We’re observing this scene from behind a panel of one-way glass, through the eyes of our mysterious foe. For the sake of dramatic tension – ruined by this sentence, really – I’m not going to reveal who until final panel of the page. Ben Reilly – alive, somehow - is sitting in a lavishly furnished room. It is a room that encompasses an aura of calm, of soulful deliberation. He’s sitting on a settee, relaxed, smiling, in the midst of genial conversation with the person seated opposite him. But we can’t see this person. Our view should be slightly obscured; maybe a piece of furniture at the forefront of the panel is blocking our view; maybe something else (never let it be said I don’t allow for artistic license!)
Heartbeat remains steady.
No sign of elevated sweat production.
We’ve come a long way since our first session.PANEL TWO
Flashback! Reilly’s backhanded Norman Osborn across the room. The force of the flow makes it quite clear; Osborn’s dead. (What?!)
No instinctive defensive movements.
No emotional response.
(Good thing, too. I was running out of clones.)PANEL THREE
Tight on our mysterious foe’s maniacal smile.
Back on Reilly. He’s talking animatedly. He’s loving it, this simple thing, talking, socialising, entertaining. He’s happy. He’s at peace. And that’s a big thing, because this guy, he’s experienced so few truly happy moments.
Years of conditioning, years of manipulating his psyche, years of gradually erasing his innate fear of me…
And now we see Reilly’s compatriot, sitting across from him. It is Norman Osborn. Not at all menacing; he is – rather chillingly – smiling genially, very much playing the part of Reilly’s buddy.
Because now, once again, I have my very own Spider-Man.
As much my ally as Parker is my foe.PANEL SIX
Our mysterious foe steps out from the hidden doorway. Osborn, still seated, doesn’t react. He expected this, knew this moment was coming. His job is done. Reilly does react; he’s shocked, eyes wide, pupils dilated. Because although we’re staring at the back of our foe’s head, his identity is obvious. Who else has hair like Norman Osborn?*
And now, my clone can rest.
It’s time for Daddy to get to work.
*Thanks go out to Rol who pointed out Harry Osborn has hair like his father. A feature the author conveniently forgot... **
**Sime is currently accepting applications to edit his work...