Ultimate Comics: The BangersbyZev95©
Peter wasn't much for social media. He wasn't high-minded about it. It was just that, while having homework or the flu was easy enough to explain—how were you supposed to fit switching bodies with Wolverine and then waking up from his drunken haze to find you were in bed with the two deadliest assassins in New York into a status update? He could barely believe he'd gotten out of that one alive.
He basically had two traumas for the price of one. Not only had Logan done things in his body that neither of them could remember well (judging from the one IM he'd gotten from Logan. AOL Instant Messenger. How old was the guy?), but Peter'd banged two women in Logan's body. He really hoped it was a long time before Gah Lak Tusk or whatever invaded Earth again, because he didn't think he could ever face Jean again, no matter what body he was in. And Ali, geez. What if he'd gotten her pregnant? What if he'd accidentally lost a piece of himself while he was Logan and just that little scrap regenerated into another Wolverine? Maybe Logan was in the habit of dealing with things like that when he was in his own body. Maybe when someone cut off a finger, he ate it so that didn't happen.
And now Peter had grossed himself out.
He wondered if a Logan who'd been regenerated from a finger had the original Logan's memories or if he'd be just—a finger person. Maybe that was what had happened to Logan originally. There was some perfectly ordinary Logan out there who'd just, like, gotten a door slammed on his pinky, and that pinky was now leading the X-Men and killing Sentinels while his dad was reading the newspaper.
What had Peter been doing again?
Yes. Checking his e-mail. Getting a friend request from Mary Jane on something called Traskchat.
That did it. No more thinking, no more trying to download Games of Thrones, no more homework. He was doing some web-swinging. That'd clear his head. And it'd prevent people from seeing the buzz-cut he'd been stuck with ever since Logan had vacation-homed in his head. It wasn't bad, now that it'd grown out a little, but everyone said it was a big improvement on his old hair. Being shaved bald was an improvement on having bangs. Mary Jane had a lot of nerve telling him that. Ever since she'd started going out with Gwen, her new haircut made her look like Justin Bieber. Well, in a wig. A hot Justin Bieber.
He really needed a web-swing.
Lately, Peter had really taken to loving being a superhero. Maybe it was just that he'd started getting laid pretty regularly, as insane as that could be at times—though he guessed sex was like that for everyone. But somehow, without his virginity he felt the adrenaline rush of putting on the costume more acutely. He felt stronger, faster, shrugged off hits easier than he had before. He enjoyed himself. It felt like he'd gotten a power-up in a videogame.
So when he heard the explosion, he was actually looking forward to kicking some supervillain butt.
The blast came from deep in Midtown. Peter swung in, warmed-up, muscles screaming for a fight. He saw a cab flying through the air and thought, hey, I'm just an outfielder, reaching for a flyball. Caught it with his feet, shot out some weblines, let their elasticity bleed out the momentum, and the car was now safe and sound. Just dangling ten feet off the ground and a little on fire.
He helpfully opened the door so the guys inside could slip out. "I'll keep the meter running!" he called to them as he put out the fire with a quick spray of webbing.
Even had a good quip handy. Didn't have to fall back on Yiddish.
Peter looked around, fingers bent into web-shooting position, and found two people in spandex. He guessed they were the culprits. You didn't get too many Jehovah's Witnesses in spandex.
At first glance, they could've been sisters. Both had long black hair, domino masks, and white coats. A closer look—which Peter didn't at all mind giving them—revealed the taller one to be in a sort of sleeved cloak over a bodysuit, while the shorter one wore a cape with her tight, revealing crop-top and short-shorts. Sisters, he guessed. Each with one another's dark hair, high cheekbones, and bright eyes. And the same curves in the same wonderful places. They could've been twins, except that the shorty was a bit slimmer, with her face a little fuller.
"Stay close, Lana!" the taller one said, shifting her canvas bag of money on her shoulder. No dollar sign on the side, though. Why did banks stop doing that? It made robberies so much more fun for everyone.
"I know, mo-ther!" the shorter one replied, her insolent voice instantly pegging her as a teenager. Peter did a double-take. If Mommy hadn't been in contact with an adoption agency, she'd taken hella good care of herself. Lana was about his own age, so she would have to be in her thirties, but she had the figure of her daughter.
And it couldn't be an adoption. Lana looked just like Mommy, just in slight miniature. Her pert face had the same loose frame of dark hair, the same color in her blazing eyes, the same upthrust nose and thin lips. Her father must've given her skin its slight pallor, but otherwise the resemblance was too striking not to be biological. She even had her mother's breasts, barely covered by her scant top; they weren't quite as developed, but they looked to have been carved by the same master sculpter. God, Peter would've loved to have his left hand in one set and his right in the other. It'd be—
Wildly inappropriate and not something to think about in the middle of battle and especially not when you were wearing skintight spandex. So he opened his mouth and said "Let me guess. You've turned to a life of crime because you lack a strong male figure in your family. Just so you know, I can bench-press a garage while still possessing the emotional sensitivity of Zach Braff."
"Hey, look!" Lana called. "It's that fag from the zoo!"
Peter dropped down from the cab. "First off, your language is hurtful and offensive. Second, I'm not gay, I was just experimenting. With a different costume, I mean. A straight costume. Both my costumes are straight!"
"Lana," Mommy clamored, "tell the man who we are!"
"Why do I have to—"
"You said you wanted to—"
"I thought we'd be fighting the Ultimates, or the Fantastic Four, someone cool!"
"I'm very cool!" Peter protested. "I have a ton of Yu-Gi-Oh cards."
"Just say it so we can fight," Lana's mother demanded.
"Alright already!" Lana thundered. "Hey, Spider-bitch, we're the Bombshells and we are gonna fuck your cunt up so bad you won't be able to shit without a tube up your asshole!"
"Yeesh. I've never seen someone run through the seven dirty words in one sentence. Think I'll have to web in that dirty mouth." Peter paused and held up his webshooter. "I mean, like, with my webbing, not with—that wasn't an euphemism—unless, I don't know, you feel a sorta connection..."
Hands glowed. Big explosion. Peter slammed into the wall across the street, but it felt good, like he was a kid again, made of rubber, and he'd taken a brisk tumble running round the playground. People screamed and ran almost as much as they snapped camera-phone pics. He rebounded to his feet to find Lana and her Mom pointing two glowy fists at him.
"Here's another one, prick-dick!" Lana shouted as pure explosive energy coursed from their glowing hands.
Peter dodged. Of course.
"Bombshells! I just got that!" Leaping over their offense, he landed between them. Kicked Lana back while tackling Mommy against a storefront, pinning her wrists to the wall. He felt alive, on fire, drunk on testosterone like the first time he'd seen Predator.
"So, hey, didn't catch your name."
She was stunned by his nearness, the sudden dip in his voice. "L-Lori," she said softly.
"Lori. Hi. Why don't we get the kid a babysitter, go see if we can find a restaurant whose dress code includes onesies—I've always had a bit of a thing for older women—"
"Older women!" She shrieked, her hands glowing.
Apparently, she could still blast him while he was holding her hands. That would make dating interesting. He was blown back, crashing into the car he'd strung up above the street, and did not feel like a young boy made out of rubber on a playground.
"Let's go, Lana!" Lori cried, running to her daughter.
The girl got up, shaking her head. "We can take this ho!"
"We're going, now! This isn't part of the plan!"
"Plan?" Peter asked, prying himself out of the cab. "You knocked over a cash-for-gold store in matchy-match outfits. Who would call that a plan other than the writers on the last Star Trek movie?"
"Airborne!" Lori ordered, and doing the glowy-fist thing downward, they rocketed up to take to the rooftops.
Peter followed them, of course. According to every Batman comic he'd read, if he didn't stop them now, they'd be back with an evil scheme on Mother's Day.
Up on a parapet, he snagged the two fliers with weblines, bringing them both down on top of each other. "That's it, hug it out. Get it all out. I've watched Gilmore Girls, I know of what I speak."
"What is wrong with you?" Lori demanded, ripping the webbing off her daughter's body. Apparently, glowy hands were good for that.
"I broke up with my girlfriend and she became a lesbian. I think I'm handling it really well, though."
Lana roared. "I am going to shove my fist so far up your ass—"
"Whoa, hot stuff, ix-nay on the isting-fay in front of your moms. Why don't you give back the big bag of money, then we can discuss this privately? I'll put on a little music, slip into my comfortable spandex..."
"Stop hitting on her!" Lori demanded.
"Don't tell him what to do!" Lana screamed back.
"Oh, isn't that just like you, the moment someone with testes so much as looks at you—" Lori glanced at Peter. "I assume you have testes."
"I think you can see 'em, actually. This costume doesn't leave much to the imagination. Ladies."
"You just had us rob someone and now you're telling me who I can date?" Lana asked. "Total bullshit, mom!"
"Watch your language!"
"Fine! Why don't you go fight Spider-Man without me?"
"We shouldn't be fighting Spider-Man in the first place! I wanted to leave!"
"I wanted to go to the Screaming Bells concert!"
"It's on a school night!"
"Like I need school when I can rob banks!"
"We rob banks to pay for your college!"
"And your vodka!"
"I'm a social drinker! I only drink with company!"
"That's real easy when you bring home a new man every night!"
"At least I only bring home men!"
"Felicia and I are just friends!"
"I just meant that stray dog you brought home, whose vet this job is paying for by the way, but now that you mention it, is Felicia the one who gave you that slutty costume?"
"I THINK IT LOOKS NICE!"
"WE'RE SUPPOSED TO MATCH!"
"IT'S THE SAME COLOR SCHEME, MINE JUST ISN'T TOTALLY LAME!"
"I KNEW I NEVER SHOULD'VE LET YOU GO ON THIS JOB DRESSED LIKE SOME RAP VIDEO... HOOTCHIE! YOU DON'T HAVE ANY DISCIPLINE! I SHOULD'VE SENT YOU TO MILITARY SCHOOL!"
"I WISH YOU HAD! AT LEAST THERE'D BE SOME MEN THERE YOU HAVEN'T SLEPT WITH!"
"YOU WANT A MAN? THERE'S THE WEBHEAD OVER THERE, WHY DON'T YOU GO SUCK HIS DICK IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCH A SLUT!"
"MAYBE I WILL!"
"I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!"
It was then they saw that Peter had snagged their loot with a webline and slowly pulled it over to himself. It wasn't like he'd been pressed for time.
"So," Peter said congenially, "I'm going to take this back to the nice robbery victim. I think the cops are juuuust about here by now, so if you want to stop running, it'll probably look good. Unlike, ya know, your outfits."
"MOTHERFUCKER!" Lana screamed.
"Well, ya know, only if she's interested." Peter gave Lori a look and made a call-me gesture.
That was when the lights went out.
It happened in a wave. Not exactly a black-out. A swath of buildings went dark and so did the cars on the street, the smartphones on the sidewalk, everything. In the blink of an eye, darkness had carpeted the entire city.
Electromagnetic pulse, Peter thought. Only no nuke. How did you have an EMP with no nuke? And who'd hit them? He knew some things flew under SHIELD's radar, but who could possibly...
Then he heard it. Or, didn't hear it. And he remembered. The Helicarrier. The far-off background, drone of the SHIELD Helicarrier's huge engines was gone. It'd taken some getting used to; now it was gone.
It'd been parked over the Bay. Thank God for small favors. But there were maybe a thousand people onboard and each of them were along for the ride as the Helicarrier's lift turbines spun down. The aft went first, some fuel intake malfunction triggering an explosion that took out both rear turbines. Whatever safety measures were designed to give the Helicarrier a gentle landing, they failed. The aircraft tipped backwards, plunging toward the Bay like a dagger.
Then Peter saw a speck of red. Thor's cape. The God of Thunder hit the aft of the ship, actually arresting its descent for a second before it ground him down under its weight and momentum. A few seconds later, the ship hit the water, kicking up an arterial spray of white foam.
"Shit," Peter said, fresh off of mentally chastising Lana for her language. "I've gotta—I should..."
"You're not going anywhere!" Lana cried, her hands lighting up, but Lori restrained her.
"I'm sorry," Lori said simply, though she couldn't hide all of her glee over getting away. Peter guessed that as a mutate or whatever, she didn't have much love for SHIELD.
"I have to do something. Anything." He looked at them, then at the bag of cash in his hands. He tossed it on the ground. "Help me."
Peter's train of thought had shifted tracks, but now it was barreling full speed ahead. "I can take that bag with me. Drop it off at the first police station I see. Cover it in webbing so thick no one'll get to it until the next full moon. Or you can help me. And I'll give it to you and let you go on your merry way. Cross my heart. Hope to die."
"Mo-ther!" Lana shouted, a complaint all on its own.
"You swear?" Lori insisted.
"It's just money."
In upstate New York, Westchester was far enough from the city to be totally unaware of the EMP. In the drawing room, among the rich furnishings, sedate decoration, and modestly pleasant paintings, a girl sat in barely more than a bra and stretch jeans, her streak of freshly pink hair catching the fading sunlight almost as much as her numerous piercings.
Alison sat at her laptop, wishing they had better wi-fi. Next stage of human evolution and they couldn't get wi-fi worth a damn. What kind of bullshit was that?
"Ms. Blaire, this is important," the Professor was saying. "I realize the events of the past few days have been extremely disconcerting. Many of the students are having trouble coming to terms with it. There's nothing shameful in admitting to your emotions."
"Uhh, is this cuz I was hunted for sport or because I fucked Wolverine? Because everyone was hunted for sport, but only I fucked Wolverine, and I don't see you pestering them. Oh, Jean did too I guess. Does that count as a threesome? It was like within the same hour, so..."
"Your sexual encounter is a very unprecedented trauma—"
"Trauma? Dude, I got laid doing a solid for a teammate. Who gives a fuck? What, you think I'm some good little girl who should be crying about my virtue or some shit? Fuck that. I rode it and I loved riding it. Only reason I won't be going for seconds is that Logan's too much of a pussy to go for it. Guy comes on all big and bad, but he's a pussycat on the inside. Not punk rock, like me."
Xavier straightened his tie. "As, ahem, enlightening as your vantage point is, I would strongly suggest you seek counseling for whatever other feelings might occur to you—"
"Dude, what is up with the internet here? I'm trying to torrent Jean and Logan's naked time and it's just not happening!"
He scowled. "Before his untimely demise, Hank developed a program—a virus of sorts—that could erase unseemly data from the internet so long as it was still in the offing. My colleague Emma Frost was good enough to use that on the Krakoa Island broadcast soon after it was made. There will be no repeat performance of the day's events."
"Eh. Shit. Maybe we'd have more supporters if people knew how well mutants could fuck."
Xavier gripped the wheels of his chair firmly. "Yes, well—I'll leave you to your—thoughts. Yes."
He was just moving to leave when the lights flickered. Prolonged flickering. Something wrong with the power grid. He concentrated, delving into the thoughts from ConEd. An EMP blast in the middle of New York. Looting in the streets. The SHIELD Helicarrier was down.
"Ms. Blaire, I suggest you suit up. The X-Men are needed."
"Nah, X, I'm good like this."
Carol Danvers was going to die. She'd known it was coming, expected it, prepared for it. You didn't sign on for SHIELD taking retirement for granted. But she really hadn't expected to die on a Tuesday evening when the biggest assignment in the offing was the cafeteria's bean casserole.
The ship was flooded. Before the network had fried, manual override had been used to lock it down. Bulkheads were sealed, corridors were cut off. So they were almost buoyant, the air trapped as it was. Those who were able had time to get to whatever evacuation craft they could find.
Carol was not able. She was trapped in the Deck 5 East Supply Room, having already awoken from bashing her head against the wall in the crash after a mere thirty minutes of not going toward the light. She could still see her blood on the bulkhead. From the water welling up and dripping in from leaks at all points of the compass, she knew she was submerged. And in the sinking, she and most of the room's shelves had relocated to the bottom right-hand corner of the room. She was not on top of the shelves.
She was going to drown. Pinned down by spare parts.
What a strange thought.
"Hey, anyone in there!?"
What a strange question.
No, that was the concussion talking. Making her groggy. Carol Danvers was not going to die because she was groggy. "In here! I'm in here!"
The voice got closer, louder. It was coming from the vent on the ceiling (or was that the floor?). "I hear you! Okay, how many are in there?"
"Just me! Captain Carol Danvers, identification number oh-eight-eight-two—"
"Yeah, that's nice, I didn't ask if you were a Chitauri. Hold on a sec, gonna have to get a little creative—" The air vent, which had automatically sealed like the rest of the ship (like a tomb) cracked open a degree. A rebreather capsule the size and shape of a lipstick case dropped down. "Can you get to that?"
"No. I'm a little buried in debris."
"Okay, this is gonna be tricky... I'm gonna be right back, okay Carol? I'm not leaving you, I'm coming right back."
"It's Captain Danvers," Carol replied, but he was already gone.
A moment later, she heard "Carol, brace yourself!" and an explosion shook the room. The hatch bent inward. Carol braced herself even further and the room shook even harder, a smell of charcoal filling the air from God knew where. The hatch sprang as far as its damaged hinges could go, opening up enough to let a hundred gallons of water in. Spider-Man, of all people, contorted his way in like a boneless limbo dancer. He plucked up the rebreather capsule and ran it over to Carol.
"Don't worry, Carol, I'm going to get you out of here. It's just gonna take me a second."