Here’s an unfamiliar scene: Peter Parker AKA The Amazing Spider-Man weeping over his dead relative’s tombstone in the rain. “If only I’d been more responsible! If only I hadn’t thought of myself! If only I’d stopped that burglar… Aunt May would still be alive!” Wait, what? Then Peter dries his eyes, stands up and returns to his waiting Uncle Ben.
“It’s true”, says Uatu, watching from Heaven. Where I guess he lives. “It took us forty-six issues but we finally realized we hadn’t had Uncle Ben live.” Actually, they did but no matter. We begin our tale when Ben Parker wakes up in the middle of the night with old man problems. After peeing for five straight minutes and falling down in the shower, Uncle Ben hears a noise and wanders downstairs, encountering the burglar. Ben starts to launch into a homespun tale about what comes with great power* when the burglar shoots him. Thus begins a tale of guilt, tragedy, and evil black costumes from space.
But what if ‘twere not Uncle Ben who died but Aunt May, who was well on her way to her fifteenth stroke anyway? Well, to start, not a whole lot. Mostly events continue pretty much as they have before as Peter becomes Spider-Man and takes out his aggression beating up guys dressed like animals. And sand people. Unfortunately for Pete, Uncle Ben’s a little sharper than Aunt May (This is not difficult. Silver Age Aunt May is like the female Mr. Magoo.) and he soon figures out what Peter’s afterschool activities are.
As they’re preparing for dinner, Ben asks Pete to change the tablecloth, revealing Peter’s Spider-Man costume underneath. Dude springs this shit on Peter like he found his little box of weed. The two of them sit down and get all their various guilts off their various chests. While Ben doesn’t think Peter is responsible for May’s death, he does like the idea of Spider-Man so the two of them start working together to stop crime.
Meanwhile, shocking nobody, J. Jonah Jameson has hair up his ass about Spider-Man. The attack pieces he publishes in the Daily Bugle are getting really bad and Ben is fed up with them. He storms into the Bugle offices and start chewing Jonah out. At this point, Spider-Man (who is always around Jonah’s offices at 4:15 for some good natured webbing-feet-to-the-floor.) comes by and finds the two old men fighting. He swings in and then Ben forces Peter to reveal his identity to Jameson which is a fucking terrible idea.
As Spider-Man carries his angry, elderly uncle out the window, Jonah fumes, trying to make a decision about whether or not to reveal Spidey’s identity. On the one hand, Peter Parker is a brave teenager who’s trying to do the right thing and make up for his aunt’s death while keeping his uncle safe. On the other hand, there’s money to be made. After working his way through every expression the Grinch ever had, Jonah reaches a decision. He starts getting tips from Spidey about what crimes Spidey will foil and sending in photographers. He also challenges Spidey to an interview in the Bugle to defend his views. This is not a great idea in my opinion. I feel like the public can really get behind Spidey’s philosophy of “fuck crime and throwing blondes off bridges.”
Spidey quickly gets fed up with the combined old white guy power of Ben and now Jameson always telling him what to do. Especially when Jameson orders Peter to start tailing his secretary and Pete’s sort of girlfriend Betty Brant. If you recall the old sixties comics, you’ll remember that Betty’s brother Bennett was kind of a mob screw up. Always working for mobsters with names like Blackie. She’s been acting weird and Jameson thinks she might be in deep with the mob.And then Ben agrees which really sets Spidey off.. “Oooh, those guys… always telling me what to do!” Peter grumbles. “I’ll show them. I’ll do it just to spite them.”
Sure enough, Spidey finds Betty working for the smuggest Doctor Octopus that has ever appeared in a Spider-Man comic.
After angrily shit-kicking everyone around, Spidey yells at Betty and Bennett and then fucks off. He’s so completely done with everything that he goes and lives on the street for a few days, sleeping in web hammocks and stealing pies from Mysterio’s windowsill.
Eventually Jameson’s trained bum, Patch finds Peter and delivers a message. “Surrender, Dorothy.” I mean, “Come Back To The Bugle, Or I Reveal Your Identity.” Worried that having his ID leaked might still somehow hurt Uncle Ben, Peter meets with him only to get yelled at some more. The Jameson of this reality is somehow more of a jerk than other realities.
Next Jameson hurries to the local hospital where his son, astronaut and future werewolf John Jameson is recovering from a mission to outer space. It seems that John’s been hospitalized since he was bombarded by space spore, something I am not entirely convinced is a real thing. The doctors think he’ll recover and are just observing him when the Green Goblin busts the fuck in.
Turns out the Goblin regularly follows one-eyed homeless people around New York and caught Spider-Man and Patch’s discussion. He realized that Jameson knows who Spider-Man really is and kidnaps him. Peter sees this as his chance to finally be rid of Jameson, knowing the Goblin will kill him and solving all his problem. Fortunately his friendly neighborhood conscious kicks in , but not before the Space Spores have an effect on John, changing him into a glowing giant muscle man.**
Space Spore Man follows the Goblin Glider’s contrails to whatever abandoned Oscorp building the Goblin is hiding out in this time. Fed up with the Goblin’s bullshit, John follows a recent What If tradition and snaps the Goblin’s neck. That asshole taken care of, Space Spore Man turns his attention to beating the everloving crap out of his dad.
Luckily, Spidey arrives at the last possible second, saving Jonah from his son’s weird space illness. Mostly by tossing John at some electrical wire which should kill the poor bastard but really just makes all the spore fall off for no reason. As he leaves with John, he turns to Jonah and whispers “you fucking owe me”, finally putting an end to Jonah’s harassment. Uncle Ben still rides his ass from here to Eternity though. FAMILY.
*Great responsibility. Jeez, man, have you ever even read a Marvel comic?
**Absolutely happened in real Spidey comics from the 60s!