Thursday, July 05, 2012

Spider-Man #7 - A Change of Face

Spider-Man #7 Marvel Universe: Transformed

"A Change of Face"

Written by Karl V.

The doors to the elevator opened with a slight squeak, as Spider-Man stepped out. Johnny's sigh was so big for a moment Spider-Man thought the elevator might have been air-tight.

"Hey match-head buck up. Believe me, I know how hard it is when you meet the other flame of your life." Spider-Man's encouragement didn't do John Storm a bit of good, as the member of the Fantastic Four was fuming without the use of his powers. {See FF #6 for more Details}

Sue and Reed gave each other a knowing look, as Johnny simply walked off and sulked in the nearest corner of the room he could find.

"Well, I guess we better give him his room. So, what brings ya here?" Ben tapped Spider-Man on the shoulder.

Spider-Man's thoughts quickly rushed back to recent developments. "I have a real big problem, and I need the best mind to solve it." Spider-Man looked up at Reed.

Reed noticed the instant change in demeanor and stance in Spider-Man. "Judging by your stature, I'd say you have a rather Big Ben on your shoulders."

"Oh good one Stretch, why don't you leave the wisecracks to Johnny." Ben snorted.

"Is there someplace private we can all go? I mean real private." Spider-Man's heart raced a thousand miles per hour or more as he grew anxious. This was one moment in his life he never anticipated. His hands trembled as he thought of the possible ramifications of what might happen.

Sue caught on to Spider-Man's plan. "You don't have to do what I think you're going to do. I mean, we're all friends here. You can explain it without giving anything away."

"This situation is something that calls for this. Besides, it's not like three-forth of my enemies know what's under here anyway. It's about high time I trusted someone, but I'm sorry that it had come down to this point."

Reed stretched out his arm and pointed toward a hall. "Follow me. I built a chamber that has no recording devices and even has psionic dampers. It's still in tact despite our numerous uninvited house guests." {Read FF #1-#6 for said numerous guests KV}

Spider-Man gave one last look at Johnny, who was not paying any attention to what was going on. Finally, Johnny managed to get something out. "So, what's all the smoke and mirrors for?"

"Well, I'm pretty sure you are up to date about Energon and mutants."

Johnny's puzzled expression indicated otherwise. "What the heck is Energon?"

"An alien energy that gives off radiation even in it's stable state. These robots use it for fuel. Exposure for over four million years caused genetic anomalies that we are experiencing now. To be more specific, the activation of the x-factor gene."

Ben scratched his rocky head. "Someone care to translate that? Webhead is soundin' like Stretch here."

"Fascinating," Reed seemed too entranced by this revelation, "I think our friend here is saying that whatever the robots use for fuel is responsible for mutants."

"That would explain the X-Men's tussle with the robots." Sue interrupted.

"Ah, come on now." Ben snorted in disgust. "It's like sayin' I became an ugly mook because of all the Twinkies I ate."

Johnny finally seemed distracted from his current love situation for a moment because the opportunity was too good to pass up. "Sis, I think we better throw them out before we end up like him."

"I'll take out the Ho ho's just in case. The Suzie Q's should be safe. But, I have to agree with Ben here. It does seem pretty far fetched that these aliens would cause an entire global evolution just because of their "food". "

After Sue's statement, the five stopped in the room as the big titanium doors hissed shut: an indication that they would now be the only ones to know what happened next.

Sue caught Reed off guard by saying something first. "Now, Spider-Man tell us what you were going to say about Energon and mutants."

"I have proof that it's true." Spider-Man bowed his head.

Needless to say, Ben and Johnny drew blank expressions while Sue and Reed's mouths were agape by shock.

Spider-Man's hands shook with nervousness once more. "Before the Green Goblin died, he made my wife touch an Energon Crystal. I've already done one blood check, but she wants a second opinion from an expert."

"I'd be more than happy to accommodate you in that endeavor, and without having to reveal your identity. We all know what it is like to have family in trouble."

Spider-Man sighed a bit. "No offense Stretch, but I asked Hank McCoy for help on the blood part. I came to you to ask if you might be able to counteract it, and something else."

"I'm sure Reed and the rest of us would be willing to help you out as much as possible." Sue smiled.

Spider-Man nodded. "I know that, but it's my wife I'm more concerned about. We have a child now. And if something should happen to me, I don't want her alone in a world that hates and fears her. I guess what I'm asking for is an extra pair of eyes times four. And, the only way to do that is by doing this."

Faster than anyone could object, Spider-Man lifted the mask off to reveal the bright young troubled face of Peter Parker, the reporter.

Johnny stood silent, as no words could even form in his mind. In shock, his brain switched gears to avoid the truth. "I ....I need to find Cal."

Peter put the mask back on before the doors opened and Johnny went out of the room in a full blaze.

"Now, this is a revoltin' development. One of our best friends is a media hound. Go fig." Ben tromped out of the room as well.

Spider-Man looked at Sue and Reed. Reed was lost in thought as Sue walked up to Spider-Man's side.

"Mary Jane is your wife, isn't she? I thought I remembered something in the Bugle about that." Sue lightly smiled.

Spider-Man nodded. "Yea, good memory. Anyway, I know you guys have your priorities that much is obvious. I just need someone else besides me to keep an eye on her."

"As much as you've done for us, we'd be more than happy to help when we can. By the way, where is she?"

"She is receiving the guest I told Reed about. Hank McCoy."

Sue quickly thought of something. "No doubt the Professor and one of his other original students will tag along. You better go before they try to recruit her."

Spidey managed a smirk. "She told me she can handle Cyclops and the Professor."

"Yes," She smiled back, "but you also know how the Professor can be."

Spider-Man quickly imagined the worse case scenario of Mary Jane using her latent powers to blast Professor X out of existence from sheer anger. "Good point. I'll bring the specs on the ship later Reed!"

With that Spider-Man ran out of the room and bounded his way out of the nearest window, as Reed apparently "woke up" from his thoughts.

"Where did Peter go?" Reed queried.

Sue smiled. "Come on you. He's gotten his end taken care of for now, he just needs us to keep an eye out on his wife. Now, we should check Franklin out. Those dreams he's been having..."

"Yes, I'll prepare the tests. I'm sure he'll enjoy Daddy playing mad scientist." Reed smiled. "Did Peter say something about schematics?"


"You son of a..." Mary Jane smacked Professor X straight across the face.

The good Professor sat blankly and stared at Mary Jane. The greatest telepath in the world could read minds, but for some reason allowed MJ to take out her aggression. Scott and Hank stood amazed that the Professor allowed this to happen, but equally glad that Mary Jane's rage was not taken out on them.

Professor X simply rubbed his face, then placed his hand together and rested his chin on them. "Now, that we have taken that out of our systems. As I said, it is obvious that fate has played it's cruel hand upon you, as you just did me. You should not simply brush aside and forget it."

Mary Jane thought to smack the ignorant jerk again, but managed to somewhat control her anger. "Look Mr. Clean, I don't want to be part of an everlasting dream for World Peace between humans and mutants just because I got my light switch for mutant powers turned on. I just wanted to know if you can figure what kind of power I will have, so I know how to protect my baby from it."

The scientific mind of Hank McCoy did not often think of the ramifications of making statements about biological truths. "I do fear ma'am that you will not know your powers until you actually use them. It is how we all discovered our own."

"But, it doesn't mean that the possibility to find out is impossible." Scott quickly added.

Mary Jane sat down in rage, indeed she now believed the Green Goblin did have the last laugh. She may never be able to touch her baby in fear of her mutant powers manifesting at the wrong moment.

"Well, I think we can rule out any offensive powers. But, we must wait for the results of Henry's blood test to ensure that it is not a temporary fluke caused by a strange alien power source." The Professor rolled his wheelchair next to the door. "I believe someone else has arrived."

Peter opened the door to see a bald man in a wheelchair, and a tall brown haired man with ruby glasses sitting next to a big blur furred bestial man.

"I guess you must be the other famous X-Men?" Peter winked at Hank then turned to Mary Jane's face of anguish and he felt the emotions seep into his own.

The Beast simply bounded up to the man, and proudly jutted out his hand. "Well, my former Avenger status does well with my fellow X-Men. But, I'm sorry that I had to see you again under such dire circumstances."

Charles Xavier suddenly reeled his head back, at the same time Peter seemed to glare at him. Both intensely looked at each other for a split second, then Hank interrupted.

"How odd, perhaps a manifestation of a mutant power has just occurred."

Charles shook his head. "No, something else. Would you care to explain?"

"I know Nate Grey, and did several reports on him." Peter knew that Professor X was trying to get something from his mind from the warning the Spider-sense gave him, and silently thankful that whatever Nate did prevented even Professor X from learning his identity.

"Interesting. It seems as though he placed a block in your mind, even one that I can not the moment. Do you wish me to attempt to release it?" Professor X offered.

Peter shook his head. "If there's something he wanted to hide, then I'm assuming it's best that I don't know. I trust Nate implicitly."

Charles simply tried to read that statement for what it was, instead of Peter's mind. "As you wish, now to continue. Mary Jane has requested a most difficult task. She wants to find out what her power is, when Hank's results come back."

"If they come out positive again." Peter silently hoped that he did goof up the results somehow.

Hank raised an eyebrow. "You think the effect might be a temporary one caused by direct contact?"

"Yes, like Mary Jane has said. Maybe direct contact only flips the light switch on, but only temporarily. It took millions of years of exposure just for the effect to be permanent in humans." Peter shrugged, but did not elaborate in the face of a more experienced scientist like Hank.

Hank nodded in approval. "An interesting and certainly good hypothesis. But, we can not start to confirm it until we get working. I trust you have something set up at ESU."

"Yes, I have all the equipment ready at a lab. We should get going."

Mary Jane quickly grabbed the car seat. "I'm going with you."

"We have blood samples MJ. We can handle it from here. Little May should stay home, and we don't want to arouse too much suspicion."

Hank nodded as he pushed aside a piece of fur that landed right in his eye. "I do concur. Rumors of your mutant state, whether temporary or not would cause unnecessary harassment by those who do not understand the mutant factor."

"In other words, we don't need people thinking that you are something that you're not." Peter winked at Mary Jane.

"Thanks Tiger. And, wish me luck." Mary Jane smiled and went upstairs to check on Little May while the others departed out the door.


"Heyya Joe, what do ya know?" Shirley smiled then laughed. "I've always wanted to say that."

"Hey, Shirley. Have you seen Angelica?" Joe sat down as Shirley brought over a cup of coffee.

She shook her head. "I think she may have gone to patch things up with her man. She hasn't been in lately."

Joe did not know whether to be happy or slightly irritated. "I'm glad to hear it."

"Hey, I'm sure she won't forget you. By the way, how's that detective business you're trying to set up?" The manager quickly wiped the crumbs off the counter.

Joe shrugged. "There's not much luck lately. Everything seems to have started to focus on this robot thing. I guess that's my luck."

"Well, it don't do no good sitting on your laurels pouting about it. It they don't come to you, you got to go to them. It's a tired ol' cliche, but it's a paying one." Shirley spread her arms out for emphasis to indicate how she got her position.

Joe nodded in agreement. "You're right. I suppose I better start handing out sticks of gum for people to stick to my shoes."

"Hon, stick to your day job. A comedian is another ballgame entirely."

Joe sipped some of his coffee as another man walked in with a cane guiding his way. "Aren't you Matt Murdock? I've seen some of your work reported in the Bugle."

"I'm glad word gets around even with big robots to stifle the case load." Matt noticed a faint whirring of mechanisms: Nanotechnology. He didn't pinpoint it as the ones associated with the Prime Sentinels, but the man without fear raised in guard just in case.

Joe noticed the subtle body language, and figured even with the lawyer's reputation he was an easy target for muggings. "Don't worry, I'm a former Fed. And, current Private Eye for hire. If you could use my help for something...anything let me know. "

Matt smiled, and jutted out a hand toward Joe. "And, hopefully you have a name."

"Joe Wade."

Matt shook the man's hand, then reached in the coat pocket. "Here's my card. I won't ask for yours because I figure you don't have one in Braille."

"Actually," Joe reached in his pocket and produced a card in Braille, "my backers thought of such things."

Matt seemed rather surprised, but they were a few rare cases. The card felt like the standard issue black ink. Also, there was an eye shaped logo, and judging from the feel it was the more heavier gold ink. Matt ignored the obviously bad movie reference. The Braille read: "For all Detection Purposes, call..."

"You should hire an ad campaign manager. It doesn't quite have a ring to it." Matt stuck the card in his pocket.

Joe was about to ask what it said, but figured it was the same message on his regular card. "I guess so. But, I'm just like you, no money coming in. All these robots going around..."

"Excuse me gentlemen, but I couldn't help but overhear your predicaments. I have a proposition for both of you."

They turned to see a well built man, with a rather unique scar on one eye. His attire seemed to cover his entire person, as though he had something to hide underneath.

"And, just how do want to help us?" Joe slid up to the edge of his stool.

He lightly smiled. "I have a friend that's in need of assistance in the area of investigations. She's in trouble more than she knows."

"Well, I'll be more than happy to assist her in any legal matters." Matt turned to face the man.

"It's not quite what I meant. I have another idea for you, but not in front of walls with ears."

"So, where do I fit in then?" Joe started to take another sip of coffee.

The man looked around, then leaned forward. "Have you ever heard of the Hellfire Club?"

Joe promptly spat out his coffee on the shiny counter that was recently wiped. "Irene Merryweather?"

Cable was completely caught off guard, but tried not to show it. "I guess you know your stuff."

"I've been reading up on old newspapers for a friend. So, I guess your the mutant that saved her." Joe never really met a full-fledged mutant. At least, he wasn't sure how Spider-Man acquired his powers, so this may be his second.

"Yes, I am. But, she got herself in deep, and she's about to the dig the hole deeper without realizing it. I have...other matters which I need to get done. So, I thought I'd hire you to be a partner of sorts. She already knows I had this planned, just not who."

Joe nodded in quick agreement. "Not to be rude, but I do hope you get paid for your hero business."

"Don't worry. Let's just say I have a very big fan club that believes in what I am doing. Can you excuse us for a moment?"

Joe nodded, as they both went out of the cafe for the moment. Now, this was a twist. He had wanted to setup his shop so he dealt with the more paranormal aspects, but now he was being asked to keep tabs on someone "normal" by a mutant. Of course, the implications of messing with the Hellfire Club were well known. The story about Irene Merryweather being the only survivor of their onslaught on her place of work caught Joe's attention when he was in the hospital. His mind went to work on the various possibilities of the how and why.

"So, Cable is it? What did you want?" Matt was slightly agitated at the fact of practically being pulled out.

Cable gave a look over the shoulder, and whispered in a low tone. "I know who you are. I can read minds, and right now I don't care about invasion of privacy. All I need to know is will you be part of an army that will take out a criminal far worse than Kingpin?"

Matt frowned at Cable. "Don't try to sell me on your mission. I know who you are as well. But, what makes you think you can abuse my rights, and I'd be a willing little private for your army?"

"Simple. I think there are connections between En Sabah Nur and Fisk. And, I'm pretty sure that you'd be interested as well."

Matt was still stubborn but learning of another one of Kingpin's leftover suppliers would do him good since it had been awhile since he put on his costumed persona. "Prove it."

"I ran into an armor smith awhile back, a Nestor Forbes."

Matt's frown turned to a straight face. "Nestor Forbes is one of the more reputed chop shop gang lord's around. It's hard to get information on him by the locals. No doubt, Kingpin would have some sort of hand in helping him."

"Well, Nestor was killed when he tried to escape. Long story, and I can tell you it later. But, En Sabah Nur goes by another well known name: Apocalypse."

Matt raised his eyebrow. "Catchy. But, don't you think this means I'll still join your little brigade. "

"I'll come back when I have more substantial proof." Cable quickly left and seemed to disappear into the nearest alley.

Matt was left in thought for a moment. Perhaps I do need to shake out the dust on the old costume. After all, I need to prove Cable's claims for myself.

Joe finally came out to greet Matt. "What was that about?"

"He wanted my services just in case this woman gets set up by the Hellfire Club. As in, she was the one responsible for the deaths of her fellow workers."

Joe quickly started to favor one line of thought above the others. "Well, it looks like I better get started right away. I'll see you later."

Matt allowed a slight smirk on his face. "You can count on it. "

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