Throughout Spider-Man’s history, Peter Parker has typically suffered misfortune in his personal life, but Horizon Labs help him hit the big time.
For most of his history, Spider-Man was typically portrayed as an average, down-on-his-luck New Yorker. While he’s enjoyed success as the web-slinger, Peter Parker hasn’t usually had much fortune when it comes to his personal life. Of course, things began to change when Peter finally hit the big time.
Beginning in the story “Brand New Day” in Amazing Spider-Man #546, by Dan Slott, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines and Morry Hollowell, Peter had been broke, single and fairly unlucky in his life. Things became even worse in Amazing Spider-Man #624, by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, Paul Azaceta and Javier Rodriguez. In this issue, J. Jonah Jameson fired Peter after he doctored photos of Jameson fighting the Vulture. As a result, Peter was blacklisted as a photographer and was forced to take odd jobs.
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In Amazing Spider-Man #648, by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas and Edgar Delgado, Peter became homeless after his roommate, Michele Gonzales, moved back to Chicago. While Peter was looking for a place to live, Jameson’s wife, Marla, sought to make amends with the ex-photographer. Visiting with Aunt May, Marla discovered Peter’s scientific acumen. With this knowledge, Marla took Peter to visit her friend, Max Modell, at Horizon Labs. Horizon was a privately funded think tank, filled with some of the brightest young minds of the 21st century. After taking a tour of the lab and passing some tests, Peter was offered a job as one of seven researchers at Horizon. Immediately, Peter jumped on the opportunity.
At Horizon, all Peter had to do was produce a big new invention every quarter. He could come and go as he pleased since the labs were open 24/7. Moreover, Peter had a private storage room in his lab where he could keep all of his Spider-Man equipment. With this room, Peter no longer needed to worry about hiding his superhero gear in his apartment.
Horizon allowed Peter to explore his passion for science while producing plenty of new Spider-Man gear. Indeed, Spider-Man’s new stealth suit was simultaneously used in battle against the Hobgoblin and as noise-canceling headphones for mass production. The wall-crawler’s bulletproof suit was also used to create an indestructible helmet. Spider-Man’s gear was upgraded to include voice-activated web-shooters, Thermo-reactive foam and even a glider similar to the one used by the Green Goblin.
The web-slinger used Horizon’s technology to save countless lives. For example, Horizon Labs produced the cure for the spider-virus in “Spider-Island,” saving the island of Manhattan. During “Ends of the Earth,” Spider-Man worked with Horizon to stop Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six from destroying the planet. The web-head also enjoyed membership on two Avengers teams and the Future Foundation.
More importantly, Peter Parker’s life was the best it had been in years. Peter had a steady girlfriend in Carlie Cooper, Aunt May was proud of him and he could finally make time for his friends and family. Even after he and Carlie broke up, Peter continued to work alongside her as Spider-Man and became closer with Mary Jane than he’d been in a while.
Yet all good things must come to an end. In Amazing Spider-Man #700, by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado, Peter died in the decaying body of Doctor Octopus. Octavius swapped bodies with Spider-Man, putting him in charge of Peter’s life. Working to become a “Superior Spider-Man,” Octavius continued his job at Horizon and developed more technology for the web-slinger.
Still, Octavius began to neglect his personal duties as time went on, becoming an absentee employee at Horizon. Ultimately, in Superior Spider-Man #19, by Slott and Ryan Stegman, Horizon Labs was destroyed due to sabotage by one of its employees, Tiberius Stone. The company was absorbed by Alchemex, with most of its employees leaving New York. Although his time at Horizon was over, Octavius spent time earning his PhD, eventually starting his own company.
Thus, Parker Industries was born, with Octavius working alongside Peter’s former Horizon Labs colleague, Sajani Jaffrey. When Peter returned to his body, he brought over Max, Bella and Grady from Horizon Labs. As a wedding gift, he put Max in charge of Horizon University, in honor of the former think tank. Even after Parker Industries was dissolved, Horizon University continued. While it wasn’t meant to last, Peter Parker’s tenure at Horizon Labs truly gave him a piece of the big time.
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