Chapter 6: The Shocker
Mac Gargan came to calling himself The Scorpion after his first trial of the scorpion suit. The serum wore off eventually, leaving Gargan struggling to get out of it. He pleaded with Stillwell to give him another dose so he can get the suit off and get himself settled, but Stillwell refused, opting to have a few of his employees help him out.
When he wasn’t wearing the suit, he found himself trying to move a tail that wasn’t there. He began to see things differently. Clearer. He began to feel stronger, even when he didn’t have a dose of the serum (or cocktail as Dr. Stillwell referred to it). He felt the walls of Stillwell Pharmaceuticals closing in on him. It was around this time that Jameson and Stillwell gave him leave to pursue Spider-Man. Gargan was ecstatic by this news.
The only problem was that Spider-Man was a hard guy to find.
“We can stage a bank robbery or something,” Gargan suggested after his third night of jumping around New York City, lurking in the shadows. “He’s bound to show up if some major crime is going down.”
“I put you in that costume to stop Spider-Man’s vigilanteism,” Jameson said. “Not to stage bank heists. Aren’t you a detective? I’m sure you can use some of your underhanded connections to find out if any thugs are planning something that would catch the wall-crawler’s attention. I shouldn’t have to do your thinking for you, Gargan!”
Gargan thought on it. It was so plain that he should have thought of it himself. He was too caught up with being The Scorpion that he forgot that he was also MacDonald Gargan, Private Investigator.
So Mac took it upon himself to hit up some old contacts. He left The Scorpion behind and met an old friend, Leo Bags, at Black Charlie’s. “Long time no see,” Leo said, watching Mac intently as he sat across from him. Leo was a dark-skinned Italian in his early sixties. His hair was going grey everywhere but on the sides. If anyone was planning some kind of a heist, Leo Bags would know about it. “What brings you here, Mac?”
“Looking for some action,” Mac said. “I need to know if any big jobs are going down.”
“You workin’ for the cops now?” Leo asked.
“You know it ain’t like that,” Mac said. He hated dumbing himself down to talk to a scumbag like Leo, but it was the only way people like him would hold a conversation without walking away. “I ain’t askin’ for me, but I ain’t askin’ for no cops neither.”
“You lookin’ for a bit a’ scratch?” Leo asked, rubbing his thumb and index fingers together.
“Maybe,” Mac replied. “What do you got for me?”
“Vito Cardone and some of his guys are going to knock over the First Ave Bank tomorrow night,” Leo said. “Last I heard, they were looking for someone to protect them. Maybe you can apply for the job.”
“I’ll look into it,” Mac said, getting up. “Thanks for the tip.”
“No problem,” Leo said. “Make sure you remember me if the tip pays well.”
“I always do,” Mac said, putting his hat on. He walked towards the door when he was stopped by a rather large black man in a fur coat. “This the guy, Lola?” he asked, not taking his eyes off of Mac’s face.
“That’s him, Ice Daddy,” Lola said. “That’s the guy that slapped me right outta my chair.”
“I don’t have time for this,” Mac said, moving to push past Ice Daddy.
“You got time for this,” Ice Daddy said. “Nobody smacks my women around unless they got a good reason.”
Mac moved quicker than he ever had before he took part in the Scorpion Project. He already had both brass knuckles on his fists, and he threw dozens of punches into Ice Daddy’s ribcage before he even knew that Mac was moving. Mac took one step back, let Ice Daddy fall to the ground next to him in a small puddle of coughed up blood, and left Black Charlie’s.
“I found a guy for protection,” Vito said to the members of his crew, Eddie and Mumbles. Vito was tall and chubby, his black hair was slicked back. Eddie was shorter and slimmer, and had his hair slicked back in the same fashion. The two looked like brothers. Mumbles was the shortest, but strongest of the group. He was build like stone and didn’t have a hair on his head. “He calls himself The Shocker.”
“The what?” Eddie asked. Mumbles made a face that said the same thing (since he didn’t say much of anything since Hammerhead had his tongue removed).
“The Shocker,” Vito said. “One of these super villain types. Guy fought Spider-Man to a stand still a while back. Almost had him beat, too.”
“How much does this Shocker guy cost?” Eddie asked. “He sounds pricey.”
“He wants half the take,” Vito said.
“Half?!” Eddie exclaimed. “Are you friggin’ nuts?! What’s he gonna do while we’re robbin’ the joint?!”
“Spider insurance,” Vito said. “If Spider-Man shows up, The Shocker does his thing. If it’s only the cops, The Shocker does his thing on them. If nobody shows up, at least we had The Shocker watching our backs. You dig?”
“What’s this world comin’ to?” Eddie asked. “I remember when you could pull a heist without hiring a super villain to watch your back. Those were the good ol’ days.”
Mumble nodded in agreement.
“The good ol’ days are over,” Vito said. “Big Louie got pinched by Spider-Man, and Daredevil is takin’ down all the guys associated with Kingpin. These costumes are ruining business. We ain’t pullin’ this job without insurance, and that insurance wants half.”
The Scorpion followed Leo’s tip to the First Ave Bank, and waited in the shadows across the street. He found it easy to move about the city in The Scorpion suit. He leapt from building to building like a kid on a playground. When he got to the building facing the bank, he used the tiny spikes built into his gloves, knee pads, and shoes to lower himself down the building like a bug. He sat on a veranda, watching and waiting patiently.
His patience was rewarded when a black van pulled up to the curb in front of the bank. Two men came out of the front seats and two came out of the back. The Scorpion recognized the last one as the man Vito Cardone would have hired for protection. He wore a read and yellow costume with a criss-crossing design. The costume was complete with a mask of the same yellow and red design: an upside down triangle of yellow and red on the outside. Gargan knew from the papers that he called himself The Shocker, and he was a foe of Spider-Man.
The Scorpion laughed as he forced open the window behind him. He snuck into the empty office, looking for a phone so he could make an anonymous tip about a robbery. Things were about to get interesting.
Herman Schultz was a successful bank robber and safe cracker before he was finally caught and thrown in prison for fifteen to twenty for his involvement in a heist that saw a teller and three hostages get hospitalized. Schultz’s prison sentence seemed to be serendipitous, because that’s where he got the idea for his very first vibro-smasher device.
Schultz was one of the best safe-crackers in New York. His background in engineering proved to be what put him a step above the rest. Once he was imprisoned for his talents, the guards put him to work in the machine shop, repairing their toasters or vacuum cleaners. One night, while staring at the concrete ceiling of his cell. Schultz dreamt up the vibro-smasher as a way to get into banks and get the safes open with ease. He’d be in and out faster than anyone else in the business.
The vibro-smasher device was assembled over the course of months from spare parts that Schultz was able to squirrel away. The vibro-smasher blasted torrents of compressed air, vibrated to varying frequencies. He had no chance to test his final product before its initial use. If it worked and didn’t get him out of prison, then he’d likely be barred from the machine shop for life. Luckily, when the vibro-smasher roared to life for the first time, it smashed the wall in front of him. After a series of smashing walls and guards, Schultz found himself back on the outside, and ready to savor the sweet aroma of free air.
Once he was on the outside and safe, Schultz went to work on a pair of vibro-smasher gauntlets. The gauntlets blasted the compressed, vibrated air from the top, and worked via a switch he operated with his thumb. He soon discovered that the damage done internally to his body would eventually kill him if he didn’t protect himself. He designed a padded suit of yellow and red that protected him from the backlash effects of the vibro-smasher. He had a padded yellow face mask, which made him look like one of the super villains that had been cropping up all over the place. That is what drew him the attention of the ever annoying Spider-Man.
But being a foe of Spider-Man is what also landed him his latest gig. All he had to do was stand outside of the bank and blast any police or super hero that decided to get involved with the heist. They didn’t ask him to blast down any walls, and they didn’t ask him to crack any safes. Schultz (as The Shocker) asked for half their take, and Vito Cardone had agreed with no argument. Spider-Man was going to make him rich.
Police cars began pulling up to the bank, and The Shocker got ready. He didn’t know how they were alerted so soon, but he was a professional. He had a job to do.
Spider-Man was eight blocks away when he saw the flashing red and blue lights. “Looks like they’re playing my song,” he said, firing a web onto an adjacent building to change his trajectory. He looked down as he descended to street level. It looked liked the police had their hands full.
The Shocker was making quick work of the police. He fired a blast from his left hand, smashing in the front of an approaching police car. The car went airborne, and would have smashed into the ground if it wasn’t for a little web work. The car hit the ground on its side, but the police were fine thanks to Spider-Man’s web.
Spider-Man swung down as The Shocker aimed at the police car with both fists, firing another blast from both of his vibro-smashers at once. The police car that was already on it’s side flew into another oncoming car. The smashed with a violent squeal. Spider-Man wasn’t able to stop the collision.
“That’s enough,” Spider-Man said, landing on the ground.
The Shocker aimed another blast. This time at Spider-Man. Spider-Man’s spider sense warned him, and he jumped out of the way of it. The air rippled in front of The Shocker as the blast forced its way forward. The windows in the building behind him blew inwards.
“Watch it!” Spider-Man said, jumping to the side. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to hit me that time!”
“Enough with the constant babble!” The Shocker shouted, readying himself for another shot. He fired his left vibro-smasher to Spider-Man’s side, knowing that he’d instinctively move. With his right hand, he fired where he knew Spider-Man would be in less than a second. Spider-Man was quick, but not quick enough to avoid the blast.
Spider-Man felt his ribs shake as the blast from The Shocker sent him flying into a parked car. There was the sound of breaking glass as Spider-Man hit the car and then the ground in front of him. He clutched at his rib cage. He’d definitely be bruised up at at the very least. It will be worse if he took another direct hit like that.
“Sure you don’t want to surrender,” Spider-Man said, getting to his feet. He had to keep talking, so he could focus on something other than the pain. “Last chance, Shocker.”
“Shutup!” The Shocker shouted, blasting towards Spider-Man again. Spider-Man somehow found the strength to leap as the air in front of him rippled with The Shocker’s blast. The glass in the car spewed in every direction as the blast hit it. Spider-Man used a quick thread from his web shooter to pull himself over Shocker’s head and to the opposite side of the street. He could see the injured police begin to pull each other from their wreck.
The Shocker turned quickly, and fired off a quick shot from his vibro-smasher. The bank windows shattered, setting off the alarm. “You did it now, Shocky,” Spider-Man said. “You’re going to be in a lot of trouble if someone hears that.”
Three robbers fled the bank as the alarm blared, all carrying big, black sacks with them. Now Spider-Man knew what The Shocker was doing. “You’re a villain for hire now?” Spider-Man asked. “They got you to do guard duty? I thought you were better than that.”
“A job’s a job,” The Shocker said, firing blast after blast at Spider-Man, trying to get him to slip up once again. “And you’re messing it up!”
“I get that a lot,” Spider-Man said, dodging the blasts. His body screamed for him to slow down and rest, but he couldn’t afford it. He’d have to deal with whatever injuries he sustained later.
“You comin’?!” one of the robbers shouted.
“Leave me,” The Shocker said. “He’ll just follow. I’ll rendezvous later.”
“You got it!” the robber shouted in return. The van burned rubber as it began to leave the curb.
“Not so fast,” Spider-Man said. He shot a line of web with a THWIP onto the back of the van with his left hand as he shot another fro his right onto a streetlight pole. He attached the web together as another jolt game from The Shocker.
“Not quick enough!” The Shocker shouted as Spider-Man spun in the air like a top. He had nearly dodged the blast, but it got him on his left side. He hit the ground hard on his back. He was definitely going to have to take a sick day from being a super hero tomorrow.
The world slowed down. Spider-Man wished he cold lay there on the street and take a long nap, but he had a job to do. The loud snapping sound and squealing tires meant that his webbing had finally given way and the bank robbers were gone. He turned his head and saw the police moving out two-car wreck to aim their guns towards The Shocker, shouting something that he couldn’t quite make out. He moved his head to see The Shocker taking aim with both of his gauntlets.
“No,” Spider-Man said, willing himself to move. The dust in the street parted ways and the air rippled ahead of The Shocker’s gauntlets as he fired a two-handed blast from his vibro-smashers. Spider-Man moved faster than his mind could comprehend after his fall, firing a web down an alley and connecting with the side of a dumpster. Sticking his feet to the street and pulling with all his might, he yanked the dumpster from the alley. The dumpster came flying from the alley, intercepting the blast from The Shocker’s vibro-smashers. The dumpster flipped through the air, throwing garbage in every direction.
The Shocker was surprised by the move, shuffling to the side so he wouldn’t be hit by a flying bag of trash. Spider-Man took advantage of his distraction, throwing a hard punch to his face. He knew the punch wasn’t enough to put the Shocker down with the amount of padding he wore and the fact that Shocker vibrated his body to protect him from the hit, but it was enough to knock him off his feet.
Spider-Man was on The Shocker before he could recover. He ripped the vibro-shocker from his right hand, tossing it behind him. The Shocker aimed a left-handed punch at his attacker’s head, but Spider-Man was able to wrench the vibro-smasher away it from him before he could push the button down, nailing him with another punch to the side of his head. Once he was weaponless, Spider-Man picked The Shocker up from the ground and webbed him to a mailbox.
“Stop right there,” a voice said to Spider-Man’s side. He turned slightly to see one of the younger police officer’s holding his gun up. His spider sense didn’t register the presence, so he doubted the cop had any intention on using the gun.
“Come on,” Spider-Man said. “After all that, you’re going to run me in?”
“Hands on your head,” the police officer said.
“Let him go,” another police officer said, coming up along side of him. “He just saved our asses back there.”
“Spider-Man is a vigilante,” the younger officer said. “A menace.”
“Do you have a subscription to The Bugle by chance?” Spider-Man asked.
“Vincent,” another police office said, putting his hand on top of Vincent’s gun and pushing it down. There was a trail of blood coming from his head going down, under his chin. He was obviously in the car that The Shocker had blasted. “Let him go.”
Vincent started to put his gun away when Spider-Man caught The Shocker’s movement from the corner of his eye. He was going for something on his belt. Spider-Man was able to see that his belt buckle was a mini vibro-shocker the moment before his fingers pushed the center. Spider-Man jumped between The Shocker and police officers.
The effect was immediate. The webbing around The Shocker blew apart, and he was flung fifteen feet away. Spider-Man was thrown into the four policemen, knocking them down like bowling pins. Spider-Man’s world swam as he hit the pavement one more time, this time on his shoulder. He was able to look up to see The Shocker running away. He aimed his web shooter and fired a line towards The Shocker with a THWIP.
The line of webbing caught The Shocker on his lower back. Spider-Man pulled the line with as much force as he could. The Shocker came flying towards him. He didn’t hold back as he punched The Shocker as he flew through the air. He hit the ground unconscious, and Spider-Man stripped him of his belt.
“He’s all yours,” Spider-Man said. Running towards a building and swinging off on a new web line, despite the pain in his chest, back, and shoulder. He took enough time to grab the camera he had webbed up under an eave, and swung off to tend to his various wounds.