 2/3 of the page. We see a collage of scenes from Civil War and Back in Black. Aunt May getting shot, Peter putting on his black costume, Spider-Man stalking a thug in the sewer, and Spider-Man with his hand raised to the Kingpin’s throat. MJ CAP: “Aunt May was shot by a sniper, she was in critical condition. MJ CAP: “You put on your black costume to scare whoever’d done it. MJ CAP: “And after you tracked down the shooter, you found out it was the Kingpin that ordered the hit. MJ CAP: “And Peter, you nearly killed him. And you told him you’d finish the job if she died.”
Panel 1: MJ’s head is still down, not wanting to look into Peter’s eyes as she speaks. Peter looks at her in total confusion. PETER: What – are you talking about? MJ: Just…just wait. Ok, I know it’s weird and I know you don’t remember. I’m gonna get to that part. I just…I need to get something off my chest first.
Panel 2: MJ has risen from her seat, facing away from Peter as he just stares on in wonderment. MJ: You know what the worst part of all that was? You’d think maybe it was to see you like that, to see you in a place where you’re threatening to kill a man – and meaning it. Or maybe that it was worrying about May. But it wasn’t.
Panel 3: MJ has turned back to Peter in tears, pointing her finger at him. MJ: The worst part was that you left me. You were so damn single minded that you left me alone to deal with all that by myself!
Panel 4: MJ has sat back down, tears streaming down her face. Peter is tentatively trying to be comforting, but too confused. CAP: Time never had a chance to heal your heart Just a number always counting down to a new start
Panel 5: Peter has his arms around MJ, who has let her head rest on his shoulder. PETER: MJ, I – I don’t know what we’re doing here. MJ: I know, I know. I just…needed to say that to somebody. Ok, I’m getting to it.
Panel 1: Very thin panel across the top of the page. MJ is still in Peter’s arms, he is stroking her hair now. CAP: If you always knew the truth Then the world would spin around you MJ: Aunt May was about to die.
Panel 2: 3/4 of the page. A collage showing the events of One More Day. We see Peter webbing up Iron Man, pleading with Doctor Strange, standing over Aunt May’s hospital bed, and finally talking to Mephisto. MJ CAP: “You went to everybody, tried everything. But nobody in this world could help her. MJ CAP: “That’s when he came in. Mephisto. MJ CAP: “He said he could save her, and what he wanted in return was our marriage. MJ CAP: “And we said yes. You were so lost, I knew you’d never forgive me if we let her die.”
Panel 3: Very thin panel across the bottom of the page. The shot is pulled upwards, with MJ broken down in Peter’s arms. CAP: Are you dizzy yet?
Panel 1: MJ has sat back up, motioning with her hands, animated. Peter just stares at her. MJ: But God, Peter, I woke up in this nightmare. I remember you leaving me at the alter, I remember it. You were living in your Aunt’s demolished house like you were a teenager again, Harry Osborn’s walking around like he’s alive, Aunt May doesn’t remember anything important, and you…you looked more lost than ever!
Panel 2: MJ is sobbing and Peter doesn’t know what to think. PETER: MJ, listen to yourself. I made a deal with the devil? I did? Does that sound like me? Aunt May’s house was demolished? And what do you mean Harry’s walking around like he’s alive? He is alive, MJ, I saw him last night! You said he took our marriage? We were married? And my black costume? Wh-who do you think I am?
Panel 3: MJ is standing again, walking away, one hand up to her temple. MJ: I’ve had this conversation with you a million times in my head and I’ve never managed to get it right. How do you tell someone the world’s wrong, but you’re the only one who remembers it? PETER: If this was all true, why would you remember?
Panel 4: Close up panel on MJ’s stricken face. MJ: Because that’s what I offered him in return for your happiness.
Panel 1: This entire page is a cut scene from Amazing Spider-Man #545, Page 13 panel 5 and Page 14 panels 1-4. That art should be referenced for specifics. This is a wide panel, focusing on MJ yelling at Mephisto as Peter holds her arm. MJ: The answer is yes, you monster! PETER: MJ, wait! MEPHISTO: How…expected. Well then, we should – MJ: We’re not done yet!
Panel 2: MJ leans up toward Mephisto, pulling away from Peter. MJ (whispering): You’re going to put his life back just as it was. You’re going to give him a chance at happiness. MEPHISTO (whispering): And why should I do that?
Panel 3: Close up on MJ’s face as she whispers in Mephisto’s ear, a tear streaming down her cheek. MJ: Because of what I can offer you. MEPHISTO: And what, pray tell, might that be?
Panel 4: Wide panel. We see from behind Peter’s head as MJ is whispering to Mephisto. PETER: MJ? MJ (whispering): My eternal torment from remembering everything. And you know I won’t break the deal because May’s life would be forfeit.
Panel 5: Wide panel from behind Mephisto’s head as MJ holds Peter’s face in her hands. PETER: MJ, what did you – MJ: Isn’t time to – SFX: BONG!
Panel 1: Back in the present, MJ is sitting next to Peter, this time looking in his eyes, holding his hand tenderly. MJ: Peter, you’re the love of my life. You’re my husband, and you always will be. We just made a bad choice, and now nobody remembers it.
Panel 2: This is a reprinting of Page 6 panel 3. MJ CAP: And I know you felt what I felt when May died. I saw it. This world is wrong and it’s time to do something about it.
Panel 3: Peter looks very pensive as MJ is still holding his hands. PETER: I – I did feel it. And I don’t remember what I saw, but – everything you’re saying sounds…familiar. I just can’t –
Panel 4: Peter looks up at her, more resolved. PETER: But you’re Mary Jane Watson, and if you say it’s true then I believe you. Do you know what we have to do?
Panel 5: Close in on MJ, smiling. MJ: I know someone who owes you a favor.
Panel 1: The setting is hell. Vin Gonzales is chained to a rock wall, and Mephisto is standing in front of him holding a ceremonial knife. He is looking upwards at nothing we can see. MEPHISTO: $&%^. I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to that %&^$ing memory clause. VIN: What the hell are you doing?!
Panel 2: Mephisto has turned his attention to Vin, annoyed. MEPHISTO: Shut up you insignificant cow. You’ve already made your deal; I don’t have to be nice to you anymore.
Panel 3: Mephisto is now starting to cut symbols into Vin’s flesh and Vin screams in pain. VIN (burst): Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh! MEPHISTO: You’re going to play host to an amazing thing, you little parasite. The Death Rider has been with me since the beginning. Loyal, unlike the moronic jackasses I’ve used in some other deals.
Panel 4: Mephisto is still carving, working around Vin’s chest. VIN: Aaaaaaaaaahh, gah, aaaahh!! MEPHISTO: You’ll be Death on a pale horse, chopping down the innocent with a sword.
Panel 5: Mephisto has pulled the knife away, examining his work so far. Vin hangs there with a pained look on his face. VIN: You’re – you’re making me into - one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse? MEPHISTO: God no, but where’s it written I can’t use some classic *$&%-your-pants imagery?
Panel 1: Peter and MJ are sitting next to each other on an airplane. They’re looking straight forward, a little awkward.
Panel 2: Peter has turned to whisper to MJ. PETER: This is killing me, I’ve gotta ask you something. I’m gonna go to the bathroom, meet me there in 5 minutes and try to be stealthy.
Panel 3: Peter is standing in the small airplane bathroom by himself, leaning back against the sink, looking up. PETER: Hey God? It’s Peter Parker. I don’t know if you remember me, and if what MJ says is true, you’re probably pretty much done with me by now. I don’t remember doing it and I can’t imagine doing it, but…
Panel 4: Beat panel, Peter is looking down at the ground.
Panel 5: Peter is looking up again. PETER: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. If Mary Jane Watson says it, I know it’s the truth. And I am so sorry. Please don’t let Mary Jane suffer for my mistakes. I make so many of them, and she was always my anchor.
Panel 6: Peter is has his head upright, and his hand is up to his eyes to wipe away a tear. PETER: Please bless Mary Jane Watson. I don’t care what happens to me, but don’t punish her. Any blessings you’re thinking about sending my way for the rest of my life, just give them to her.
Panel 1: The bathroom door is partially open, and we see MJ sneaking in. MJ: Peter? Are you talking to someone?
Panel 2: Peter is wiping off his eyes as MJ is turned to close the door. PETER: No, I just – talking to myself. MJ: What did you want to ask me?
Panel 3: Peter has MJ’s back up against the door, kissing her. She looks surprised.
Panel 4: MJ has her arms around him, she is returning the kiss.
Panel 5: Peter has pulled away slightly, his eyes still closed, savoring the moment. MJ is smiling playfully, joking. MJ: Tiger, we are not going to join the mile high club in here.
Panel 1: Same position, Peter is chuckling. PETER: Heh, no Ms. Watson, I wouldn’t dream of it.
Panel 2: Peter is looking Mary Jane in the eyes. PETER: When that happens again, it’ll be perfect, just like you deserve. I would never even imagine anything less for you.
Panel 3: Peter has his face buried in MJ’s shoulder, taking comfort. PETER: I’m so – I’m so sorry MJ. I can’t believe I – I just don’t know what to – MJ: Shh. It’s ok baby, it’s ok. Shh.
Panel 4: MJ has her hands around Peter’s face, raised up to meet her eyes. MJ: I love you, Peter Parker. We’ve both made some horrible mistakes, but there is nothing in the world that could ever lessen my love for you. Even if you weren’t my hero, I couldn’t help but love your compassion, your generosity, your kindness, your empathy, your soul.
Panel 5: Peter is crying, MJ’s hands are wiping away his tears. PETER: I’ve missed you so much. ‘I love you’ isn’t even good enough. I adore you, MJ. My world turns around you.
Panel 6: Small panel, pulling out to show them from above in a tight embrace.
Panel 1: From above, we see Peter and MJ in a little red convertible (top down) driving down vast, open dirt roads. MJ is driving. PETER: Did you know when you brought me out here that there are absolutely no tall buildings in rural Oklahoma? MJ: Yes. PETER: And this is where you decided to bring the Astounding Spider-Man?
Panel 2: Closer up on the two. MJ is smiling while Peter lounges back, looking up at the sky. MJ: Astounding? That the new adjective we’re going with? PETER: I just meant that now that you know I’m Spider-Man, I thought you might find a place with some nice skyscrapers or something.
Panel 3: MJ has turned slightly to Peter, one eye still on the road. MJ: First, I didn’t pick the place. This is where he lives. Second, I’ve always known you were Spider-Man. I’ve known for as long as you’ve been Spider-Man. PETER: See that’s just not fair…
Panel 4: Peter is looking straight ahead, obviously looking at something, as MJ has turned her eyes totally off the road. MJ: Hey, don’t blame me; I’m not the one who crawled out my own bedroom window in my Spidey costume. Peter: MJ, stop the car.
Panel 5: Thin, wide panel focusing on the wheels of the car as they are screeching to a halt. SFX: SCREEEEEEEEE
Panel 1: Half page panel. We see, from behind Peter and MJ’s heads, Vin Gonzales right in front of the car. He is sideways to the car, sitting on top of a pale, white, almost sickly looking horse. He is looking down in sadness.
Panel 2: Peter is stepping halfway out of the car; we see them all from the side. PETER: Stay in the car.
Panel 3: Peter is walking towards Vin and the horse. PETER: Vin, what’s going on? What are you doing out here?
Panel 1: Vin is bringing the horse around to meet Peter. VIN: I’m sorry for all I put you through as Spider-Man. I didn’t know it was you Pete. I – I would have been a better friend.
Panel 2: Peter looks shocked as he looks up at Vin, now right in front of him, facing him, but still not looking at him out of shame. VIN: I’m sorry you made the same mistake I did, making a deal with him.
Panel 3: Close on Vin’s face again, almost in anguish. VIN: But mostly I’m sorry for what I’m about to do to you. I can already feel him taking over. It’s just a matter of seconds now. And you won’t be able to stop him.
Panel 4: Peter is very confused, actually worried for his friend now. PETER: Vin, what do you - ?
Panel 5: Wide panel across the bottom of the page. Close on Vin’s face as he is finally looking right at Peter, screaming. Flames are beginning to form around his face. VIN (burst): Ruuuuuuuuun!!!!!!
Panel 1: We see Vin’s full body as his clothes change to a black robe. His head and hands are on fire.
Panel 2: Close on Vin’s hands as they are turning skeletal, fully aflame.
Panel 3: Close on Vin’s horse as it is not on fire, but turning into flame, with wings sprouting from either side.
Panel 4: Close on Vin’s head as his face is burning away to reveal his skull.
Panel 5: Close on Vin’s right, skeletal hand as a flaming sword extends from it, forming from nothing.
Panel 1: Full page. Vin has completely transformed into the Death Rider, a flaming skeleton in a loose black robe with a flaming sword, riding a winged horse made of fire. He is flying through the air towards Peter, whose head and upper torso we can see at the bottom of the panel, running the other way. DEATH RIDER (burst): Run for your life!
Panel 1: We see Peter running as fast as he can. PETER: OhGodohGodohGod. Can’t get on his level because there are no buildings around to web onto. Can’t web onto him because he’s on freaking fire.
Panel 2: Peter is slowing and beginning to turn. PETER: I’m fast, I’m agile, I’m strong, I’m smart, and all that means precisely jack if the horseman of death is flying at me on a flaming unicorn in the middle of the desert.
Panel 3: Peter has fully turned, stopped in place, and crouched a bit, with a determined look on his face. PETER: This is absolutely the stupidest thing I have ever tried.
Panel 4: As the Death Rider flies right over him, Peter is extending his body back (limbo style) to pass under him without getting hit.
Panel 5: In the same position, with the Death Rider having passed, Peter is shooting a web out behind him. SFX: THWIP
Panel 1: Close up on the Death Rider’s back, the one part of his body not engulfed in flame, as Peter’s webline is attaching onto it.
Panel 2: Close on the middle of the webline as it goes tensile.
Panel 3: Wide shot covering the Death Rider still flying the other way as Peter is being lifted off the ground by his webline.
Panel 4: The webline is no longer tensile, springing back the other way. We see Peter flying towards the Death Rider, with his feet extended forward.
Panel 1: Large panel of Peter’s feet making contact with the Death Rider’s back, and the Death Rider beginning to be knocked forward. DEATH RIDER (burst): Gaaahhk!
Panel 2: The Death Rider has fallen off his horse, about to make contact with the ground (though he’s poised to land on his feet) and Peter is close behind him, flying through the air with his fist pulled up behind him.
Panel 3: Small panel focusing on the Death Rider’s feet landing perfectly steady on the ground.
Panel 4: Peter’s fist is making contact with the back of the Death Rider’s hood, pushing him forward towards the ground.
Panel 5: The Death Rider is in a controlled roll.
Panel 6: Death Rider has come out of the roll in a perfect crouch.
Panel 1: Close on Peter’s face, with one eyebrow raised. PETER: That was just…not how I planned it.
Panel 2: Death Rider stands to face Peter. DEATH RIDER: The Death Rider isn’t governed by your petty gravity, idiot.
Panel 3: Peter is crouching down, poising for a leap. PETER: A flaming skull and you call yourself Death Rider? Man, when Johnny Blaze hears about this…
Panel 4: Peter is leaping high through the air towards the Death Rider. PETER: …you’re in for one hell of a copyright infringement suit!
Panel 5: Peter has landed behind the Death Rider, grabbing onto his robes. PETER: And lawsuits in the American justice system can’t be killed.
Panel 1: Death Rider has reached behind him, grabbing Peter’s arm with his flaming hand. PETER (burst): Aaaaaaaaaahhhhggg!!!
Panel 2: Peter has fallen down behind the Death Rider. PETER: Gah. Hey, can we continue this fight after I go home and grab my insulated Spider-Armor? I know it sounds silly, but I swear I have it somewhere.
Panel 3: We see the Death Rider from Peter’s vantage point on the ground. He is looming over Peter, raising his flaming sword. In the sky behind him we see a bright, bold lightning bolt. SFX: CRAAAKAAADOOOOOM
Panel 4: Close up panel on the hammer of Thor, Mjolnir, spinning in his hand.
Panel 5: Close up on the Death Rider’s chest, as it is being hit by Mjolnir.
Panel 1: Large panel of the Death Rider’s flaming skeleton flying apart from the hit by Mjolnir. We now fully see Thor standing between Peter and the Death Rider, with the hammer in his hand. SFX: THOOOOOM
Panel 2: Small panel of Thor looking over his shoulder matter-of-factly at Peter on the ground behind him.
Panel 3: Thor has turned around and is extending his hand to help Peter to his feet. He has a very large smile on his face. THOR: Peter Parker Spider-Man, my good friend! Rise up from that unmanly position!
Panel 4: Peter has taken Thor’s hand and is getting up from the ground. In the background we can see MJ running to them. PETER: Uh, thanks…Don Blake Thor. Seriously, I needed the help.
Panel 5: Just as Peter has fully gotten up on his feet and Thor has released his hand, MJ is plunging into him to hug him so hard he’s off balance again. THOR: Think nothing of it. These are the moments I came back from the dead for – lending aid to a fellow hero! PETER: Whoa!
Panel 1: Close on MJ snuggling into Peter’s shoulder, happy he’s alive. MJ (whispering): Did the god of thunder just bitch slap Death for you? PETER (whispering): Yep. MJ (whispering): We lead strange lives.
Panel 2: Peter addresses Thor, as MJ looks at Thor from Peter’s shoulder, which she is still clinging tightly to. PETER: Thor, I want to introduce you to Mary Jane Wa – MJ: - Parker.
Panel 3: MJ has popped up from Peter’s shoulder to extend her hand to Thor. She is smiling as she introduces herself. MJ: It’s Mary Jane Parker. His wife.
Panel 4: Thor shakes Mary Jane’s hand heartily. THOR: A pleasure to meet you, beautiful lady! I am the Mighty Thor! MJ: Yeah I, uh, got that. And the pleasure’s mine.
Panel 5: Thor has his arms spread wide, and his smile only widens. THOR: Come! We must go to Asgard, feast, and sing songs of the Spider-Man and the Mighty Thor’s great defeat of Death!
Panel 1: Peter is scratching the back of his neck, holding his head sheepishly. PETER: Actually, um, we were on our way there already. We – we came to see your brother. We need to talk to Loki.
Panel 2: Close on Thor’s face, which has darkened a great deal. He doesn’t speak, but his disdain is evident.
Panel 3: Establishing shot, Asgard, hovering 8 feet above rural Oklahoma. We see the small forms of Thor, Peter and Mary Jane. Thor flies up to the stairwell, offering no assistance to the others. Peter has MJ and is webbing up to it with her in tow.
Panel 4: The three are walking through the interior halls of Asgard, with Thor leading and showing little regard for Peter and Mary Jane, walking closely behind him. MJ (whispering): I think he’s mad. PETER (whispering): That’s my girl. Nothing gets past her.
Panel 1: We see a large door from the outside that Thor is bursting through angrily. THOR (burst): Loki! THOR: You have guests!
Panel 2: Inside the room we see the new female form of Loki, standing behind a writing table. As always, she has a mischievous smile on her face.
Panel 3: Peter and MJ get in front of Loki as Thor has stepped to the side of the room, watching with a scowl on his face. Peter’s eyes are wide. PETER: Oh, uh, you – you – uh…you’re a girl. LOKI: I’m glad to see you’re every bit as bright as I remembered you, Peter Parker. It is true; rebirth affects us all in different ways. Ironically, fate was mischievous in my case.
Panel 4: Loki is stepping closer to them, sniffing the air. LOKI: I smell strong, dark magiks at work all around both of you. Tell me, Peter Parker, have you come to collect on the debt I owe you? PETER: MJ tells me – she tells me I saved your daughter’s life once, and that you promised to return the favor if I ever needed it. LOKI: You don’t remember?
Panel 5: Loki has returned to a simple smile, amused by Peter’s situation. LOKI: Oh I recognize this smell now. It’s Mephisto. You made a deal with Mephisto didn’t you? His spells have a certain – sulfur smell to them.
Panel 6: Peter looks frustrated, and it’s just feeding Loki’s glee. PETER: I don’t remember much of it, but something happened to me earlier, and things are coming back to me in little bits. Mary Jane told me about the deal and how things were before, and I all I know is that I can feel it’s the truth.
Panel 7: Loki is laughing openly now. LOKI: Oh this is delightful! Like a moron, you gave Mephisto a blank check to change your memory, and the crafty old devil removed your memory of me while he was in there. Brilliant!
Panel 1: Peter is a little angry at Loki’s attitude. PETER: Can you help me reverse it? Can you help me put things back how they were?
Panel 2: Loki talks a little more seriously now. LOKI: Of course I can. But you know, even once we revoke the deal, there is always a price to dealing with Mephisto. PETER: I’ve already felt it. My Aunt died earlier today.
Panel 3: Loki looks at Peter as if he’s an idiot child. LOKI: Oh no little Spider, that was inevitable. Even Mephisto can’t rewrite fate. Your Aunt was going to die, your little deal just changed the time and place.
Panel 4: Loki has turned back to a table to gather some materials from it. LOKI: These people never read the fine print on their infernal contracts. Amateurs.
Panel 5: Peter is turned to Thor, with MJ still at his side. PETER: Thor, will you come with us?
Panel 6: Close on Thor, who is turned away in scorn. THOR: Surely those who accept favors from Mephisto and Loki need none from the likes me.
Panel 1: Wide shot of Loki, Peter, and MJ walking outside on Asgard. Loki has a book under her arm, and MJ is still clinging to Peter.
Panel 2: The same, but closer on the three. LOKI: Prepare yourselves, it’s time to travel.
Panel 3: Peter questions Loki, confused. PETER: Travel in wha –
Panel 4: We see energy patterns around where the three bodies just were, they are being transported.
Panel 5: The same energy patterns are now in place inside the motel room Peter and MJ were in when they made the deal with Mephisto.
Panel 6: The three have materialized in the middle of the room.
Panel 1: Loki looks around with a sour look on her face. LOKI: This is where you changed the world? Fantastic.
Panel 2: Loki turns to Peter. LOKI: Were you Peter Parker or Spider-Man when you made the deal? PETER: I had the costume on, but no mask. LOKI: Change. You’re such a screwed up individual that your aura reads slightly differently when you’re in the costume.
Panel 3: Peter is unbuttoning his shirt to reveal the costume underneath. PETER: How is it all you Asgardians know who I am when apparently everyone else who ever knew forgot?
Panel 4: Peter is stepping out of his pants, showing the rest of his costume. Loki has opened her book. LOKI: Asgard is out of Mephisto’s realm of influence. Besides, we were all dead when things were changed. Not sure which one is more important, really.
Panel 5: Peter stands in full costume minus the mask with MJ beside him, and Loki has turned away from them with the book in her hand. LOKI: Alright, time to kick the devil in the pants. Mmhmmhmm, I love this stuff.
Panel 1: Loki has one hand outstretched, and a red light is forming in front of them. LOKI: Arise foul creature of the damned! Return to this place where your influence was exerted over the unsuspecting, and be bound to it!
Panel 2: Mephisto’s face can be seen screaming in anger as his body begins to form in the red light. There are red bands all around where he is forming. MEPHISTO (burst): Rrraaaaaaarrrrrrgghhhhh!!!
Panel 3: Loki is yelling her words toward Mephisto, almost fully formed and held in place by the red bands. LOKI: I bind you by your own work in the name of the One Above All! I bind you in the name of Mary Jane Watson! I bind you in the name of Peter Parker! I bind you in the name of Spider-Man! MEPHISTO (burst): Rrraaaaaaarrrrrrgghhhhh!!!
Panel 4: The window in the room bursts and glass flies everywhere. Fire can be seen behind it. SFX: CRASH
Panel 1: Through the broken window we see the Death Rider, fully reassembled and seated atop his flaming horse in the air. DEATH RIDER (burst): Spider-Man!
Panel 2: Peter is grabbing the mask that was hanging at his waistline, and turned to Loki. PETER: Loki, you got this? LOKI: Mary Jane will suffice for most of the ritual, but you will need to be here to end it.
Panel 3: Close up on Peter as he pulls his mask over his face. SPIDER-MAN: Sure thing. This won’t take long at all.
Panel 4: Small panel focusing on Spider-Man’s wrist as he’s firing a webline. SFX: THWIP
Panel 5: Holding on to a webline attached above the window, Spider-Man is swinging toward it, feet first.
Panel 1: Large panel, showing Spider-Man in all his glory swinging through the window, kicking the Death Rider in the chest to push him back and get the fight outside.
Panel 2: As the Death Rider flies backward (still seated on his horse) Spider-Man is webbing onto a higher rooftop to push the fight upwards. SPIDER-MAN: Bad idea coming back. You had me in the desert, but now we’re on my turf.
Panel 3: The Death Rider is flying upwards toward Spider-Man. DEATH RIDER: Of course I came back. Did you miss the whole point that I’m trying to kill you before you complete the ritual?
Panel 4: Inside the motel room. Loki is still chanting loudly at Mephisto, with MJ standing firm behind her. LOKI: A pact made through deception cannot stand! Thus say the laws handed down from the birth of eternity!
Panel 5: Outside. Spidey is swinging around a pole on the opposing rooftop to kick Death Rider across the face. SPIDER-MAN: What, is this all about saving face?
Panel 1: From a little farther back, Death Rider is shooting flames at Spider-Man out of his sword as Spidey is dodging them acrobatically on the rooftop. DEATH RIDER: You moron, if even one of Mephisto’s deals is reversed, he loses power.
Panel 2: Death Rider is flying around Spidey, about to come in for an attack. DEATH RIDER: Mephisto likes the power he’s accumulated. He doesn’t relish the thought of being more confined as he once was.
Panel 3: Spidey ducks as Death Rider’s flaming sword passes over him. SPIDER-MAN: Whoa! Close for comfort, pal!
Panel 4: Spidey lines up his webshooter at Death Rider as he’s coming around for another pass. SPIDER-MAN: Let me show you a little trick my cousin came up with.
Panel 5: Small panel of impact webbing flying through the air. SPIDER-MAN (op): It’s called impact webbing!
Panel 1: The impact webbing his hit Death Rider square in the chest. SPIDER-MAN (op): And it’s too dense to totally burn up on contact!
Panel 2: Spidey has now connected a webline to the impact webbing on Death Rider’s chest. SPIDER-MAN: And now that I’ve got something to stick to –
Panel 3: Spidey is yanking Death Rider forward off his horse.
Panel 4: Spidey slams Death Rider onto the rooftop headfirst. SPIDER-MAN: - you’re done!
Panel 5: We see the Death Rider’s skeleton breaking up from the impact.
Panel 1: Spidey swings back in through the motel room window.
Panel 2: We now see Spider-Man standing alongside Loki and MJ. SPIDER-MAN: Sorry I’m late; I had to scatter pieces of a flaming skeleton across the city. We ready to do this thing? MJ: Just getting to the good part.
Panel 3: We see the three facing the bound Mephisto, who appears to be in physical pain. Peter is pulling off his mask. LOKI: Do you reject Satan? PETER & MJ: I do. LOKI: And all his works? PETER & MJ: I do. LOKI: And all his empty promises? PETER & MJ I do.
Panel 4: Loki holds the book to her side, still looking forward as she speaks to Peter and MJ. LOKI: It’s up to the two of you now. Each of you in turn go forward and renounce this deal in your own words.
Panel 1: Mary Jane has come forward from behind Loki, looking at the still bound Mephisto as she speaks. MJ: I offered you my happiness in return for his. But I should have known, you’re not God, you’re not in the business of happiness.
Panel 2: MJ yells at Mephisto as she points her finger back at Peter. MJ: He is all I care about! I sacrificed everything to give him a chance at happiness! And still she died again, and he was miserable!
Panel 3: MJ has pulled back a bit, gathering herself, speaking calmly. MJ: You violated every part of the spirit of this deal and it is over. We are too good to have our lives defined by the likes of you.
Panel 4: MJ looks over her shoulder to toss off a few last words as she walks away. MJ: And if you ever try to come after us again, Loki will be the least of your worries.
Panel 5: With MJ retaking her position behind Loki, Peter begins to walk out from behind her, his mask off and hanging from his waistline.
Panel 6: Peter stands in front of Mephisto with his head cocked at an angle, just staring at him.
Panel 1: Full page. Peter, furious, punches Mephisto across the face, snapping his head as far backwards as it will go.
Panel 1: As Peter retakes his position behind Loki, she raises her hand toward Mephisto. LOKI: Your power here is finished. Be gone, and face the judgment of the One Above All.
Panel 2: Mephisto disappears in the red smoke he appeared in.
Panel 3: Loki is turned slightly to MJ as she asks Loki a question. MJ: Loki, what did you mean when you said “a pact made through deception?”
Panel 4: Loki is turned to both of them. LOKI: All those times, before Peter unmasked, that he was talking to Tony Stark…they weren’t all Tony Stark. Many of them were, but Mephisto added a few appearances of his own to…spur things on. This is a gross overstepping of his bounds, and he will be punished for it.
Panel 5: Peter looks a little overwhelmed. PETER: I…I remember everything. Both everythings. So…what happens now?
Panel 6: Loki explains as the two try to take it all in. LOKI: Now things return mostly as they were. To the world, the two of you just went through a separation period, but your marriage is very much intact. The major difference is that no one will remember your public unmasking.
Panel 1: Peter is stunned. PETER: But…but isn’t that too much…?
Panel 2: Loki begins to walk to the spot of the room she appeared in, growing bored of explaining. LOKI: Since Mephisto manipulated you to unmask so you would eventually come to him, it is considered part and parcel with the deal and has been wiped clean. Don’t worry; to most of the world, all they’re losing is a conversation around a water cooler.
Panel 3: Loki has her arms raised, and a mist is forming around her. LOKI: But don’t forget - dealing with Mephisto always comes with a price. There are two people besides yourselves who remember everything exactly as it happened.
Panel 4: Loki is disappearing as Peter is lunging for her to stop her. LOKI: Our debt is settled. Do not come to me again. PETER (burst): Loki! Who? Who?!
Panel 5: Peter’s head is down as Loki has completely disappeared. MJ is close behind him, but not up to him just yet. PETER: Why do I feel like I just lost?
Panel 1: MJ has her hand on Peter’s face, bringing it around to hers, smiling.
Panel 2: She kisses him.
Panel 3: Her face still close to his, still smiling, MJ whispers sweetly. MJ: Peter, honey, we won. We won. Together. And that’s how everything’s going to be from now on.
Panel 4: Peter has his arms around MJ, and is coming in for another kiss. They both smile brightly. MJ: Not even the devil can break us up, Tiger.
Panel 5: The frame is still on the same spot in the room, but Peter and MJ are slipping downward out of the frame in each other’s arms, still kissing.
Panel 6: Still on the same spot in the room, but now we don’t see Peter and MJ at all, as they are on the floor below. MJ (op): Hehe.
Panel 7: Same as 6. MOTEL MANAGER (op): Hey, somebody in there?! PETER (op): We didn’t actually rent this room, did we?
Panel 1: Establishing shot inside a dark laboratory. We see very little detail, but there are glints of light off of test tubes here and there. CAP: Elsewhere.
Panel 2: The same, but now a light has been turned on. It is a large lab full of scientific equipment, test tubes, large tubes on the wall, a plethora of everything you’d expect to find there.
Panel 3: Close on a table with test tubes and some non-descript research papers on it. There is a male hand running over the table. OFF PANEL: Thank God it’s all still here.
Panel 4: We see the male figure from the back, surveying the room. CAP: “Don’t forget - dealing with Mephisto always comes with a price.”
Panel 1: Full page. We see the male figure from the front now. It is Harry Osborn, very much alive and with a dark look on his face. HARRY: To think that years of work and planning were almost destroyed by Peter Parker’s mommy issues.
NEXT MONTH: As the world returns to normal, Peter and Mary Jane take time out to bury Aunt May. But it’s not all sadness, as the greatest couple in the history of comics renews their wedding vows! And with the Parkers’ marriage restored, how will the first meeting of Carlie Cooper and Mary Jane Parker go? PLUS: Harry Osborn is back – for real! Was he ever gone? Find out all the secrets of Harry’s return when he confronts his father. Be here for the first time ANYWHERE Harry and Norman Osborn have come face to face since Harry’s supposed death – with both their memories intact. Only at the Crawl Space!
*This issue's soundtrack:: The song lyrics used in the captions on pages 13-15 are from "Dizzy" by Jimmy Eat World from their album "Chase This Light." I was struck with how perfectly the lyrics described the situation of Mary Jane, and just had to use them. If you're not a fan of the band, this song won't change your mind, but if it's up your alley I recommend giving it a listen.
"The ground quakes and the heavens cry tears of blood when Kevin gives out his brand of Crawlspace justice. Babies cry, grown men avert their eyes, women pass out and even the wind gives pause. Kevin’s eyes glow and lightning crackles around them. It’s pretty epic and definitely not for the timid." - Michael Bailey