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Spectacular Spider-Man #21--Vengeance!

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  • blackjohnflint
    Ben Reilly had stepped out of his apartment for a brief evening walk around to clear his mind a bit, maybe pick up something to eat. He had a lot to think
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 7, 2010
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      Ben Reilly had stepped out of his apartment for a brief evening walk around to clear his mind a bit, maybe pick up something to eat. He had a lot to think about between Mortimer Mason's name being cleared of all wrongdoing in the murders that Ben knew he had committed as the Goblin, (1) his curious personal transformation still underway, the appearance of the similarly spider-powered Ezekiel, and all the various projects his team was working on at Stark Solutions.

      He did not expect to see a motorcycle in flames tearing through the city streets, its rider likewise aflame, twirling chains over his head and screeching almost as loud as the roar of his enchanted engine. A limousine sped beside him, narrowly avoiding collisions with oncoming traffic, and a man in a suit and sunglasses emerged from the sunroof, brandishing a machine gun which spat hot death at the city streets, sparks flying as numerous holes appeared in the parked cars they passed.

      Spider-sense ever alert, Ben hit the ground a moment before anyone else had even reacted to the scene. His first conscious thought was that this was the Ghost Rider yet again, as he saw the flaming skeleton grab the limousine's nearest front tire with a length of mystical chain and yank it towards him.

      Then the demonic rider began to laugh a horrifying chortle as he slammed his surprisingly meaty skeletal fist into the side of the limousine, and it bounced away, smashing through the front window of a little boutique. The flaming rider came to a stop, his bike idling as he strutted up to the dead car, its occupants scuttling free and trying to flee, save the gunman who opened fire on that mystical fellow.

      Bullets tore through him, fast and furious, and the demon laughed on, unaffected. His leather clothing was a shambles, his mystical flames flickering and shifting as though it were a living thing just waking from a gentle afternoon's nap. The Spirit of Vengeance, however, continued to approach them.

      "You can't do this to us," the gunman said, "We're the hunters! We're supposed to be the predators, not the prey!"

      Vengeance grabbed him by the hand, the machine gun catching ablaze and exploding as the man's fist melted into a puddle, the skeletal bones exposed and quickly beginning to wither away.

      "Innocent blood," Vengeance said, "has been spilled."


      When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained great power; but when the naivety of youth resulted in the death of his beloved Uncle Ben, he learned that with great power there must also come great responsibility. Now, with Peter Parker having accepted greater responsibilities, Ben Reilly, his clone, has claimed the title of the Spectacular Spider-Man to strive against evil however it may strike...
      Alternate Marvel Presents: The Spectacular Spider-Man!

      The Spectacular Spider-Man #21
      "Vengeance and Vampires"
      Guest-Starring Vengeance!
      September 2009
      **********************
      Writer: John Flint
      Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
      **********************


      "Please," the man begged, as his arm caught blaze, "we're not so different, you and I, are we?"

      "Different enough," Vengeance said, and punched through the man's abdomen, setting the entire body ablaze. The flames crackled and the bones fell apart, sinew melting away from the heat of the hellfire. Vengeance walked up to the limousine, smoke rising from under the hood, scanning it with his empty eye-sockets for any other survivors who had stuck around.

      Suddenly, he felt something confine his arms to his sides, and he was thrown back, off his feet, slamming into the cold hard pavement. He looked up into the night sky and saw a black figure over him, upside down, a big white spider emblem on his chest.

      "You're not Ghost Rider," Spider-Man pointed out, "Just another murderer."

      "Everyone has to compare me to Kale," Vengeance grumbled, his demonic voice taking on a more human tone even with the mystical distortion that made him sound hellish, a swirling maelstrom of hate and evil.

      "He's a creep, but at least he isn't a killer like you," Spider-Man pointed out as Vengeance burst free of the webbing with a shrug of his shoulders.

      "You know nothing, mortal," Vengeance said, as he blasted hellfire at Spider-Man, who easily dodged out of the way and threw a punch which Vengeance met with one of his own, crumpling Spider-Man's fist in his own. "Those `men' were vampires. I've been hunting them down for several weeks now. They live on spilled blood. Innocent spilled blood, when possible."

      "Then the universe won't cry when they're dead," Spider-Man said, "but that still doesn't mean we have any right to—"

      "They feed on human life," Vengeance said, as he squeezed Spider-Man's fist, the intense heat and strength nearly toppling Spider-Man, "It is my job to see that they are removed from the equation. Every action has its equal and opposite reaction. I am the reaction to evil.

      "I am Vengeance."

      Vengeance picked Spider-Man up with the one hand and punched him with the other, nearly shattering his entire rib cage in one mighty swing. He threw Spider-Man away, then turned back to his idling bike.

      "I can sense that they are still in the area. My mission is not yet finished. Stay out of my way, wall-crawler. I have no issue with you."

      Spider-Man rolled on the sidewalk, and watched the biker ride off. He was unable to follow, but was satisfied as he saw the tiny red spider-tracer cling to the back of his leather jacket, which was rapidly healing itself in some strange way.

      "I'm not done with you yet," Spidey said as he struggled to maintain consciousness. A little elderly woman asked him if he was alright and her grandson helped him back to his feet. Given a few minutes to walk it off, he was back in the air, swinging from webline to webline, chasing after his target.

      As he watched the dawn break, his spider-sense suddenly gave out on him, the signal gone. "Okay; is this a result of my powers still being wonky, or did he find the tracer and destroy it?"

      Aching, Spider-Man swung home, hoping that he would have another round soon.

      [Day.]

      Back in his red and blue costume, Spider-Man popped in for a visit to Greenwich Village. Reaching the roof of the old familiar house, he felt a strange sensation, as though his very being were vibrating out of synch with reality. Disturbed, profoundly, he hopped off the roof and walked to the front door, knocking on it gently this time, still embarrassed from the way he had kicked it in last time.

      Wong opened the door and greeted him. Spider-Man entered in and saw that the Sanctum Sanctorum was spotless, every ancient artifact in its appropriate place, not a particle of dust in the air or on a table or counter.

      "Is the doctor in?"

      "He will be down to see you shortly, Mr. Spider-Man. I shall brew you some tea."

      "Thank you, uh, Mr. Wong."

      Spider-Man looked at the photos framed on the mantelpiece while waiting for an audience with the lord of the house. There were several of the man, Dr. Stephen Strange, with various of his medical associates. There were several more of the hero, Dr. Strange, dressed in his familiar garb as Sorcerer Supreme, with various of his super-heroic associates. There were several of him with Wong and a young woman with white hair which curled in an unnatural way.

      "Spider-Man," Dr. Strange said, as he floated down the stairs, Spider-Man taking a comfortable seat before the fireplace, "What brings you to my humble abode? Another mystical attack on Stark Solutions?"

      "Nothing quite so dire, Doc," Spider-Man said, "I ran into a little problem last night and was hoping for some information. Ever hear of a Ghost Rider wannabe calling himself Vengeance?"

      "Vengeance? I thought he was dead," Strange said. "Yes, Michael Badilino, a former police officer. Cursed with both his family line's quarters of the Medallion of Power. A Spirit of Vengeance capable of both hellfire and an ethereal flame able to burn bodies as well as souls."

      "Right, that guy. I don't wanna know what a Medallion of Power is. Anyway, what can I do to stop him? I don't mean kill him, I just need to put him down for the count so he can be escorted to prison by some lovely Guardsmen."

      "He is virtually indestructible," Strange said, thinking aloud, "However, I suspect that whatever enchantment has allowed him to return to the land of the living would likewise include special limitations on his existence in this realm."

      "Like, maybe he's vulnerable to wood or anything yellow? Should I trick him into saying his name backwards?"

      "I'm afraid I can't be of much help to you there," Strange said, "I'm sorry, this is a terribly busy time for me right now. I have Rintrah dealing with most of the day-to-day duties of this realm, but—"

      "I understand," Spider-Man said, rising to his feet, "at least I have some idea of what I'm dealing with now. Thanks, Doc. If you ever need help decorating for Halloween, just give me a summons."

      "Of course," Strange said, shaking Spider-Man's hand.

      "Oh! One more thing, what's the status of the vampire infiltration these days?"

      "I'm afraid it's as heavy as ever," Strange said, "but those of us who are aware of the threat are doing all we can to combat it."

      "I guess that's all anyone really can do," Spider-Man said. "There's no way to cure them?"

      "Spider-Man, they're already dead," Strange said, raising an eyebrow at the hero, comprehending the reasoning behind the questions. "There's no way to save them as they've already been lost. Killing a vampire is nothing more than putting down a rabid animal."

      [Night.]

      Back in black, the Spectacular Spider-Man swallowed the hard knot in his throat as he felt a weak signal from his spider-tracer. And that meant that Vengeance was back in action.

      "Maybe he was just out of range," Spider-Man theorized as he swung across Manhattan, "or maybe he only exists at night. Maybe it's a trap and he turned it back on to lure me to him."

      Before long, he was close, and heard a scream.

      Dropping to the nearest rooftop, he saw two people embracing in an alleyway below. The man, dressed in a designer suit, dropped the woman, who fell as one without life. Before Spider-Man could respond, the wall beyond the dead woman melted away, and Vengeance stepped through the hole, clutching the vampire's neck tight with his chain.

      "Gotcha," he growled, and flames surged down the length of the chain, incinerating the vampire in a matter of moments.

      Vengeance pointed down the alley and a single spark of fire spat from his fingertips, rapidly forming a bike made entirely of flames. Before he had taken two steps towards it, Spider-Man stood in his path.

      "We need to talk, Michael."

      "You know my name," Vengeance said, "Okay, how do you know my name?"

      "Doesn't matter," Spider-Man said, "You were a cop once, right? So you know that you can't just go around killing people like some vigilante. That way leads to—"

      "I'm not just some lynch mob or Charles Bronson," Vengeance said, as he tried to backhand Spider-Man away but hit only empty air. Spider-Man was on his back, kicking off, pushing Vengeance down onto the damp concrete.

      "I know I probably can't stop you and that you could set me on fire whenever you like," Spider-Man said, "and I know that these vampires you're hunting probably deserve to be put down. All I'm asking is to remind you to be careful and have some compassion, otherwise—"

      "Otherwise, what? We become the villains ourselves? Too late for that, wall-crawler. I hunted Ghost Rider for several years, hounding him, only to find out that I'm exactly what he was; a Spirit of Vengeance."

      "There has to be some way—"

      "There isn't. You do your job and I'll do mine."

      "I'll have to try to stop you; you know that I can't allow murderers to—"

      "Even murderers of murderers?"

      "That's right."

      "What about the killers of killers of killers? You catch whoever killed Frank Castle yet? Or are you just going to let someone kill them? The cycle is what it is. You can't change that; don't get yourself killed trying."

      "I—"

      Before Spider-Man could react, Vengeance had wrapped his mystical chains around him and slammed him into the ground. Vengeance dropped his spider-tracer beside the fallen hero, who needed a moment to recollect his wits.

      "You'll die when it's your time to die; and I'll avenge your death after your blood has been spilled, innocent. But don't worry; until then, I'll steer clear of your friendly neighborhood."

      As Spider-Man crawled to his feet, he heard the mystical bike speed away.

      [The end.]


      FOOTNOTES:
      1. See recent issues of Amazing Spider-Man.

      NEXT TIME: GOLIATH!
    • altmarvel-release-owner@yahoogroups.com
      The pedestrians and motorists passing by Midtown Bank at noon halted in their tracks to watch as a woman in a pink and purple costume walked out of the bank,
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 22, 2010
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        The pedestrians and motorists passing by Midtown Bank at noon halted in their tracks to watch as a woman in a pink and purple costume walked out of the bank, flanked by bank guards carrying large sacks of money over their shoulders as though they were Santa Clauses with bags of toys to give to the children of the world.

        The woman in the ridiculous costume, which had many layers such that you could not get a good idea of her figure, her hood obscuring the shape of her face as the mask hid the details of it, opened the door to the waiting taxi-cab and stepped in, the driver nonchalant about the entire thing.

        Photographers snapped pictures while ordinary persons used their cell phones to send images to their friends. The bank guards threw the bags of money into the back seat and the woman with the money rode away, the driver swerving between stopped cars, whose drivers watched them go by as though spellbound.

        The bank security guards simply stood there, as though seeing her off on a long voyage. They had no emotion on their faces, made no noises, and moved not at all.

        "Jeez," somebody shouted, "isn't somebody gonna call the Avengers or somethin'?"

        As the crowd approached the quiet guards, they began to notice a card pinned to each of them; it had a stylized double P emblazoned on it.


        When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained great power; but when the naivety of youth resulted in the death of his beloved Uncle Ben, he learned that with great power there must also come great responsibility. Now, with Peter Parker having accepted greater responsibilities, Ben Reilly, his clone, has claimed the title of the Spectacular Spider-Man to strive against evil however it may strike...
        Alternate Marvel Presents: The Spectacular Spider-Man!

        The Spectacular Spider-Man #22
        "Pain!"
        Guest-Starring Goliath!
        February 2010
        **********************
        Writer: John Flint
        Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
        **********************


        Ben Reilly strolled along with the pedestrians who were still gawking at the crime scene; he had happened to hear of it on the radio and decided to check it out incognito. With all the trouble he'd been receiving lately whenever he stepped out in costume, it seemed like a good idea to just not bother.

        A blond man in a blue suit was investigating, someone it took Ben a moment to recognize; Henry Pym, founder and former leader of the Avengers. The police were keeping the diminishing crowds from getting too close while he went to work on the crime scene and the detectives chatted up the bank tellers and management.

        He felt something strange in the air; a reverberation; something that his spider-sense was picking up, some stray residual… something. Something… psionic?

        Whatever it was, it was beginning to give him a headache. Once he had noticed it, he couldn't un-notice it. He hoped that Henry Pym could take care of this one, but just in case, he decided he would follow the trail himself and see where it went.

        [That evening.]

        Goliath stood on the roof of the Midtown Bank building, watching silently as Spider-Man arrived via webline. "Nice costume," he said, in reference to Spidey's black uniform.

        "It blends in better at night," Spider-Man explained, "as I expect yours does, too."

        "Better than my Yellowjacket duds, anyway," Goliath said. "I expect that you felt that psionic effect back there?"

        "Yes; how did you know about it?"

        "My cybernetic helmet allows me to communicate with insects," Goliath explained, "but it can also pick up certain wavelengths of other psionic frequencies, like this one. Whoever this woman is, she's potentially very dangerous. Considering that we haven't been able to undo whatever form of mind control she's put those guards under, we need to find her and fast."

        "Already followed her back to her hide-out," Spider-Man said, "and that's why I had the Black Knight contact you. Thought you might want to tag along on this one; otherwise, we'd wind up messing up each other's plans crashing in at the same time. Might as well team-up."

        "Yeah, you've got a point," Goliath agreed, "all things considered, it might be best if you lead the way. Mind carrying me?"

        "Just because I'm super-strong doesn't mean-- oh, you mean you'll shrink down first, right?"

        Before Spidey's eyes, Goliath became all of one-inch tall. "Just make sure you hold on tight. If you slip and fall off, I can't guarantee I'll be able to find you before you hit the ground."

        [Meanwhile.]

        Princess Pain whined as she lounged in her recliner, flipping through the various news channels. "How come no one knows my name? Isn't it obvious? Arrgh!"

        "Maybe you should have spelled it out for them," Dr. Pain, her father, suggested calmly, though the tone indicated he was irritated and doing all he could to remain peaceful, "instead of just providing them with initials. The average mind is a peon. That is why we exist, to show them of what perfection truly is!"

        "Ugh, no more speeches! I'm so tired of you telling me about how I was genetically engineered in utero to be the perfect psionic headache to our enemies! I got all the money you wanted, why can't I go out and spend some of it?"

        "It would be suspect if my daughter were seen suddenly out and about with loads of cash right after this high-profile robbery. No, the money must go to my researches… soon, soon we will be able to travel the world unfettered, I promise you that!"

        "Gag! Daddy, you promised no more of that lame villain talk!"

        "Hush; did the control chips work on the guards as they were supposed to?"

        "Perfectly and you already know that. I've only told you five times in the last hour!"

        "They said I was a fool; who is the fool now? Ha, ha, the world shall bow before the might of Dr. Pain and the Princess Pain!"

        [Outside.]

        "Here we are," Spider-Man said, swinging straight for the boarded-up window of the abandoned tenement. "And here we go! Hold on!"

        Spider-Man smashed through the rotted boards and rolled to a landing on his feet. Goliath hopped off and grew to a modest six feet.

        "Man, can you feel that?" Spider-Man asked, his headache returning tenfold.

        "I don't even need my helmet to feel it," Goliath agreed, "my psi-shields are vibrating trying to hold it all back."

        Suddenly, sharp, stabbing pain assaulted both their skulls!

        Spider-Man and Goliath both dropped to their knees, clutching ferociously at their ears, trying to make the savage drumbeat go away.

        "You thought I wouldn't sense you?" Dr. Pain said, stomping up the rickety stairs of the tenement which he had been using for the last seven months as a laboratory and hideout. "I couldn't feel your puny little minds approaching with violent intent? You won't stop me and you won't hurt my little girl!"

        "No," Spider-Man agreed, "won't hurt her… just take her… to prison!"

        "You, on the other hand," Goliath said, faring better than Spidey with his helmet's psi-shields taking the brunt of the attack, "you… I might just… hurt!"

        "Don't you hurt my Daddy!" Princess Pain shrieked, and both heroes toppled like a house of cards. The two psionics doubled their efforts to keep the heroes down, focused and fuming.

        Shaking, Spidey shot a webline at Dr. Pain, striking him in the chest and knocking the wind out of him. He slammed against the wall behind him, and Princess Pain was shocked out of her attack for a split-second and ran to see if he was alright.

        Dr. Pain stumbled and fell down the stairs and Princess Pain rushed down after him.

        Goliath recalibrated his cybernetic helmet as Spider-Man crawled onto the ceiling and webbed the two villains up before they could run off. They sneered at him but, thankfully, Spider-Man found that the only pain in his skull was the ripples caused by the earlier savage attack.

        "My helmet was studying their psionic assault," Goliath explained, rising to his feet, "and sent out a counter-wave that would neutralize it. Whew!"

        "You can say that again," Spider-Man said, leaping down from the ceiling. "Man, what a headache!"

        [The end.]

        NEXT TIME: THE BLACK CAT!
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