#2 (of 6)
February 2001
The Exciting Conclusion!

Spiders and Shadows
Part Five: Chance Encounters
by Chip Caroon

Read Spider-Man #9 before continuing here.
Several hours after the football game, Victor walked into his house. He had been out with Natalie and some other friends for a couple hours after the game, and then took Natalie home. His mother was still up, watching late night TV when he came in.

"How was the game?" she asked.

Vic shrugged. "It was okay. We won by a few spectacular plays by Harry Osborn."

"Osborn? Doesn't his father own Oscorp?"

"Yup," Vic said, nodding his head. "Although it seemed like he doesn't care about his son's activities much at all."

"Really?"

"Yeah. He didn't show up until after the game. By that time, Harry was pretty upset. Guess that happens when your parents don't care like that."

"At least you don't have to worry."

"Nope," Vic said, walking to his mother. He gave her a hug. "Good night."

"Night, hon."


The next morning, Peter Parker walked out of the darkroom, holding the last set of pictures he had developed, including the ones from the fight at the game. He walked over to Lois's desk.

"Lois, can you still use these pictures?" he asked.

Lois looked up from her computer monitor, shaking her head. "Not for the morning edition, which has gone out. We can get them in the afternoon edition. They would make an excellent addition to my story."

"Just doing my job," Peter said.

"Say, how did you get those photos? I mean, no one else seemed to notice a fight was going on."

Peter shrugged. "I guess it's because I keep my eyes open. I kinda had a hint that Intergang was coming."

"How on Earth did you ever get such a hint?"

"Spider-Man kinda let me in on some insider info."

"Hmm," Lois said, her reporter's instinct kicking in. "Do you think you could get Spider-Man to do an interview with me?"

Peter thought for a moment. "Uhh, I don't know if he would like that. I'd have to ask."

Just then, the phone rang. Lois answered it. "Lois Lane, Daily Planet."

"Lois! Is Peter there?"

"Vic!" Lois replied. "Yeah, he's standing right here."

"Good," Victor said. "Can you put him on."

"Sure," Lois said as she handed the phone to Peter. "It's Victor."

Peter took the phone. "Hey, man, what's up?"

"I'm getting this weird vibe," Victor replied. "I think it has something to do with . . . uh, last night, if you follow."

"I follow," Peter said.

"Anyway, can you meet me somewhere?"

"Uhh . . . " Peter was trying to stall. He needed to ask Victor something, but couldn't without making Lois suspicious. "I think I can," he finally said. "Where?"

"The roof of the Daily Planet."

"How am I supposed to get there?" Peter asked.

"I assume that there -- oh! You mean -- Use the red and blue lines."

"Gotcha," Peter said. "See you then."

Peter handed the phone back to Lois, who hung it up.

"What's that about?" she asked.

Peter shook his head. "Nothing really. So where were we?"

"You are going to get Spider-Man to sit down and have an interview with me," Lois answered.

"Sure. No problem. Say, did you hear about those big plays last night in the football game?"

"You mean the ones that Harry Osborn made to save the game?"

"That's it."

"Of course. Everyone's heard."

"I find it kinda strange myself," Peter said.

"Why?"

"Even though I haven't exactly been in the 'in-crowd' or even anywhere near 'cool,' I do know what is going on. And I have never heard of anyone making those sort of plays. Especially not Harry. Heck, he was second string for most of the past two years."

"You think he might be on drugs?"

Peter shrugged. "I don't know. But I thought drugs were supposed to make you messed up."

"Special kind of drug," Lois replied. "His father does own Oscorp. I'm sure they've made plenty of unusual items, a lot of which would be very easy for an Osborn to get."

Peter glanced at the clock. "I gotta go, Lois. See you later."


"Been waiting long?" The Shadow asked Spider-Man when he reached the Daily Planet five minutes later.

Spider-Man shook his head, and activated his heat vision, so he could see The Shadow. "Nah. What's up?"

"I have a feeling that Intergang is following me," The Shadow replied. "Nothing concrete, but it seems like every time I do something with my powers, something in my head starts screaming."

"Sounds bad," Spidey said. "Have you figured out where they are holed up?"

The Shadow shook his head. "Should we go looking?"

"I think we better wait for them. They're expecting us now."

The Shadow walked to the side of the building, and looked down. Spidey followed him.

"Is something wrong?" he asked.

The Shadow looked at him. "No. I was just trying to decide when to give you this," he replied, holding a ring out. It was just like the one he gave Natalie.*

*(Detective Comics #4)

"A ring? And it's only our third date?" Spidey said, jokingly.

The Shadow smiled. "Not like that. I want you to be one of my agents."

"Agents?"

"Yes. You see, the original Shadow had many agents all over. They made sort of an underground for him."

"So when he needed information or help, he called them. What does the ring have to do with it?"

"The ring is how he contacted people. He would press the stone on his ring, and the stone on the ring of the person he needed would light up. The ring also helped identify agents to each other."

The Shadow handed the ring to Spider-Man. Spidey's right glove disappeared, and he slipped the ring on his ring finger. The glove reappeared.

"The ring is automatically hooked up to my systems," Spidey said. "Whenever it goes off while I'm in costume, it'll let me know somehow."

"Great."

Just then, the door opened, and Lois came out. She was shocked.

"Spider-Man?!"

"People always forget about me," The Shadow said.

"Maybe cause they can't see you . . . " Spidey replied.

"The Shadow?"

Spidey turned to his friend. "See?"

Lois walked over. "Spider-Man, hi. Peter must have talked to you?"

"Er, I think he did mention something to me, but I'm not too sure. I was in a hurry," Spidey replied.

"Are you two still working on the Intergang case?" Lois asked.

"Yes," The Shadow replied. "Do you have any information that might be useful?"

"Not too much. They covered their tracks really well."

"Maybe not," Spidey said. "Maybe they are operating where everyone can see them, but blaming their actions on others."

"Sounds feasible," The Shadow replied.

Lois, Spider-Man, and The Shadow heard a whistle behind them. They turned around to see a blinding explosion in the air above them.

All three turned to shield their eyes. When they looked back, they saw a message written in light.

WE ARE COMING FOR YOU, SHADOW!

"Just great," The Shadow said, as several grappling hooks landed on the roof.

Spider-Man looked over the side of the building, seeing several people wearing all black climbing up the building. "Hey, Shadow! I have this strange feeling that Intergang isn't big on long term planning."

"I wonder how you figured that out."

"A couple rounds of impact webbing should take them out," Spidey replied. He leaned over the edge, and fired one round of impact webbing at each person. All but one hit, and knocked the climbers off, and sent them falling to the street. Spidey jumped down, and fired many rounds of impact webbing at the ground, hoping to create some kind of cushion. Only seconds later, Intergang hit, and landed nicely. The police pulled up to arrest them. Spidey fired a webline, and began to swing back up.

When he reached the roof, he saw that one of the climbers had reached the top. Lois had hidden behind the door of the roof access, so she wouldn't get herself into too much danger.

"Shadow, Intergang wants you," the man in black said. "Come with ME - EEEE!" he exclaimed as Spidey came down on him, knocking him out.

A minute later, the police found another black clad person hanging above them.


Later that afternoon, Peter and Victor were sitting at The Crib - a eatery/club for teenagers - discussing Intergang. They had grabbed a back booth, to stay away from the crowd that usually came in on Saturday afternoons.

"The number one question I have is why they are only after you. Why not me?"

"I don't know," Victor replied. "I would think that they would want you as well."

"Maybe it's because you really embarrassed them. They never saw you."

"Or maybe it's because I busted them first." Victor was silent for a moment. "Or maybe it's because they were told not to go after you."

"Are you saying that someone else wants me?"

"Who knows? You have any real enemies yet?"

Peter chuckled. "Joker. Although, he doesn't have the mind enough to order Intergang around. Then again, there is the missing money . . . "

"Missing money?" Victor asked.

Peter nodded, and lowered his voice. "When I first got my powers, I went into showbiz. I saved the money. Then, I needed it for something, I don't even remember what now. Anyway, I go in, and find out that someone had taken it. I thought it was Mysterio, but he revealed to me that someone had swiped it electronically just as he was about to take it. He got none."

"So you think that whoever took your money took it as a way to control you?"

"Maybe. But why haven't they mentioned it? I haven't had any sort of contact. I have no real clues, because the bank people thought I - well, Mysterio disguised as me - took it."

Victor nodded absent-mindedly. "Peter, I think that Intergang is in here," he whispered. {I heard them up here.}

{What did you find out?}

{Just that they are here.}

"That reminds me," Peter whispered. "Did you find anything else out?"

"All I know is a little bit of the hierarchy. There is someone in charge of the whole operation," Vic whispered back. "Under him are some smaller 'bosses.' They control sectors. Within those sectors, there are smaller gangs, mostly the kind that we've busted."

"You mean there's more?"

"Intergang is well rounded. They range from teens selling dope to superpowered adults -- and everything in between."

Peter let out a low whistle. "Who's in here?"

"I think we have ourselves one of those small gangs. If we take them, we might put a slight dent into Intergang."

"How did you find this out?" Peter asked.

"I kinda read the minds of the guys that came after us today." Victor turned back to listening to thoughts. {Peter, we need to leave.}

{And come back later . . . ?}

{Exactly.}

As they stood up, they heard a crash. A waitress had spilled a tray on a table. That upset the people sitting there: Three boys, looking to be in their late teens and early twenties. They all wore blue jackets. The biggest one was the one that had gotten most of the mess. He had light brown combed hair and looked the oldest. The guy beside him had long black hair, and black eyes. Across from them sat a blonde-haired boy.

"Uh oh," Victor said.

"Intergang," Peter replied. "Let's go."

Peter and Victor began running outside. However, Davis was also at the club. He saw Peter coming, and stuck his foot out. Peter tripped over it, and landed on the waitress, who fell into one of the Intergang members. 'Just great. The biggest one,' Peter thought. Standing up, he noticed that the waitress had red hair. He also saw Davis laughing.

"Davis, you are a real idiot."

The bully shrugged. "I thought it was funny."

"Hey," the brown haired guy said to Peter. "Do you know who you're messin' with?"

Peter shook his head. "Can't say I do."

During this time, Victor slipped out, walked to a remote area, and changed into The Shadow.

"Oh, so you think you're funny?" the guy asked. "Well, maybe me and my buddies had better show you and this chic here who we are."

Peter started backing up. "I don't think that is really necessary. After all, I was tripped by Davis here," he said, pointing to Davis.

"So? You should have been watching where you were going." The guy stepped out. Peter grabbed the waitress by the arm. "Get behind me," he whispered. She got behind him.

"Oh? Being the big time hero? Save the girl?"

"Look, I'm just trying to do the right thing. I was leaving. You're the one that's being the jerk here. If you weren't so uptight, and spoiled, I'd be gone," Peter replied. 'I sure hope this goes the way I planned,' he said. He could feel the waitress holding on to his arms.

The guy started forward.

"Hey, Parker, you're wormfood!" Davis shouted.

The blonde guy turned, grabbed hold of Davis's shirt, and picked him up. "Shut up. This isn't your business." He threw him down onto the floor. Davis stood up and threw a punch.

The next thing everyone knew, Davis was in a fight with two guys bigger than him. The "leader" kept coming towards Peter, who stopped moving backward.

"Shouldn't we keep moving?" the waitress whispered.

"Don't worry."

"'Parker,' is it? Well, Parker, you're as good as dead."

"I seriously doubt that."

"Why?"

Suddenly, the guy felt a chop to the back of his neck. He turned around. "What the--?" he shouted.

Peter came up and kicked him in the back, knocking him down. The Shadow then kicked him in the balls.

"Juke! It's The Shadow! Get him?"

"I thought he was supposed to be invisible?" the guy with long hair asked.

"Find him anyway!"

Peter turned to the general area where he thought The Shadow was. "Nice job."

"Thanks," The Shadow replied. "You better get her out of here."

"Right," Peter replied, grabbing the waitress's hand and running out.

"Where can we go?" he asked once they had gotten outside.

"My car's around back," she said.

"Let's go there." As they were running back, Peter asked "What's your name?"

"Mary Jane Watson. You?"

"Peter Parker."

"Well, Peter, I guess I owe you."

Peter blushed. "Hey, I had to help."

"Here's my car." They had stopped at a grey 1991 Ford Taurus.

"Get in," Peter said. "Stay in there. Keep the doors locked. If those guys come out, drive away."

Before Peter could do anything else, Mary Jane leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"What was that for?" he asked after she pulled away.

"Thanking you." Mary Jane opened her car. "What are you going to do?"

Peter looked at The Crib. "I'm going back in."

Mary Jane grabbed his wrist and squeezed it. "Good luck."

Peter smiled. "I'll be back for you when it's safe."


Inside, Davis was finally getting what he was due: A severe beating. That was one of the reasons The Shadow let Intergang do that. He kept concentrating on the brown haired guy. However, once he had rendered him unconscious, he had no choice but take down the other two.

"Hey. I know Davis is a pain in the rear, but I kinda got stop you guys from beating him."

"You don't scare me," Juke said.

The Shadow laughed. Juke dropped Davis.

'Hope I didn't crap myself,' he thought. The Shadow picked up on this because he was so nervous.

Just then, Peter came back in, rushing at the blonde guy.

{Peter!} The Shadow exclaimed. {Where's Spidey?}

{Too public.}

With Peter's speed, he leapt and dropped kicked his target, knocking him back into the wall and sending him to la-la land.

Now it was just Juke against Peter and The Shadow. He looked at Peter, and then at where The Shadow should have been. He looked at his buddies, and then raised his hands.

"I give up," he said. The Shadow punched him in the face, and make it a trio.

Davis stood up. "Oh, I never thought I'd be saying this to you, Parker, but thanks!"

Peter punched him in the face.

Davis grabbed his now bleeding nose. "You son of a -----!" he yelled, running to the restroom. Peter heard the sirens and the police cars pulling up. He turned to The Shadow.

"Not bad, eh?"

"Nope. He deserved it."


It was a while before Peter could leave. Victor came back, and also got grilled by the cops. Fortunately, Mary Jane had heard the sirens, and came back in. About an hour later, as it neared dark, the police finally left.

"Hey, Peter," she called. "You need a ride?"

Peter shrugged. "I guess." He turned to Victor. "Nice working with you. I'll see you around."

"Of course. See you." Victor walked out.

Peter turned to Mary Jane. "Are you sure you can leave now?"

"Oh sure," Mary Jane said, walking over. "Not like much is happening tonight. Bob's shutting down for the evening."

They walked out. "Where do you live?" Peter asked. "I don't want you to go out of your way."

"Don't worry about it. Where do you live?"

Peter gave her his address in Queens. Mary Jane's jaw dropped.

"You're kidding, right?"

"No, why?"

"I live next door to you."


That night, Victor was talking to Natalie on the phone.

"We took them down pretty hard."

"So, you think you can stop worrying about Intergang?" Natalie asked.

"I don't know, Nat."


Somewhere else in the city, someone was very upset. He sat on a large chair in a very dark room. Several people stood in front of him. They were his inner circle; his best agents. These were the big guys, the real members of Intergang. All those teenagers were just in so they could be controlled.

"Intergang has gotten too large," he said. "Having these kids in it is not a good thing. This 'Shadow' character has got to be stopped. He is causing us to lose business."

"But, sir," one of the men said, "what about Spider-Man? He helped."

"Only because The Shadow brought him along. I want you to follow this 'Shadow.' Don't attack him until the time is right. He must be tested. I have no interest in Spider-Man. There are others who will take care of him. However, The Shadow shall require . . . my personal attention."


Next issue: Victor has to worry about Intergang by himself, as he digs for the truth. Why do they want him? And what happens when The Shadow fights a living shadow? Find out in The Shadow 2000 #3! And for you Spidey fans, check out Spider-Man #10 for some major revelations.