Hello, new and returning readers! I'm here with a new project I'm very excited about!
If you've been (im)patiently waiting for updates to my Miraculous Ladybug stories, rest assured they're coming eventually, I've just had a really prolonged dry spell inspiration-wise. For now, though, I'm going to try my hand at something I should've done ages ago: Spider-Man, one of my two favorite superheroes of all time.
This story is set in Earth-26496 (the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series), which means characters and events in this story are unlikely to match up with 616. So please, no comments about how I "got it wrong" if something isn't exactly like the 616 version you know. Also, this story isn't tagged as a crossover because, well...Marvel.
I think you'll enjoy what I have in store. Let's get this ball rolling! Enjoy!
by Mythril Moth
BOOK ONE: HEROES ON THE RISE
Chapter 1: The Fantastic Spider-Man
Swinging through the city was a great way to organize one's thoughts.
By now, Peter Parker had been zipping from building to building high above the busy streets of Manhattan long enough that he barely needed to pay attention to what he was doing, leaving his mind free to wander as his eyes scanned the streets below for anything unusual.
After the way the last few weeks had been going, he was in desperate need of a few crooks to beat down. At least that part of his life was simple, straightforward, and generally ended in a win.
My best friend is acting like a creep—oh, and I basically killed his dad, so there's that. Things are weird at school because I broke up with my girlfriend and now I can't even look at her without feeling guilty. The girl I want to be with can't break up with Harry because he's still in mourning for his supervillain dad. On top of that, my reputation's still in the toilet. Why can't my life stop sucking for like, five minutes?
As he idly shot another web, a sonic boom shook the city. Toward the East River, the patchy clouds glowed red-hot as a fireball wreathed in black smoke streaked through the sky, its course wobbling as it descended. Spider-Man's eyes widened. "Oh man...is that some kind of meteor?" With a quick twist of his body and a flick of the wrist, he changed direction, headed for the river, eyes never leaving the streaking object.
Halfway there, as it skimmed the top of the Brooklyn Bridge by an uncomfortably small margin, Spidey realized it wasn't a meteor at all, but a spaceship. Biting off a curse, he picked up speed. He'd just launched himself toward the bridge when the ship splashed down in the river, spewing salty green water high into the air.
"Ugh," Spidey grumbled, watching the water churn up, rippling around the crash even as a fresh cloud of dark, oily smoke issued from the cooling metal. "Like there wasn't already enough garbage in there..." Looking up, he saw police helicopters already converging on the crash; a Coast Guard boat was already speeding up the river. "Well, the authorities are already on the scene, so I guess they don't need—"
A *whump* sound, accompanied by a tearing of metal, rang out as a panel on the ship buckled, then exploded away, flying through the air and landing in the water. Something huge, bulky, and orange climbed up out of the ship, rocking it in the water. Spidey's eyes widened. "Whuh-oh," he muttered. "Alien alert." Grimacing under his mask, he anchored himself to the bridge and swung out, breaking his line at the last second and somersaulting down onto the ship. He prepared to fire web lines at the orange thing before it could put up a fight, only to stop when he saw it slump over, nearly tumbling out into the river. Through the opening in the ship's hull, he could see that the inside of the ship was on fire...and at least two bodies in spacesuits were sprawled out nearby.
Adjusting his aim, Spidey webbed the two bodies and gently lifted them up and past the orange thing, safely out of the reach of the glowing orange flames. Only...
The first body was a young blond woman. Or rather, part of one. There didn't seem to be anything left below her chest. Spidey felt the gorge rise in his throat. Even as sickness and dread filled him, a detail stood out:
There also wasn't any blood or...well...guts. Her body just...ended.
Shaking his head, Spidey turned his attention to the second body, a man with salt-and-pepper hair. He found it harder to pull the second body out, and after a moment, he realized what the problem was: This body was stretching, like rubber.
That was more than Peter Parker's teenage stomach could take. He turned away from the crash, ripped his mask halfway off, and vomited into the East River.
The glow of the fire in the ship brought his attention back to the situation, and he forced himself to focus and calm down. Looking back at the ship and its bevy of horrors, he saw an orange humanoid shape—made entirely of fire—climb up out of the wreck and flop down on the hull. After a second, the fires dimmed, ebbing away to reveal a blond teenage boy.
The Coast Guard ship was now within range of the crash, and the helicopters were hovering overhead. "Spider-Man!" an officer bellowed over the chopper's loudspeaker. "Stand down! Leave this to us!"
"I'd love to, really I would," Spidey yelled up at them. "But I just gotta know what the heck's going on here! Besides, that big orange thing might be more than you can handle! You might need my help!"
There was a pause, then... "Alright. But if you're ordered to leave, LEAVE."
"Works for me." Spidey webbed himself over to the Coast Guard ship and landed on the deck just as rescuers brought the boy and the man aboard. Two rescuers hovered grimly over the half-woman. "Strangest looking dismemberment I've ever—" One of the rescuers suddenly trailed off, blinking. "Wait, this isn't right! She's alive! Like, really alive!"
"Really? Like that?" Spidey called, feeling his gorge rise again. "Shouldn't she be bleeding out of like, everywhere?"
As they dragged the woman onto a stretcher, the second rescuer frowned, feeling around in empty air. "I feel legs," she said. "Legs...posterior...torso." She looked up in alarm. "This woman's body is intact," she said. "It's just...invisible!"
"Half-invisible woman?" Spidey wondered, thwipping over for a closer look. "That's new." As he made room for the rescuers to take the woman to the boat, he studied the massive orange monster. It was vaguely humanoid, but its skin was made entirely of orange rocks. "So, uhh...what do we do with this thing?" he wondered.
The Coast Guard officers conferred for a moment, then shrugged collectively. "We call it in, find out what the police and the Army want to do with it," one of them said.
All eyes turned to the stretchy man, who groaned as he rubbed his face with a flattened-out, stretched hand, his fingers wobbling like flat noodles. "That...thing is...Lieutenant Benjamin Grimm, and he's a...war hero."
Spidey crouched down beside the man. "You're saying it's human?!"
"New York born and bred," the man confirmed, looking up at Spidey and blinking. "Umm..."
"What kind of ship is this? Who are you people?" Spidey pressed. "Why are you all so...not normal?"
"Like you're one to talk?" one of the rescuers muttered with a snort.
The man sat up, frowning. "I'm Reed Richards," he said. "We were...hit by a cosmic storm..." He slumped forward, closing his eyes tiredly. His limp, stretchy arms fell flat at his side, reminding Spidey of a deflated tube man.
Everyone looked at each other awkwardly.
"Well this is a fantastic mess," Spidey said sourly.
Three hours later, Spidey stood beside Captain George Stacy in the medical bay at the Vault. "We're not keeping them here, right?" Spidey asked as he observed the four survivors from the ship. The three human ones were laid out on hospital beds, hooked up to various sensors and IVs, sheets tucked around them. The fourth, the one identified as Benjamin Grimm, was sprawled out in a reinforced steel cage, with doctors and scientists swarming around him. He was still unconscious like the others.
"I don't think so," Stacy said. "Not unless they become hostile. It just made sense to bring them here because the medical facilities are more equipped to handle, well..."
"In a word." Stacy clasped his hands behind his back. "Quite a puzzle we have here," he said. "Three of these people are famous in their own right. It'll be a media frenzy once this gets out. It's a good thing nobody could get a clear picture of Dr. Richards or the kid before we cleared the crash site."
"Dr. Richards?" Spidey asked.
Captain Stacy nodded. "Dr. Reed Richards, a noted astrophysicist. He studies...well, things I don't even know the meaning of. Space stuff." He gestured to the bed to Reed's right. "Jonathan Storm, a rising star in the extreme sports world." He pointed at the orange rockpile. "Assuming that is in fact Lieutenant Benjamin Grimm, he was decorated twice for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Spidey nodded. "Okay, I'm impressed. And the invisible girl?"
"Susan Storm, Mr. Storm's older sister." Captain Stacy frowned. "She's the odd one out. She's an acting student at UC Santa Barbara. That's all we could find out about her."
"Well, you could try asking her," Spidey said, pointing at Susan, whose eyelids were fluttering. A doctor rushed over as Susan let out a groan and shifted in bed, opening her eyes.
"Where..." Susan mumbled drowsily. She squinted in the harsh lights. "Reed?" Suddenly, her eyes flew open and she sat bolt upright. "JOHNNY?! WHERE—"
"Calm down, miss," the doctor said.
"Who are—?" Susan looked around. "Where am—" She looked down at herself in confusion. As soon as she realized nothing was protecting her modesty but a thin bedsheet and blanket, she yelped, pulling the sheet up tighter over her chest.
Then she disappeared from view entirely. The sheet pulled against her chest and pinned under her arms was the only evidence she was even there.
"Now that's a handy trick," Spidey said. "Man, I wish I could do that sometimes. Sooo many times that'd come in handy."
"Who—who are you people? What do you want with me? What's going on? Where's my brother?!" Susan's disembodied voice cried, rising in panic.
"Calm down, Miss Storm," Captain Stacy said in a placating tone. "You're safe. You were in a terrible crash. You, your brother, and two others were pulled out of a burning spaceship that crashed in the East River. You're in a medical bay for treatment and observation."
"We're...we survived? The...the crash..." Susan slowly faded back into view, her face pale. "Reed..."
"Dr. Richards is in the bed to your right," Captain Stacy said. Susan looked to her right, saw Reed lying there, and exhaled deeply.
"I-is he alright?" she asked.
Captain Stacy, Spidey, and the doctor all looked at each other. "Well, he's alive and stable," the doctor said. "I'm told he was conscious briefly during the rescue."
"Yeah, he said something about a cosmic storm," Spidey said. "We were kinda hoping one of you would wake up and tell us more about what happened."
Susan looked at Spidey and blinked, confusion plain on her face. "Umm...what are you supposed to be?" she asked.
"This is Spider-Man," Captain Stacy said. "He's, well..." He grimaced. "He helped rescue you and your colleagues, let's leave it at that."
"Spider-Man?" Susan echoed. "Are you like, a mascot or something? Oh, you must work on a kids' show, right?"
"Uhh...sure, let's go with that for now," Spidey said, trying his best not to sound insulted.
Captain Stacy laughed. "And I'm Captain Stacy, NYPD," he said. "We've already identified all four of you, but like Spidey said, what we don't know is what you were all doing in that ship and what happened to you before you crashed."
"Oh," Susan said. "W-well...Reed can explain it better, but we were testing a ship he designed and doing some research. My brother wanted to go along because going into space sounded really cool to him, I wasn't about to let him go into space without me along to make sure he didn't blow up the ship by accident, and..." She shook her head. "We ran into some kind of cosmic storm, then..." She looked away. "Then..."
Once again, she began to fade from view.
Spidey coughed. "Uhh, miss? Are you aware that you keep turning invisible?"
"Invisible? What?" Susan looked up at Spidey. "What do you mean?"
"Your body seems to be turning invisible in part or in total at random," Captain Stacy said.
"Not totally random," Spidey countered. "That first time she turned invisible, she was embarrassed because she realized she was naked in a room full of strangers."
At that, Susan yelped and turned completely invisible.
"Fascinating," a voice rasped. Everyone turned to observe Reed Richards sitting up rather calmly in his own bed, observing them curiously.
"REED!" Susan faded partially back into view. "Are you alright? What happened to us?!"
"I'd have to run a series of tests, but..." Reed looked at his own hand, his face furrowing in concentration. His arm began to stretch out, his fingers flattening and waving like streamers. "It would seem the cosmic storm we encountered..."
"Gave you weird superpowers?" Spidey suggested.
"Hmm. I don't know about 'superpowers', but it certainly affected our biology and our innate abilities," Reed said. He frowned. "I watched Ben turn into...some sort of creature...that's the last thing I remember before..." He clutched his forehead. "Before..."
"Before what, Reed?" Susan asked, her hands clutched fearfully to her chest.
"Before Johnny...caught fire," Reed said sadly.
Susan gasped. "No..."
"Relax, he's fine," Spidey said. "He's not even burned, which is...kind of a miracle because he was literally on fire when we pulled you all out of the ship."
"Hey, can you all keep it down?" a new voice joined the conversation. "My head's killing me..."
"JOHNNY!" Susan nearly flew out of bed; only her IV and the fact that she was still naked kept her in place. "Johnny, are you okay?!"
Johnny Storm sat up in bed, frowning around at the room. "Aw jeez, how bad did I bite it?" He blinked as his eyes landed on Spidey, then widened in wonder. "Whoa. Spider-Dude! Oh, bro, I am such a huge fan!"
"Really?" Spidey asked, taken aback.
"Oh, dude, totally!" Johnny gushed, leaning forward with a manic grin. "Those totally sick air freestyle moves you do! You gotta teach me how you do that whole Tarzan thing!"
"Uhh..." Spidey coughed. "Before that, do you remember what happened aboard the ship before the crash?"
Johnny frowned. "Oh yeah, we had one heck of a wipeout, didn't we?" He looked around, his eyes landing on Susan. "You okay, sis?"
"Y-yeees," Susan hedged. "Except, umm..." She fumbled with her bedsheet. "S-something really...strange happened. T-to all of us..."
The doctor coughed. "The patients need rest," he said. "Rest and observation. Captain Stacy, Spider-Man, if you would please leave for now. You can come back later and ask them more questions."
"Of course," Captain Stacy said.
"Later, Spider-Dude!" Johnny called cheerfully as they left.
"Later, uhh...Johnny-dude," Spidey called back with a wave. Once he and Captain Stacy were outside, he muttered, "Huh. My first fan from outer space."
Captain Stacy chuckled. "C'mon, let's find out how bad the coffee is here."
The tinny, digital sound of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" from somewhere on Spidey's person made him break stride. "Sorry, Chief, gotta go," Spidey said. "Much as I'd love to stick around and get the whole story, I'll have to find out later like everybody else!"
"Duty calls, huh?" Captain Stacy mused. "Well, see you around, kid."
"Gimme a break, Mr. Jameson," Peter whinged into his phone as he reached the best vantage point he could find to take pictures of the crashed ship, which was now surrounded by police and Coast Guard cutters and fireboats. "I was uptown! I just barely got here, you know what the subways are like this—" He pulled the phone away from his ear, convinced he could actually feel Jonah's spittle flying out of the speaker. "Look, I'm getting good pics of the crash," Peter promised. "I—"
A flash of movement, just barely perceptible beneath the water's surface, caught his attention. "Gotta go, boss," Peter said hastily. "Somebody else wants to yell at me." He hung up and pocketed his phone, then searched for a place to make a quick change. By the time he emerged in his red and blues, his Spider-Sense was screaming.
"What's going o—oh no," he muttered, eyes widening. He zipped over to the nearest vantage point to the salvage operation. "GET CLEAR!" he yelled to the nearest fireboat. "GET EVERYONE OUT OF HERE, THERE'S—"
An underwater explosion rocked all the boats. One of the Coast Guard boats capsized, smoke billowing from its side. All hands scrambled to abandon the boat, pouring onto its neighbor. Another explosion tipped a police boat. The remaining boats began backing away from the spaceship; Spidey thwipped over onto one of them, helping to pull stragglers aboard even as he scanned the water for any sign of whatever was happening.
"I don't understand!" a Coast Guard officer said. "We didn't see anything in the water!"
"There aren't any other ships! Where's this attack coming from?"
"I saw divers," Spidey said as he pulled a firefighter aboard. "I don't know what they're up to, but—" He was cut off by a series of loud, metallic clank-snap sounds, followed by the pitching of the boat as the spaceship was abruptly lifted out of the water. All eyes turned to the sky as a group of VTL aircraft suddenly faded into view, turbines whirring as thick steel cables hauled up the ship, which was crawling with green-suited divers armed with spear guns.
"THEY'RE TAKING THE SHIP!" a police officer cried, drawing his sidearm. All around, officers drew their arms and trained them on the divers. "STAND DOWN OR WE'LL OPEN FIRE!"
A hail of spears was their answer. Spidey leapt high into the air and fired off several compact web shots, deflecting the spears harmlessly into the water. He then launched himself at the nearest aircraft and landed on the spaceship, immediately whirling and spinning into a kicking, punching blur. Spear guns were webbed, yanked out of hands, and tossed overboard; the divers fought back stiffly, mechanically, and Spidey easily avoided their clumsy attacks. He launched them off the craft's surface into the water, where they bobbed eerily in place, simply watching the ship from below.
A spike of danger flashed across Spidey's senses as a barely perceptible whir emitted from the back of one of the aircraft. Before he could react, a concussive blast of compressed air caught him full in the back, sending him sailing off the edge of the spaceship.
"Okay didn't see that coming," Spidey grunted as he twisted in midair and fired another web line, latching onto an aircraft and hauling himself in close. Before he could close the gap, however, another compressed air blast hit him right in the head. He cried out in pain and let go of his web line, clutching his face as he tumbled end-over-end into the East River.
The pirate craft flew up, higher than they should realistically be able to, and vanished from sight, taking the spaceship with them.
One of the Coast Guard ships moved in close, and a rescuer pulled Spidey up out of the water. "Are you okay, Spider-Man?"
Spidey groaned as he grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around himself, shivering. "Yeah, I'm good," he grunted. "Just a...really bad headache." He frowned, sniffing himself. "Actually, the smell's worse than the air punch to the face..."
"Spider-Man!" an officer on one of the police boats called through a megaphone. "We just got a report, the Vault's under attack! Captain Stacy's got the word out, he wants you there pronto!"
"Great. Perfect." Spidey sighed and stood, using the blanket to sponge as much water out of his costume as he could. "Guess I'll have to air-dry," he muttered as he leapt from boat to boat before latching onto a loading crane and swinging away. "Just another day in the life of New York's favorite—"
Pigeon droppings dribbled down his mask.
"—yeah, that's about right."
Spectacular Spider-Man is the intellectual property of Marvel Entertainment, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Greg Weisman. Other properties appearing in this story are the intellectual property of their respective creators. This intellectual property is used without permission with no intent to profit from said use. The unique content contained on this page is the property of Mythril Moth, and redistribution of this content without express permission is strongly discouraged.