At JFK airport, a private jet touched down on the tarmac, slowly coming to a stop as a limo pulled up. Once the jet stopped, a staircase descended and the door opened up. This allowed a green cloaked figure to descend down the stairs towards the limo. Once the figure was inside, the limo drove off and he reached out a metal hand to press a button on a console next to him. After a few seconds, a voice answered from the other end.
"Welcome to New York, Doctor."
"Is everything set for my arrival?"
"Of course. The Fantastic Four are on their way and no one suspects a thing."
"Excellent. At long last, Reed Richards and his cavalcade of freaks will be nothing but a distasteful memory."
Once again suited up, Spider-Man swung out towards where the flaming spider was coming from. He landed on a rooftop, seeing the Human Torch hovering in the air above him.
"Knew that would draw you out," Torch remarked.
"A guy sees a giant flaming spider in the middle of downtown Manhattan, he'd be crazy not to look into it. So, what's up?"
Torch instantly threw a fireball at Spider-Man, forcing him to dive off the roof before it hit. He then shot another webline to catch himself, swinging off as Torch followed in pursuit.
"Oh no, you're not getting away this time!"
Torch pointed a finger, sending a small stream of fire towards the web, severing it. Spider-Man instantly dropped, forcing him to grab a nearby flagpole and spinning on it to perch upright.
"Hey, cool your jets, hothead! I don't wanna fight you!"
"Yeah, well too bad!"
Seeing Torch darting towards him, Spidey grabbed hold of the flagpole and spun around until he launched himself upwards, kicking him in the face as he did. Spidey then shot out a web and slung himself onto the roof, noting that his boot had caught on fire as a result.
"Yikes!" he let out, stomping on his own foot to put out the flames.
Ok, so trying to kick the Human Torch? Not my smartest idea.
Spider-Man then looked back, seeing the Human torch rising up and chucking several fireballs at him. Spidey quickly began backflipping out of the way of each blast. As he landed, he shot a web on the ground and pulled himself forward and out of the way of the fire blast.
"Hey, you mind knocking it off and listening for a hot second?" Spidey insisted before realizing what he said. "Hot second. I quip when I'm not even trying."
"You won't be so quippy when I get done with you!"
"Will you stop for one second. I'm not the one you want!"
"And I'm supposed to just take your word on that?"
Spidey paused for a moment.
"You're right… how am I supposed to know you're the real Human Torch?"
This time, it was Torch's turn to pause.
"What the heck are you talking about?"
"It's true, a Spider-Man did break into Homeland Security and steal secret files, but not the Spider-Man. Somebody's framed me. An international spy called the Chameleon."
"The Chameleon? Oh, that's original."
"Hey, I didn't pick the name. I found it in the same place I learned about the files that were stolen."
"You mean the files you stole?" Torch responded, prepping another fireball.
"I mean the ones the other guys stole, remember? Honestly, can you hear anything while your ears are on fire? I was framed! I never even heard of that device until I looked it up. I didn't even know the company that made the thing was still around."
That finally got a reaction out of Johnny, causing him to pause for a moment.
"What are you talking about?"
"The company that originally designed the defense system that my double got a hold of the plans for. It was made by this old defense company called Von Doom Industries."
This made Torch go wide eyed, dropping down to the ground and deflaming.
"Von Doom… are you sure?"
For those not in the know, Von Doom Industries was a military defense company that went out of business after their CEO went ballistic and tried killing the Fantastic Four. From what I heard, after being shipped over to his home country, he usurped the corrupt government and has ruled the country with an iron fist.
How's that for an upgrade?
"Look Torchy," Spider-Man spoke up. "Something big is going down, and it looks like this Von Doom nonsense is at the center of it. We can keep fighting, or we could work together to get to the bottom of this. What do ya say?"
Meanwhile, across town near the East River, a specialized weapons demo was beginning to fill up with people. Several government officials were arriving to see the technology being put on display, all of whom were being supervised by three out of four members of the Fantastic Four. Sue was standing on an invisible platform high above the area, supervising the area.
"Everything's clear in the air," Sue reported over comms.
"Roger that Sue," Reed replied with him and Ben on the ground. "Ben and I will keep an eye on things from down here. We'll call in if anything happens."
"You don't honestly think Spider-Man would be stupid enough to come here?" Thing asked.
"Him or whoever is responsible for breaking into the database," Mr. Fantastic responded. "And if he does, we'll be here to intercept him."
"Well, I feel safer already," a new voice commented.
Mr. Fantastic and Thing turned to see Detective Watanabe walking up to them with a mild smirk on her face.
"Detective," Reed greeted. "How can we help you?"
"Just making sure the area is secure. I take it the web I gave you revealed something."
"Two different compositions, just as you suggested."
"I knew it. So Spider-Man might be innocent after all."
"Spider-Man is a lot of things!" the bombastic voice of J Jonah Jameson declared as he walked up. "But innocent isn't one of them!"
"Mr. Jameson," Reed greeted. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"Covering this little shindig for the paper. As well as a front row seat for Spider-Man's public capture at the hands of you and your team."
"Mr. Jameson, we still don't know for certain that the real Spider-Man is-"
"For certain?! He was last seen fleeing the Homeland Security building before fighting you four. What more proof do you need?!"
"Take it easy, JJ," Thing insisted. "If Stretcho says there's something more here, there's something more here."
"Besides, you don't want to risk ruining the Bugles reputation and have to print a retraction, do you?" Yuri chimed in.
"Please," Jameson dismissed, walking past them. "The Bugle hasn't printed a retraction in twenty years. And even if it did, it wouldn't be on Spider-Man!"
The three just watched him walk away before turning towards each other.
"Hope he's in for a reality check," Thing commented.
Meanwhile, a few technicians were putting the finishing touches on the device, which looked like two metal cylinders connected to a platform that had a computer terminal on the side of it, before the big demonstration. One of them silently opened up a panel on the side of the device and inserted a specialized circuit in one of the empty slots. Once it was secure, he closed up the panel and picked up a case on the ground.
"All good here," the technician reported before walking off.
The other technician nodded as the first one walked away. The technician then slipped into a public restroom, looking at the underside of the stalls to make sure he was alone. He then placed his case on the sink and pulled off his mask, revealing the Chameleon underneath as he opened up the case with a Spider-Man suit inside.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the head speaker addressed, the three Fantastic Four members standing on either side of him. "We are here to showcase the latest and greatest in domestic defense. Even as we speak, a missile is heading for this very location."
This caused a panic from everyone, including the heroes.
"What?!" Invisible Woman let out.
"No need to worry," the speaker insisted. "The combined minds of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Homeland Security have perfected the means by which to protect New York City, as well as others, from any that would threaten this country and its people. Behold, the High Energy Missile Defense System."
As said missile came into view, the device started rotating so it would face the direction it was coming from. After a second, the ends of the two cylinders powered up, both firing green beams that hit the missile and traveled along opposite directions of it, causing it to explode. As it did, the heroes eased up as the crowd applauded.
"As you can see, thanks to the innovations of our armed forces, defense for the city of New York has never been stronger."
"Guess everything's taken care of," Thing noted.
"And no sign of Spider-Man," Mr. Fantastic observed. "I suppose we had nothing to worry about."
"Then just call me nothing," a familiar voice declared.
Everyone suddenly turned to see "Spider-Man" perched on a pavilion nearby, much to everyone's shock.
"Aha!" Jameson let out. "I knew it! I knew Spider-Man was up to no good."
"Spider-Man" flipped onto the ground, prompting the three heroes to move off the podium and assumed defensive stances.
"What do you want here, Spider-Man?" Mr. Fantastic demanded.
"Someone paid generously to get a hold of that fancy device over there."
"Nothin doin!" Thing declared, charging forward.
"Spider-Man" used springs on his heels to leap up and over the Thing before turning around and spraying him in the face, blinding him. Ben worked to pull the webbing off of his face while Reed's arms stretched out, grabbing "Spider-Man".
"This has gone on long enough," he declared.
"Couldn't agree more," the faux Spider-Man declared, noting that the missile targeting system was turning towards them.
Reed took note of this and turned around, seeing that the device was now facing them and powering on. It suddenly opened fire, forcing Mr. Fantastic to drop "Spider-Man" and contort his body so the blast wouldn't hit him.
"Reed!" Sue called out, rushing over.
The device then took aim at her, prompting her to generate a forcefield to block it. This did little to stop the device as it continued firing at the four of them. Sue kept up her shield, grunting under the strain of being fired at. Reed continued to shift and contort his body to avoid the blasts, despite the constant blasts. Thing meanwhile just grabbed a chunk of ground and brought it up to block the blasts as they hit.
"The targeting system!" Reed realized. "He's altered it to fixate on us!"
"Ah, so he is the brains of the operation," the fake Spider-Man noted. "Yes. I inserted a targeting matrix that would fixate on the cosmic radiation emanating from your bodies, allowing the targeting system to attack you until you're finally finished."
"How?" Invisible Woman demanded, still holding up her shields. "You can't have that kind of technology."
"Indeed not," a new voice confirmed.
Everyone turned as the crowd began parting, allowing the green cloaked figure to pass through. One look and everyone knew who the true mastermind was behind this subterfuge, Doctor Doom.
"Victor…" Reed let out, still avoiding the blasts.
"Naturally," Doom replied. "Who else could orchestrate events precisely enough to bring you to this place and face to face with a device tailor made to bring about your demise?"
"So, what?" Thing spoke up, still hunkering behind his slab of ground. "You just dropped by to brag about how smart you are?"
"Partially. More than that, I wanted to watch as you perished. At long last, the Fantastic Four will fall by the hand of Doctor Doom."
"Hate to break it to you, Doom," Sue spoke up. "But you're one FF short."
"The Torch won't evade me forever. Sooner or later, he'll come looking for you, and will meet the same fate."
"Don't bet on it, Doomie!"
Doom and the other heroes looked up to see Human Torch rocketing towards the group, lobbing several fire blasts at Doom. An energy shield suddenly appeared around Doom, deflecting the fireballs before they could hit. Torch tried to arc upwards, the faux Spider-Man fired a strain of webbing at him tangling him as he crashed to the ground. Johnny flamed up one of his arms and used it to cut through the webbing as the fake Spider-Man ran up. He kicked Johnny in the face and causing him to roll backwards before flaming up and shooting upwards.
"Come on, kid!" Jameson cheered. "Show that webhead who's boss!"
"Haven't you put it together yet?" Yuri asked. "Doom needed a proxy to bring the Four here. This Spider-Man is a fraud."
"Spider-Man is not a fraud!" Jameson declared as Yuri ran towards "Spider-Man". "Can't believe I just said that."
"Spider-Man" noticed Yuri approaching from behind, prompting him to kick her in the gut, activating a spring in his boot so he could push her backwards into the crowd. Johnny meanwhile continued flying and evading the blasts from both the device and Doom, hoping to get a hit. Eying the machine, he lobbed a fireball towards it. Doom raised his hand, causing the fireballs to redirect themselves towards Ben, hitting him in the back and causing him to drop his guard. This caused him to get hit in the arm by the device, actually chipping off some rock, much to Johnny's horror.
"Ben!" Johnny let out, flying towards him.
Doom took this chance to point a finger at Torch, firing a laser that knocked him out of the sky. He hit the ground hard as Doom approached him.
"A noble effort, Jonathan," Doom commended. "But I'm afraid you have lost. You do not stand a chance against me."
"I'd dispute that… but just to be safe… I brought a friend."
"What are you-"
Doom looked up to see the real Spider-Man swing in and kick him in the chest, knocking him into the fake Spider-Man as they both crashed into the device, damaging it enough to make it stop firing. This allowed the FF to finally drop their guard.
"Who dares strike the person of Doom!" Doom declared, getting back to his feet.
"Spider-Man dares," Spidey confirmed as he dropped down. "As in the real Spider-Man."
"Ran into him while I was blowing off steam," Johnny informed as the others joined him. "He's the one who told me the big showcase was based on tech from Doomie's old company."
"From there it was easy to figure out that Doom hired the Chameleon over there to make a big enough threat to get your attention."
"All to get us into a position that would allow him to take us out with a piece of technology from his own company," Reed deduced.
"A company we helped ruin," Sue added. "It's poetic."
"Would've been if these two numbskulls hadn't cracked the case," Thing remarked, playfully patting Johnny on the back. "That's gotta be pretty embarrassing for ya, Doomie."
"Trust me," Spider-Man spoke up. "He's not as half as embarrassed as JJ's gonna be when he's forced to print a retraction."
"Retraction?!" Jameson let out. "Listen, you wall crawling weasel! No one tells J Jonah-"
"Hey, ya see?! Even the Jolly one himself knows I'm the real deal."
Irritated, the fake Spider-Man fired a web at Spider-Man, forcing him to dodge the attack before leaping at him. "Spider-Man dove out of the way as Spider-Man landed, prompting him to try again. The webbing made contact this time, binding Spider-Man up as his imposter grabbed a piece of metal plating and tried to bring it down on him. Fortunately, Spider-Man managed to snap the webs off with his strength, allowing Spider-Man to grab the plating and toss it aside. He then picked up his imposter and tossed him into a nearby street lamp, causing him to grunt in pain before hitting the ground.
"Now that's Spider Strength. Accept no substitute."
Just then, another energy blast shot out, nailing Spider-Man in the chest and knocking him back. He tumbled onto the ground as Doom approached, his eyes narrowing as he approached.
"You will suffer for interfering in my affairs," Doom declared, his fist glowing with energy."
Just then, another arm stretched out and grabbed his fist. Doom turned towards Mr. Fantastic doing his best to hold him back.
"Focus on us, Victor!" Mr. Fantastic demanded.
"With pleasure," Doom replied, yanking on his arm.
This pulled Mr. Fantastic in close so Doom could grab him and surge electricity through his body. This prompted Invisible Woman to knock Doom back with a forcefield. He released Reed as he skidded to a stop. Human Torch flew in with a barrage of fireballs, disorienting Doom enough for Thing to rush up and punch Doom repeatedly. Doom brought up his own fist to block the attack.
"You dare touch me, you blockheaded oaf?!"
"You honestly surprised at this point?" Thing remarked.
Doom just backhanded Ben before a stream of fire engulfed him.
"Ben may be a blowhard," Johnny declared. "But nobody hurts my pal!"
"Nice to see ya cooled down, kid," Ben noted.
"Felt it was bout time, right?"
"Oh yeah. In fact, I'd even say it's Clobberin Time!"
As the Four continued to fight, Spider-Man got to his feet just in time to see Chameleon make a break for the docks.
"Hey, you guys got this?!" Spidey called back. "Gotta go catch my evil twin!"
"Go ahead!" Torch replied as Spidey swung off. "Kickin Dooms metal butt is kinda out thing!"
Spider-Man leapt onto a railing just in time to see Chameleon climb into a speed boat and start it up. Thinking fast, Spidey shot a web at a piece of metal from the device and yanked it off, grabbing it before leaping after the boat as it took off. Spider-Man stuck the plate to his feet before firing a web at the boat. As the boat picked up speed, Spider-Man touched down in the water, skiing along with it.
"Yeehah!" Spidey let out.
Chameleon looked back to see Spider-Man behind him, prompting him to swerve the boat to try and shake him off. Spidey however, didn't falter, instead managing his body so he swerved along with the boat.
Gotta say, water skiing isn't something I'd normally put on my bucket list, but I had to admit, I was having a good time.
Looking ahead, Chameleon saw a garbage barge coming up and quickly banked right, homing to ram Spider-Man into it. Thinking fast, Spider-Man grabbed his metal board and leapt up, grinding along the barge before leaping back into the water.
"Ok, this has been fun," Spidey declared. "But playtime's over."
Spider-Man looked around the area, seeing a cruise ship nearby and formulating an idea. He veered towards the ship, leaping up and off his board so he could land on the railing. After sliding along the railing a bit, he planted his feet so his webline would go taut. Finally, he leapt up, slingshotting forward as he sailed towards the speeding boat. Quickly maneuvering himself around, he landed on the hood of the boat facing Chameleon as he put on some electric gloves.
"How about a taste of Spider Punch!" he let out, trying to punch Spider-Man, who easily leapt over it.
"Please tell me I don't sound like that," Spidey pleaded, landing behind him. "Or at the very least, I offer a higher quality quip.
Chameleon turned around and tried punching him again, but Spidey easily ducked under it. He then uppercutted the Chameleon, knocking him back into the dash. Picking himself up, Chameleon charged forward, prompting Spider-Man to leap over him and web both his hands together. This caused a feedback on the gloves, shocking Chameleon and causing him to drop to his knees. Spidey shot a web at the throttle, pulling it so the boat would come to a stop before walking over to the Chameleon and unmasking him.
"Another bad guy busted by the original, and superior, Spider-Man. Now, to get back to land."
Back with the Four, their fight against Doom continued to rage on. Doom grabbed hold of Johnny's leg, throwing him into Ben and knocking them both back. Just then, twin force fields encased his arms, allowing Sue to fling him around, smashing him into the ground. He strained against them, hoping to break her concentration and free himself, but that's when Reed's elongated arm wrapped around his waist, pulling him back and allowing Reed to swing him around to Thing.
"Ben!" Reed called out.
"Batter up!" Thing yelled, winding up a fist.
The punch collided hard, cratering Doom into the ground. The four gathered around as sparks began emanating from his body. Curious, Reed stretched out his hand and grabbed hold of Dooms mask, pulling it off to reveal a robotic face underneath.
"Doombot," Johnny realized. "Figures. Still too cowardly to fight your own battles Doom?"
"Enjoy your reprieve my friends. Just know that the next time we meet, it will be your last. Oh, and do tell Spider-Man that he has gained my attention as well."
Johnny just threw a fireball at the bot, causing it to explode as Spider-Man came swinging up with a webbed up Chameleon.
"So… what'd I miss?"
"You heard me, Robbie, a retraction!" Jameson informed over the phone as the police carted Chameleon away. "... but on page twelve… in four point font."
Spider-Man just shook his head as he perched himself on the roof of a police car with Yuri and the Fantastic Four standing nearby.
"Nice to know he won't be losing too much sleep," Spidey remarked.
"Jameson aside," Yuri spoke up. "Glad to hear you're innocent.
"Thanks Detective. Nice to have a fan."
"I wouldn't go that far, but you do have your uses… every now and then."
"I… will take what I can get."
"Hey, you kicked ass out there," Johnny commended. "Including mine."
"Well, you were sure giving me a run for my money out there. You must not like losing."
"Well, that… and I've been feeling a little stifled lately."
"Stifled?" Sue noted. "You mean by us?"
"Well… a little. It's just I feel like I've been reminded I'm the youngest on the team a lot lately. I thought by taking down Spider-Ma, I could… show you guys what I was capable of."
"Yeah, a wounded pride'll do that ya," Spidey informed.
"Well, I think I can speak for all of us when I say you have nothing to prove," Reed reassured, putting a hand on his shoulder. "You're a valued member of this team, and we're lucky to have you."
"I'll second that," Thing agreed.
"Same," Sue added.
Johnny smiled in response.
"So glad I could bring you guys closer together," Spider-Man commented.
"You know, you have a pretty good skill set," Invisible Woman noted. "If you need a job, we could consider renaming it the Fantastic Five."
"Really? How much would that pay?"
"I'm afraid that the Fantastic Four are strictly nonprofit."
"Oh… well… don't call me, I'll call you."
Spider-Man shot out a web and swung off, leaving the four behind.
"Somehow, I don't think he'll be calling," Ben remarked.
At the Osborn Penthouse, Norman walked into the living room, straightening out his jacket as he made his way towards the elevator. Before he could reach it though, he looked over and noticed Harry lying on the ground, much to his confusion.
"Harry?" Norman let out, walking over to Harry as he slowly woke up.
"Huh?" Harry mustered as he sat up, shaking off the sleep as he turned to Norman. "Dad? Hey."
"What were you doing asleep on the floor?"
"Uh… studying too hard. Got drained."
"I see… Well, I'm glad to see you're taking your studies seriously."
"Thanks… uh, I don't know if I told you this, but I'm on the football team now, and we have a game tonight. You think you might come?"
"Unfortunately, I have other business to attend to," Norman told him, pulling out his phone. "I'm sure you'll do well though."
"Yeah… thanks," Harry lamented, walking off as Norman dialed a number.
"Menkan, it's Norman. I need to talk to Stillwell. He's not picking up his phone."
"I'm afraid that's impossible, sir."
"If Stillwell thinks he can walk out on me-"
"That's not what I meant, sir… Stillwell's dead."
That caught Norman by surprise.
"Security found his body in the lab this morning. It… appears he's been murdered sir."
"Unfortunately, that's not all."
"Dr. Smythe's Glider and flight suit? They've been stolen, sir."
Back at the Parker house, Peter was finishing up getting ready to go to the game, making sure he looked presentable.
"Lookin good, Parker," he said to himself. "As good as one can look for a blind date."
Remarks aside, I was ready to forego ego in order to make Aunt May happy. No matter who she ended up being.
Once Peter was ready, he went downstairs where May was looking out the window.
"I'm about to head out Aunt May. is Anna Watson's niece here yet?"
"Oh, she's walking up now," May informed as she turned to face him. "I'm so glad you agreed to this."
"Hey, if it's important to you, it's important to me. Just don't expect me to be asking about engagement rings anytime soon."
That got a chuckle out of May.
"Oh, Peter," just then, the doorbell rang. "Oh, that's her. Go on, dear."
And with that, I felt I was over myself and ready for anything life could throw at me… and then, I opened the door.
"Uh…" Peter let out, completely speechless. "Wait, you mean… y-you're… Mary Jane Watson."
Standing before Peter was a gorgeous redhead with green eyes, a slim figure, and a flirtatious smile across her face.
"Face it Tiger. You just hit the jackpot."