Nova 13 and 14 have no Spider-Man, and the Spidey in Nova 15 is a robot. All are out of the project!
Here’s how I think the timeline breaks down for Negative Exposure and stuff around that period:
- ASM 170
- Spider-Man and Madam Web (Hostess)
- Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man
- Negative Exposure 1
- (Thor 259)
- M/TU Annual 1
- M/TU 53-55
- (Hulk 209)
- M/TU 56
- Spectacular 6-8
- M/TU 57
- Negative Exposure 2-5
- Nova 12
So there you go. Long-winded reasoning after the jump.
I noticed differences in the clothing from issue 1 to 2 of Negative Exposure. In issue #2, for example, MJ is shown in a tanktop and shorts, many others are in summery clothes, and the fountain in Washington Square Park is on. The same holds true through to #5. By contrast, #1 shows Pete wearing a hooded sweatshirt over a t-shirt, a number of museum patrons wearing jackets, and most people out in the street in jackets, long-sleeve shirts, and sweaters. Nobody is wearing shorts that I can see.
This difference led me to suspect that some time had passed between #1 and #2, and this is supported by a few things:
- in #2 a reference is made to Ock being moved for harming another prisoner, indicating that he hasn’t just arrived
- in #2, Ock receives Haight’s photo book – something that presumably wasn’t already at Riker’s and would also presumably take some time to get
- in #2, when he gives Ock that photo book, Vernon has to ask/clarify that Haight is the guy who was there at the fight with Spider-Man, possibly indicating that enough time has passed since the initial conversation about it (in #1) for Vernon to get foggy on the details
- in #2, Anna says to Haight: “you’re not still upset the bugle didn’t run your pictures of doc ock are you?”, possibly implying that it’s been awhile since this happened and that she might think enough time has passed for him to get over it
- in #2, Haight says to a cop at the hostage scene: “Charlie, it’s me. I gave you those Knicks tickets at the Met last–” and he’s then cut off by the cop. This indicates to me that Brian K. Vaughan, rather than just having him finish “last night”, wanted to leave the amount of time between issues 1 and 2 indeterminate. It could be “last week”, “last month”, etc.
- in #3, Ock says “you have no idea how much comfort these photographs have given me during my unfortunate incarceration”, implying that he’s been incarcerated for some non-trivial length of time
- in #4, Pete needs an excuse to get away from Aunt May and says: “I forgot to drop off my class choices with the office registrar.” If we’re assuming there’s a grain of truth there, and that he’s talking about summer classes, it makes more sense for him to need to do this in early spring rather than January
Some of these are small and could be seen as insignificant by themselves, but I think it all adds up to there being some time between the first two issues. I would suggest that issues 2-5 occur between M/TU 57 and Nova 12, in early spring.
There are two small problems with this. First, Negative Exposure #1 shows some green leaves on trees outside. I think we can explain this by saying that some warm (non-freezing, but still not really warm) air came in, which melted all the snow seen in some of Spidey’s last few appearances, and triggered some growth in the plants.
The second problem is that in #3, when fighting Mysterio, Spidey says “first it was Doc Ock and then the Vulture. You’re like celebrity deaths, you always come in threes”. This is more problematic, as it really seems like he means they’ve all come one after the other. My take would be to assume he’s talking about public disturbances in Manhattan, as all his intervening battles have either been more private affairs (Electro & Blizzard blackmailing the Bugle, Morbius/Empathoid attacking Spidey) or outside of the city (in New Mexico and on the moon, specifically).