Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (2016) #16
“Days of Deception Conclusion: Dark Side of the Morning”
Writer: Neil Bogenrieder
Assistant Writer: Mohammed Jaafar, Shaun Martineau and Jarod Cordes
Editor: Mark Alford
Preferred Art Teams:
“Spider-Man in: Towards Peace”
-Stefano Caselli and Edgar Delgado
“Silk in: Gwen Stacy Syndrome”
-Stacey Lee and Ian Herring
“Black Cat in: Breaking Bad Luck”
-Terry and Rachel Dodson
“Captain Marvel in: The Sum of Our Parts”
-David Marquez and Justin Ponsor
“Yuri Watanabe in: Shadow Politics”
-Travel Foreman and Keith David
[Panel 1: Close, tight shot of Peter’s eyes, previously sealed shut in slumber but just now opening drowsily.]
Peter [capt]: As the city with the single most alien invasions and supervillain attacks of all time, we have a knack for rebuilding.
[Panel 2: Peter sits up, rubbing his forehead in sleep-deprived agitation. We see that Peter has been sleeping on the floor of his lab at Horizon, with MJ on a couch and Annie in a small bed, the origins of both pieces of furniture best left unknown.]
Capt: Spider-Man in: Towards Peace
Peter [capt]: And as a man who should have gone insane after all the crap I’ve gone through, I have a good knack for rebuilding too.
What time is it?
4:00 in the morning. Perfect.
[Panel 3: Peter grabs his mask,stretching it as he advances towards the entrance to the lab.]
Peter: Well, it’s morning. It’s my turn to take watch anyways.
[Panel 4: The finals seals of Peter’s mask leave the grips of his fingers as the door opens, spilling light into the lab. Silent panel.]
[Pages 2 and 3]
[Full double spread. We see the atrium of Horizon, as well as the hallways leading out into the labs themselves, are jam-packed with people sleeping in handed-out blankets. Heroes are separating them into rows, allowing for easier mobility in the makeshift living space. On watch currently are Moon Knight, Mockingbird, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Daredevil, with Spidey joining them.]
Peter [capt]: We’ve had near constant supply drops of food and water by the air force, but it hasn’t been easy without power. SHIELD is arriving with three helicarriers worth of food and construction material to start bridge repair.
We set up shop in Horizon and brought in as many people as possible off the streets-- especially since, you know, Horizon was one of the few places actually left standing with power.
It’s been a challenge, but we’re also working on a more consistent form of feeding everybody until the bridges are repaired. Trying to turn the industrial replicators we use for materials here into food replicators.
Spider-Man: Hey. I miss anything?
Captain America: Peter, your shift doesn’t start for another three hours. Go get some sleep.
Spider-Man: Steve, I’d take you up on that, but… well, I… yeah. I just can’t sleep.
Not while we’re this vulnerable.
[Panel 1: Spider-Man leans against the wall, Steve and Carol joining him.]
Spider-Man: It just doesn’t feel right for me to kick back and keep calm.
The last time we did that was with Tony and the Mighties. And we thought we were safe back then. And this all happened right under our own noses?
How could we be so arrogant to just assume that we’d won? When did this happen?
Carol: Take it from somebody who helped everybody think they were safe.
But, we’ll do better. Always vigilant. Not letting our own agendas and politics get in the way of our job.
Spider-Man: And how long until we go right back to where we started, Carol?
[Panel 2: Tight shot of Spider-Man’s mask, as Steve and Carol pay attention.]
Spider-Man: We always say we’ll do better. But remember how we nearly declined into a full-scale Civil War? We promised we’d do better, but then three years later I beat the crap out of Tony in the middle of a street.
What about M-Day?
What about the Skrulls?
And now the Symbiotes?
Don’t you guys get it? We can change. But not forever. We’re a walking cycle of disaster.
[Panel 3: A new voice enters the conversation, surprising the three heroes.]
???: Excuse me.
[Panel 4: The speaker is revealed to be J Jonah Jameson, disheveled, unshaven, and stripped down to his dress shirt and slacks.]
Jonah: Sorry if I’m interrupting your conversation.
But… I was wondering if I could have a word with Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: Um… sure.
Carol: We’ll give you some alone time, Spidey.
[Panel 5: Spider-Man and Jonah are now alone, as Carol and Steve retreat into the hallway.]
This is awkward.
Spider-Man: Tell me about it.
Can I get you a drink?
That’s about it.
Jonah: Heh. No, thanks. I’ll make this quick.
[Panel 1: Jonah and Spider-Man have sat on the table nearest them, as Jonah twiddles his thumbs.]
Jonah: About a week ago, I’d be printing my standard hit piece on you.
How Iron Man would be totally justified in bringing you in. And that Doc Ock thing…
[Panel 2: A recycled copy of the previous copy, with Spider-Man looking at Jonah this time.]
Jonah: This isn’t exactly the easiest thing to say…
Spider-Man: For what?
Jonah: For everything.
[Panel 3: A close-up of Jameson’s face, half-obscured by the shadows.]
Jonah: What you did this past week? Driving off an entire alien invasion nearly single handedly?
You proved eighteen years of my professional journalism career wrong. And that’s a good thing.
My son is making the next supply run tomorrow morning.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be there to see him again.
Thank you. So much.
[Panel 4: Spidey’s face, opposite to Jameson’s. While you can’t see behind the mask, you can tell he’s glad to have finally mended the bridge with Jameson.]
[Panel 5: Spidey and Jameson shake hands]
Spider-Man: You’re welcome.
This is my city. And everybody within its borders are under my watch.
That includes you, Triple J.
[Panel 1: Spider-Man leaps off of the table, approached by Captain America while headed for his lab as Jonah walks off.]
Spider-Man: Cap, I gotta go check on my family, and maybe take your advice on a couple extra hours of shut-eye. Think you can hold the fort without me?
Cap: Absolutely. Get some rest, son. You’ve earned it.
[Panel 2: Spider-Man seals the lab behind him, taking off his mask as he looks over MJ and Annie.]
Peter [capt]: 5,000 dead or missing.
36 heroes gone without a trace.
Doesn’t feel like we’ve earned this one.
[Panel 3: Peter pulls out a flash drive from a hidden pouch from his belt, examining the end and popping out the USB port.]
Peter [capt]: Still.
We need to rise above this.
We were divided before. Tony’s Mighty Avengers and Steve’s Secret Avengers.
That can’t happen anymore. We can’t afford to be torn apart. Not again.
[Panel 4: Peter plugs the USB into his computer at Horizon, reading the files that come into the viewscreen. Notably, several of the files have the Stark Industries logo, and yet others, already on his computer, have both Peter and Reed’s signatures on the paper.]
Peter: Computer. Run analysis of atomic segments of the Unstable Molecules Reed sent and run them against Stark Endo-Sym technology.
Computer: Analysis complete. Unstable Molecules’ transformative properties nullified by addition of Endo-Sym compound, and simulations produce a highly-durable substance with spandex-tier flexibility.
Computer: In theory.
[Panel 4: Peter smiles, looking at the simulations on his computer.]
Hey, Computer? Can we dye the stuff?
Peter: Awesome. Um… let’s load up file Spider_SuitMK3.
I’ve always wanted to be a tailor.
Peter [Capt]: It's amazing what we can do when we all put our heads together.
[Capt: Silk in: Gwen Stacy Syndrome]
[Panel 1: A rooftop in New York. The background is cloudy grey, rain slicking up the environment. Cindy is leaning against the support beam of a water tower, shuddering ever-so-slightly in fetal position.]
Cindy [Capt]: When I first started this gig, I thought I was gonna be unstoppable.
Just… Slap a couple of pills down my throat and I could do anything.
[Panel 2: Zoom in. Cindy is obscured by shadows, but the shuddering is even more noticeable than before.]
Cindy [Capt]: I made so many headlines. I was the new hot cakes.
Iron Man wanted me to join the Avengers.
Bad call in retrospect, but it meant I was going somewhere.
There was literally nothing to anchor my ego down to Earth.
[Panel 3: We finally get a close up and reasoning behind Cindy’s shuddering. As the shadow fades away, she is quietly sobbing hysterically, trying to calm herself down.]
Cindy [Capt]: Then today happened.
I was…Violated. Had another... thing... take over my body and nearly doom an entire city.
I nearly died for the second time in two months.
And worst of all…
I saw somebody I love-- I saw him die.
[Panel 1: Cindy barely manages to grip her knee, hoisting her body up to where her bottom reaches her kneecap.]
God, he deserved better.
[Panel 2: Cindy has slowly regained control of herself, managing to take several steps.]
Cindy [Capt]: Of course, we think after we’ve endured the worst, it can only get better.
I’d say ‘wrong’ but that’s an objective lie. It’s all about perspective.
[Panel 3: Having moved to the edge of the rooftop, Cindy bends her knees, looking down on the now smoking streets of New York, the fires doused by the rain.]
Cindy [Capt]: We only deal with the aftermath on an individual level.
Count our losses.
I dunno, I took a philosophy course for two hours when I was bored.
Made me feel smart.
[Panel 4: Cindy’s foothold on the edge of the rooftop gives out; she yells out, taken by surprise.]
Cindy [capt]: But I don’t think a philosophy class preps you for an invasion of Symbiotes.
Not feeling so smart right now.
[Panel 1: Large panel. Cindy has managed to fire a web-line at the nearest phantom anchor point, barely missing hitting the fire escape on her descent.]
[Panel 2: Cindy swings over the street, the smoke clouding her vision as she swings towards the nearest building, albeit in a clumsy recovery.]
[Panel 3: Having landed on the rain-soaked surface of the new building, Cindy slams into the roof, skidding across the wet concrete.]
Cindy [capt]: Symbiotes.
They killed him.
[Panel 1: Cindy, though trying to recover again, is still struggling, having just collided with a building.]
Cindy [capt]: I saw his bleeding corpse right there in the street.
He didn’t want to… Bond with those things… So they just up and took him out.
[Panel 2: With intense struggle, Silk is able to slowly raise herself onto her right elbow and left hand.]
Cindy [capt]: I could have saved him.
I tried every trick in the book.
He was dead before I even got there.
[Panel 3: Her left hand slipping, Cindy falls back down, her body slamming against the ground. Silent panel.]
[Panel 4: Close up of Cindy’s bloodshot and tear-drenched face.]
Cindy [Capt]: Mr. Parker said this wasn’t a game when I first started.
He was right.
It isn’t a game.
[Full page spread. Cindy has given up, curled into the fetal position as the rain continues to pour down on her.]
Cindy [Capt]: I’m scared.
[Capt: Captain Marvel in: Sum of Our Parts]
[Panel 1: Captain Marvel has flown up above New York’s skyline, basking in the glow of the freshly-risen sun. Silent panel.]
[Capt: The Next Day]
[Panel 2: Carol has slowly lowered herself, settling upon the needle of the One World Trade Center.]
Cap Marv [capt]: I needed this sunrise.
Makes me feel… Warm and fuzzy inside.
Like after everything that’s happened, it’s all finally come into focus.
[Panel 3: Cap Marv sit down upon the rooftop of the OWTC, sighing as a layer of dust kicks up upon her touchdown.]
Cap Marv [capt]: How did we get into the position?
How did I get in this position?
Where all of the Avengers-- not to mention Jess, my best friend- were taken over by space jello and I didn’t even know?
[Panel 4: As Carol sits into silent self-reflection, a thwipping noise and a soft thud can be heard lightly in the background.]
Carol: Hey, Peter.
[Panel 1: Cap Marv has turned to see Spider-Man, still wearing his tattered costume from the Symbiote Invasion, sitting on the antenna behind her.]
Spider-Man: Hey yourself.
City’s been looking’ pretty bleak and rainy today. Figures you’d come with your magical sparkle powers to brighten it up.
Cap Marv: Pfft. You always were a charmer.
Spider-Man: Guilty as charged.
Careful. I’m married.
[Panel 2: Spider-Man has leapt off of the antenna, moving to sit alongside Carol.]
Cap Marv: You’re still wearing those rags? It’s been two days! At least take a shower.
Spider-Man: I’ve got a new one all blueprinted. All that’s left is for the materials to arrive. And, given how hard Endo-Sym tech and Unstable Molecules are to come by, it’ll be a while.
And… Given the circumstances, the black suit is out of the question.
So it’s either the rags or that really old one from when I was a teen.
Cap Marv: Ew, your dad flab will show!
Spider-Man: Hey, I’ll have you know that the pic I know you have saved on your phone is from a year ago.
I’ve shaved off that weight from having to train a teenage sidekick and fighting Shocker once a month.
[Panel 3: Peter, having removed his mask, and Carol share a mutual chuckle.]
Carol: You threatened to chase him to the ends of the earth yet?
Peter: Nah, I passed the word around through most of my rogues. Started with Hypno-Hustler and ended with… White Rabbit, last time I bothered to check.
I can, however, confirm that Herman is prepping for a nine-layer Inferno marathon.
[Panel 4: Peter and Carol both look disappointed in themselves for their jovial tones during the mourning period.]
Peter: Sorry, I… Just figured that with all the crap everybody’s been going through… We could use a laugh.
Carol: No, it’s cool. We needed that. Optimism is a bit of a commodity right now.
And given that you have the arguable closest ties to the invasion… Your happiness is a bit of an inspiration.
Not just to me… To a lot of people.
[Panel 1: Side shot of Peter, as his head is turned towards Carol, who is resting her head on her legs.]
Peter: So… with the whole Stark career down the drain…
What’re you planning on doing now?
Carol: Not sure yet. I’ve got a fair number of job offers lying on my coffee table.
Air Force, NASA SECCOM, JSOC. I think they’ve even offered me a job commanding Earth’s orbital battle clusters.
Peter: Y’know, if you’re looking for a more… well, down-to-Earth job.
Horizon’s been needing more security. Pays well, and having Captain Marvel watching our backs wouldn’t hurt.
[Panel 2: Carol sweeps her hair behind her eyeline, smirking.]
Carol: That’s very sweet of you, Peter.
But, I’ve been thinking.
What if we did the Avengers again?
What if we did it right, like it used to be.
Not with the government riding our backs everywhere we went.
Not on the run and poorly supplied.
Just… Avengers again.
Peter [OP]: I’m not sure if I want to back you on that idea.
Part of me is with you, but… I dunno, maybe I’m letting my bias against Tony get to me.
[Panel 3: Peter remains seated, the wind bristling against his hair.]
Peter: But. I’m gonna play neutral party here and say “But”.
We need to keep a united front. And with Tony and the other Mighties still missing… maybe a change of leadership could do some good.
So I’ll say you could give it a trial run.
Carol [OP]: You’re not gonna join? We could always use some humor, whatever roster we end up with.
Peter: This is my city, Carol. I can’t stay away for too long.
Plus, I’ve got a family now. Imagine being gone for days at a time.
[Panel 1: Peter hops onto his feet, bending so that he’s supporting himself on his knees.]
Peter: But… tell you what. Until you get some numbers filled out, I’ll help out.
And even then, I’d be willing to stay on the team. Just not… a permanent guy.
A reserve member.
And if the world’s ending… you know where to find me. Not like Cindy and I wouldn’t be there anyway.
[Panel 2: Carol holds a hand out, smiling hopefully.]
Carol: So… I’ve got an Avenger?
[Panel 3: Peter’s hand slaps into Carol’s, the thumbs gripping each other’s hand.]
Peter: You’ve got Avenger #1.
[Panel 4: Carol holds out a holographic display from her glove, her and Peter examining the rotating circle, with eight increments in the circle.]
Peter: So there’s you, me….
Anybody else you wanted to throw into the mix?
Carol: Thought I’d bring in more a more diverse powerset. Mix things up a bit.
Unfortunately, we’re a little thinned out, what with the whole alien invasion taking out a lot of heavy hitters.
[Splash Page. We get a closer look at the holographic circle, and we see several persons in the pie-like chart: Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, She-Hulk, the original Human Torch, and Scarlet Witch.]
Carol [OP]: We’re going to have to make do with what we can get our hands on.
[Capt: Captain Yuri Watanabe in: Shadow Politics]
[Panel 1: Yuri, in her trench coat, stands at the base of the now heavily damaged Stark Tower.]
Yuri [capt]: Not a lot of people know the real Yuri Watanabe.
Carlie Cooper, a couple of officers I’ve had drinks with.... Not many others ‘sides them.
It’s not really a sob story. If anything, it’s proof that anybody can overcome their family’s sins.
[Panel 2: Yuri wanders, somewhat aloofly, into the lobby of Stark Tower. A few bodies, covered up by white cloths, litter the room, but otherwise is rather clean. The only lighting is the light from outside the building.]
Yuri: Joined the Marines the minute I turned 18. Graduated with honors. Semper fi and all that jazz.
Then one day I get a call from dad. He’s in jail. Did something stupid, but not exactly a big surprise.
Don’t remember the exact details, but he’s still rotting in prison and mom’s still rotting in a nursing home.
[Panel 3: Yuri steps into the stairwell, beginning the long climb up.]
Yuri [capt]: I know I sound like a total ass for saying that, but hear me out.
There’s a moral to this.
I died that day.
But not quite.
[Panel 1: Yuri continues climbing the stairs, typing into her phone.]
Yuri [capt]: My parents raised me on superstition.
Spooked me into sleeping.
They taught me about the legend of the Wraith. A being made undead without passing through death.
Yuri: Slott, this is Watanabe. I’m going to be gone for a while.
You’re in charge of the precinct until I get back.
Don’t muck it up.
Slott: You got it, boss.
[Panel 2: The door to the stairwell has opened, and Yuri exits to reveal her destination: the only floor of the Avengers living area to not to be destroyed by the blast.]
Yuri [capt]: I am a Wraith. Never technically dead, but might as well be.
But, these days, I have things to live for.
My city. My girlfriend. Stopping Spider-Man.
[Panel 3: Yuri pulls a can out of the depths of her coat, reading “Fear Gas. Suspect: Beck, Quentin. Alias Mysterio”
Yuri: Well, you won’t be missed by the evidence locker. Filled with plenty of Octobots and Pumpkin bombs.
Maybe it’s time we put some of the stuff in there to good use.
[Panel 4: Yuri tosses the can in her hand, whistling as she ventures further into the husk of Avengers Tower.]
Yuri [capt]: Time to arm up.
[Panel 1: We see the Yuri come out of the wreckage, dressed in her Wraith costume. In order for maximum edge, give the costume extra detail; lines denoting contours in the body, oriental patterning on the yellow sections of her suit, and a harder texture for the suit, giving a tougher feel.]
Yuri: Not bad.
Stark basically craps out the material for people to make their own costumes.
[Panel 2: Yuri stares at the mask, contemplating its existence in the palm of her hand.]
[Panel 3: In the shadows of the debris of Stark Tower, Yuri slips on the mask. Silent panel.]
[Panel 4: Similar framing. Yuri has finished putting on the mask, the lenses glowing upon the mask coming on all the way.]
Yuri: Alright then, Spider-Man--
[Splash page. Yuri is now completely dressed as the Wraith, pushing her body as her wrappings shoot out of her body like Doc Ock’s tentacles. Her eyes have narrowed and are glowing as she assumes a stance of power.]
Yuri: --Time you met the new sheriff of New York.
[Capt: Black Cat in: Breaking Bad Luck]
[Panel 1: A back alley. The back door slams off its hinges as two masked individuals make a quick and frantic exit from the building.]
Man: Hurry! Before the cops show up!
Woman: You’re the one who wanted to stick around to nab that Crimson Hyena piece!
If we get caught, it’s all your fault!
[Panel 2: The two figures bump into some trash cans, the contents spilling behind them as they continue their escape.]
Man: ‘Ey, it’s not my fault that I inherited dad’s amazing taste in art!
Woman: You’re right. It’s Dad’s. When we make a clean getaway, I’ll be sure to write him and thank him.
[Panel 3: The two make it to the curb, where a mid-size sedan is waiting for them.]
Get in. I’ll drive.
[Panel 4: Before either can get in the car, it erupts in a ball of flames.]
I paid good money for that car!
[Panel 1: As the two run down the street, a black-clad figure leaps out from the alley in their direction.]
Woman: Whatever, we can make it on foot before the cops show!
???: Not if I can help it.
[Panel 2: Somersaulting over the two, the black figure uses their shoulders as a pivot point, upsetting their balances.]
???: Sorry, but you guys are stealing my gimmick. Besides--
[Panel 3: Felicia lands on her toes as the two thieves collapse from their balance loss, blowing a strand of hair out of her face during her landing.]
Felicia: --You pick when the city is probably at its most vulnerable to go out thieving?
At least my generation did our stealing when there were superheroes able to catch us.
[Panel 3: Felicia looms over the two, twiddling a baton in her left hand.]
Felicia: Also, cat ears? C’mon, you’re stealing my motif; even then, I never went that far!
Man: But… bu-bu-b--
[Panel 4: Felicia grabs the male accomplice by the collar, with him gasping for air.]
Felicia: Listen, buddy. How deep do you reach into the Maggia?
Judging by the fact that you’re dressed like a goddamn cat, I’m gonna guess taking you two down is gonna be like a mosquito bite.
Whatever. Just send a message to your bosses. Or the cops. Whoever decides your worth quicker.
[Panel 1: Felicia has tied the two together, slapping her hands back and forth to clap off the dust.]
Felicia: Tell ‘em that Black Cat is upping her game. But the rules’ve changed.
[Panel 2: Felicia tosses her baton up into the air, walking away.]
Felicia: Still stealin’, but I’m throwing a twist in. I’ll do something good with what I steal.
[Panel 3: Shot of Felicia’s front, while she’s walking away.]
Felicia: Trying to go straight for a bit.
For all we know, it could crash and burn.
[Panel 4: Same panel as Panel 3. However, we see the baton come down, smacking the female goon in the face as Felicia looks back, smirking.]
Felicia: Or who knows?
Maybe I’ll get lucky.