#1 (of 6)
January 2001

Spiders and Shadows
Part Two: A Shot in the Hall
by Chip Caroon

Read Spider-Man #8 before continuing with this issue!
Victor only had seconds to think before he acted. He chose to use his powers in a way he had never dreamed before. He reached into everyone's minds and said, {STOP!}

Everyone froze where they were.

"Someone call the cops!" a teacher yelled.

Meanwhile, the boy who had fired the gun started to kick his opponent. Suddenly, a foot flew into his face, and he fell back.

"Cool it!" Spider-Man shouted at the boy. He picked the boy up by his collar. "What is wrong with you?"

"Yes, man," The Shadow added.

Spidey turned around. "Who said that?" he asked. He couldn't see anyone, so he activated his heat vision.

"What the--?!"

"Excuse me, Spider-Man," The Shadow said. "You cannot see me. I assume you are using heat vision or something of that sort. I am The Shadow, and I have come to help you."

"That's cool," Spidey said, turning back to face the gunman.

"Ha! I got the sucker!" the gunman laughed.

"You're just sick, man," Spidey retorted. The gunman continued laughing. Spidey decked him to shut him up, but continued to hold him.

The Shadow bent down, examining the body of the victim as he heard police cars pulling up out front. Blood was oozing out of several places, surrounding the boy.

"How is he?" Spidey asked, setting the gunman down, holding his wrists behind his back. He was regaining consciousness.

"Not good," The Shadow replied, referring to the victim.

"Make way! Make way!" the police shouted as they came in. Two of them approached Spider-Man, the others let the medics through to the victim.

"Thanks, Spider-Man," the cop said.

"Eh, I was in the area," Spidey replied. "Just thought I could lend a hand until you got here."

"Glad you did. We'll take him now."

"Here you go." Spidey let the boy go, and the police cuffed him and led him away.

Meanwhile, The Shadow had helped the medics load the victim onto a stretcher. He was now being rolled out of the building.

"Okay, kids, back to class," a teacher said. "I'm sure most of you will have to give your statements about this later."

The Shadow stood up. Spidey grabbed his hand and shook it. "You're an okay guy. Not much we could really do, but you helped."

"I know what you mean. At least I calmed the crowd with my telepathy."

"Telepathy? You can use your mind to talk to people?"

{Yes.}

"Cool. Look, I gotta go. See ya around?"

"Sure," The Shadow said, nodding.

They ran off in opposite directions, to different bathrooms. In each, they changed back into their respective identities. Peter went to his photography class, while Victor walked to government class. Natalie was already there, sitting in the back. He slid into the desk beside her.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey. I kinda had to take care of some business," he whispered.

"The Shadow?" Natalie whispered back.

"Yeah. Met Spider-Man."

"Really, that's cool."

Just then, the public announcement system came on. The voice of the principal was heard in every room of the building.

"Attention students and faculty," he said. "May I have your attention?"

He was silent for a few seconds, making sure students calmed down. Finally, he continued. "Students, as you know, there was a gunfight in the halls just a few minutes ago. It was broken up by the excellent efforts of the police with the help of Spider-Man and a new hero called The Shadow. I would like to thank them for their help at this time."

Vic and Natalie looked at each other and smiled.

"Due to the emotional distress this could cause, school has been canceled for the rest of the day. However, students are asked to stay on campus until the time at which fourth period would normally end, so the police can get as many statements from eyewitnesses as possible. Teachers, please take attendance for this period, but do not assign any work, or do anything. Students, you may wander the campus. But anyone found leaving without permission will be punished in the appropriate manner. Thank you." The PA system cut off.

"Cool!" someone in the front of the room said.

"Calm down, class," the teacher said. "First I must call the roll, then you may leave the room."


Meanwhile, at the other end of the hall, Peter and Jimmy had met up again in Photojournalism class.

"So, Peter," Jimmy said after the announcement cut off. "Did you get any shots of the fight?"

Peter shook his head. "I'm afraid not. I didn't have time to get my camera out."

"Well, I have a few shots. Ms. Kelly said I could develop them this period, so I can take them to the Planet later this afternoon."

"Who's gonna cover the story?"

"I guess they'll send Lois. Or maybe Ben Urich."

"Ben Urich?" Peter replied. "I don't think I've met him. Is he new?"

"No. He's been around a while."

"Jimmy Olsen," the teacher called.

"Here!" Jimmy replied, raising his hand.

"Peter Parker."

Peter raised his hand. "Right here."

Jimmy nudged Peter. "Let's go."

"By the way," Peter whispered. "There's someone I want you to meet later. Victor Cranston. He's a pretty cool guy."

"Cranston? Related to Lamont?"

"His grandfather."

"Didn't we read about him in the paper archives this summer?"

Peter nodded his head.


Half an hour later, most of the film had been put through the process in the darkroom, and the pictures were starting to develop.

"Man, these are pretty good," Jimmy said. "Just a few more minutes and they'll be done."

"That's good. Say, can I go out now?" Peter asked. "I want to find Victor and talk to him a bit."

"Sure. I won't be long."

Peter walked out of the darkroom, and out of the photo classroom. As soon as he entered the hall, he ran into a very familiar person.

"Lois!" he exclaimed.

"Peter!" Lois said. "What are you doing here?"

"I go here. I'm waiting until they let us off campus."

"Hmmm. You wouldn't happen to be able to give me some details of what happened would you?"

Peter thought for a moment. "Is it okay if I tell you before I tell the police?"

"I'm sure they won't mind. I've already gotten permission," Lois said as she turned on her tape recorder.

"Okay, then," Peter began. "Victor Cranston and I were coming up the hall from physics. We see a crowd start to form, and two guys yelling at each other. We end up right in the front, and there are a bunch of teachers around us. I remember getting knocked down and losing track of Victor."

"Uh-huh, go on."

"I got back up, and all of a sudden, one of them pulled a gun. He shoots the other guy. Everyone gets quiet, and then he shoots again. Next thing I know, Spider-Man is on top of him, picking him up. But then comes the strange thing . . . "

"And what is that?" Lois asked.

"He starts talking to no one."

"He's gone crazy?"

"No, no," Peter answered. "Turns out, another hero showed up. The Shadow, I think his name is. So, The Shadow is helping the victim, Spidey is holding the gunman. Then the police show up and after that it's the usual. Everyone left, blah, blah, blah . . . "

Lois stopped the tape. "Sounds interesting. Especially this Shadow character. I think I better do some research on him. I've heard the name."

"Whatever," Peter said. "Hate to rush, but there's someone I want to meet up with. I'll see you at the Planet this afternoon?"

"Maybe."

"See you then."

"See ya."


Peter found Victor sitting on one of the concrete blocks at the front of the building. Beside him was a very beautiful girl.

"Hey, Peter!" Vic said.

"Vic," Peter acknowledged.

"I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Natalie Casswell."

Peter took her hand and shook it. "Nice to meet you, Natalie."

"Same here."

"May I sit?" Peter asked.

"Sure," Victor said, scooting down to allow Peter to sit comfortably.

"So, pretty wild first day, huh?" Peter inquired.

"Of course," Vic answered. He then leaned over and whispered, "You're playing hero today aren't you?"

"What do you - " Peter began to ask, trying to sound shocked, so not to reveal his alter ego. However, something that The Shadow told him came to mind. "You cheated."

"Not really," Victor said. "I just used logic. We got separated, and then Spider-Man appeared. You were no where to be found."

"I bet you figured that out when you commanded everyone to stop, Shadow."

"Ah, you've figured out my secret."

Peter looked at Natalie. "Hope I didn't blow your cover."

Vic grabbed his girlfriend's hand. "No. She's known forever. You are the only other person outside of my family to know my identity. And you can trust us with your own."

"I hope so. I know you can trust me."

"Good. I can see our alter egos having a long, prosperous working relationship together," Vic said.

"That'd be cool. The only other partner I have is Batman, but he kinda . . . different. Hardly know anything about him anyway."

Natalie spoke up. "So, Peter, have you given your statement to the police?"

Peter shook his head. "Not yet. I figure they'll call me if they want it."

"Same here," Vic said.

"So, Natalie," Peter asked. "How much of the fight did you see?"

"I really didn't see any of it. I was coming up from another hall. I heard the gunshots and that's it."

"You know who was involved? Or why they were fighting?"

Natalie and Victor shook their heads. They turned their heads to see several more cars pull up.

"It's probably more parents," Victor said. "Have you called yours, Peter?"

Peter nodded. "I called my aunt shortly after the announcement. You?"

Victor tapped his head. Peter understood. "Ah," he said. "Hopefully they won't worry."

Peter looked at his watch. "Say, since we probably won't be able to eat here, how about we go out for lunch, and get to know each other," he said. "We could invite my friend Jimmy Olsen." He turned around. "Speaking of which . . . "

Jimmy walked up. "Hiya, Peter. Is this Victor?" he asked, extending his hand.

"Yes, and this is his girlfriend Natalie."

Jimmy shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."

"We're going to lunch after we get out of here," Victor said. "You wanna come?"

"Sure. I can just give the pictures to Lois to take to the paper."

"So, Jimmy, how did the pictures turn out?" Peter asked.

"Pretty good. I got some Spider-Man shots. I made doubles, since the police will probably use them for evidence. However, I didn't have that good a spot. You were right on it, weren't you?"

Peter shook his head. "Something like that."

Just then, Lois came walking over with a police officer. "Guess it's time," Peter said.

"Hey, Peter, Jimmy," Lois said. She looked at Vic and Natalie. "Hey, Vic."

Peter was startled. "How did you know that this was Victor?" he asked.

"Very simple," Lois replied. "He's my second cousin."

"Yes," Victor confirmed, turning to Peter. "My grandmother was Margo Lane. Her brother is Lois's grandfather."

"Cool," Peter said.

Lois turned to the officer behind her. "This is Officer Dibny. He's here to take your statements."

Officer Dibny was a nice looking cop, not the kind that looked like he took too many doughnut breaks. Peter thought he looked familiar.*

*(Dibny was the cop at his uncle's murder scene in Spider-Man #2. - Chip)

Dibny looked at Peter. "I'll start with you. What did you see?"

"Well, Vic and I were coming from physics, going to first hall when we heard some shouts," Peter began. He continued his story, telling the same thing he had told Lois before. When he was done, Dibny looked at Victor. "Is this true?"

"All of it. I can't really add much, since we were in the same place," Victor replied.

"And you, miss," Dibny said, looking at Natalie. "Where were you?"

"I was on the other side of first hall. All I heard was the noise and the gunshots. I ran out to see what happened, but there were too many people in the way," she replied.

"Thanks," Dibny said, writing some notes down. Finally, he turned to Jimmy. "And you, young man."

Jimmy handed him a package of pictures. "I'm a photographer. I work at the Daily Planet. I had my camera with me, and took these pictures. That's pretty much what I saw."

Dibny looked at the pictures. "Thank you very much. These pictures are just the evidence we need."

Jimmy smiled. "Thank you."

"Well, you kids are free to go now," Dibny said. "I'll see you later, Ms. Lane," he added, tipping his hat to Lois before walking off.

"I guess I'll see you at the office later," Lois said to Peter and Jimmy.

"Sure," Jimmy said. "We're off to lunch right now, but here's the other set of pictures that you can give to Mr. White."

"Thanks, Jimmy," Lois said, placing the package in her purse. "See you boys at the office."

"Bye, Lois," Jimmy said.

"Bye," Peter added.


Twenty minutes later, the four teenagers were sitting and eating at the burger shop just around the block from the school. Thirty minutes later, they had finished eating and Jimmy stood up.

"Well, it's been a swell time here, guys and girl," he said. "But I better swing by my place, and then to the Planet. Catch you later."

The other three told him bye.

"Vic, Natalie, it was nice meeting you," Peter said. "I'd love to stay and chat, but I think I should go as well. I guess I'll see you tomorrow." He stood up.

"See you tomorrow," Vic said.

"Bye, Peter," Natalie said.

As Peter walked out, Victor took his arm from around Natalie's shoulders. "We should leave too. Want to go to my place or yours?"

"Let's go to yours. My parents probably aren't home," Natalie replied. "Besides, they changed the locks last week and haven't given me an extra key yet."


Vic and Natalie went to Vic's place, where they hung out for a while. They also talked to Lamont about the events that had happened. After they were done, Lamont shook his head.

"It's a shame," he said. "What kids do now."

About an hour later, Vic was in his room with Natalie when the phone rang. It was Peter.

"Peter! Why do you call?" he asked.

"We just found out some interesting information here at the paper," Peter replied.

"What is that?"

"Well, at least one of the guys involved today is in a drug ring. The police busted one part of it, but it turns out it a major operation. Might even have some crime involved. Just thought your 'friend' would like to know."

"You were right," Victor said. "But that still leaves some questions. Like, why were they in a fight to begin with?"

"I dunno," Peter replied. "But I'm sure that we can find out. We'll talk later."


Next: Continued in Detective Comics #4! January 2001 is The Shadow 2000 month!