The Thrilling Conclusion of ARC ONE: BIGGEST FAN
MJ is rushed to the hospital. Although she recovers, the damage is bad enough that it will actually require some months of physical rehabilitation. Peter is naturally overcome with guilt about the whole thing. MJ is both emotionally and physically shaken by the entire encounter. It’s been a drastic reminder to her of just how dangerous being involved with Peter can be. Keep in mind that with the reset continuity, MJ’s initial encounter with Venom more than likely never occurred, so this event could be her first real experience at finding herself made a victim solely based on her relationship to Peter/Spider-Man. Peter initially tries speaking to her and apologizing but at the time she’s in no condition to be around him and asks Peter to give her space and time to think.
Agreeing, Peter uses the time apart from MJ to do some of his own soul searching; wrestling with the idea of being romantically involved with MJ and knowing that doing so could eventually lead to a similar kind of situation, or worse. As he wanders around the city trying to decide what would be best for all involved, Peter stops at the park and sits on a bench staring out at the water, mulling over the events of the past few days. He’s so deep in thought that he doesn’t notice the figure of an old man who’s apparently sat next to him on the bench. The sound of his voice breaks his concentration.
BYRON: You alright son?
Peter turns to look at him and for just a moment, in one panel, he seems to see his Uncle Ben sitting next to him. He blinks the image away and we are left looking at an old man who only bears some resemblance to Uncle Ben.
PETER: Sorry. You..uh..you sort of look like someone I knew. Kind of caught me off guard.
BYRON (Smiling): Someone you liked I hope.
PETER (Smiling back): Very much so.
BYRON: Well good. Nothin’ worse than reminding someone of somebody they didn’t like.
He offers a hand to Peter.
BYRON: Byron McKinley.
PETER: Peter Parker.
BYRON: Parker? Parker.. You the kid who used to take those pictures for the Bugle?
PETER: Back in the simpler days.
BYRON: Yeah, yeah. I remember your stuff. Speaking as a novice I’d still have to say that was some damn fine work. How’d you ever manage to get those aerial shots of the old web-head?
PETER: Trade secret.
BYRON: Fair enough. Far be it for me to make a magician reveal his secrets.
The two sit in silence for some moments. The old man has a small bag of broken pieces of bread and is casually throwing a few out to the waiting ducks in the pond. He looks back over at Peter who continues to stare out at the water almost in a daze. He passes the bag over.
Peter looks at him, puzzled.
BYRON: It’ll make you feel better.
PETER: No, it’s okay. I…
BYRON: Trust me.
Reluctantly, Peter reaches in and pulls out a few pieces of the broken bread and tosses it into the water. A small smile crosses his face as the ducks come over eagerly to eat.
PETER: I’ll be damned..
BYRON: its the simple things in life that offer the most comfort when you’re down. At least, that’s what I’ve found.
PETER: I think you might be on to something there.
A few more moments of silence pass between them.
BYRON: So tell me what’s wrong.
PETER: Who says that anything’s wrong?
BYRON: Your face. I know that look. Seen it more times then I’d really care to. Especially in the mirror.
Without really knowing why he’s doing so, Peter finds himself laying out the entire situation to Byron (making sure to leave out some key points of course). He feels an odd sense of relief just being able to talk to someone about it.
BYRON: You know, there was an old philosopher, cant remember who, once said that the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few or the one.
PETER: I’m pretty sure that was Spock on Star Trek.
BYRON: Really? Well, even so, the message is still pretty good.
PETER: I guess.. I’m not really sure how it applies here.
BYRON: Look son, all I’m saying is that if this girl means so much to you and being with you is somehow putting her in harms way, then you owe it both of you to let her go. It’ll hurt like hell, but if you really love her and want her to be safe, then I really think that’s what you have to do.
Peter thinks over Byron’s words and reluctantly agrees. As much as he’d like to deny it, he knows Byron is right and if he really does love Mary Jane and wants her safe, then he’s got to let her go before something else, something worse, happens. He thanks Byron for the advice and gets up to leave. Once he’s a good distance away, Byron turns to look after Peter. A different kind of smile crosses his face this time. One filled with cruelty and mischievousness. As he smiles, his eyes blaze up to a vibrant yellow.
There’s no more explanation given at this time as to what that moment means. If I’m doing my job right as a writer it’ll be one of those moments to spark curiosity and potential debate, but may be quickly forgotten when we don’t follow up on it right away. There will probably be many readers who will guess as to what that moment means but nobody is going to get a clear answer until much further down the road.
END OF ARC ONE.