They say that your Senior year of High School is supposed to be magical. But me? I’m ready for this school year to be over. I don’t have super fuzzy happy memories of turning your class ring or class trips to exotic locations. My memories are a bit less shiny and happy. Yeah- it’s been a tough year, between loosing Uncle Ben, gaining supernatural powers, and fighting a man who mutated into a giant lizard, and watching your girlfriend’s father die.
Though I have to say that the fact that I actually have a girlfriend is a memorable thing for my Senior year. Even though I did kind of promise her dying father that I’d stay away from her. …I ended up breaking that promise.
There’s only a month left of Senior year, and then I will be heading off to the grand campus of Empire State University, which has found it in their hearts to both admit me to the college and offer me a hefty amount of money to do so. Gwen’s going there too. She could go anywhere, but wants to stay close to home to be with her mom and her brothers. I can dig it- I only applied to schools in the NYC area so I wouldn’t be too far from Aunt May. Family has to stick together.
Thanks to a hefty donation from Stark Industries, Midtown Science High has been rebuilt, with better equipment and materials than before. You can hardly tell that a crazed lizard-man went on a rampage through the school. Some teachers left after the whole rigmarole (though apparently those who did stay received a hefty bonus. They didn’t give the students the same choice). There are a few new teachers on staff including an English teacher, Miss Rushman who Gwen just adores, and the most popular new teacher, Mr. Rogers, who teaches history.
I’ve always liked science and math the most of any subjects in school. I guess it’s kind of in my blood, because my Dad was a big time scientist too. Science and math makes sense. And history has always seemed kind of boring. Mr. Rogers is pretty cool, because he makes history come alive. The way he talks about it, you would think he’d lived through all of it. He dresses kind of dorky- well, to be honest, he dresses just like Mr. Rogers that you used to see on PBS? He’s always wearing a button down shirt and a sweater, and secretly, I’m just waiting for him to introduce us to King Friday. All the girls seem to think he’s dreamy. I have no opinion on that. I just think he’s a good teacher.
So I don’t skip history or ask for a hall pass.
But maybe I should have today.
For just as Mr. Rogers starts talking about the Stark Expo in 1942, a man with an opaque fishbowl on his head flies in through the brick classroom wall and starts causing havoc.
“I am Mysterio!” He yells with a flourish. “And I am here for Spider-Man!”
Now I know why super heroes don’t have advanced degrees. They can’t stay in school without costumed idiot jerks coming in and ruining the day. But have you noticed how many villains have advanced degrees? It’s scary.
“Class.” Mr. Rogers says in a tone of voice that makes everybody stand up and take notice. “Remain calm. Single file line to the safe muster place. Go. Now. I’ll be right behind you.”
Everyone in the class follows orders. Except for me. Because I, Peter Parker, am Spider-Man. And this idiot shooting some kind of magic laser beams out of his hands is actually here for me. If only I would learn to pack my web shooters in my backpack. I am woefully unprepared for saving the world during history class.
Mr. Rogers doesn’t leave, either.
Instead, he grabs the desk at the front of the classroom where Liz Allan sits, and rips off the top. He flings it at Fishbowl Head, as if it were some kind of boomerang or something. The dude is knocked out for the count.
I look at Mr. Rogers. I’m frozen in shock, because I’ve realized something.
Captain America is my history teacher.
CAPTAIN AMERICA IS MY HISTORY TEACHER. MY HISTORY TEACHER IS A SUPERHUMAN SUPER SOLDIER WITH INCREDIBLE STRENGTH WHO WAS FROZEN FOR LIKE 70 YEARS.
“Peter.” He says. “Let’s go, now.”
Mr. America….Mr. Rogers grabs me by the arm, and pulls me, running through the halls. At the same time, he speaks into his watch.
“I’m going to need a containment field in room 223.” He growls. “The subject is out for the count and disabled. I’ve got Wilbur, and will be bringing him back to HQ.”
“Where are we going?” I ask.
“It’s normal safety procedures after a category C engagement with a perpetrator. You’re still a minor. The priority is keeping you safe.”
“The school is full of kids.”
“Yeah,” Mr. Rogers smiles slightly, “But you’re the only one who is specially enhanced with spider DNA.”
CAPTAIN AMERICA KNOWS THAT I’M SPIDER-MAN.
I’ve barely had time to grasp that fact when we reach what I can only describe as an armored stretch limo. Mr. Rogers pulls me inside. A second later, the door opens and Gwen enters, followed immediately by Miss Rushman.
“Buckle up.” Miss Rushman says, and climbs into the drivers seat. She pulls out a phone and speaks. “This is Black Widow. I’ve rondevoued with Cap and we’ve got Charlotte and Wilbur and we’re headed back to campus.”
Gwen looks at me with big eyes. “Black Widow?” She mouths.
I nod and mouth back “Captain America.”
“We’re not going to be able to get out of here, with all the police!” Gwen says, as police cars and fire trucks rush into the school driveway and parking lot. “The roads will be blocked!”
“It’s okay.” Miss Rushman…the Black Widow says with a large grin. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” She turns the key and pushes a red button next to the ignition, and the car lifts up into the air and starts to fly.
We fly through the air, leaving Queens behind and towards Manhattan. We land at the recently rebuilt Stark Tower. It’s a bigger and brighter building than Oscorp could ever hope to be. Rumor is, that Tony Stark takes pride in that.
“Welcome,” Mr. Rogers says, “To Avengers tower. I’m sorry for any deception, but SHIELD has had intelligence for a while that Spider-Man has been targeted. The best way to keep you and any of your friends safe seemed to be a little undercover work.”
“I appreciate the save.” Yeah, I’d like to save the world all the time, but I’m a teenager. I am most decidedly not perfect. “But why did you bring us here?”
“The big guy would like to speak to you.”
Mr. Rogers laughs. “Not quite. Somebody a little bit scarier.”
“I’d say.” Miss Rushman smiles. “And Gwen, after reviewing your records, I happen to know two science nerds who are looking for a new intern in our research lab. Though one of them has a bigger ego than anybody you’ve ever met at Oscorp, I think you’ll like the challenge.”
“Wait.” Gwen practically squeals. “Tony Stark wants to meet me?” (True Story: Gwen has pictures of Tony Stark up in her locker. She says it’s an intellectual crush. I’m not sure I believe that.) “I’m going to work for Tony Stark? I’m going to work for Iron Man!”
“Trust me.” The Black Widow replies, “It’s not everything that it’s cracked up to be.”
I wave goodbye to Gwen awkwardly. She’s too busy freaking out over meeting Tony Stark to really notice. She’s star struck, but c’mon, a boyfriend who can sling around on webs is much cooler than an old guy who travels around with a glorified jet pack, right? Right?
Steve leads me towards and elevator, and we go down five floors or so. We walk down a brightly lit hallway until we reach a door.
“You’re on your own, kid.” Mr. Rogers says with a smile. “Good luck.”
The door opens, and I kind of feel like I’m going to meet the great and powerful Oz. Instead, I see a tall black man (who kind of looks like Mace Windu from the Star Wars prequels), dressed in black with a eye patch over his eye.
“Peter Parker.” He says in a booming voice. “I’m General Nick Fury. Leader of SHIELD.”
“To put it simply, we’re a government agency designed to protect and utilize those individuals with superhuman powers. We work with the Avengers and other powered individuals to protect human citizens and the powered alike. And ever since you took on the Lizard crisis and won despite the overwhelming odds, you’ve gathered our interest.”
“Um, thank you?”
“It would seem that someone like you would be a great fit for the Avengers.”
THEY WANT ME TO BE AN AVENGER?
“But…” Nick Fury continues, “The government frowns on us using underage kids in such a manner. Yet, I believe you could be a great resource to our team, as we could be to you. We can give you training, help you if your powers get unstable, and even provide a stipend that could help towards your college and general household expenses. My sources tell me it’s been a little hard to make ends meet since the sad death of your uncle.”
I swallow, not knowing what to say.
“I’m offering you a job, Mr. Parker. As an Avenger in training. An intern, so to say.”
“I’d love to accept.” I say after a moment. “But is there a way you could give me some kind of official offer, or something? I don’t think my Aunt May would believe me.”
And that, boys and girls, is how Nick Fury came to be in my living room, having tea and crumpets with Aunt May. I swear, I couldn’t make this stuff up.
NICK FURY RAISES HIS PINKY WHEN HE DRINKS TEA.
Aunt May agrees that I can work as an Intern at Stark Tower- provided that she gets an autographed photo. Of Tony Stark. (Why is everyone so crazy over a billionaire with a jet pack? I don’t get it.)
My senior year of High School?
Certainly is strange.