Ravencroft Penitentary, New York - 19:35PM, 11th September
The man walked up the steps to the Ravencroft Penitentiary; he was dressed in a grey hooded sweatshirt and black jeans and worn sneakers as well a big rucksack on his shoulders, the very picture of the usual patient that entered the doors of the Asylum. At least a normal patient before the fall of Norman Osborne and HAMMER, now the Penitentiary held worse things as evidenced by the guards dressed in riot armor and armed with shields and shotguns outside. The hooded man walked up to the front door before being stopped by the guards with, their commanding officer putting out a hand out, a plain gesture to stop.
"State your name and business son." the officer told the man
"Robin Parker, I came to see Dr. Tanis, I think…I think I may have had another episode." he told the officer, "I think I may have chucked my mother in law into the trash can again."
"Is that a crime sergeant?" the officer asked one of his subordinates.
"Just about." the sergeant replied, "I'll call the doc, see if she remembers you. Personally though I can't blame him."
"You know the place is packed to the gunwales with freaks right?" the officer told Robin, "And not your kind of freaky but glowing eyes and cannibal tendencies freaky. That idiot Gold couldn't bring herself to lock them up in the Raft so she placed them here; personally I reckon she's responsible for the whole thing."
"She is." Robin replied, "She and Carrion are the same person, I reckon she's still a demon."
"Everybody who works or worked for SHIELD is bad." a private said joining in, "Osborne was nuts, Stark was lazy and greedy, Fury hurt his 'friends' as much as his enemies, Gold is too soft and don't get me started about that guy with the hood that Osborne was working with."
"Yeah he was the worst." Robin replied as the door opened and Dr. Tanis appeared in the doorway.
"Robin I heard what you did come inside and I'll give you some medication and call you a cab, did you walk all the way from Boston?" Tanis asked as she saluted the officer in charge.
"Yes." Robin said sadly as the door closed, "I must say you do look good in that body."
"Naughty Nurse huh." Tanis stated as they walked past a pair of guards, their heads supporting bullet wounds, "Would you like me more if I kept this face?" she asked. Robin smiled and removed the latex mask to reveal a face of bronze underneath the fake skin.
"Oh no Whitney our scars define us. But onto business, did you kill everyone in the facility?" he asked.
"As per your instructions Parker." Whitney replied, "The bodies are ready for the transmutation." she added as they reached a high security door at the end of the corridor, a dim amber glow emanating from inside. Inputting the code word Whitney opened the door allowing Parker to enter the room before closing the door behind him. Staring around the chamber Parker saw dark silhouettes lit by glowing amber eyes as he walked over to one of the cells and removed a chart, as the pathetic creatures inside cackled and screamed. Squinting he pulled out a glowing stone that lit up the room, a dull twilight allowing him to read the chart. "Amber Wood Fever." he told the creatures, "A lie of SHIELD, luckily I know what you are." he told the now silent creature, their eyes locked on the stone in his hand. "You are caught between human flesh and true power but I will free you and with this Norn Stone I will lead you."
"The first test subject Parker." Whitney announced as she re-opened the door manhandling the real Dr. Tanis inside, her naked body slammed down onto the floor as Parker poured a thick red liquid around her before placing a bouquet of black roses in between her breasts.
"Now Doctor tell me what you know about the affliction of these poor individuals?" Parker asked.
"They were affected by an exotic disease , SHIELD gave us orders to lock them up until they were cured, the first wave quickly came to their senses and occasionally we get new 'survivors' but most remain feral and vicious." Tanis stammered, "Please what are you going to do to them."
"I'd be more worried about yourself doc." Whitney informed the quivering woman as Parker stuffed Tanis's mouth with pine needles before covering her mouth with indigo gauze, chanting words in Swedish before slamming her chest with the Norn Stone leaving a dark blue bruise on her flesh. "Is that it?" she asked. Parker made a motion for her to be silent as the gauze flickered before wrapping itself around her head before the pine needles ignited in blue flame creating a smoke screen around Tanis. Seconds later the doctor stood up and walked out of the smoke, her skin a dark blue while her eyes were even darker, her ears pointed, her one remaining arm clutching a single black rose. Nervously Parker picked up a rod of aluminium from his bag and placed it on her skin, the metal causing no sign of blistering.
"Do you want to go home?" he asked Tanis. She nodded as Parker handed her a long sword and a set of woman's clothes. "I can let you go home if you use the great power I have given you and deal with your responsibility." Tanis cocked her head, "Kill the Hood and bring me her cowl." he snarled as Whitney unlocked the cages, the infected humans stumbling out snarling, "Now lead your children into the streets and make them run with blood until I get what I came for." The Hood sat back from the crystal ball, one of the few salvageable items from Santana's shop before the fire and her demise, not that had stopped the demon princess, a few hours after usurping her mentor Mary Jane had brought her back and enslaved her, the succubus under her control until she saw fit to release her.
"Do we have enough power to quash this threat?" she asked her reflection in the ball.
"No, we need the power we have stockpiled for the reshaping." her reflection, a burning head of flame, replied, "And to deal with real threats, others would take our place among the chosen."
"I know Robbins is one of them." Mary Jane told Dormmamu, "If we can't beat him, let me go to the person who would protect me with his life. Every man can be bent to another's will and I have always known how to bend him."
Museaum of Natural History, New York - 20:12PM, 11th September
Spiderman sprung up to the ceiling just before a scarlet metallic fist smashed the statue he had been sitting on mere moments before. "Crimson Dynamo." he called, "Don't you know that I'm Spiderman, go play with Stark or SHIELD, you don't know how easy that would make my life." he called down to the man in red power armor. "Great just as I get rid of one third of my usual rouges, now I have other people's enemies crossing my path." he thought as he swung past one of the pillars as his enemy flattened the support with a clumsy arm movement.
"You will call me Jersey Swimming Bear." the armoured warrior snarled in a clear American accent, "Not Crimson Dynamo. You will call me by real name and show me some respect."
"My bad." Spiderman announced as he shot a restraining web down onto Swimming Bear's arm, "With your armor being red and all I thought maybe you were someone a lot cooler then you really are. As for the respect, I have more of that for idiots like Speed Demon and Screwball. I've never heard of you before." he added as he spotted a tiny porthole in the front of the armor and sprayed a web over the viewing slit. Swimming Bear staggered before one of the claws on his armor opened up and fired a cutting beam through the roof, the blast causing rubble to shower his suit and the wall crawler. Spiderman dogged and took cover as Swimming Bear picked up a stone coffin, its lid decorated with stone carved letters.
"The casket of Ba'al, my employer will be pleased." Swimming Bear stated lifting the box onto his shoulder and walking towards the massive hole in the wall he had entered through.
"Oh so your just going to smash and grab and not leave without saying goodbye to yours truly?" Spiderman asked as he landed on top of Swimming Bear's suit of armor. With his free hand Swimming Bear grabbed Spiderman by the leg and threw him, the web swinger landing deftly on the floor in front of him. "So do you have any weapons on that thing?" Spiderman asked, "Or is your armor as lame as you." Swimming Bear replied with a growl and pressed the button for his suit's deep sea illumination, the blast ripping through the darkness and stunning Spiderman as he ran past out into the street.
Spiderman shook his head and watched as Swimming Bear thundered through late night traffic before reaching the edge of the water. "So Swimming Bear can you actually swim?" Spiderman asked as Swimming Bear removed the guard rail with his free hand and threw it at him before slipping under the surface of the water. "Okay I guess you can and now I have to figure where you come up." he announced, "A great end to a great day, I really don't want to follow a glorified grave robber into the Hudson." he thought, "I'd do anything for something else to come up." he announced. Suddenly, as if by magic, the emergency bracelet on his arm begun to flash, "Well anything but that." his mind said, "Aunt May is in trouble." Casting one last look over the surface of the river Spiderman shrugged, "Yo Jersey can we finish this later, amazingly something more important then you has come up." he yelled as he swung away. "Now for Aunt May, whoever is threatening her is going to wish they hadn't."
It was an agonizing ten minutes before Peter arrived in the suburbs, the rows of houses cloaked in darkness, not a single light shining a clear indicator that the power to the whole block was out, and that something bad was happening. Normally Peter went for stealth but there was no time, instead of heading through the open window he slammed into the door with a two footed strike, the MDF slab cracking as he swung through before rolling into a combat ready stance. "Aunt May." he yelled. "Aunt May are you here."
"Over here Peter." a voice that was defiantly not Aunt May's announced. Peter looked around to see his Aunt bound to a chair at the coffee table with a pair of tubes in her arms siphoning a thick black liquid into her blood stream. Standing behind her, face covered by her hood was Mary Jane, only a blood red smile visible as she held a pistol to May's head. "Hello Tiger," she purred, "We have much to talk about."
"We have nothing to talk about." Peter spat ripping off his mask, "Aunt May are you okay."
"Oh she can't talk at the moment." Mary Jane announced, "This is Chimera blood." she told Peter, "It's poisonous can make the mightiest hero fall to a single blow, I had to dilute it of course, luckily her metabolism should burn it off in a few hours."
"Why do this MJ, why tell me anything, it's obvious your trying to kill Aunt May, trying to kill me." Peter snapped although his brain said, "If she wanted Aunt May dead she could just slap her and she would fall if the Chimera Blood is that potent."
"Chimera Blood has another property, when mixed with sulphur it becomes a mystical conduit between two people; a master and a servants. If the master is killed then the servant dies to accompany them into the afterlife. Guess which one dear old May is and which one I am?" Mary Jane asked.
"What do you want?" Peter growled.
"You of course." Mary Jane answered, "I plan to shape a world for us and everyone we love, a place with none of this." she gestured around the room, "But somebody has come for the power I possess."
"Shame you don't use your power responsibly." Peter told her, "I never thought I'd have to say that to MJ." he thought as Mary Jane watched him like a hawk, "Maybe if you used that Hood to help people instead of creating fantasy worlds this person wouldn't be after you."
"Oh Mr. Robbins would still be hunting me." Mary Jane purred, "Like me he is very fond of this hood." she added as she moved the pistol slightly across Aunt May's neck, "He wants to ruin the world I plan to build, a world for us."
"Get your goons to do some work." Peter told her, "I can't believe she has the gall to pretend that she's still the girl next door." he thought, "You have enough of them to do the job right? From what I heard you were the premier crime lord in the city."
"That's such an ugly word Peter." Mary Jane announced, her voice beginning to show signs of irritation, "I prefer to be called a visionary."
"And what do you envision me doing?" Peter asked.
"Your going to save me just as you always do." Mary Jane replied stepping out from behind Aunt May, "Now play the hero and protect your family, if not for me but for dear old May."
Twenty minutes later Peter and his new charge arrived at a penthouse building in the middle of the city. Peter had swung past many times and knew that it was the sanctuary of the super rich with cash to blow on stupidly complex security measures. Landing on the roof Mary Jane placed her hand on the key pad and watched as a laser scanned her palm before retracting as the screen popped up demanding a password and physical key to be inserted within three seconds of each other. Mary Jane complied and the screen retracted before the door down opened allowing the pair inside before sealing them in an airlock before receiving a decontamination shower, the doors only opening after two scans from head to toe.
"Believe it or not it's worse coming through the lobby." Mary Jane joked before laughing, the same laugh that had captivated Peter so many years ago, "How much has she changed?" he thought as the pair of them slipped inside one of the room's, the walls bare and the bed untouched, it was obvious that this wasn't Mary Jane's resting place. Tapping the wall Mary Jane flipped a switch embedded in the plaster and a section of floor slid back to reveal an entire arsenal ranging from swords and daggers to handguns and what looked like a heavy duty AIM plasma caster, the coating of the big weapon glowing yellow and black. "So which of these will kill Robbins?" Mary Jane asked herself as she wrapped her hands around an athame, the copper blade sparking with lightning. "Dark Elves are weakened by metal exposure." she mumbled as she picked up a set of bullets in a box marked .44 calibre Silver Cross.
"So Dark Elves huh." Spiderman asked, "Are we talking Lord of the Rings Elves or tiny magical pixies."
"More like goblins actually." Mary Jane answered as she balanced the blade of a massive Kophesh across her arm, "You like Goblins right Pete?"
"No and you know about my history with them." he replied as Mary Jane put the Kophesh in a sheath and slung it over her back. "That blade belonged to Kephi before she disappeared, just left it embedded in a hill in West Virginia with a note in hieroglyphics claiming her or she had committed ritual suicide. I don't believe that but the weapon is divine, it would be very deadly to anything it touches. What about you Pete what do you like?" she asked.
"I don't do weapons, innocent people can get hurt." Peter announced, "Something else you knew and believed in before you became the bad guy."
"I'm not the bad guy Peter." Mary Jane explained, "If I don't rule the streets then Mister Negative, the Hand, the Wizard and the Cowl as well as all the rouge villains will start fighting you, the NYPD and SHIELD. And then the number of civilians caught in the crossfire increases to the point that even you would find their lives meaningless because it happens so often that you've become hardened to death and the ones she takes away."
"That's your opinion?" Peter asked, "I jus call it an excuse to…" he never finished the sentence as the glass along the edge of the room shattered one pane after another and at least five dark elves dropped onto the ledge each clutching a weapon, their eyes glowing with crystal energy. Their leader a tall one armed female snarled something in a feral tongue and pointed at Mary Jane, her subordinates running at her howling and screeching. Coolly and calmly the Hood fired four shots from a silver .44 Magnum, the bullets embedding in the elves craniums, the projectiles failing to kill or even stall the attackers. "What the hell?" Mary Jane yelled catching one of the dark elves as he swung a cudgel made of obsidian at her head before attempting to incinerate him, the blast of fire rippling down the creature before dripping onto the floor and running across the wood flooring in rivers of burning fluid. Spiderman leapt to the ceiling before binding a Dark Elf and swinging it into the wall. "Looks like your magic isn't working either." he analyzed as one of the dark elves swung a bolas at him, the filthy twine weighed down with human skulls.
Mary Jane snarled as she threw the elf in her arm into the bed as the forth elf leapt at her with a pike swinging the weapon and releasing a hail of discs that stuck to her skin and clothing before attempting to drill into her skin. Peter looked down and leapt towards Mary Jane only to be intercepted by a second bolas thrown at him, the grim projectile wrapping round his legs and sending him sprawling as his wife ignited herself, the demonic blaze igniting the discs on her skin before delivering an empowered kick on the elf with the spear sending it screaming out of the window past Spiderman who was desperately shooting webs at a the dark elf armed with a cudgel, the brutish creature hell bent on smashing his skull in. Mary Jane saw this and threw a knife at the Cudgel Elf, the blade stabbing into the elf's chest before turning to the fifth elf, a tattooed female armed with a pair of hand axes elegantly rolling out of the creatures path before scything it in two with the Kophesh, the elf disintegrating into a pile of golden ash.
Struggling Spiderman slipped out of the grim bolas before kicking it back at the elf, the twine wrapping around his neck and sending it staggering to the ground. "Easier then I thought." Peter announced, "Now what did I forget?" he asked as the Dark Elf swung the cudgel at his head as it's target swung around and smacked it in the face before disarming it and webbing the goblinesque creature to the wall. "Now if only the Green Goblin was that easy to beat." he commented. The one armed elf leader screamed before advancing on the pair of them, its hand clutching a Longsword, its blame occasionally trickling with fire. "Uh you want to deal with one armed Jo here or shall I." Peter asked as the blade ignited sparks as it was sung at them, the very air igniting into a deadly fireball. Teeth clenched Mary Jane swung the Kophesh the blade meeting with the elf's blade in a shower of fire and light before her enemy parried and broke through her defence. Peter shot a line pulling the elf's arm back only for the web to ignite, fire quickly shooting towards him and causing him to drop the line. His actions had brought Mary Jane enough time as she ducked under the strike and kicked the door open, bolting into the hallway with Peter and the one armed Elf in hot pursuit only to come face to face with a man dressed completely in white and armed with a doubled bladed sword.
"Okay does anybody normal live in this building." Peter asked while thinking, "What have I got myself into, it feels like an episode of Buffy or Supernatural. I deal with Super Villains not magical elves or demonic entities, well except on anything can and usually does happen Thursday but today is Friday. All I had planed was a night in with Aunt May not a showdown with the forces of evil." He looked back to see the female elf had been joined with the bolas swinging member of the pack its eyes furiously burning. The elf leader snarled something and retreated back into the burning apartment, their eyes lost in the glow of the flames crawling across the floor. "Uh Mary Jane who is that?" he asked nervously as the man stood spinning the blade.
"He's an enemy that's all you need to know." Mary Jane snapped pulling the hood over her head and firing a multitude of shots as the man swung the blade, each strike swatting a bullet from its flight until the gunfire had been neutralized. With a quick movement of his wrist a shrunken flew out of his sleeve and slashed through the barrel of Mary Jane's pistol, the powerful hand gun now completely useless. "Reflex, long has Dormmamu warned me of you. I will not tolerate your interference in the creation of my new world."
"And I will not tolerate the New Earth under the iron foot of a demon." Reflex replied coolly, "And now it seems we are at odds and I know what both of us are willing to do." he added holding out his hand. Mary Jane snarled and leapt at him, easily covering the entire hallway in three steps before slashing at his exposed arm with the Kophesh, her vicious blow easily blocked by Reflex's blade before he spun the weapon around and slashed her on the arm. Cursing under her breath Mary Jane slashed again hoping to get behind the demon hunter's guard only for the blade to scratch across the ceramic armor he wore and receiving a swift punch to the face in the process, the blow stunning her as Reflex tripped her with his staff sending her falling onto her back. "And now it finishes." Reflex told Mary Jane splitting his staff into two blades and stabbing them through Mary Jane's arms before flicking his wrist, a foot long blade springing forward before thrusting it downwards towards the Hood's neck. Spiderman quickly flicked his wrist as well, a spider silk line restraining the demon hunter's blow.
"Sorry can't let you do that." Spiderman told Reflex as the later twisted the blade, the tip slashing through the restraints. "If she dies my aunt goes with her." Spiderman added as Reflex flicked his other wrist producing a pair of blades. "Plus you love her even though she's become a monster." his mind added before his Spider Sense fired as Reflex slashed at him with his left blade causing Peter to roll right directly into the scissor blow's second strike, the blade only stopped from cutting the wall crawler's arm off by a quick silk coating sprayed over the tip. Quickly using the advantage he had been handed Spiderman flipped Reflex over his head onto his back only for the nimble demon hunter to turn the momentum into a slash, the sword blade aimed at his targets knees. Spiderman easily dodged before receiving a swift uppercut to the jaw the blow sending him sprawling to the floor next to Mary Jane.
"I implore you, the lives I will save by killing this creature will mean the new world will be a better place." Reflex told Spiderman as he stood on Peter's neck before stabbing the silken blade through his left wrist, the tip of the sword expertly missing the arteries and bones, before Reflex disengaged leaving the blade standing by itself as he stalked over to Mary Jane and stood over her neck.
"What's with all this new world talk you both keep spouting about?" Peter asked as he shot a line out to Reflex's sword coating it with a web. Reflex simply disengaged the second blade, the razor projectile scything through Spiderman's remaining web shooter. Tilting his head Reflex looked form Peter to Mary Jane before settling on the Fire Axe on the wall. "I apologize for such a clumsy execution I prefer a more gracile weapon." he announced shattering the glass and removing the heavy bladed axe.
"Apologies are for the weak." Mary Jane hissed as her demonic power rose and melted the blades before stabbing Reflex in the chest with the athame, lightning sparking along the blade causing the demon hunter to smoke before exploding in a blue light, particles of ozone dancing through the hall as she removed the blades from Spiderman's arms.
"You killed him?" Peter said in a surprised tone.
"Oh he's alive, that explosion was a magical spell of transference, he'll pop up somewhere or someplace, hopefully a long way away although with his expertise in magic we may be unlucky and see him sooner then I desire." Mary Jane explained, "It's clear this place isn't safe from Parker or Independents like Sukanto. Come on let's move." she suggested, the last few words more like an order then a request.
"And where do we go." Peter asked as Mary Jane picked up the dropped fire axe and smashed the window open.
"A fortress." she replied leaping from the window, floating in mid air like a red falcon above the gleaming night lights of the city.
"And where do we find a fortress?" Mary Jane pointed to a looming tower in the heart of the city. "SHIELD's Ivory Tower, plenty of skilled man power, computerized sentries and best of all something I need."
Next Issue - Spiderman - #05
Spiderman forced to break into Avengers Tower whilst under the Hood's control? With Parker Robbins's Dark Elf army on the rampage and the city burning Spiderman is needed more then ever. And with Reflex hell bent on slaying Mary Jane what will Peter have to do to save both the city and the woman he loves