Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (2016) #4
“How Pale That Moon Glows, Pt. 3: The Morality of Superior Men”
Writer: Neil Bogenrieder
Assistant Writer: Mohammed Jaafar
Editor: Mark Alford
Preferred Art Team: Stefano Caselli and Edgar Delgado
[Panel 1: Vertical Panel, with Peter looking over his dreamscape in horror. As he stands over the corpse of Doctor Octopus, his loved ones, MJ in front, are all hanging, stone dead, from the fused together pincers on his arms. .]
[Panel 2: Peter shoots up in a cold sweat, startling MJ, who has been keeping watch over him that night. She’s been expecting this to happen, implying a series of nightmares have occurred since Peter killed Doc Ock. They’re sleeping on their couch, seeing as their room was blown up in Issue 2.]
Peter [cap]: I have nightmares.
I live nightmares.
I lived one days ago.
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ comfort each other. Make it a bit more emotionally charged, show some vulnerabilities between the two given their recent situation.]
Peter [cap]: But that’s okay. Because I’m allowed to be scared.
[Panel 1: MJ and Peter and Peter are still snuggled together.]
MJ: Are you scared?
[Panel 2: Same]
MJ: Of supervillains coming to kidnap Annie and me?
MJ: Everybody else getting caught in the crossfire?
MJ: Of yourself?
Peter: … Yeah.
I have all of this power, but what if I’ve used it irresponsibly?
Hell, I have used it irresponsibly!
[Panel 3: Peter looks towards MJ, a sullen look on his face as he explains his explains his current mental state, tears welling up.]
Peter: I mean, look at what I did!
I killed a man!
[Panel 4: Peter has broken down, completely sobbing and pouring all of his emotions out.]
Peter: He was moments from death. Moments! I could have just let him wither away and die in front of me, but no! I decided to take his life! Right there! With my bare hands!
We can argue the ethics all day long, but nobody’s going to trust me after this. I don’t trust me right now!
What kind of person does that make me, MJ? What does killing Ock make me as a person?
[Panel 5: MJ sits silently, trying to find the right words to respond to her husband. She is at a loss for them]
[Panel 1: MJ has finally found the words she is looking for]
MJ: You’re a good person, Peter. I can’t imagine the line you ride, but I’m guessing it isn’t an easy one.
Peter: No. Not… not really.
MJ: But just a few nights ago, you fell off the line to save Annie. You destroyed the single greatest threat to your daughter’s safety since Osborn.
I won’t say that what you did was right. But what you did that night? It proves to the world that you’re human.
[Panel 2: MJ cups Peter’s chin in her hand, the two staring each other in the eyes.]
MJ: And human is all I ask for my husband to be.
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ kiss. Not necessarily bittersweet, but hesitantly intimate.]
[Panel 1: Peter pulls away, a bit shaken. He’s getting off of the couch, grabbing his Spider-Man costume as he rises.]
Peter: I… sorry. I just need to clear my head.
MJ: No, it’s… it’s okay. You need your space, I… I get that. Just… don’t stay out too late.
You’ve got work tomorrow. And I don’t want you to fall head-first onto the concrete because you didn’t sleep well.
[Panel 2: Peter pulling on his mask as he walks to the window.]
Peter: ...Are you scared of me? After what I did to Octavius?
[Panel 3: MJ sits on the edge of the bed, unsure of how to answer the question]
And for now, we don’t need to discuss anything. That’s all that matters.
[Panel 4: Peter leaps onto his windowsill, MJ watching him as he fires a web out]
Peter: Let’s keep it that way, MJ.
[Panel 1: Black Cat crawling out of a pitch black room, a sly grin across her face]
Felicia [cap]: Ooh, that was a close one.
[Panel 2: Felicia slips her stolen treasure into a pouch on her waist.]
Felicia: And Black Cat secures her prize… as if there was ever any doubt.
[Panel 3: Peter swings towards Felicia]
Felicia: Spidey, coming to see me! Pleasure or business? Hopefully the former.
Spider-Man: No Felicia, I’m… not... Please tell me those aren’t…
[Panel 4: Spider-Man pointing at Felicia accusatorily, with Felicia backing up in shock.]
Spider-Man: …The Horizon Lenses I made for you?! Felicia, you and I had a deal! You’re not supposed to use those unless you’re fighting crime! Or when I’m not directly working with you!
Felicia: Ah Spidey, I only wear them at night because it adds to my repertoire, and you know what a repertoire I have.
[Panel 5: Spider-Man takes a step back as Felicia comes towards him suggestively]
Spider-Man: Felicia, you do remember I’m married. Now back to the goggles.
Felicia: such little trust in me, here, check the OS, you’ll see that I only activated them last week.
Spider-Man: You know what, never mind… The way things are I can’t deal with it right now and to answer your question, I do trust you which is why I’m here.
[Panel 5: Peter leans and falls against a wall. It’s clear that he’s conflicted.]
Felicia (op): You okay?
Peter: No... No I’m not.
Felicia (op): Want to talk about what happened?
Peter: That’s…actually the reason why I came to you.
[Panel 1: Peter takes off his mask]
Felicia: Well, I’m here.
[Panel 2: Felicia sit down next to Peter, taking off her lenses]
Peter: I’m sure you heard about… what I did.
Felicia: Ock? Yeah, I heard.
Peter: Well, I think I need a fresh perspective.
Felicia: As in?...
[Panel 3: Peter looking at Black Cat]
Peter: As in, you’re the only person I know who doesn’t have any family they’re close to. So, I wanted to ask- if Ock had somebody you loved, and he was inches from death as it was...
What would you do?
[Panel 4: Felicia staring back at Peter, her hair flowing to the side as she drills daggers into his eyes]
Felicia: Well, for one, I’ve never really been emotionally attached with anybody, except for you and Mary Jane.
[Panel 1: Felicia continues talking, looking off into the cityscape.]
Felicia: I’ve always been a loner.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t say I don’t understand what you did.
In all honesty, if I had somebody I loved, placed in the same danger your daughter was, nothing would stop me from doing what I needed to do, to make sure they’re safe.
[Panel 2: Felicia puts her hand on Peter’s shoulder]
Felicia: Because I know that’s exactly what you would do.
Peter: Thanks. I… I needed that.
A lot more than you’d ever-
[Panel 3: A bright spotlight shines down on Peter and Felicia, causing both of them to look up in surprise and cover their eyes.]
[Panel 1: Takes up three-quarters of the page. Iron Man, Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman hover down upon the two, Iron Man’s spotlight shining down on them.]
Iron Man: We need to talk.
[Panel 2: Peter puts on his mask, as Felicia is walking away]
Felicia: Peter? You need help with -?
Peter: No. I was expecting something like this to happen eventually.
[Capt: Avengers Tower, Interrogation room]
[Panel 1: Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman, Black Panther and Vision sitting in a half-circular table lit up by inner light fixtures, with Spider-Man seated on the opposite side of the room. Iron Man’s helmet is off to the side of him, and Spider-Man’s head is sunken down, mask off.]
Peter [cap, continued from last page]: Guess it’s time I faced it.
Iron Man: -So what you’re telling us is that Otto Octavius decided to kidnap your wife and child, and you killed him in retaliation. That’s not going to look good on your rap sheet.
Peter: By all technicalities, I killed him, but… yeah. I killed him for putting my little girl’s life on the line.
[Panel 2: Close shot of Peter’s mask]
Peter: Let’s look at it this way. There’s one less threat to my family now that Octavius is out of the way.
[Panel 3: Iron Man looking towards Spider-Man]
Iron Man: That’s not good enough. The Mighty Avengers exist so that we can be held accountable for our actions.
Peter: You keep forgetting, Tony. I left before your little club of All-American hitmen was sanctioned.
Iron Man: Maybe so. But that doesn’t mean we won’t forget this. Effective immediately, we’re placing you under global satellite surveillance indefinitely until we can determine what we need to do.
[Panel 4: Peter stands up, the Avengers slowly rising to match him]
Peter: Really, now? Guess you’ll really never understand, then.
Vision: I’m not sure I follow, Spider-Man.
Peter: Well, let me fill in the blanks for you.
A man threatened my family. He nearly killed my daughter. All just to make me suffer one last time before he died. And let me make one thing clear to all of you.
If anybody- including the Avengers- tries to put their safety in question again, I won’t stop until they’re safe again.
[Panel 1: Peter’s hand is gripping the chair, crumpling it under the pressure.]
Peter [op]: You’re right. I did kill him. But no one here has a family to keep safe. You don’t even know what I went through that night.
[Panel 2: Takes up half the page. Peter is walking away from the Mighty Avengers, opening the door as he leaves.]
Peter: I don’t care how many of Tony’s satellites are watching my home.
Peter: No, Tony. I don’t want to hear what you have to say. I did what I had to do. End of story. Bye.
[Panel 2: The Mighty Avengers look to each other in worry.]
[Cap: The Apartment of Carlie Cooper and Yuri Watanabe]
[Panel 1: Carlie is sitting on her couch, wearing casual sleepwear, looking over a scrapbook.]
Carlie [cap]: Feels weird being home again. Surprising how much you can learn in a few days.
[Panel 2: Thin panel, side shot of Carlie’s face.]
Carlie [cap]: Not everyday you learn that your friend is the person your girlfriend is trying to bring in.
Which leaves me a choice.
[Panel 3: A page of the scrapbook, which shows two pictures; one is of Peter, MJ and Carlie at a baseball game, and the other is of Yuri and Carlie snuggled together.]
Carlie [cap]: Do I protect the identity of a man who has a family to protect, or tell the person I want to have a family with one day how to hunt them down?
[Panel 1: Full shot of Carlie on the couch, pinching the bridge of her nose]
Carlie [cap]: Times like these, I wish I knew the answers.
[Panel 2: Carlie is alerted by Yuri, taking her out of her thoughts.]
Yuri [op]: Carls? You coming?
[Panel 3: Carlie looking down at the photo in her hand. We don’t know which one it is. Silent panel]
[Panel 4: horizontal shot. Yuri is reading in their bed as Carlie closes the door behind her.]
Yuri: Hey, you okay?
Anything we need to talk about?
[Panel 5: Shot of Carlie’s face, a smile that tries to be a little bit too honest to a lie she know she shouldn’t be keeping.]
Carlie: No. It’s... it’s nothing.
[cap: Peter and MJ’s apartment]
[Panel 1: High shot from the rafters. MJ is helping Peter with his sweater.]
MJ: Peter, I’m not sure it’s my place to say what’ll help you have some kind of comfort with yourself, but… you’re sure you want to do this?
Peter: I’m.. yeah. I’m sure. I need to do this.
[Panel 2: MJ strokes Peter’s cheek lovingly]
Peter: Thanks, MJ. For coming with me. Can’t begin to…
MJ: Stop. This isn’t about me. You said you needed this.
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ hug intimately. Silent panel]
[Panel 4: Peter walks out the door, MJ hesitating]
Peter: MJ? You… um… you coming?
MJ: Yeah. Just… gimme a minute to get my coat.
Peter: ‘Kay. I’ll be right outside.
[Panel 5: Click on the door closing as MJ holds a silvery hair behind her back; silent panel]
[cap: Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn]
[Panel 1: Peter and MJ stand over the grave of Otto Octavius, a soft wind blowing over them as a sliver of sunlight appears off-panel, barely enough ]
Peter [cap]: Ock, I know you and I always had our differences.
There’s a reason we were always fighting in streets.
There used to a time when I thought you could turn around your life, do good for the people around you.
I would have forgiven you.
[Panel 2: Close up of Peter’s eye, which is narrowed]
Peter [cap]: Then you went after my family.
The moment you tried to take them? I decided.
I will never forgive you.
[Panel 3: Peter starts standing up, his front shadowed out]
Peter [cap]: I don’t care what you planned to do with them. You said when we fought that you wanted to break me. And that if you did, you’d win.
You thought wrong. The moment you said you broke me?
[Splash page: Peter and MJ standing, arms wrapped around each other as they look down on his grave, with the morning dawn cascading onto their backs.]
Peter [cap]: I won.
I’m finally free from whatever eternal curse we were locked in.
[Panel 1: MJ is looking at Peter, who is still intensely staring at Ock’s grave]
MJ: Peter, are you?...
[Panel 2: Peter is walking away, MJ beginning to follow him]
Peter: Yeah. I’m good. We’re done here.
MJ: Alright, then. Let’s go home.
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ are in the distance, the grave revealed to be in an overgrown briar patch, kept far away from the rest of the headstones]
Peter [cap]: So long, Ock.
[cap: Peter and MJ’s apartment]
[Panel 1: Peter and MJ enter their apartment, removing their coats.]
MJ: I’m gonna go get Annie from the neighbors, then we can get a few hours of shut-eye.
Peter: Sounds good.
[Panel 2: MJ looks over to Peter, who is smiling softly.]
Peter: Thanks for being there for me. You’re the best.
MJ: You know it. I’ll be right back.
[Panel 3: The door closes as Peter stands there, silent.]
[Panel 4: Peter walks over to the kitchen]
Peter [cap]: A few days ago, I killed a man.
And you know what?
I can live with it.
I will live with it.
Because I have to live with it.
[Panel 1: Peter stands over the coffee maker, watching it warm up.]
Peter [cap]: So long as my family stays safe, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to keep them safe.
Whatever it takes to keep them out of this side of my life.
[Panel 2: Peter pours himself a cup in a clear mug, a tired look on his face.]
Peter [cap]: I have nightmares.
I live nightmares. Of all the people I haven’t saved. Of all the people I could have saved.
Of all the people I should have saved.
[Panel 3: Peter has opened the bottle of creamer, pouring the fluid into his coffee]
Peter [cap]: So then. All of that said…
[Page 19: Full splash page of Peter holding the coffee cup up to his head. We can see the creamer taking the shape of the right half of his Spider-Man mask, Peter’s face making the other half.]
Peter [cap]: Here’s to surprises.
[Cap: The End.]
[cap: Tales from the Friendly Neighborhood: What We Take for Granted]
[cap: Three years ago]
[Panel 1: Peter leading MJ out onto the top of their apartment.]
Peter: Eyes are closed, right?
MJ: Only way I could keep them tighter is if you webbed them shut.
Peter: Good. Don’t want you to ruin the surprise.
MJ: Yeah. My surprise was my husband shaking me awake at 5:30 in the morning.
[Panel 2: Peter holding MJ’s hands, which are being used to cover her eyes.]
Peter: It’ll be worth it. Trust me.
Alright. You’re in place. You can open your eyes now.
MJ: I dunno, they’re kind of comfy where they are.
Peter: Come on, I dragged you all the way up to the roof for this. Humor me.
[Panel 3: MJ has moved her hands away from eyes, taking in what Peter has in store for her.]
MJ: So, what’s this all ab- Oh my God.
[Panel 4: Peter’s smiling off to the right, as we see the sunrise, a mix of vibrant colors, light up the New York skyline. Dawn’s just broken, leaving shades of purple, blue, pink, orange and yellow to form in the sky.]
Peter: Happy birthday, Red.
[Panel 1: Peter and MJ sit on a ledge of the building, taking in the view.]
MJ: Is… is this what you wake up to everyday?
Peter: Pretty much. You have to time it really well, but trust me, the view is worth it.
I thought you’d love it.
MJ: Believe me, this is gorgeous. I’ve just… y’know, never seen a sunrise in motion.
[Panel 2: Peter and MJ continue to sit next to each other]
Peter: You know, this is probably one of my favorite things to see. Most people? They just treat it like it’s a routine part of their day.
Sun rises, sets, we kind of take that for granted.
But this? This is magical.
[Panel 3: MJ’s and Peter’s hands caressing each others]
MJ: Hey, Tiger?
MJ: You wanna just sit here? Spend the rest of the day here? I’d like that.
[Splash page: Peter and MJ, backs to the audience, sitting on the ledge of their apartment, staring at the sunrise as it erupts into a fountain of light.]
Peter: I think I can do that.