Forced to give up his Spider-Man alter ego due to excessive persectution, Peter Parker has decided to fight crime in a new guise, four of them, actually. And now the HORNET prowls the skies!
|Cover Art:||Mike Wieringo|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man: Identity Crisis (TPB)|
There is an after-hours guest at the Daily Bugle, in the form of one slightly-nuts villain known as the Looter. Floating down from the sky strapped to a smallish balloon, Norton G. Fester is armed with that meteor we saw him with way back in issue #8, only now it's attached to a gun. Fester claims to have tapped into the meteor's energy, but his attempts to use the meteor (after giving it a big smooch) are less than impressive, so he has to kick the window in. "Maybe you shouldn't have stayed up to watch Conan last night." After ripping open Norman Osborn's office safe (looking, no doubt, for the $5 million bounty on Spidey), Fester is surprised by the sight of a garishly-costumed man floating outside the broken window. This is, of course, the HORNET, a.k.a. The Superhero Formally Known as Spider-Man.
The scene flashes back to where we left off last issue, with Spider-Man talking to the recovered Hobie Brown, the Prowler. Owing Spider-Man a favor, he listens to the wall-crawler's tale of woe and agrees to loan him a cybernetically-operated jetpack.
Returning once more to the present, Flash Thompson has been working late and hears the Looter chuck a file cabinet at the Hornet. Coming in to investigate, Fester grabs him and sticks the meteor gun up to his head. Another series of flashbacks begins with Fester watching Osborn's bounty announcement on TV. The meteor, sitting on the couch beside him, has no objection to stealing the money, and Fester gives it a big hug. (Few tacos shy of a combination plate there, I'd say.)
Moving on, right about the same time as Fester's touching scene, MJ has come back to the Parker household to find Peter all decked out as the Hornet for the first time. Taking her up for a ride, they slam right into a flock of geese, whose feathers jam the jetpack's intake and nearly send them falling to their deaths. Luckily, Pete's still wearing his webshooters. And while the two of them barely avoid certain death, Billy Walters is waiting for Peter at the Daily Bugle and getting sick of being ditched all the time.
Back to the present, the Hornet doesn't believe Fester's meteor is anything more than a chunk of rock, but realizes that his super strength does pose a threat. Telling him that he "left the selecto-ray on poach", Hornet nails Fester with a right cross to the chin and a short battle ensues, ending when Flash points the meteor gun at Fester. Just then agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. burst through the door, wanting to take possession of the meteor (which still doesn't feel like rock. What IS that thing?) Fester tries to grab it and is stopped short by Hornet's stingers, a leftover from Ben Reilly's Spidey tenure.
Afterwards, the Hornet decides to soak up the attention of a few reporters ("Where do you come from? "Uh, I'm from Charlotte!") and makes the statement that the city won't have to worry about Spider-Man anymore. Unfortunately, one of the city's viewing public is the Vulture, now a senior citizen again, taking Hornet's statement to mean that he's killed Spider-Man. This leaves the Vulture less than pleased...
Well, this is definitely the most light-spirited of the Identity Crisis storylines.
Let's see where they go with this, eh? Three webs for now.