Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (2016) #2
“How Pale That Moon Glows, Pt 1: We Danced with the Devil”
Writer: Neil Bogenrieder
Assistant Writer: Mohammed Jaafar
Editor: Mark Alford
Preferred Art Team: Stefano Caselli and Edgar Delgado
[Caption: The Apartment of Peter, Mary Jane and Annie Parker]
[Panel 1: Ceiling shot of Peter and MJ sleeping, when the alarm goes off.]
Peter [capt]: That’s my alarm right there. 5:30 a.m. every morning. Not one minute earlier, not one minute later.
[Panel 2: Peter’s fist comes down on the alarm clock, smashing it.]
Peter [capt]: Note to self. Keep alarm on MJ’s nightstand so I don’t keep breaking clocks.
[Panel 3: Peter slips out of bed and puts on his pants, MJ still fast asleep.]
Peter [capt]: Won’t try and wake the girls up. Neither are fun when they’re half-asleep.
[Panel 4: A rapping of the doorstop is heard, much to Peter’s confusion.]
Peter [capt]: Ugh. Lemme guess. Door-to-door salesmen. Might as well get this over with.
[Panel 5: Peter walks into the kitchen, switching on the lights as he enters.]
Peter [capt]: I’ll make some coffee, leave it warm for Red, and see who’s at the door.
[Panel 1: Peter opens the door only to see Carlie standing in front of him, holding what looks to be a suitcase.]
Peter: Carlie? It’s 5:30. A.M. What’re you doing out this early?
Carlie: I… uh… well, I need a place to stay for a bit.
Peter: But I thought you and Yuri moved in together. What happened?
Carlie: Let’s just say our view of how the police treat Spider-Man got in the way… so… would you mind if I borrow your couch for a few days?
[Panel 2: Peter allows Carlie in, helping her with her suitcase.]
Peter: Carlie, we’re always here to help if you need us.
Carlie: Pete, I don’t say it enough-
[Panel 3: Carlie falls onto the couch.]
Carlie: -but you’re a good friend.
[Panel 4: Peter walks over to the kitchen, pouring two cups of coffee.]
Peter: … Thanks.
[Panel 5: Peter hands Carlie one of the cups.]
Carlie: Ooh, I really needed this. Thanks.
[Caption: One hour later...]
[Panel 1: MJ, Carlie and Peter sitting around the kitchen table.]
Peter: ...So, MJ, Carlie needs a place to stay for a bit. I hope that’s okay with you?
MJ: Peter, I like Carlie. She’s welcome to stay, but her gun has to be stored away. I can’t have her carrying it around Annie.
Carlie: Thanks, MJ. Of course I’ll do that.
[Panel 2: Peter kissing MJ.]
Peter: I’ll see you tonight, ‘kay?
MJ: Tonight, Tiger.
Peter: Say good morning to Annie for me.
[Panel 3: Spider-Man swinging through New York.]
Spider-Man [capt]: Let’s take a look at what’s just happened. Flash’s back and that’s great, Carlie and Yuri were doing great. But now this?... I just hope Carlie doesn’t need to borrow my couch for too long.
Either way, it’s my intern’s first day. And I have to make it a good one.
[Panel 1: Spider-Man swings towards Horizon Labs.]
Spider-Man [capt]: Ahhh. The view never gets old.
[Panel 2: Peter is on the rooftop, changing. Silent panel.]
[Panel 1: Peter and Cindy walking through the main atrium of Horizon.]
Peter: No truer words were ever spoken. I remember my first day. And trust me, even though it’s been two years, I still feel like a kid in a candy shop.
Except in this case, the kid helps run that candy store. And that’s a scary thought.
Fun, but scary.
[Panel 2: Cindy bounces from one place to the next, excited by everything she sees. All the while Peter watches her, overwhelmed by her energy.]
Cindy: But isn’t that what makes this place so great?
Peter: Um… I… suppose it does. Now let’s head over to where I make my magic.
[Panel 3: Peter and Cindy approach a lab door, with Peter’s name on it and the label “Lab 7”]
Peter: Welcome to my lab.
[Panel 4: Larger panel. We see Peter’s lab, a large room filled with computers and lab equipment, most created by Peter. Judging by Cindy’s posture, you can tell that she’s amazed by the size of it.]
Peter: So. You like?
Cindy: Like? I love it!
So...You’re telling me they give you this entire lab? And they give you, what, nearly free reign to do whatever you want?
[Panel 1: Peter walks over to his desk, and turns on his computer.]
Peter: Just me and a handful of others. As long as we come up with something by the end of each quarter, we can come and go as we please.
[Panel 2: Peter holds up an application, already filled out.]
Peter: Now, about your application.
I’ve looked over all the details, and I liked what I saw. And if you want it, the job’s yours.
Cindy (Off panel): Are you kidding? Of course!
[Panel 3: Peter hands Cindy the clipboard, with a pen attached.]
Peter: Sign here and we can get started.
[Panel 4: Peter’s phone goes off, with him quickly excusing himself.]
Peter: Sorry Cindy. I’ll just grab this.
Yeah, I’m just here with the new kid and showing her the ropes.
Don’t worry, I’ll be back in time for dinner. I’ll make sure to grab some extras for Carlie.
I’ll give you a heads-up before I head out, just so you know we’re still around.
Thanks, honey. Give Annie my love. Bye.
[Panel 5: Peter slapping on some safety goggles.]
Peter: Alright. Ready to make some magic?
[Caption: A few hours later; 33rd West End Avenue: the Apartment of Peter and Mary Jane Parker]
[Panel 1: MJ and Carlie in Peter and MJ’s apartment. MJ is dressed in casual wear, while Carlie is dressed semi-professionally, wearing an unbuttoned police uniform as she stores her sidearm in a drawer. Annie is in a high chair at the table..]
MJ: Sorry. Had to call Pete and make sure he wasn’t lost.
Carlie: I’ve been meaning to ask this for ages… how did you two meet?, and… Sorry. Not my place to ask.
MJ: No, no, it’s fine. It might help with whatever you and Yuri are going through.
[Panel 2: MJ taking a drink from her cup]
MJ: I had… commitment issues. Pete suggested we work on fixing that when we got married. So, we decided to treat our marriage like we were still dating for a while, to curb my bad habits. We had all the fun and risks of dating, but we had the rings on our fingers to keep us in check.
I’m over that now, but we still like to play the game because we both still enjoy it.
Carlie (off-panel): That sounds… difficult.
MJ: More than you could ever know. But I’ll tell you a secret.
[Panel 3: MJ with a slight smile on her face]
MJ: The day I put the ring on his finger? The day Annie came into the world?
Every day I struggled with commitment, was worth what I have now. Remember that, Carlie. The end result is worth everyday you question whether you love somebody enough or the arguments you may have. It may not be perfect-
[Panel 4: side shot of Carlie looking between MJ and her mug]
MJ (Off panel): -But it’s as damn close to it as you can get.
[Panel 1: MJ and Carlie stifling a small laugh and failing, with the door knocking in the background]
MJ: Heh… sorry, I need to mind what I say. Let me just get that.
[Panel 2: MJ goes over to the door, the knocking sound effect more noticeable]
MJ: Alright, alright! Jeez, could you-
[Page 9 and 10]
[Two-page spread. Doctor Octopus rams his way into the apartment, the door flying off its hinges. MJ gets knocked backwards, Carlie bolting up when she realizes the situation and moving to protect Annie]
Doc Ock: Ms. Watson. Thank you for inviting me in.
MJ: Octavi- Gah!
Carlie: MJ! Get Annie out of here! I’ll-
[Panel 1: Carlie gets held in a chokehold by Ock, who glares menacingly at her.]
Carlie: Hrrk… gahk…
Ock: Captain Cooper. So happy you could join us, but I’m afraid you aren’t essential to this conversation.
[Panel 2: MJ has grabbed a shard of metal and is charging at Ock]
MJ: Yeah? And what conversation would that be?
[Panel 3: MJ stabs the shard into the mechanical arm holding Carlie, causing it to malfunction and release an electrical charge.]
Ock: What are you- Gnyah!
[Panel 4: Carlie is flung onto a wall, a resounding crack coming from her back as she collides with it.]
MJ (OP): CARLIE!
[Panel 1: MJ stands her ground in front of her daughter, staring Ock down]
Ock: Now, Ms. Watson-
MJ: It’s Parker now. Mary Jane Parker.
[Panel 2: Carlie is crawling along the floor, towards the drawer where she stashed her pistol.]
Ock [op]: Irrelevant. If you may recall, I have unfinished business with your husband. And you and your daughter are the key to settling it.
[Panel 3: Ock’s arms shield him from several bullets, deflecting them away.]
Ock: Excuse me while I deal with this distraction…
[Panel 4: Carlie lying on the ground, in clear pain, her smoking sidearm in her hand]
Carlie: MJ… run… get help.
Ock (OP): Ah, Captain Cooper. I forgot you were here.
[Panel 4: Ock lifts Carlie by her hand, her limp form hanging by it.]
Ock: Allow me to remove you from this conversation.
[Panel 5: Ock’s tentacle squeezes; Carlie lets out a howl of pain as both the gun and her hand are crushed]
Ock: There. Much better.
[Panel 1: Ock lets Carlie go, as he turns to MJ, who is holding her child defensively]
[Panel 2: Ock and MJ stare at each other, MJ far more defiantly.]
Ock: ...I believe we had a conversation to finish.
[Panel 3: MJ, while still putting on a brave facade, stares at the reader/Ock, determined to protect her daughter no matter the cost. It’s clear that her image is slowly cracking as Ock’s tentacles, from the reader’s POV, edge towards her.]
[Cap: A few hours later (give or take)]
[Panel 1: Peter waving to Cindy as she heads home]
Peter [capt]: Alright, good day. Cindy loves the new job, and I have an extra set of arms to help carry the load. Better than having two extra sets of my own.
Boy, that was surreal.
[Panel 2: Peter is calling MJ but receives no reply.]
Peter [capt]: Huh. Thought we said I’d call her when I got off work. Maybe she’s busy with Annie and couldn’t get the phone.
[Panel 3: Peter heads home, carrying a bag of food]
Peter [capt]: MJ and Annie are probably starving. Not to mention Carlie, thankfully I was able to pick up some extras.
[Panel 4: Peter is struggling with finding his keys when he looks up.]
Peter: Just gotta find my keys and- wha...
[Panel 5: Peter sharpens his vision and takes note of the wall.]
Peter [capt]: Slight crack in the window, a bullet hole, and several bulges in the wall. Twelth floor, on the left of-
[Panel 1: Peter’s bags drop to the ground]
Peter [capt]: No.
[Panel 2: Peter charges into the building, confused passersby watching him.]
Peter [capt]: [Nothing but “No”s. Continue these strings for all of the panels on this page and the first panel of page 16]
[Panel 3: Peter roughly shoves the apartment’s lobby door open, not caring if he breaks it in his panic]
[Panel 4: Peter finally reaches the twelfth floor]
[Panel 5: Peter skids to a halt as he nears his apartment door]
[Panel 1: Peter kicks open the door to his apartment.]
[Panel 2: Peter looks around in horror.]
Peter: Oh God No.
[Panel 3: Peter rushes around, trying to find his family.]
Peter: MARY JANE?! ANNIE?! Please be alright. Please be alright.
[Panel 3: Peter finds the shattered remains of Carlie’s pistol]
Peter [capt]: Carlie’s sidearm.
Clip’s missing three rounds. Either she or MJ managed to get a few shots off at whatever caused this.
[Panel 4: Peter smashes open the door to his bedroom]
Peter [capt]: Okay, one room left to check. If they’re here, then no need to panic.
[Panel 1: Close up of Peter’s horrified face]
Peter [capt]: OK, now I’m panicking.
[Panel 2: Large panel. Peter is standing in front of a wall, the bed to his left. Etched crudely into it is a single, large word. “MEET.” Underneath is an address on the Manhattan coastline. Underneath all this crude writing is a signature, carved immaculately: “Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius.” And what he sees nailed under the signature, fills Peter with dread, for it’s the Spider-Man doll belonging to Annie along with a lock of Mary Jane’s hair.]
[Peter [capt]: He hasn’t got much time left. And that’s he wants to meet one final time.
And he’ll use my family to get it.
[Panel 3: Peter hears a struggle from the closet.]
Peter [capt]: Someone’s still here.
[Panel 1: Carlie is seen, bound and gagged in the closet]
[Panel 2: Peter helps untie her, as she struggles to get herself free.]
Peter: Carlie, I need you to stay calm. Tell me where Octavius went with my family? I need to save them!
[Panel 3: Carlie, now free of her gag, begins panicking]
Carlie: You can’t be here! Octavius has been here, he’s rigged the place to blow!
Peter: Carlie, calm down! We’re safe, I promise! If there was a trap, I would’ve-
[Panel 4: An alert rings, Peter looks up, realizing that he’s wandered into a trap, a bomb in front of him and Carlie]
Alert: Proximity movement detected. Detonation in 10 seconds.
[Panel 1: One of two similar panels; Peter leaps out of the apartment window carrying Carlie, he’s just barely clears it.]
[Panel 2: He gains a little more distance when the wall behind him bursts into a ball of flames.]
[Panel 3: Peter lands on his back onto a parked car, using himself to shield Carlie from the impact.]
[Panel 1: Peter recovers from his rough landing, and realizes that he nearly exposed himself saving Carlie, who is going in and out of consciousness due to the explosion. Peter eases her down]
Peter [capt]: What was I thinking?! Falling a dozen stories with no costume?!
Stop. Peter. Focus, Priorities.
Peter: I need somebody to call the EMTs! She’s been hurt! Shattered hand, multiple back injuries!
[Panel 2: Peter moves Carlie into a position to prevent further injuries to her back and hand]
Peter: Keep her stabilized until they arrive. I’ve got some personal business to take care of-
[Panel 3: Peter’s face, the right eye; the flames of his destroyed apartment can be seen reflected in the iris.]
Peter: -And I need to make sure settled for good this time.
[Panel 1: Peter runs off into an alleyway, Carlie stirring back to reality as pedestrians keep her stable.]
[Panel 2: Face shot of Carlie, as she watches Peter run-off.]
[Panel 3: Peter, in full Spider-Man garb, swings towards the reader, his lenses narrowed.]
Peter [capt]: MJ? Sit tight. Don’t let him dare touch Annie.
And Ock? You hurt them?
I won’t be responsible anymore.
[To be continued]