Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (2016) #10
“Date Night: Days of Deception Prelude”
Writer: Neil Bogenrieder
Assistant Writer: Mohammed Jaafar
Editor: Mark Alford
Preferred Art Team: David Marquez and Justin Ponsor
[Panel 1: The Parker family apartment. Peter and MJ are in their bedroom, sitting on their bed. MJ is looking over their nicer clothing, while Peter is poking around his closet, looking for something.]
[Cap: 33rd West End Avenue, the Parker family apartment]
MJ: Peter, you have your suit pressed?
Peter: Uh, I think so? One sec… yep, suit’s pressed.
MJ: You sure you don’t wanna just do this another day and play a board game tonight?
You still look shaken up from the whole Avengers thing last week.
[Editorial note: The Avengers incident occurred last issue.]
[Panel 2: Peter pokes his head out of the closet, having found his tie.]
Peter: MJ, we’ve had this reservation for weeks now. Can we even cancel five hours before we’re supposed to get there?
MJ: There’s a policy on that. S’long it’s an hour before your timetable, you’re good.
Peter: Huh. Neat.
[Panel 3: Shot of MJ, who is looking through her makeup kit.]
MJ: By the way, did you ever find a babysitter for Annie?
[Panel 4: Peter, looking up and hesitating to answer.]
[Panel 1: Yuri is holding her house set, hanging up as Peter tries to talk to her.]
[Capt: Attempt #1]
Peter [phone]: Hey, Yuri! I was wondering if you and/or Carlie could-
Peter: Whoa, hang on a-
[Panel 2: Carlie sticks her head out of the bathroom as Yuri sets the house set on its charger.]
Carlie: Hey, who was that?
[Panel 3: A shot of Peter’s smartphone, with his finger hovering over J. Jonah Jameson’s number and contact info.]
[Capt: Attempt #2]
[Panel 4: Peter pulls his finger up, sheathing his phone is his pocket.]
Peter: No, Peter. You’re a responsible parent. Don’t do that to your kid.
[Panel 5: Kaine is roaring hilariously into his own phone, mask off but still wearing the rest of his Scarlet Spider suit.]
[Cap: Attempt #3]
[Panel 6: Kaine leers into the phone, pulling on his mask as he hangs up when Aracely pokes her head in the room.]
Kaine: #@%& off.
Aracely: Hey, who was that? Your brother?
Kaine: Nope, wrong number.
[Panel 1: Peter scratching his head, laying his suit down on the bed.]
Peter: Yeah, that didn’t go over so well.
I could ask Cindy to babysit. I was gonna tell her to patrol without me, but--
[Panel 2: Peter and MJ look at each other, a look of worry on their faces.]
[Panel 3: Peter puts his hand to his chin.]
Peter: Wait, I think I’ve got an idea.
You may not like it, but….
[Panel 4: Peter, now dressed up, opens the door to let Felicia in.]
Peter: Hey, Felicia.
I hope this isn’t too out of the way for you, but…
Felicia: Nah, we’re good.
[Panel 5: MJ, also dressed up, comes over to Peter, as he exits the apartment.]
MJ: Thanks for doing this for us, Fel. We owe you big time.
Felicia: No problem. You two enjoy yourself.
[Panel 1: Felicia looks over at Annie, who is staring at her from her play pit. Silent panel.]
[Panel 2: The two are still in their original positions, the only change being Felicia is waving at Annie.]
Felicia: Um… hey, kid.
Felicia: Yeah. Whatever that means. Woo.
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ are walking down the stairs, with Peter texting into his phone.]
MJ: You sure this is a good idea? Leaving Black Cat in charge of our kid?
Peter: I trust her. She already promised not to steal anything.
One sec. Gotta text Cin and tell her she’s going solo tonight.
[Panel 4: As her phone vibrates, Cindy rises from a bed that isn’t her own, her hair disheveled, and wearing a shirt a few sizes too big for her.]
[Panel 5: Cindy’s face, with a disappointed expression, as she reads the text on her phone.]
Text: You’re on your own for patrol. Don’t let me down, kid. -P
[Panel 1: Cindy is trying to climb down from the bed, when a hand tries to drag her back down under the covers.]
???: Cin, c’mon. Stay the night?
Cindy: Sorry, Hector. It’s my boss. He needs me to do something for work.
Hector: Work can wait.
Cindy: No, it can’t.
I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks for the good time.
Hector: Can I at least have my shirt back?
Cindy: No. It’s mine now.
[Panel 2: Cindy rushes back into her dorm room, dressed in her own clothes this time, and pulling out her briefcase from a hidden corner.]
Cindy [capt]: Okay, don’t panic. Spidey just wants me to do patrol without him.
Except I’ve never done patrol without him.
Well, first time for everything.
[Panel 3: Cindy is pulling on her bandanna mask as she webs away from her dorm.]
Silk: Let’s see if we can’t make this work.
[Panel 4: Peter and MJ are standing at the kiosk of a more high-end restaurant, as a server looks through the reservation book. Peter is pinching the bridge of his nose, frustrated, while MJ looks on.]
Peter: Parker. Peter and Mary Jane Parker.
Look, it’s been an hour, and our reservation was half an hour ago. There must be some kind of mix-up.
Server: I’m sorry, Mr. Parker, your name isn’t on any of our reservation lists.
MJ: But we made this reservation a month ago. Are you telling me you’ve lost a reservation? Because that represents a major breach in your cybersecurity and could result in the loss of significant profit margins for your franchise.
[Panel 5: The server is now in panic mode.]
Server: Um… let me check right now, Mrs. Parker.
[Panel 1: Peter looks over at MJ, who is smirking victoriously, bewildered how quickly she solved the situation.]
Peter: Oh, my God. How did you-
MJ: Trade secret. Can’t tell.
Peter: I ain’t complaining.
[Panel 2: The server returns, waving a folder.]
Server: Good news, Mrs. Parker! We found your reservation. We were just looking in the wrong place. If you’ll follow me, please?
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ follow the waiter to their table, still conversing.]
Peter: Have I ever mentioned that you are one talented lady?
MJ: A title well deserved.
Peter: Do I look like I’m arguing?
[Panel 1: Cindy is sitting up on top of a roof, eating a hotdog as she looks down on the city.]
Cindy [capt]: Okay, streets are looking good so far.
Not even a common criminal out tonight. Maybe Mr. Parker made them all disappear.
Maybe I can go back to my room and get a few hours of--
[Panel 2: A wall of a building explodes, sending debris flying everywhere.]
[Panel 3: Cindy, mouth still full of hotdog, swings down to check it out.]
Cindy [capt]: -sleep.
Oh, well. City doesn’t sleep. Why should I?
[Panel 4: Silk lands on the street, inspecting the damage and helping a passerby up.]
Silk: It’s okay, you’re all gonna be okay.
Attention, exploding building! You are under arrest!
[Splash Page: From Silk’s POV, we find out the source of the hole; Rhino, who is covered in a Symbiote similar to Venom. However, unlike Venom, there is no spider-symbol, no spider-lenses, or anything linking to Spider-Man. Rather, his back is covered in spikes, his front horn is longer and sharper, his eyes are red and narrowed and his fingers are thicker.]
[Panel 1: Cindy looks up, scared beyond belief.]
[Panel 2: Cindy leaps over a car in panic, SymbioRhino chasing her as civilians flee in panic.]
Cindy: Everybody, RUN!
[Panel 3: Cindy has grabbed onto SymbioRhino’s horn, trying to maintain a solid grip.]
Cindy: Okay, giant black thing that looks like a rhino! You need to stand down!
Aw, what the hell, you’re not listening to me. I’ll just make this easier for both of us.
[Panel 4: Cindy punches Rhino, but ends up shattering her fingers upon impact rather than stopping Rhino.]
Okay, that’s not cool!
[Panel 1: Cindy is grabbed by the leg, unable to free herself.]
Silk: Ah! Cheap shot, man!
[Panel 2: Silk is then brought up to the eye level of SymbioRhino, still hanging by her feet.]
Silk: Um…. Hi.
[Panel 3: Close up of Cindy’s face, who is weakly smiling in panic.]
Cindy: Please don’t hurt me.
[Panel 1: Peter and MJ are seated at a table, clinking two glasses of champagne together.]
Peter: To family.
MJ: And to Code Turquoise.
Peter: Amen to that, Red.
[Panel 2: MJ looks outside, noticing a lot of people outside running in a single direction.]
MJ: Hey, why are all of those people running?
Peter: Flash mob?
Joking. No idea.
I just hope Cindy hasn’t done anything-
[Panel 3: Cindy smashes through the window, ragdolling across the floor and stopping just short of Peter and MJ’s table.]
Hey, kid. How you hanging?
Silk: Not too good.
I think I bit off more than I could chew.
[Panel 4: SymbioRhino has smashed through what was left of the window, his attention solely on Silk.]
Silk: Of course, it would help if I could actually chew it to begin with.
Peter: Rhino?! You picked a fight with Rhino?!
Silk: Kind of. He destroyed a building.
I think I broke my hand.
It’s been a really weird night.
[Panel 5: Peter motions for MJ to get off the scene, as he straightens his tie.]
Peter: MJ, get out of here. I’ll take care of this.
MJ: Peter, you don’t have your costume!
[Panel 1: Peter looks back at his wife with a smirk, as Rhino charges towards Silk in the background.]
Peter: Who says I’m gonna save the day as Spidey?
[Panel 2: Peter t-bones SymbioRhino, sending him toppling over.]
Alright, kid, he’s all yours!
[Panel 3: Peter is dragged by MJ into a storage closet, as he shouts out to Silk.]
Peter: Remember, keep him away from civilians!
MJ: Peter, hide before he gets up!
[Panel 4: Silk swings out of the restaraunt, SymbioRhino chasing after her.]
How’d you like to play outside for a bit, boy?
[Panel 5: Peter and MJ are hidden in the supply closet, squeezed against each other.]
Peter: Okay, this went south way too fast.
There’s a hot dog stand a few blocks away. You wanna try and salvage this?
MJ: …. Yeah, I’m kind of hungry.
[Panel 1: Silk is swinging close to the ground, focused on outrunning SymbioRhino.]
Silk: Okay. Let’s see if we can’t get you someplace alone.
[Panel 2: Silk perches on a steeple, webbing her hand together.]
Silk [capt]: Okay, so punching Rhino isn’t going to do me any good. And trying to slow him down isn’t working either.
Time to lick my wrist and get creative.
[Panel 3: Silk looks over to her side, noticing a building under construction nearby.]
Silk [capt]: Hey… Mr. Parker told me about the time he beat Juggernaut.
Couldn’t slow him down, so he trapped him in a pool of wet cement.
Maybe I can pull off that trick too!
[Panel 4: Silk swings over the construction site, looking for something to stop SymbioRhino with.]
Silk [capt]: Alright, no wet cement.
But I do have ten stories worth of metal beams to work with.
Gonna need a sec to do some math.
[Panel 5: Silk looks over her shoulder as SymbioRhino roars, pulling back on her mask.]
Silk: Okay. Showtime.
Hey, Rhino! Come’n get me!
Silk [capt]: God, I need to work on my banter.
[Panel 1: Silk bolts towards the reader, as SymbioRhino smashes through the barrier behind her.]
Silk [capt]: Don’tpanicdon’tpanicdon’tpanic- aw, hell. I’m panicking.
[Panel 2: SymbioRhino smashes into one of the support pillars, crumpling it as Silk climbs up the same pillar.]
Alright, let’s let physics do its thing and-
[Panel 3: Silk’s expression turns sour, realizing that the building is collapsing around her as well.]
Silk: Oh, yeah. I’m in the building too.
This is gonna hurt.
[Panel 1: A streetside shot from several blocks away, as a large cloud of dust and the clanging of metal erupts from the barrier. Peter and MJ are sitting on the curb, watching the scene unfold while eating hotdogs.]
Both: Well, that happened.
[Panel 2: Silk has hold of one of the girders, holding it above her to escape the pile of metal around her.]
Silk: Uh… Ta-da.
[Panel 3: As Cindy tosses away the girder, she notices the symbiote crawling away against the pavement, having ditched Rhino.]
Cindy: Hey! You’re-
[Panel 4: Peter has appeared on scene, scooping up the symbiote into an empty concrete powder sack, and tying it with his tie.]
Cindy: Aw, man. That looked like a really expensive tie.
[Panel 1: Peter hands Cindy the bag.]
Peter: Cin, this is important. Change your clothes and run this thing over to Horizon. There’s a containment unit in the back of the lab. I want you to shove the Symbiote in there. Don’t let it escape.
Cindy: Crystal Pepsi clear.
Peter: Hop to it. I’ll meet you there in an hour.
[Panel 2: Peter and MJ walk down the street as Cindy swings off in the opposite direction.]
Peter: C’mon, MJ. I need to change. I’ll walk you home.
MJ: What was that all about?
MJ: What? But… I thought he vanished.
Peter: So did I. Guess the villains thought it was time for a reunion tour.
[Panel 3: Peter and MJ continue walking down the street.]
Peter: I don’t get it. Last time I saw, Venom was with Eddie. After being sold to that rich guy’s son and killing him. Why would he ditch him to go after Rhino of all people?
MJ: Maybe he’s dead? Or close enough that the symbiote decided it wasn’t worth sticking around for him?
Peter: … I’m not sure.
But if there’s a link, I need to get to Horizon and take a look at the big pile of goo that Cindy just dumped into a box.
[Panel 4: As Peter and MJ walk up to their apartment, Peter kisses MJ on the head. Up above, Black Cat holding Annie in her arms is crawling into the window of Peter and MJ’s apartment.]
Peter: I’ll be back in an hour. Tell Felicia I said thanks, would ya?
MJ: You got it.
Peter: Thanks. Love you.
[Panel 1: Large panel of Peter running down the street, civilians watching the uncommon act as he races towards the Seaport.]
Spider-Man: Okay, time to think of possibilities.
One. Brock is dead and the Symbiote ditched him.
Two. Brock lent Rhino the Symbiote for some nefarious goal.
Three. I’m open to suggestions.
All I know is one thing; whatever Rhino was doing with it, it definitely wasn’t charity work.
[Panel 2: Peter and Cindy are overlooking a bioscanner at Horizon as it performs scans on the inert Symbiote.]
[Capt: Horizon Labs]
Peter [capt]: Hopefully we can find out what’s going on now that we’ve captured it.
Okay, this is the third trial and this isn’t making any sense.
Cindy: Sounds like you’re looking for a specific result, Doc.
[Panel 3: Peter holds out a tablet to Cindy, who skims through the results.]
Peter: I am.
This one on the left is a scan of the Venom Symbiote. I took it a couple of years ago.
The one on the right is of the Symbiote we have in that box. Tell me what the difference is.
Cindy: Well… it looks like their genetics. It’s… this chunk of DNA right here. They’re completely different.
The rest is… uncannily similar.
[Panel 1: Peter has moved the display from the tablet to a larger screen, the two observing it.]
Peter: Here’s what I’ve learned about the Symbiotes. I’ve been to their home planet before. They’re kind of like… piles of sentient goo. They’re not genetically complete until they’ve gotten a host.
[Panel 2: Close up of Peter’s face, the scene where he receives the Venom Symbiote during Secret Wars 1984 next to him.]
Peter: There’s a giant chunk of their genetic code that’s missing, and I haven’t figured out why. Probably either natural evolution or genetic tampering by their own to necessitate a host.
That’s why Venom has my power set. It tapped into my DNA to fill itself out, and passed that DNA onto its spawn.
[Panel 3: Peter turns to face Cindy, pointing a pen at the screen.]
Peter: This isn’t my DNA.
This isn’t Venom.
[Panel 1: Peter overlooks the inert symbiote, as Cindy continues to survey the monitor and the scans.]
Cindy: So… what is it?
Peter: That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
From what the scans are saying, there’s not even an human DNA in there.
It looks like….
[Panel 2: Peter scratches his head in confusion at the results]
[Panel 3: Cindy places a crate on top of the table, looking at Peter in confusion.]
Cindy: Wait, Skrulls? The alien shapeshifter guys?
You’re telling me I fought an alien in a rhino suit with a layer of space jello?
[Panel 4: Peter tosses his tablet onto the table in frustration.]
Cindy [op]: Cool.
Peter: Not exactly. The Symbiote’s Skrull DNA allowed it to gain a cohesive body and become Rhino without detection. It hid until it was ready to show itself. That’s besides the point.
But there’s still so many questions on the board, kid.
Questions I need answered.
[Panel 1: Peter and Cindy continue to stare at the monitor, as the results stay stationary in front of them]
Peter [capt]: Like, how did the Symbiotes get a hold of a Skrull?
[Panel 2: Peter and MJ sit on their couch in their pajamas with Annie in MJ’s lap, as Peter writes physics formulas on a notepad.]
Peter [capt]: How did another Symbiote manage to get to Earth?
[Panel 3: Peter is on his bed, holding his folded Spider-Man costume in his lap.]
Peter [capt]: How many others are there?
And most important-
[Page 21 and 22]
[Full-page spread page. A shot of New York from the harbor, Horizon Labs at the front, the sky instead replaced by the classic Spider-Man sky-filler. The key difference is that instead of just a plain Spider-mask, the lower half is slowly being taken over by a black goo.]
Peter [cont’d cap]: Why are they here?
[To be Continued in Days of Deception.]