Thursday, July 05, 2012

Spider-Man #6 - Fade to Black

Spider-Man #6

"Fade to Black"

Written By Karl V.

Peter Parker, the man known as Spider-Man, finished sewing his new black costume. To separate confusion between he and Venom, he made the spider emblem and the eye sockets a deep glowing red. Hopefully, this would symbolize his new way of fighting crime. No more waiting for the criminals to make their move, he would actively find them first.

Mary Jane entered with Little May in her arms. "Hey Tiger, it looks like you made yet another costume."

Peter looked up and smiled. "I just hope that I don't go through so many costumes that I match Little May's diaper run."

Mary Jane rocked the baby who was happily gurgling. "We have to explain Little May to everyone. Any ideas?"

Peter dreaded this moment ever since they had gotten Little May back. "Nate has said he will tell the newspapers about finding a baby in the Green Goblin's layer, and notes concerning a kidnapping. I doubt they will believe him since he's a..." Mary Jane winced at the impending word, "...mutant."

"Did you call Hank yet?" Mary Jane's face turned rather serious.

Peter nodded. "I guess the X-Men have been rather busy lately. The robots that have been running around in New York are apparently connected to Energon somehow. As for your situation, it's the first case scenario that Hank can study right away."

Mary Jane grew cold and glowered. "I know you're a scientist at heart Peter. But, don't ever talk about me like I'm one of your projects again."

Peter immediately stood up and gripped Mary Jane in a hug. "Hey, I love you more than you can ever know. I know you are not a thing to be poked and prodded. Besides, Hank's bedside manner will be a lot worse than mine will. And, well..."

Mary Jane noticed Peter's hesitation. "Continue."

"He's bringing Professor Xavier and Scott Summers. I think Scott is coming just to help make sure Hank doesn't treat you like a case study. And, Scott warned me about Professor Xavier. I think he may ask you to be part of the dream, as Scott put it."

"I haven't been a mutant for more than a day yet and someone wants me to join the X-Men! Just because my husband is a super-hero doesn't mean I want to join the fray!" Mary Jane began pouting and sobbing.

Peter held her as tight as he could, without squishing Little May. "I know honey. I'll be here to make sure Professor Xavier does not treat you like an instant recruit. Scott gave me that job. Besides,

Scott sees you as a threat to replace the most beautiful red head on the team."

Mary Jane managed a half smile. "You added that part."

"Guilty as charged." He kissed Mary Jane.

"So, who's your first test run on the new costume?" Mary Jane quickly changed the subject.

"The Rhino. He's been the quietest lately. I guess that will help me develop my detective skills. I might bring in Joe on this one."

"Can you trust this guy? I mean, you have had the old villain gone good to go bad again."

Peter shrugged his shoulders. "He wasn't a bad guy at all, just programmed by the female Doctor Octopus that way. I really need to catch up on Ben's personal and costumed life, when he wore my webs."

Mary Jane thought for a moment. "Why not let this Joe do it? I mean, he did ruin Ben's reputation as the Scarlet Spider. Let him get some closure and you won't have to deal with dredging up all that past."

"I deal with it everyday no matter what. But, you are right. This guy needs some type of closure, and finding more about what exactly Ben did will be the best way to do it."

Peter picked up the telephone then realized something. "I forgot. Joe doesn't have a phone yet."

Mary Jane followed Peter's gaze over at the new black costume. "You always find some excuse."

Peter noted that her tone was not sarcastic this time. "Hey, if you don't want to wear this at all, just say the word."

"No, we are not safe anymore. Peter, I need you to bring down anyone else who has a grudge against you. There is no other way. Just do it quickly, so you can be a father too." Mary Jane kissed Peter on the cheek.

"You got it hon. I'll do whatever I can, and I'll even ask for help." Peter winked at MJ who gave a smirk in response.

"By the way, where are those four copycats of yours, The Slingers?" Peter shook his head. "I haven't heard or seen them for months. I suppose they broke up the team already."

"Well, you still have the original four costumes. Maybe, it's time to look for replacements." Mary Jane rocked Little May to sleep.

Peter looked as though a light had been turned on over his head. "Hey, you've given me a great idea for Joe! He wanted a costumed identity, so I guess one of the costumes would work great!"

"Glad to help, Tiger. I'm going to put Little May to bed." Mary Jane prepared to leave as Peter grabbed her arm.

"Hold on you." Peter kissed Little May on the forehead, and then kissed Mary Jane. "I love you."

"I love you too Peter." Mary Jane turned around and walked down the hall.

Peter donned his new costume, then opened the window. Spider-Man slung a web to a nearby light pole, and disappeared into the darkness of the night.


Joe picked up the phone as though it was some just newly invented device. Although he had rare occasions to use the phone in the Federal hospital, he still could not get used to the fact that all he had to do was pick it up to get a dial tone. The red taped procedure for even making one phone call was horrid enough. First, he had to fill out a type of permission form, and detail what the call would be about. He found it quite redundant since they tapped the lines. That form would then have to go to the doctor in charge of the case. After approval from the doctor, the head of the department had to also approve of the call. Finally, the head of the whole complex had to approve of the call. By the time the whole procedure was done, pressing nine to get to the outside line seemed like a blessing. Joe simply hung and clicked the phone a few times, just to get used to the notion he no longer needed anyone else's permission. The only number he had was of a freelance photographer, Peter Parker. Spider-Man had given that number as a main contact. Joe started to dial the number, naturally pressing the nine first. Joe slightly hesitated, and shook his head. He clicked on the receiver for a moment, then released it. He tried again and made sure not to hit the nine again. Then, came a tap at the window. Joe looked up to see a black costumed Spider-Man hanging upside down. A bit taken aback by the new malevolent appearance, Joe cautiously proceeded to the window. He opened it slowly and only half way.

"Hey, don't let the new duds spook you. It's still me." Spider-Man happily chimed.

Joe nodded and opened the window all the way. "Come on in. I was about to call your friend."

Spider-Man swung into the apartment. "Well, I wouldn't really call him a friend, more like a major nuisance that seems to know everywhere I go."

Joe nodded. "I suppose that you had a reason for coming here."

"I have an idea for a costume, but you need to earn your trust first. The Scarlet Spider came in as a replacement for me after you had unintentionally ruined his reputation. I need you to find out everything you can about the enemies he faced. Some may have been quite different from the normal ones I always play tag with."

Joe pondered for a moment. "I think I owe it to him to do that much. By the way, do you know where I could find him and directly apologize?"

Spider-Man bowed his head for a moment. "He...died. It was a rare genetic disease."

"I'm sorry to hear it. Well, I'll do what is necessary on the side to find out everything I can. And whatever garb you have for me, I'll be more than happy to wear." Joe extended his hand.

Spider-Man shook it. "Hey, don't sweat it. I appreciate everything you can find."

Spider-Man turned around and Joe noticed that red Spider legs all crossed in the back and intersected, and with the natural curves of his back formed a hour glass shape.

Joe easily assessed Spider-Man's intent. "Are you planning to bring everyone down?"

"Yeah, and that's why I need that gap covered. Certain circumstances have deemed it necessary to get all those villains with a grudge out of the way. "

Joe smirked. "So you can have a real life outside of the costume."

Spider-Man laughed. "If you can call it that. Well, I'm out of here for now. Good luck."

"You too. I'll do my best." Joe watched Spider-Man depart from his apartment.

Joe started at the nearest local library. He examined every article of what he dubbed the "replacement spider". He was also severely tempted to read tales of him as the metallic Scarlet Spider. Joe had been assured his identity wasn't revealed outside of the witnesses involved, but then again there were a lot of witnesses that day. So much to atone for, he thought to himself. He began writing down the list of the unusual suspects. He also noticed that a lot of appearances that had happened around a little café called the Daily Grind. Joe could probably even discover this guy's secret identity if he were good enough. And, maybe even figure out Spider-Man's identity as well. Joe shook his head. There was no need for that yet. Besides, there was an issue of trust involved. After finishing his list of bad guys, Joe proceeded to Daily Grind.


"I swear those robots are faker than a child's toy. It must be some kin' of mutie agenda." One man lamented to the red-haired woman next to him.

She turned and gave a slight smile. "Well, it's always something."

"Angelica, don't give that boy the time o' day. He just don't know how to judge a book underneath the cover." The African-American woman wiped a spot off the counter.

The man grunted. "What do you know about it?"

"Just take a look boy. I was always judged for something I couldn't help. Now, are you going to order something or just take up space?"

He got up from the stool and headed for the door. "I ain't gonna eat at no restaurant that caters to muties."

The woman known as Angelica shrugged her shoulders. "Well, I didn't know you extended your services to catering."

The manager laughed. "You always have a bright attitude Angelica. It kind of reminds me of that Reilly. That poor boy was killed by some costumed freak."

"I didn't need to hear that." Angelica looked down.

"Oh Hon, I'm sorry. I always seem to go off tangent. What's with that face? Something else got you down today?"

Angelica nodded. "It's been six months since Vance and I broke up. We had everything together. Then, it all fell apart."

"Don't fret Hon, with such a pretty face, you can go anywhere you want." She winked at Angelica.

Angelica wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Thanks, I appreciate it."

The manager smiled. "No problem telling the truth hon. I need to go take inventory. I'll be right back."

Angelica proceeded to think about events. Captain America sought a need to reform the team, and thought that it would be better for Vance and Angelica to reform the New Warriors. Vance immediately agreed to the Captain's request. Although Vance was successful, he started to blame himself for not being good enough to stay on the Avengers. Angelica found herself convincing her former fiancé that this was not the case. Captain America believed there was something big going down around the sudden technological boom, and the world could use as many superhero teams as it could get. The Captain was right, but for some odd reason Vance saw everything in the negative. It began to severely effect their relationship to the breaking point. And, ultimately, Angelica felt she could no longer coddle his affections. She broke the engagement off as he wallowed further into misery. Vance eventually left the leadership of the New Warriors to the Night Thrasher, and finally left the team. It had been six months since she last heard from Vance or the team. Angelica was an inactive member, since the strain on her relationship was not causing her to concentrate. Angelica happened upon the Daily Grind by accident, when a Taxi had gotten a flat by the restaurant. The manager was so nice and had an open ear, so she regularly started to eat at the Grind for Dinner. For Angelica, it was not for the food but more for the friend she had made. The manager didn't mind, as Angelica was willing to listen to the manager's rants and raves as well. She sat and stare into her mug of coffee with only one thing on her mind: her former fiancé. However, that was about to change as a man walked through the doors of the Daily Grind. Always intently interested in anyone to call friend, Angelica turned around and looked to see who entered. She almost dropped her cup when she saw his face. The last time she saw the face was when the New Warriors fought the fake Scarlet Spider. This man was the metallic monstrosity that ruined the true Scarlet's reputation.

"YOU!" Her yell brought attention to everyone in the café.

The man stood with his mouth open, unsure of what to say. "I...I'm sorry."

Angelica switched to the defensive. "For your sake, I hope your not here to cause trouble."

"No, I'm not. I came here to get information on the replacement spider. I guess I came to the right place." The man sat a couple of chairs down from Angelica.

Angelica was still a bit nervous. "The replacement spider?"

"He was the Scarlet Spider. His decision to wear Spider-Man's gear was forced because of me. I had no choice." The man ordered a cup of Java.

Angelica started to remember the fight with the fake Scarlet and the New Warriors. She did have a feeling the new Spider-Man was the real Scarlet, but that was never confirmed until now.

"I remember now. Some woman convinced you to fight it back. I guess you got it all under control now." Angelica relaxed a little more.

He nodded. "She left. She didn't have the patience she thought she had."

The words hit Angelica like a ton of bricks. "I can...relate."

He politely smiled. "I'm Joe Wade. As crazy as this may sound, the real Spider-Man has hired me to investigate all of the replacement spider's enemies. He doesn't want to be caught off guard with some villain he doesn't know."

Angelica raised an eyebrow. "Well, Mr. Wade if that is the truth, tell me what happened to the real Scarlet Spider."

"Spider-Man said he died of some genetic disease." Joe muttered the words.

Angelica was slightly caught off guard by this news. A part of her was attracted to the mysterious man, but her commitment to Vance quashed any mere thought of acting on that feeling. She frowned and started to cry again. Joe was slightly agitated by her sobbing. He was not sure whether to console her or not. He was startled to see the manager rush out and offer her shoulder.

"It's okay hon." She turned to Joe. "She just broke up with her man. She's still trying to get over it."

Angelica glared at the manager for releasing such private information right away. "Hey Shirley, don't spill the beans."

"Actually, now that you mentioned it; half of the Colombian supply spilt to the floor."

Joe and Angelica laughed. Shirley smiled at the two of them and then went back to the supply room to clean up her supposed mess.

"I see why you like this place so much." Joe took a sip of his coffee.

Angelica beamed. "Yeah, it's a nice little getaway."

"I don't mean to bring up bad memories, but could you tell me everything you know about Scarlet Spider?"

Joe's statement made Angelica think for a moment. "Well, I guess. It would get my mind off things."


With no luck on the Rhino situation, Spider-Man decided to raid the Bugle. Fortunately, Jonah wasn't present for some odd reason. Spider-Man decided it was best go in as Parker. A quick change to his civilian attire and Peter Parker entered the Bugle's building. The room was buzzing with typewriters and various conversations. Most of them were concerning the politician Shawn Berger. Peter remembered giving the tip from the one symbiote known as... gotta boomerang. Peter smirked at the nickname. He went down to the computer room and searched the database for any recent whereabouts of the Rhino. There were a few incidents concerning a rash of smashed up computer equipment that matched the Rhino's pattern of destruction. Peter remembered something and smacked his head. Quickly, he typed in a name: Josie Beller. The screen came up with a few articles about her inventions and little else. Peter shook his head. He had almost completely forgotten about this woman. For some odd reason, he trusted Archeville's word. Archeville had said something rather peculiar, and emphasized it. He said something about a new group of mutants protecting Beller. Peter thought for a moment and then hit his head a couple of times on the desk for being so dense.

"What's my next gig?" The Rhino asked the rather bald headed figure on a visual interface.

He was eating something unrecognizable to the Rhino. "You've done good. The Overseer did have doubts ever since setting you free. And, we now want full payment for Now, there's a source that leaked and named me to the Daily Bugle. I want you to destroy all evidence they have gathered, no matter the circumstances."

"Do I ever get to meet this Overseer or what? I would like to know who's behind all this." The Rhino's tone was sincerely curious.

The man shook his head. "No, that's quite impossible. By the way, my name is Shawn Berger. And, remember any information on me is to be destroyed no matter what."

"Gotcha. Spider-Man usually haunts the Bugle though. I guess he likes that Parker freak taking his picture."

Berger laughed as crumbs fell out of his mouth. "I can't believe how incredibly dense some of you are. It's like adding two plus two and you don't know the answer."

The Rhino hit the screen in rage. "You're the one who hired me."

"I did, didn't I? Well, not that it matters. We can offer you some Xenotech gear, usually only trusted to our Onex Guard. That way, you can humiliate the Spider-Man back for a change."

"I don't need no armor to help me defeat Spider-Man."

Berger shook his head. "And, how many times did you say that and ended up in the Vault?"

The Rhino didn't hit the console this time. "I ain't going back to that hole. I'll do whatever it takes to stay out of there."

"Good, I'll have one of the Onex deliver the goods. I must attend to other matters. Berger out."

"Well forget the bull, here comes the Rhino."


Spider-Man swung by the Warriors usual haunts to no avail. "This is like trying to find a needle in a haystack."

His spider-sense shot off like a rocket, and he quickly dodged...a howling wind. It shot off again and he dodged another gust. Although Spider-Man was finding this rather odd, he recognized the gusts. They were fists flying in the air. Yet another swung by, and Spider-Man dodged that one as well. Whoever the invisible person was, he or she was persistent. The volley of breezes intensified. Spider-Man knew that even the Invisible Woman couldn't keep this speed. Spider-Man began dodging left and right, flipping and turning. His mind was trying to grasp exactly what power the attacker had. Before Spider-Man neared exhaustion, a woman appeared before his eyes. A fair young woman of obvious Indian heritage was wheezing in an attempt to catch her breath. Before Spider-Man could give her the third degree, his Spider-sense tingled once more. He leaped up and dodged an incoming man who had round orbs of kinetic energy surrounding him. Unfortunately, he realized too late that he was heading for the woman.

"Speedball, not again!" The woman yelled out.

"Sorry Timeslip!" He bellowed as the clashed into each other.

Spider-Man shook his head. "Haven't you learned to control those crazy things yet?"

"Hey, that's my line...sort of." Speedball was helping Timeslip back up.

Spider-Man flipped again, as another blur of black whizzed by him. It was the infamous clubs of the Night Thrasher.

"Sorry, but I've had enough time to hear about that fake Scarlet Spider that reigned on their parade. Now, we don't want another blatant copy running around. Besides, which one are you, the Black Tarantula?"

Spider-Man wasn't too happy about the use of the words blatant copy. His voice was resounding in that fact. "Scarlet was set up, and I'm the real deal. I did wear black once before, Thrash. Of course, that was way before you even wore diapers in the hero biz, so I doubt you remember."

"Oh, a bit touchy are we Spider? The real deal usually comes up with a joke as a rebuttal."

Spider-Man, never one to take advantage of an opening, swung a line of web around a light pole right above Night Thrasher. Night Thrasher turned around and rose his fist.

"Leaving so...soon?"

Before Night Thrasher could finish, Spider-Man had used kinetic force to reel himself around in a complete circle. He swung his legs right at one particular target on Night Thrasher. Night Thrasher was thrown face first to the ground, as Spider-Man landed next to him.

"How's that for a re BUTT al?" Spider-Man offered his hand to Night Thrasher.

Night Thrasher took it and dusted off his uniform. "That arrogant voice, the bad joke. My butt getting literally kicked. Only you could pull that off. What is with the new threads?"

Spider-Man eased up a little bit. "I...have other priorities. I intend to bring everyone down that has a grudge."

"Jesus, man. Knowing your reputation, that's a heck of a lot of bad guys. Well, if you wanted the psychological factor, the suit works well."

Spider-Man looked around for any other New Warriors. "Thanks. Is this it Thrash? It's not much of a reformation. And, I was looking for someone new, to the Warriors that is."

"Ouch. Well Justice was having some...difficulties. And, needless to say, Firestar is out of the picture because of the same...difficulties. Needless to say, we're a bit short. And, yes we do have someone new, but she has...priorities as well." Night Thrasher shrugged his shoulders.

"Is her name Josie Beller?"

Spider-Man's question was answered with a shake of everyone's head.

"I don't think we have such a technical expert in our squad, Spider." Thrash said.

"You have heard her name?"

Thrash nodded. "Yes, but she's not with us. The new recruit's name is Poison. Although, we may make up a new one for her."

"Poison, now that's one I haven't heard in ages. Her boy must have grown up a little more for her to go play hero."

Night Thrasher scratched his head. "Well, since you know her already. Anyway, what's with Josie Beller?"

"Some new symbiote guy said she was with a new team of mutants. I know that the New Mutants reformed to the X-Force. So, I took my next best guess."

"Was that Hybrid? He left to go..." Speedball instantly shut up as Night Thrasher silenced him.

"What was this symbiote's name?" Night Thrasher asked before Spider-Man had to chance to ask about Hybrid.

"Archeville. And, I met his brother, Gotter..bomerang."

Night Thrasher laughed. "It's Gotterdamerung. It's German for the Apocalypse. Twilight of the Gods."

"Well, I take it you either met them or heard of them. Archeville told me Beller escaped with Venom out of Sector 17. And, that she..."

"Joined a new group of mutants, as you told us." Timeslip interceded.

Spider-Man beamed at the young mutant. "Yes, precisely."

"Sorry, we haven't kept tabs on any new mutant groups lately, unless we

fought them." Night Thrasher reported.

"Hey, there was an odd report in the paper. It was about some New York executive hiring a bunch of bodyguards. It was in the editorial in the Bugle though." Speedball was smiling ear to ear.

"Well, it's a start. Do you have a copy?" I have to remember to actually read the editorials next time too, Spider-Man thought quietly to himself.

Speedball nodded and produced the article from one of his inner pockets in his costume.

"You keep stuff like that around?" Thrash silently hoped there wasn't a ton of other stuff hidden in that costume.

"It caught my eye for some reason. I thought it might come in handy for later."

"Odd...It says here about how this Blackrock spent a boatload on a new group of bodyguards...apparently mutants. And, he has some weird thing for the medieval ages."

"His new knights in shining armor, I suppose." Thrash stated out loud.

Spider-Man looked at Thrash. "Hey, I think you tripped onto something there. The team probably has some corny medieval theme to it."

"New Knights, The that reminds me too much of the Big Wheel...." Spider-Man continued to ramble out loud.

"The big wheel?" Timeslip's eyes widened in reference to the name.

Spider-Man looked back up. "Oh forget it. I need to go back to the Bugle and see if I can find any more references to this Blackrock character. Say, you wouldn't happen to know where the Rhino is, would you?"

"No, sorry. We've been out scouting for any of the Onex Guard." Thrash reported.

Spider-Man scratched his head. "The Onex Guard?"

"They're some military faction. Apparently, they are some how related to Sector 17. They have some armor designs that even I haven't heard of yet."

Holy smokes, that means Archeville was telling the truth! They did back engineer a lot of the robot's technology! Those new Sentinels must have been part of the back engineering as well! Thank goodness I have yet to meet a back-engineered Spider-Slayer!

"Well, Spider-Man it's been fun. But, time is wasting." Thrash interrupted Spider-Man's train of thought.

"I can fix that." Timeslip winked at Thrash.

"Funny, everyone's a comedian. Seriously, we need to find out where these guys are getting their gear. And, the only way to do so is to catch one."

Spider-Man's sense alerted him to something nearby. "Well, I think we may have a winner. Let's go."

Night Thrasher looked at Spider-Man. "Since when did you become team leader?"

"I...uh...Were you a former Avenger?" Spider-Man beamed at the quickness of that one.

Thrash looked at the other two, who just gave a "it's up to you" look.

"I guess not. For your sake, I hope this isn't a wild goose chase."

"I think not." Spider-Man followed the trail his Spider-sense was laying out for him. As the supposed danger grew nearer, it beckoned louder in his head. The New Warriors were close behind and travelling through their own unique methods. Soon the four came upon a singular flying man, who was evidently carrying something just by his slow movement.

"It looks like we hit pay dirt. I recognize the gear from our last tussle." Night Thrasher announced.

Evidently, the suit was rigged for sensitive hearing. The soldier turned to see four costumed superheroes closely on his trail. "Great, Berger didn't pay me enough for this. Screw this Rhino guy, I'm dumping this load and high tailing it out of here." The Onex Guard dropped his cargo as it crashed to the ground; he hit his boosters in his jetpack and disappeared into the night sky.

"Well, that was easy." Spider-Man lamented.

"They're more courageous in groups." Timeslip appeared right next to Spider-Man.

The four came upon the carton. And, they began to look it over for any signs of tampering.

The good old Spider-sense isn't going off, so it isn't a bomb. "Let's open it up and find out what's inside."

"You superhero types can never leave well enough alone can ya?" A deep voice shot off from the shadows.

Spider-Man instantly recognized it. "Well, well. It looks like the horn head has decided to come out and play."

"That package was meant for me webs. Now, hand it over before I give ya the hurting of a lifetime." The Rhino came out into the light.

"Sorry, but we need that gear to get a clue on the Onex Guard." Night Thrasher ordered to other two New Warriors to come up by his side with a mere wave of his hand.

"Yeah, we're the New Warriors. And, you going back to the petting zoo." Speedball's introduction made everyone pause.

"That's funny kid. I ain't laughed so hard in ages. So, the little Spider needs help now does he?"

"I'm here for you Rhino. The Warriors are here for the gear. And, so are you. Guess whose going to have the gear?"

"Oh, you think a little costume change is goin' to scare little ol' me?" The Rhino began to lower his head, an indication he was about to charge.

Spider-Man took a defensive stance. "Yes, it will. Your time is up Rhino. I'm here to make sure of that."

The Rhino charged at full speed as Spider-Man easily evaded him. However, Spider-Man realized a little too late that he was not the intended target. The Rhino smashed the crate open and grabbed all of the gear that was stored in it. He fitted a pair of gauntlets and a serrated horn extension to his suit.

"Oh yea, you goin' to make sure of nothing. Now, I have some targets to test the new improved Rhino."

"What's the saying? Never mind here's mine: Same name, different packaging,

still a loser." Spider-Man swung in hard and smashed the Rhino up against a nearby garbage container.

The Rhino got up and pointed the gauntlets at Spider-Man. A web shot out from one, as Spider-Man got entangled in its threads.

"That's it! Now you're stealing my tools of the trade!" Spider-Man got out of the net and tossed it aside.

The Rhino pointed the gauntlets at Spider-Man once more, only to find them gone. "What the?"

Timeslip, with the gauntlets in her hands, appeared before the Rhino.

"Lose something?"

"Lousy dame, I'm going to pigstick ya." The Rhino lowered his head as it brought the blade attached to his horn down. Timeslip helplessly watched as she saw a thin guillotine of death descend her way. Fortunately, Night Thrasher dove in to save the day as the blade only sliced the air. Speedball began to ricochet off anything in the near vicinity. He decided he gained enough momentum and headed for the Rhino's other side. The Rhino lost his balance as the blade hit the cement. The instrument was so sharp, that it dug into the cement. The Rhino pulled as hard as he could; the result was pulling the extension off his horn. The Rhino was flung back again, the force of his own tug being too much. He landed on the spot where Speedball had hit him before.

"You see, Spidey. I can learn from you." Speedball gave a thumb's up.

Spider-Man didn't respond. "Enough games."

Spider-Man went up to the Rhino. The Rhino sensed something very foreboding about Spider-Man's demeanor. Also, the Rhino didn't want a complete humiliation on his record.

"I give up." The Rhino grinned when he saw Spider-Man's disappointment.

Spider-Man shook his head. "I know you too well. Get up."

The Rhino was at a loss. He did as was told and stood up. He tried

to be as taunting as possible. "What you going to do webs?"

Spider-Man clocked the Rhino with a right hook. The Rhino's jaw opened, producing a couple of broken teeth. The Rhino slumped to the ground with a thud.

"That." Spider-Man walked up to the comatose body.

The New Warriors looked at each and then at Spider-Man. Spider-Man returned their gaze.

"I meant what I said. And besides, I didn't hit him when he was down."

Night Thrasher's stoic face said enough. "But, you told him to get back up so you could clock him cold."

"He was stupid enough to reply, so yeah."

The Night Thrasher simply nodded in compliance, as not to infuriate Spider-Man. "Fine, we'll provide mop up duty. And, thanks."

"No doubt the authorities won't receive the Onex Guard gear meant for the Rhino?" Spider-Man winked.

"Something like that...yeah." Night Thrasher extended a hand out for Spider-Man to shake.

Spider-Man firmly grasped Thrash's hand. "Say, since your roster is a bit low, would you mind another inactive member? I may upgrade later."

Night Thrasher looked at Speedball and Timeslip. They quickly nodded their approval. Thrash turned to Spider-Man.

"Alright, I guess a former Avenger should be enough of a credential to join the crew." Thrash gave a wink back.

"Thanks, I'll swing by later!" Spider-Man swung out of their site.

The Night Thrasher shook his head. "I hope that man doesn't get too used to the new direct style. We may just have to keep an eye on him so he doesn't step over the line. I guess the best way is as part of the team."

"He's Spider-Man! He won't step over any line! He'll just make you step over it because he put a banana peel on there...." Speedball patted Thrash on the shoulder.

Thrash heavily sighed. "He's a just a joker, not a practical one. I just hope your right kid."

"I'm no kid! And, shouldn't we call someone before he wakes up?" Speedball pointed to the Rhino.

"It's already been done." Timeslip grinned at Speedball.

The New Warriors left as soon as the SHIELD agents came. And, the Rhino, who was still knocked out from Spider-Man's right hook, was put into the specialized patty wagon.

"Stupid idiot, I shouldn't even bother. But, there's more important things at stake." The mysterious figure leapt off the roof of the building and onto the roof of the SHIELD's armored prison car.

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