This is part of an ongoing series. If you didn’t get a chance to see the First Arc you can catch Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, Part Four , Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven by clicking on the links.
Arc Four, Part One: Jill Stacey’s Aftermath
Alright, let’s take a quick breather here. Before we move on I’d like to take a moment and clarify Jill’s back-story and hopefully answer several questions that will (hopefully) be going through your minds. Rather then doing the standard super-villain monologue type of exposition, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a single one-off issue that will either be entitled “Meanwhile…” or “Interlude.” The basic structure would be a countdown to the conclusion of the last issue. As we get further along in Jill’s story we’ll see captions like “One Year Ago,” “Six Months Ago,” etc. Once we’ve reached the end we’ll have come full circle and leave off just as we did last issue with the caption reading “Now.”
The details of what brought Jill Stacy to where she is now (at least as far as I’m willing to reveal at this point) are as follows:
Over the course of the last few months we as the reader have, just as much as Peter, been gradually letting Jill Stacy back into our lives. I’ve personally been a fan of the character ever since her appearances during Howard Mackie’s run on Peter Parker: Spider-Man. During that run, Mary Jane was apparently killed in a plane crash leaving Jill as a potential new love interest for Peter. Although the way it played out was handled effectively, I was never a huge fan of the “plane crash” idea since it fell so easily into the old cliché of comics that nobody is really dead unless you see a body; and sometimes not even then. I remember thinking at the time that it would have been much more interesting to have Peter and MJ split up and having Peter then become involved with Jill, which could lead to all kinds of great dramatic possibilities. Because of what happened to Gwen, Jill might actually hate Peter if she ever found out his secret while at the same time MJ would need to remain an integral part in his life just by virtue of the fact that she does know his identity.
A discussion about Spider-Man and his history about a year or so ago with my store manager Dave reminded me of this idea and acted as the spark for what you’re reading now…though obviously with a major additional twist. If I’ve done my job as a writer properly, the reader (whether seeing her as a new character or being reintroduced to her) will have grown to like Jill as a character, first through her close relationship with MJ during her recovery, and then through her continued friendship with Peter. Rather then seeing her as an obstacle between Peter and MJ, we should find ourselves rooting for them to get together. The likely conclusion should be that Jill represents a kind of crossroads for the relationship between Peter and MJ and allowing for the kind of drama I mentioned above where Peter is once more required to keep his identity a secret from the woman he loves while trying to come to terms with being “just friends” with the woman he did (and probably still does) love who happens to know all of his secrets. This fairly simple set-up would allow for a lot of old school personal drama but also represent a second chance at happiness for Peter.
Except that it was all a lie.
Jill Stacy doesn’t love Peter Parker, and she’s been fully aware that he’s really Spider-Man long before the Arcade kidnapping. She blames Spider-Man, and therefore Peter, for her cousin Gwen’s death and is fully committed to destroying them both.
After Arthur Stacy’s death, Jill’s first act of healing and moving on was to go through her father’s belongings and start packing things away. It was during this time that she discovered her cousin Gwen’s diary hidden amongst Arthur’s files and papers. Reading through the diary, Jill discovers not only that Peter and Spider-Man are one and the same, but also about her cousin’s affair with Norman Osborn. Already emotionally fragile after Arthur’s death, these sudden realizations along with knowing
that her father had kept this from her for years unhinged Jill’s mind. She becomes obsessed with finding and confronting Norman about the contents of the diary and finally getting the full truth about what happened to Gwen. During that search Jill manages to find one of Norman’s hidden storage facilities where she was able to utilize and modify the Goblin technology and costume. She’s also used his formula for the performance enhancers which not only gives her the added strength and agility she’ll need but also affects her already troubled mind.
Rather then using these advantages to attack Spider-Man outright, Jill devises a plan that will allow her to destroy him from within. MJ’s recent injuries prove an irresistible opportunity and Jill manages to get herself assigned as her physical therapist to allow for a natural reintegration into both Peter and MJ’s lives. With her past relationship with Peter as groundwork, Jill roots herself as much as she can into Peter’s life; making him trust her and eventually love her. When her true nature is finally revealed, it will be a crushing blow to Peter that is worse than any physical attack she could have ever attempted.
Stay Tuned for the next parts of Jill Stacey’s Aftermath…