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Appearing in "... And Who Will Stand Against Them...?"

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Synopsis for "... And Who Will Stand Against Them...?"

From the rafters of a warehouse, someone is spying on a group of men offloading stolen electronics. Suddenly, the transport is interrupted by members of the Blue Boys, a gang of criminals who wear blue hoods over their heads. As a gun battle erupts, the man in the rafters starts taking photographs. Elsewhere, Spider-Man is web-slinging across the city, thinking about his recent encounter with Captain Kris Keating, and is convinced that the police officer has some kind of personal vendetta against him. The wall-crawler is getting fed up with swinging all over the city because he wants to give up his crime-fighting career, but cannot do so until he finds Flash Thompson and clears his name. Hearing gunshots, Spider-Man crashes in on the gang battle in the warehouse. He makes short work of both groups. When the battle is over, his spider-sense is still ringing. Suddenly, the Hobgoblin comes crashing through the wall. Apparently, the Blue Boys were fighting with members of the Rose's gang. The villain explains that there is a gang war going on. Spider-Man dodges the villain's finger blasts, but the stray shots strike the gang members. This reminds Spider-Man of the innocent people who were maimed when he battled the Sin-Eater. The Hobgoblin then takes the opportunity to flee the scene through a skylight.

When Spider-Man follows after the Hobgoblin somebody begins to shoot at the hero from a building across the street. Spider-Man ducks for cover until the shots stop and the police were arriving on the scene. Since he accomplished nothing in this little skirmish, Spider-Man wonders just what he was trying to do. Frazzled and unable to sleep, Spider-Man decides to take the photos taken with his automatic camera so he can try to sell them to the Daily Bugle. Even though Peter Parker arrives at the Bugle after midnight, the place is packed with reporters. They are all being briefed by Ben Urich on the gang war that has just started. Urich explains that this all started with the Kingpin's vendetta against the costumed hero named Daredevil. After many failed attempts to kill the masked vigilante, the Kingpin became obsessed with Daredevil's destruction. This obsession led to the Kingpin hiring the mercenary known as Nuke and in the ensuing battle, a great deal of Hell's Kitchen was destroyed. Urich sums up his briefing by explaining that the Kingpin disappeared after his failed battle of wills against Daredevil, leaving the Arranger, his second in command, in charge of his empire. However, without the Kingpin in the city, a struggle for control of New York's criminal empires had begun. The warring factions include the gangs run by the Arranger, the Rose, Silvermane and Hammerhead. The wildcard in the whole gang war is the Blue Boys, a group that Urich doesn't know much about.

With the presentation over, Peter tries to sell his photos to Kate Cushing. However, Kate refuses them, telling Peter that Lance Bannon had already submitted photos of the gun battle in the warehouse an hour earlier. Before going, Peter's spider-sense suddenly goes off, alerting him to the presence of Ned Leeds. Leeds sees his estranged wife Betty and asks her what she is doing at the Bugle so late. Betty explains that she couldn't sleep because she was worried about him covering this gang war. Peter overhears this conversation and wonders why Ned Leeds has him on edge all of a sudden. Betty points out that she is concerned that she is still concerned. He once again brings up her affair with Flash Thompson and accuses her of actually being concerned about her "boyfriend" because he is the Hobgoblin. He grabs Betty by the wrist, hurting her. Before the situation could escalate further, Joe Robertson interrupts the situation. Joe scolds Ned for missing the briefing and orders Leeds into his office. Betty then seeks comfort from Peter, and suspects that there is something evil about Ned now, but she doesn't know what it is.

The next day, at the skyscraper owned by the Kingpin, the Arranger meets with his minions. He informs them that the Kingpin has decided to take a vacation and will return in good time. Until then, he tells them that they will be following his orders. At that moment the Silvermane estate in Westchester comes under attack from Jack O'Lantern. The masked criminal blasts his way into Silvermane's room who is still recovering from his last battle with Spider-Man. When the cyborg mobster attempts to defend himself, Jack O'Lantern tosses an explosive at the villain, seemingly slaying him. Before leaving, Jack tells the others that he sends his regards from the Arranger. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is on his way to Forest Hills to visit his Aunt May. He has decided to stay out of the gang war, as it is none of his business. When he arrives at his Aunt's boarding house, where May and the other tenants are fixing up the property in the hopes of taking in new tenants to replace the Lund sisters who had recently moved out.

Later, at the Rose's penthouse, news that Jack O'Lantern is working for the Arranger reaches the Rose and he is furious. The Hobgoblin assures the Rose and his men that Jack O'Lantern will face his wrath if he attempts to make an attempt on them like he did Silvermane. The Rose tells the Hobgoblin to do his rounds until he is instructed otherwise. With the Hobgoblin gone, the Rose's minions ask why they continue to put up with the deranged criminal. The Rose assures them that he will eliminate the Hobgoblin once his usefulness has come to an end. The Rose enters his private room where he considers the situation. He finds the gang war will prove to get costly to their organization. Removing his mask, the Rose decides that more subtle means are in order to deal with this current development. Later, the Rose's minions, Johnson and Varley, are picking up their cut of an illegal gambling operation when suddenly the operation is ambushed by a squad of officers led by Captain Kris Keating. After the bust, one of the officers asks Keating how all the tips he gets have proven accurate. Keating angrily explains that if he divulged the identity of his stool pigeons, they wouldn't get such tips and drives off. The officer notices that Keating is driving in the opposite direction of the police station.

By dusk, Spider-Man is back in the city after a day of helping Aunt May paint. He decides to do one more search for Flash before meeting up with Mary Jane at his apartment. He suddenly spots fashion designer Roderick Kingsley, way out of his usual neighborhood. He watches as Kingsley is getting into a car, making the wall-crawler curious. Going in for a closer look, he sees that the car is driven by Captain Keating. He wonders what the two of them could be talking about, but dismisses the whole thing because he doesn't want to get involved. Going on his way again, Spider-Man happens upon another gunfight happening in the street. When he attempts to stop it, both sides turn their guns on the wall-crawler. Ducking to safety, Spider-Man chastises himself for getting involved again and leaves the scene. Later, Hammerhead and a group of women go to a fancy restaurant. As they sit down and make their orders, they are unaware that there has been a bomb planted under their table. It explodes not long after their arrival, seemingly killing everyone in its wake. When news of the explosion gets back to the Arranger, he tells his assassin to find Hammerhead's body to make sure that he is dead. After, a call comes in and the Arranger is informed that the Kingpin's son, Richard Fisk, has just arrived.

At that moment, Mary Jane Watson waits nervously for Peter Parker to return home. She is relieved when she hears the skylight in the bathroom open. Peter tells her that he was unable to find any trace of Flash while he was out. When he suggested they go out, Mary Jane refuses, telling him that they are going to stay in and he is going to cook themselves a meal. Peter isn't happy about the idea, as he feels uncomfortable about his apartment since Mary Jane redecorated it. While Mary Jane is in the kitchen, Peter catches a newscast about the bomb that went off. He still doesn't want to get involved, but then he hears about all of the innocent lives that were lost in the blast. Remembering his old mantra, with great power comes great responsibility, Spider-Man decides that the gang war must end immediately. When Mary Jane checks in on Peter to see what he wants to eat, she discovers that he is long gone.

Elsewhere, Betty Leeds returns home to discover her front door is unlocked. Betty is confused over her conflicting emotions over her husband and Flash. Suddenly, someone grabs her from behind. Turning around, Betty is happy to discover that it is Flash Thompson. He tells Betty that with her help he is going to clear his name as he is tired of hiding.


Continuity Notes

  • Spider-Man is intending to retire from super-heroics after finding Flash Thompson and clearing his name. Peter came to the decision to quit being Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #275. Flash was framed for the crimes of the Hobgoblin in the following issue. He was later broken out of prison in Amazing Spider-Man #281.
  • When Spider-Man dodges the Hobgoblin's blasts, they strike and kill the gangsters. This reminds Spider-Man of a similar incident when he battled the Sin-Eater. Spider-Man leaped out of the way of his shotgun blast which led to innocent people getting hit by the stray bullets. Spider-Man's battle with the Sin-Eater occurred in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107110.
  • Ben Urich goes over the Kingpin's recent vendetta against Daredevil and his ultimate downfall. This all happened between Daredevil #227233. This ended with the Kingpin's minions losing confidence in him, hence his departure.
  • Peter states that he was trying to get back home from Appalachia during the Kingpin's downfall. This was documented in Web of Spider-Man #18.
  • The reason why Ned Leeds triggers Spider-Man's spider sense is because he has been brainwashed into thinking he is the Hobgoblin, as revealed in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3.

Publication Notes

  • Cover art by Frenz and Rubinstein per signatures on original art, which was modified once the editors decided to highlight the Hobgoblin. The new Hobgoblin figure drawn by Frenz was placed at the center of the cover, Hammerhead was moved to the right, and the Spider-Man figure that was originally lying on the ground was removed.[1]
  • This issue features a letters page, The Spider's Web. Letters are published from Dave Kinder, Pat Finnerty, Eric Small, D.R. Smith, Paul Swaida, Paul W. Greer, Elio DiPaolantonio, and Jeff Fritts.

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