Amazing Fantasy #16

    Amazing Fantasy » Amazing Fantasy #16 - An Amazing World released by Marvel on December 1, 1995.

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    Long Island… A teenager bounds through the streets using kinetic energy to leap through the air. In a Manhattan office, Maxie Shiffman is on the phone asking for more time to pay his rent. He says Spider-Man is one of his clients which means the money will be rolling in soon, he just needs a little more time. Schiffman’s secretary tells him his bookie was on the phone, “something about broken thumbs”. Shiffman decides to place a classified ad in The Daily Bugle.

    Forrest Hills, Queens… The Human Torch is on TV. A show called “The Amazing” mentions how the Baxter Building was lifted into the air and it might be linked to the reappearance of Namor, The Sub-Mariner. Peter Parker thinks just a few days ago he would have found all this amazing, but today it doesn’t matter. Aunt May doesn’t like the news and asks Peter why he is so quiet. The show talks of a green skinned monster on a rampage in the South West and of a Norse God battling a South American dictator. Peter thinks all this really is amazing and in comparison, what happened to him means nothing. He thinks back to how he was bitten by a radioactive spider, how he gained his powers, how he became a wrestler to earn money and fame, how he appeared on TV, how he didn’t stop a burglar from running past him because it wasn’t his problem, how he arrived home to find his Uncle Ben shot, how he caught the man who did it, how it was the same burglar, how it was his fault. It’s been days but he still feels guilty. Still feels ashamed.

    A cemetery… Uncle Ben’s funeral. Peter and his aunt are the only ones there. Peter wishes there was a better ending to this story. He’s glad he didn’t tell Shiffman his real name so he won’t be able to contact him. He doesn’t want to be on TV, doesn’t want to be Spider-Man – who caused all of this. Aunt May would be devastated if she knew. His powers gave him the ability to stop that burglar and that gave him the responsibility, but he failed. He can’t fail again. Aunt May says Uncle Ben was a good man and asks Peter not to forget him. Peter promises he won’t and knows he has to live up to the responsibility his powers gave him… but how?

    Midtown High School… Peter is still looking for the answer to his question. He wishes he had someone to confide in. Liz Allen approaches him. She says she’s sorry about his uncle and asks if his aunt is okay. Peter appreciates her asking but Liz is abruptly called away by her friends who remind her it’s only “Puny Parker”. Peter is suddenly shoved aside by Flash Thompson and drops his books. Flash shows the other kids an ad in the Daily Bugle asking for Spider-Man to call Shiffman. He talks about how cool Spider-Man was on TV and wonders where he is. Peter is right behind him, picking up his books. He decides not to respond to Shiffman’s ad because being Spider-Man is over for him.

    Maxie Shiffman’s office… a number of costumed characters have turned up all claiming to be Spider-Man. The talent agent tells them to prove it by sticking to a wall. They fall silent. He tells them to get out of his office and worries about what he’s going to do if he doesn’t find Spider-Man. Meanwhile Peter is walking home alone, trying to figure out what to do with his powers. He decides against going into Government Service as they’ll just lock him away and study him. He arrives at The Parker Residence to see a flashy black car parked outside. Inside he sees Aunt May talking to Mr. Vale, a furniture salesman who tells her Uncle Ben had ordered a new bedroom set to surprise her before he died. Ben had paid the deposit but the company won’t make the delivery until the remaining balance is paid. The salesman kindly offers to cancel the offer. He says they won’t get the deposit back but at least they won’t have to pay the rest of the money, although this means May won’t receive Ben’s last gift to her. Aunt May decides against this as she wants to respect Ben’s wish and says they’ll come up with the money somehow. The salesman apologises for intruding during their grief and says he’ll call next week. Aunt May slumps to the sofa and tells Peter Uncle Ben’s funeral was expensive and she even had to use the money he made on his paper route years ago. Peter thinks to himself he blew that money on science equipment and the money Aunt May used was from his TV gig, now that’s gone too.

    Peter’s room… Peter throws his Spider-Man mask at the wall and wishes he had never gone to that science exhibit. Uncle Ben always knew what to say, but now he’s gone and Peter is the man of the house. He looks at a newspaper clipping of Spider-Man’s TV appearance. He thinks he could earn money by becoming Spider-Man again, but putting on the mask would only remind him of his irresponsibility. He sits and thinks about everything until he can think no more… and then… he has to get out of Peter’s room, out of his skin. He swings through the air in his costume and for a moment forgets about his guilt. It’s relaxing, free, fun.

    Brooklyn… Spider-Man lands on a lamppost and takes a breather. He notices a flashy black car parked on the street. A familiar salesman tells an old widower his wife had paid a deposit on some furniture before she died and the company want the full payment before delivery. He says he feels bad about this and he can tear up the contract, although it would mean the old man won’t get his wife’s last gift to him. The widower says he’ll pay. The salesman apologises for intruding during his grief and says he’ll call in a few days. Spider-Man decides to follow Mr. Vale as he drives off and find out what’s going on. Shortly, they arrive at a warehouse.

    A warehouse in Manhattan… Spider-Man feels weird about sneaking in, like he’s doing something wrong. The warehouse is full of crates and perhaps he’s made a mistake. In the centre of the warehouse he sees more “salesmen” selling “gifts” to people who have already lost too much, trading on grief, using tragedy to steal money. They targeted Aunt May because they think she’s defenceless. He spots the boss in the centre cubicle. The Undertaker tells his clients he’ll take care of their problem discreetly – from death to disposal.

    Spider-Man drops in. The Undertaker recognises the TV personality, says he didn’t catch his act. But Spider-Man caught his, murder for profit, he calls him a ghoul. The Undertaker says he’s merely providing society a service it needs. Spider-Man says he’s calling the police. The Undertaker is disappointed, he thought the celebrity may have been a client, he calls his goons. Spider-Man finds himself faced with several loaded guns. An unimaginably strong buzzing sensation goes off in his head and he leaps away just in time. He can’t believe people are shooting at him and the buzzing sensation inside his head is getting worse. He finds a hiding spot and the buzzing dims down. The gunmen spread out to find him. He decides he can handle them one by one. He dives into action and takes one out. Two more react with gunfire which Spider-Man easily leaps over and in seconds they’re down too. He notices the buzzing increases as he gets closer to danger and tells his body which way to dodge - like eyes in the back of his head, like some kind of Spider-Sense.

    Spider-Man just beat two guys who were shooting at him, now he wants to take on the rest. He leaps into action and takes one down, followed by another and another. But the numbers overwhelm in the end and they pile on top of him. His body goes numb and suddenly he bursts upwards knocking them all out. The Undertaker is dashing for the exit. Spider-Man figures if he cans swing on his webs he can use them for trapping. He shoots a line at his foe and instantly the dealer of death is down. All the criminals are rounded up and the police are called. The hero gives his name as Spider-Man, the same guy who caught that burglar in Queens a few nights back.

    Outside the warehouse… squad cars have cordoned off the area and are taking in the crooks. Maxie Shiffman arrives hearing Spider-Man was around, just in time to see him swinging away. Shiffman shouts after him but the web-swinger doesn’t hear him. On the way home Peter Parker feels he has lived up to his responsibility. He notices a couple about to get mugged. He takes care of the gang in seconds, the couple recognise him as the guy from TV. As Spider-Man swings away again he wonders if this is how he is supposed to do right by Uncle Ben’s memory, how he can use his power responsibly. One thing’s certain – it sure feels right.

    The Parker Residence… Aunt May watches the news of The Undertaker’s crime ring being smashed. Reports say Spider-Man was the captor. In other news there are rumours of an ant sized hero and footage exposing the mutant menace. May turns off the set. She feels silly, stupid. Her nephew comforts her. He changes the subject, wants to hear more about his uncle. May recalls the first time they met. Peter thinks the world may be full of monsters and human torches, but in his own little corner everything is okay. Manhattan… a teenager uses kinetic energy to lift a bulldozer in the air and place it on top of a construction site.


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