The following is a work of fan fiction. As eluded to in the title, it happens during the events of Marvel Civil War. All properties are the trademarks or copyrights of their respective companies.
Introduction: Spider-Man is Not as Cool as Batman
He loved this city. Correction: He loved this city from up here. Perched on the edge of a gargoyle hundreds of stories above the ground, eh felt almost like that man who liked to dress as a bat. What was his name? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. That guy is way cooler.
He can drive and takes advantage of that by driving the coolest vehicles ever invented. J. Jonah barely pays me enough–for pictures that he then uses to demonize me–to keep a roof over my head. Not that Bat-Guy (Bat-Dude)? He has way better PR. I always see him in the papers shaking the hands of the commissioner even after letting that clown blow up a few city blocks. Sometimes life is so unfair.
Heck, he’s even cooler up here. He stands on the edge of these things, cape blowing in the wind, his scowl somehow penetrating that mask of his to remind all the bad guys who is in charge. Maybe I need a cape. I already have the mask, but it covers my whole face. How do you show off a scowl with a full mask?
He tried a few scowls underneath the mask and just felt ridiculous. Taking off the mask, he tried a few more scowls. He felt no less ridiculous. Holding the mask in front of his face, he imagined it as Doc Ock or maybe Gobby. After one or two more practiced scowls, he felt even more ridiculous.
It’s just hard to scowl as your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
He looked closer at the mask. He did need it, right? Set aside the face that J. Jonah had this weird vendetta against it. He had to protect his family. From what, though?
He put the mask back on.
Act 1: Who is Spider-Man Really Protecting?
At first, I needed the mask to keep those around me safe. I might be imbued with the awesome powers of the spider, but not many others have been. If anyone found out my secret, those around me would have been put in danger and I couldn’t live with myself if any of them got hurt. Not even J. Jonah.
He thought back over the years that he had been Spider-Man. Several times over, the mask had proven to be necessary for just that purpose. He grimaced under the mask. Too many times. He hadn’t exactly been careful about protecting that trade secret. Sometimes it felt like J. Jonah was the only one in the world who didn’t know.
Maybe Tony Stark is right.
That voice that had taken up permanent residence in the back of his mind spoke up. He could always hear it muttering back there. It only became audible at times like these when everything else in his brain went completely silent. Once it took over, there was no stopping it. It picked up on his thought train from earlier.
We are super powered beings. Granted (or born with) powers that far beyond the comprehension of the average person, ee are dangerous. There is collateral damage. What happened in Connecticut must never happen again. Something had to be done.
Do I really have to be one of the faces of it, though?
Well, why not, Peter? Honestly, why not? You already had to admit that the mask doesn’t always serve the purpose of saving those around you. You bemoaned that sometimes you feel like the only one who doesn’t know that you are Spider-Man is J. Jonah. Who is the mask protecting?
Act Two: The Death of Spider-Man
He stood up–and jumped, executing a perfect swan dive. Windows flashed by and he dropped through the air. Most were dark, but a few had lights on and he saw men and women still working at their desks at this hour and one overly excited custodian waved gleefully as he passed. Tomorrow morning, he was going to have one hell of a story to tell his family. I was there when Spider-Man killed himself.
I’m only kidding, of course. Or, am I? It would be so easy to just let it happen. Make it look like my web slingers malfunctioned. Thinking about it now, it’s actually quite easy. Plus, it solves my problem of having to make the decision to reveal my identity.
His Spider-Sense tingled, interrupting his train of thought. That was strange. Granted, it often went off during times of pending harm and he was hurtling towards the ground to certain death. What he had learned during his occasional non-suicidal leaps from buildings is that it only generally worked when that pending harm wasn’t self-inflicted. Someone needed help and they were close. A faint burglar alarm confirmed this. He shot a web in the direction of the sound.
Act Three: Spider-Man Saves the Day
He quickly discovered the source of the alarm. It was one of those mom and pop deli shops that somehow survived in this city and made it unique. He smiled under the mask. He may not always love this city up close, but it had its moments. Busting petty crooks holding up a neighborhood deli was always a highlight of an evening. Landing amidst the chaos of the scene, he opened the door and entered the deli.
Compared with the street, the deli was quiet. The only sound was a burglar alarm blaring its tones, that he found that surprisingly easy to ignore. Quickly surveying the store, he saw that the register was in the back, so the crook stood with his back to the entrance. He’s a real amateur. He hadn’t even looked back to see if the police had arrived. Thank goodness for small miracles.
Grabbing a bag of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper, he stood behind the robber in an odd mockery of normalcy. The thief was so engrossed in his potential pay day that he didn’t even notice. Spider-Man tried to act as nonchalantly as possible. One wrong move and things could go very wrong very quickly. As he often did in these situations, he thought back to that first fateful encounter.
“Sir, could you please finish your business? Some of us have to get to work.” Spider-Man said.
The thug started and turned to face him, a look of pure surprise on his face. Spider-Man took advantage of the distraction, disarming the man and webbing him to the ceiling in his customary fashion. Walking to the register, he placed the items on the counter to pay. Looking no less shocked than the thief, the deli owner stammered before finally speaking.
“Please, take them. On the house. As thanks.”
Epilogue: I Am Spider-Man
Spider-Man shook his head. Grabbing a pen and a scrap of paper, he started jotting down an IOU.
“What’s your name?”
“My friends call me Bob. You can call me Bob.”
Spider-Man put his hands over his heart and tilted his head in a pantomime of the “Awwww” gesture. Expressions were tough in this mask. After he finished the note and handed it to Bob, he turned to leave the deli. Pausing briefly at the door he turned his head.
“Keep that note, Bob. I will be back to pay it. This probably isn’t your first rodeo, but make sure that gun gets to the police. By the way, there’s no camera in here, right?
Bob pointed to the corner.
“Besides that fake one?”
Bob shook his head Spider-Man removed his mask. The look of surprise on Bob’s face became exaggerated. It mirrored the one he imagined J. Jonah would have before the old goat keeled over.
“My name is Peter Parker,” Peter said, “and I am Spider-Man.”
He put the mask back on and swung off into the night.