A giant lizard is stalking the halls of Peter Parker's new school.
|Characters: Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Curt Connoers/The Lizard; Harry Osborn; Gwen Stacy; J. Jonah Jameson; Mac Gargan; Dr. Otto Octavius; Anya Corazon; Miles Morales; Max Modell; Raymond Warren; Norman Osborn; Spencer Smythe; Mendel Stromm
PETER PARKER in his street clothes is perched high in the rafters of the atrium of a large museum. Beneath him a man-sized lizard—spoiler: THE LIZARD—is wheeling about, striking out with talons and tail at guards and visitors. Peter remarks that this rampage, which he heard from outside on the street, is the only thing that could delay him from getting to his new school on time for the first day of classes. He only has time to slip on his webshooters and beta-Spider-mask before jumping into the fight. But his webs are too weak to hold the Lizard, and he's distracted as its blows cause damage that he has to catch and contain. In the pandemonium, the Lizard bursts from the museum and runs away. Outside, Peter is horrified to see that the trail of destruction leads straight toward Horizon High.
As Peter swoops across rooftops toward school, his phone rings. It's HARRY OSBORN, and Peter takes the call while gazing down from on high at the school, trying to see where the Lizard disappeared to. Harry starts by congratulating Peter on getting into Horizon; Peter congratulates Harry on being the first (and so far only) student at his new school—it's pretty amazing when your father opens a new school for you because you got kicked out of your old one. But Harry also has a favor to ask: Most of his old lab projects are still at Horizon, and school policy is to not let them off campus. Can Peter sneak them out? The request stops Peter cold, and only reluctantly does he agree. Harry then has only one more request: Peter shouldn't get on GWEN STACY's bad side, because that is something he would definitely regret. Peter retorts that he doesn't want to get on anyone's bad side, not on his first day of school. Speaking of which, he tells Harry, he's about to be late.
News crews are milling about in front of Horizon, and the scene segues to the offices of the Daily Bugle, where J. JONAH JAMESON is talking to MAC GARGAN, one of his investigators, as they watch the TV. Jameson tells Gargan he's got other reporters covering the "dinosaur attack"; he wants Gargan to track down and report on the spider-guy: Is he a hero or a menace?
At Horizon, Peter hurries through the halls, fretting that he'll be late to meet with his advisor, DR. OTTO OCTAVIUS. He asks a student to show him the way to Octavius's office; the student sullenly complies, and much too late Peter realizes that the student is actually the 19-year-old prodigy Octavius himself. Octavius takes Peter to "The Think Tank," a commons room shared by the study group to which Peter has been assigned. There are four private labs that open onto it, and Octavius gives him Harry's old lab, much to Peter's distress, and orders him to clear it out and to bring the contents to him (Octavius) in his office, where (sarcastically) Octavius suggests he can have a "tasty beverage" as reward. Peter is just starting the clean up when ANYA CORAZON enters: she is upset to find Peter appropriating Harry's old space, despite Peter's protests that it's on Octavius's orders. She retorts that Peter is lucky it wasn't Gwen who caught him moving in, and she is still upset even after another Horizon student, MILES MORALES, arrives, saying that Octavius has reassigned him to Alistair's old lab. Anya says that she wants to talk to their group supervisor, and orders Peter and Miles to follow her.
Their supervisor is CURT CONNORS, a biologist/zoologist with a missing arm, and Peter (eager to be polite) embarrasses himself by putting out his hand to shake hands with a man who hasn't an arm to shake back with. Connors confirms Octavius's reassignments. He tells the trio that after the fiasco with Anya's vibranium reactor at Midtown, he wants each of them to come up with a proposal for a new group project. Miles instantly proposes security robots, but Peter awkwardly suggests a giant lizard-catching machine, which leads only to an awkward silence from the others. Connors assures him that he's bound to come up with something, and gently ushers them from the room.
Out in the hall, Anya demands to know where Peter got that crazy idea from, and Peter reminds her of the giant lizard that ran onto campus, but Anya (to Peter's incredulity) scoffs at "clickbait media," and Miles timidly agrees with her. The two leave Peter without inviting him along, and he wanders off down another hallway. It takes him past the office of MAX MODELL, who is just ushering RAYMOND WARREN out, offering the latter his regrets on not being able to offer a teaching position to "such a distinguished alum" of Oscorp; Warren expresses his disappointment, as he would have enjoyed renewing his "research partnership" with Dr. Connors, and departs, saying that he will now apply to Midtown High.
At the Museum, Gargan is seen examining the wreckage from the morning, and he stops Anya, Miles and GWEN STACY as they enter museum coffee bar, to ask if they were in the building during the attack and if they saw "this guy" (he holds up a colored sketch—almost a child's drawing—of Peter's beta-Spider-Man costume.) They demur. After he leaves, the three students marvel at all the destruction; Miles brags that the robots he's inventing could have stopped the monster. Peter enters, and Anya calls him over to apologize for doubting his word about the damage, and to introduce him to Gwen. She is friendly at first, until she mentions that "Dr. Warren" will be joining Horizon, and Peter says that actually he won't. Peter further adds that it's probably a good thing, as he heard through Harry that Warren got fired from Oscorp for bungling a genetics project. Gwen turns very frosty and leaves; Anya hisses to Peter that Warren is Gwen's uncle.
Evening comes, and Peter is alone in his lab. He calls AUNT MAY to tell her that he is going to spend the night there (there is a bunk in the lab) because he is having so much fun with his new friends. Actually, he is all alone and miserable—he seems to have left a bad impression on everyone—with nothing better to do but fiddle with his spider gear. On his cell phone a news report is playing of Norman Osborn opening a new educational facility at Oscorp: The Osborn Academy for the Scientific Improvement of Society (OASIS) as a rival for Horizon. Peter calls Harry, asking if any more students have enrolled or if it is still just Harry so far. Harry says it's just him, that Alistair Smythe (also suspended) has moved over to Midtown—which can have him, Harry adds in a growl, before asking if Peter has collected his stuff. Yes, it's in a box by his side, but Peter says he's got some questions about it. Before he can ask them, though, he hears a noise outside, and opens the door to investigate. A spider-slayer lunges at him.
The spider-slayer knocks Peter aside, but he leaps into action before it can do any more. But in the fight he is thrown from the room, and must chase after the spider-slayer (after retrieving his beta-mask) when the slayer runs off with the box of Harry's gear in its claws. There's a further battle inside the school cafeteria, which turns even more chaotic when The Lizard bursts in. The two adversaries take turns battling each other and battling Peter; he yo-yos between trying to stop each of them while preventing the other from running off. The fight moves outside and catches the attention of Gargan, who gets in position on the roof with a camera. It's a bad move, though, for the Lizard flings Peter at an angle that knocks Gargan to the ground. Peter goes to his aid.
The next morning the school is abuzz over the fight, particularly the Daily Bugle newscasts with Jameson raving about "monsters attacking children"; Anya and Gwen agree that Miles's "security robot" project is what they want to work on, especially after Peter observes that, with two sightings, it's starting to look like this "dinosaur" is living somewhere inside or under the school. Gwen sarcastically suggests that Peter "go buy a Great Dane and start looking for clues." Peter actually thinks that's a good idea—well, not the Great Dane part—though he keeps it to himself.
First, though, he is called into Max Modell's office, where Dr. Octavius is seething. Modell asks if it is true that the robot made off with Harry Osborn's old experiments; Peter says it is, and Octavius demands to know why Peter hadn't put them in the school's Vault (where all discarded school projects go), as he'd been ordered. Peter starts to say "You didn't say anything about the Vault," but catches himself and apologizes for failing to be diligent.
But he follows Octavius to the latter's workshop/lab, to remind him that Octavius had ordered him to bring Harry's projects to him, not to the Vault. Octavius admits that's what he said, and (surly) thanks Peter for not saying anything about it in front of Modell. Octavius tells Peter that he and Harry were secretly collaborating on a project and that's why he wanted Harry's old equipment. As they talk, Peter notices models and designs for robotic skeletons, which have a suspiciously raptor-like look to them. He asks Octavius about them, but Octavius says they are old and discarded models: he is working on something new. He takes it out to show Peter: a harness with four flexible robotic arms, like an octopus's, Octavius remarks; he also mentions that he will be exhibiting a fully functional version of the harness at the upcoming Stark Expo. When Peter asks if it's a fighting machine, the offended Octavius snarls that it's a harness for construction work.
Peter then calls Harry, who asks if Peter's okay after the "attack" at the school, then says that he can't talk, that his dad's just summoned him to his office, but he explodes when Peter tells him that a robot stole his old lab equipment. Harry has to quickly hang up, though, on entering his father's office, where NORMAN OSBORN is waiting with SPENCER SMYTHE and MENDEL STROMM. Osborn presents Harry with the stolen box of lab equipment and orders Stromm to apologize to the surprised Harry for having stolen it from Horizon. When the seething Stromm refuses, Norman orders Harry out, then turns on Stromm, reminding him that the stolen goods were found in Stromm's lab. The furious Stromm insists he's being framed by Smythe—"the stuff was stolen by one of his spider slayers!"—in order to destroy a rival: "First he got rid of Adrian Toomes and now he's getting rid of me!" Smythe retorts that Stromm obviously stole the spider-slayer in order to frame him (Smythe). Norman declares the matter closed and tells Stromm he's fired.
At Horizon, Peter finds Gwen working at a laptop with a microscope. He apologizes for being tactless about her uncle; she is still cold, and defends him as a great man who got her interested in science, and that she is working in the same area that he is. Peter asks about it, and she says it is in the field of biology and genetic splicing: moving the genes of one animal into another so as to confer abilities of the donor onto the recipient. As Peter studies the sample under the microscope, he reacts when Gwen mentions that reptiles are the class she's currently working on, but he manages to hold his tongue.
In the hallway afterward, Peter calls Harry, asking what Harry knows about Gwen's "lizard" research; Harry asks why he's interested, and Peter mumbles that he finds the field fascinating. He apologizes again for losing Harry's equipment; Harry gruffly tells him it's alright, and doesn't mention its recovery, though the box is at his elbow. Peter has been standing by the door to Connors's office while talking, and Connors comes out to admit eavesdropping, and asks Peter if he's really interested in genetics research. Peter bluffs that he is, and Connors asks him to stay late in the lab to work with him (Connors).
That night, in Connors's lab, Peter admits that he doesn't know that much about the field of genetics; Connors says he's willing to teach Peter, and that as much as anything he wants a "sounding board" to bounce ideas off of. Peter asks why he doesn't ask Gwen to be his assistant, and Connors says it is on account of her uncle, Raymond Warren. They were research partners at Oscorp but had a falling out, and there's bad blood between them. Peter asks what they were working on; Connors smilingly tells him it was medical, that he was trying to find a way of regrowing his missing arm by crossing human and lizard genes: did Peter know that lizards can regrow their limbs? A frightened Peter admits he didn't. Connors leaves to get them some refreshments, and Peter hesitates between running away and looking for clues. He resolves on the latter, and in a locked cabinet he jimmies open he finds a discarded lizard skin. Just then Connors returns: "I really wish you hadn't found that, Peter," he says.
"I discard them when I change back," Connors tells Peter about the skin. Peter asks what he means. Connors admits that he did something to himself while experimenting with his research. He got the ability to regenerate limb, but the transformation went too far. It got into his genes and his glands, and now he can't control it. As he collapses, he begs Peter to run off before he makes the change. As the transformation rolls over him, he tells Peter it happens when he gets upset—and Peter's finding that discarded skin has made him very upset—and that it's getting worse. He can no longer control himself when he's the Lizard, and the transformations are lasting longer, too. He's afraid that one day he'll never come back. He should have told someone his secret, he admits before it was too late ...
The Lizard emerges and attacks Peter, who scampers off with the reptile in pursuit. Peter is handicapped because he is trying to collect elements of his costume and change into them, and after his final costuming the Lizard gets him pinned down, but he is rescued by the appearance of Octavius in his octopus rig. Peter shouts that it is Dr. Connors that they are fighting—Octavius: "Somehow, I'm not surprised!"—and the two jointly attack the Lizard. It's a confusing melee, with Peter accidentally webbing Octavius at one point, infuriating the scientist; at another point Peter notices Gwen emerging from the building to watch the fight, but it is Octavius who swoops in and lifts her to safety. The fight is evenly matched, though, until sirens alert them to the approach of police. Octavius tells Peter that they can't let the cops get at Connors—"They'll destroy him, and he's a genius!"—so he stays behind to cause pretend havoc near the school while Peter lures Connors away. Peter has to goad the Lizard into chasing him by stinging him with webs, and it's a nip-and-tuck fight over the rooftops, and Peter wonders how a cold-blooded lizard can be so agile. But that gives him the clue to defeat Connors, and he lures him to the railroad switching yard, where he manages to trap the Lizard inside a refrigeration car. But the police have followed and are swarming the area. Jameson, with a camera crew, is with them, and when a spotlight falls on Peter, he hesitates for only a moment before snagging Jameson in a web, hauling him up and carrying him off with the police scrambling after, leading them away from the train yard. He webs Jameson to a wall as the publisher yells insults at him.
The next morning Peter checks the refrigeration car, but it's empty save for a discarded Lizard skin, but at school Connors has been reported missing. TV monitors meanwhile are plastered with Jameson's furious visage and the chryon "The Menace of Spider-Man!" Peter ruefully reflects that it'll be worth it if his reputation is the worst thing that gets hurt.
At the hospital, Mendel Stromm drops in to visit Mac Gargan, inquiring as to his health. Gargan sourly informs him that his back is broken. Stromm tells Gargan that they might able to help each other.
Next: "S01E03 "O Spider, Here Is Thy Sting""