Appearing in "The Challenge of Hobgoblin!"
- Aunt May
- Mary Jane Watson
- Liz Allan-Osborn
- Harry Osborn
- Daily Bugle Staff
- Donald Menken
- Arthur Chekov
- Mr. Johnston
- Mr. Varley
- Spider-Man's Symbiote
- Franklin Richards
- Invisible Woman (Susan Storm)
- Mr. Santellio (Last appearance)
- Beyonder (Referenced)
- Fantastic Four (Referenced)
- Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) (Referenced)
- Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) (Recap)
- Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) (Recap)
- Ned Leeds (Mentioned)
- Marla Madison-Jameson (Mentioned)
- Lance Bannon (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
Races and Species:
- Battleworld (Referenced)
- Spider-Man's Suit
- Goblin Armor (Recap)
- Hobgoblin's Suit (Recap and main story)
- Pumpkin Bomb
Synopsis for "The Challenge of Hobgoblin!"
May Parker looks out of the window of her home morosely. He thoughts are interrupted by one of her tenants, Arthur Chekov who has brought her some tea. Arthur has noticed that May is still upset with her nephew Peter and suggests that she call him. However, May stubbornly refuses to do so, telling Arthur that he doesn't understand. She tells him that Peter devoted his entire life to science and now he has quit. Chekov points out that perhaps she is being unfair and should hear Peter's side of the story, believing that he is a gentle young man who couldn't bring himself to intentionally hurt somebody.
At that very moment, Spider-Man has shown up at one of the illegal gambling operations that were recently visited by the Hobgoblin. During the ensuing battle, one of the wall-crawler's web-shooters backfires, covering his hand in webbing. This catches Spider-Man off guard, but he easily trounces the thugs. He prevents the bookie from escaping and learns that the Hobgoblin came to force them to turn over 10% of their profits to him. Unfortunately, Spider-Man learns that the Hobgoblin doesn't collect the money himself, but has minions under the employ of the Rose to get the money. As Spider-Man swings away, he thinks about how his web-shooter backfired on him and realizes that he hadn't kept up with their maintenance since he returned from Battleworld with his alien costume. Since he turned that costume over to Reed Richards to examination he has had to wear his original costume and equipment without testing out if it works. Spider-Man has also had other concerns on his mind lately. Namely, the turbulence in his relationship with the Black Cat, his need to make peace with Aunt May, and how to deal with the fact that Mary Jane Watson revealed that she knows that Peter Parker is really Spider-Man. His mind then turns to the Hobgoblin, and he worries that the villain teaming up to the Rose will only make things worse. Spider-Man recalls how the Hobgoblin used Norman Osborn's Goblin Formula. Although he destroyed Norman Osborn's journals, Spider-Man feels he will be responsible should the Hobgoblin seriously hurts someone.
Meanwhile, the Hobgoblin reports back to the Rose, informing him that everything is going according to plan. The Rose then allows the Hobgoblin to go off on his personal mission. Once the villain is gone, the Rose's men ask him if they can trust the Hobgoblin. The Rose is unconcerned, as soon he will acquire enough power to eliminate the Hobgoblin as soon as he has no purpose. Elsewhere, Mary Jane Watson is running late for a meeting with Liz and Harry Osborn. When she catches up with them, she remarks at how much Liz's pregnancy is now showing. Unaware that they are being watched by someone, Harry tells the two women that he can't join them for lunch as he has work back at the office to complete. As Mary Jane and Liz enter the restaurant, the two men watching them from afar bide their time to act. While at the Baxter Building, Franklin Richard's accidentally bounces his toy ball into his father's lab. When Franklin recovers the ball, he makes eye contact with the alien costume that Spider-Man brought back from Battleworld. The creature hypnotises the young Richards child, but senses that the boy is teeming with potentially uncontrollable power. Before the symbiote can do anything, Franklin is found by his mother, the Invisible Woman. Unaware of the potential danger, she leads her son out of the lab as they are due at their home in Belle Porte.
At that moment, Harry Osborn returns to the Osborn Manufacturing building. He frets about keeping his father's business afloat, but fears that he can't handle the responsibility. In his office, Harry worries that someone is trying to take over the company. As he is lost in thought, he doesn't see the Hobgoblin flying toward his office window. Smashing through the window, the Hobgoblin demands that Harry turn over the last of his father's journals. However, before he can get anything about Harry, Spider-Man arrives on the scene. Realizing that Harry is frozen with fear, Spider-Man then takes their fight elsewhere. As the two fight across the building, Spider-Man shouts at the Osborn employees to get out while they can. While at the Daily Bugle, Betty Leeds tries to call her husband Ned, but can't reach him. That's when Ann MacIntosh comes to gossip with her about how J. Jonah Jameson is already back from his honeymoon. Jameson overhears this and tells MacIntosh to return to work. Joe Robertson asks Betty if she was able to get ahold of a photographer for assignment, but she hasn't been able to reach either Peter Parker or Lance Bannon.
While back at the Osborn Manufacturing Building, the battle between Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin rages on. The two tumble into the women's washroom where the Hobgoblin attempts to blow the hero up with a pumpkin bomb. Spider-Man quickly webs the bomb to the Hobgoblin's hand. The villain quickly douses the bomb by dunking his webbed up hand into a nearby toilet. With his fighting ability compromised, the Hobgoblin attempts to flee the scene on his goblin glider, however the wall-crawler manages to hitch a ride with a webline. The Hobgoblin tries to shake off the wall-crawler. He finally succeeds when he slams Spider-Man into the side of a subway train. Believing that Spider-Man is dead, the Hobgoblin heads off to pressure Harry Osborn into giving over his fathers journals. At that moment, Mary Jane and Liz have finished their lunch date when they are suddenly the men who have been watching them get out of their car and tries to grab them. Harry arrives and tries to shop them, but is shoved aside while the two thugs escape with his wife and friend. Harry is furious that someone would threaten his wife and unborn child and vows that if any harm comes to them they will feel the wrath of the son of the Green Goblin.
At that very moment, Spider-Man crawls onto the roof of the subway car, having survived his clash with the Hobgoblin. He worries about the Hobgoblin's harassment of Harry, as it could lead to his remembering the fact that his father, Norman Osborn, was the Green Goblin and that Harry himself also briefly adopted the identity and knows Spider-Man's secret identity.
- Aunt May has been upset with Peter since he told her that he quit grad school in Amazing Spider-Man #253.
- The following issues are on Spider-Man's mind:
- The fate of his alien costume, which he picked up from Battleworld in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8. He turned it over to Reed Richards for study after discovering it was alive in Amazing Spider-Man #258.
- He also worries about some secret putting distance between himself and the Black Cat. The Black Cat is hiding the fact that she was granted bad luck powers by the Kingpin in Peter Parker, THe Spectacular Spider-Man #89.
- Lastly, he is worried about Mary Jane Watson knowing his secret identity. She revealed to him that he knew in Amazing Spider-Man #257. The details of this discovery are detailed in Marvel Graphic Novel #46 and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16.
- Spider-Man also recalls the following about the Hobgoblin:
- That his formula was created by Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin. The Green Goblin's origins were detailed in Amazing Spider-Man #39–40.
- At the time of this story, Peter believes Norman Osborn to be deceased following their battle in Amazing Spider-Man #122. Unknown to the public at large is that Norman survived, as revealed in Osborne Journals #1. Norman will resurface again in Amazing Spider-Man #410.
- The Hobgoblin recovered the Osborn Journals but they were later destroyed Spider-Man. These events occurred between Amazing Spider-Man #238–251.
- Although this story hints that the symbiote may exploit Franklin Richards and his mutant powers, this plot thread is not explored until Spider-Man / Fantastic Four #2.
- Betty wonders where Ned is when she calls. What she doesn't know is that he is secretly operating as the Hobgoblin, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- Ann MacIntosh mentions how J. Jonah Jameson recently got married to Marla Madison. That happened in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #18.
- Spider-man jokingly suggests he could appear in wikipedia:That's Incredible. This was a TV show, styled That's Incredible!, airing on ABC from 1980 to 1984, thus having just finished when the comic-book was published. The show's name should thus be considered a topical reference.
- Concerns that Harry will become the Green Goblin are as follows:
- During the days leading up to the "death" of his father, Harry was dealing with a drug addiction, as explained in Amazing Spider-Man #96–98. He had a relapse in Amazing Spider-Man #119.
- Harry discovered that his father was the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #122. The led to a break insanity that led to Harry discovering Peter's secret identity and becoming the Green Goblin himself, lasting until Amazing Spider-Man #137.
- Harry underwent therapy making him forget his experiences as the Green Goblin, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #151.