Appearing in "Gang War Rages On!"
- Mr. Johnston
- Mr. Varley
- Alfredo Morelli
- Sgr. Francis Tork
- Ben Urich
- Vanessa Fisk
- Arthur Chekov
- Victor Palermo
- Rose Palermo
- Blaze (Recap)
- New York City
Synopsis for "Gang War Rages On!"
That has been raging through New York City[Continuity 1] has kept vigilantes like Spider-Man, the Punisher, and Daredevil busy against the likes of Hammerhead, the Rose, the Arranger and the Blue Boy mobs.[Continuity 2] This was all caused by the absence of the Kingpin in the city, however, now the lord of the criminal underworld is back and is taking accounts. From his office, the Kingpin gazes at a photo of his wife he keeps in a locket. He calls in Doctor Zachar, the physician that was hired to treat his wife, Vanessa. The Kingpin is upset that the man has been terrorizing Vanessa, who has the mind of a young girl. He is not impressed that Vanessa was given an increase in her medication after recognizing her son, Richard Fisk.[Continuity 3] When Zachar tries to offer excuses, the Kingpin won't hear any and uses the weapon in his cane to kill the doctor. The Kingpin then calls in his next appointment. While in Chelsea, Mary Jane has come to Peter Parker's apartment. She wonders what is going on with Peter's life, as he seems to be on the fence about quitting being Spider-Man. Using the spare key to get inside, Mary Jane is shocked to discover the Black Cat is in Peter's apartment. Storming into Peter's room, Mary Jane wakes up Peter and demands to know why the Black Cat is in his apartment. Before he can answer, the Cat informs him that he has a phone call from his Aunt May. As Peter answers the phone, Mary Jane demands answers from the Black Cat. The Cat explains that her apartment was blown up and that she has nowhere to stay.[Continuity 4] While the two women quibble with each other, Peter agrees to visit his Aunt May for lunch and heads out.
Meanwhile, the Kingpin has called in Jack O'Lantern into his office to inform the costumed mercenary that he is being fired. Jack is furious, pointing out how he did a good job protecting the Arranger while the Kingpin way away. The Kingpin explains that Jack O'Lantern served his purpose, but doesn't have what it takes to be his chief assassin. Jack O'Lantern storms out of the Kingpin's office vowing that the crimeboss will regret this, although the Kingpin doubts it. While at a Greenwich Village loft, Alfredo Morelli is still upset that the Hobgoblin attempted to kill him and wants to get revenge. Richard Fisk advises his friend against it. However, Alfredo won't listen and storms out, leaving Richard to wonder his next move as the Rose. It's noon on Canal Street when Sgt. Frances Tork meets with Ben Urich, Matt Murdock, and Sam Wilson to discuss the recent return of the Kingpin. Their meeting is interrupted when a patron and the waitress pull guns and try to shoot them. While Wilson and Murdock deal with the male shooter, Sgt. Tork gets the drop on the waitress. With the danger over, they can all guess who hired these assassins to do in Matt Murdock. When news about this failure reaches the Kingpin, he orders the two assassins eliminated before they can talk.
Later that afternoon, Ned Leeds is finally able to find Lance Bannon at his home. Ned tells Lance that he is going on assignment to Europe and needs a photographer. It's then that he notices that Lance has a bunch of pictures of the Hobgoblin pinned to the wall. Lance nervously explains that he was sorting through morgue files on the Hobgoblin and quickly gets Ned to leave before he can ask more questions. Lance then discovers that Ned left behind some notepad behind. He then recalls how Ned said he was going to his old apartment to pick up some notes and decides to meet him there. While back at the Kingpin's office, the crime lord gives the Arranger a list of individuals in his organization that need to be eliminated immediately. Meanwhile, at Betty Leed's apartment, Betty finally convinces Flash Thompson to let her go out and get them some groceries. Thompson has been hiding out at her place since bring framed for being the Hobgoblin and was subsequently broken out of prison.[Continuity 5] As Betty leaves the apartment, Flash waves goodbye to her from the window. Watching from across the street is Lance Bannon who considers this a stroke of luck. An hour later, Betty returns to find the Hobgoblin inside her apartment attacking Flash. He has decided to reveal his true identity to Thompson so he can know who destroyed him. When he hears Betty, the unmasked Hobgoblin turns to see who it is. Betty instantly recognizes who the Hobgoblin is and begins to scream. Fearing the authorities might be called, the Hobgoblin flees the scene before he can finish his job.[Continuity 6]
While at the Kingpin's skyscraper, the ruthless criminal visits with his wife and tenderly tells her that soon it will all be over and she will be free. While in Forest Hills, Peter is being trounced in a game of chess with Aunt May's tenant, Arthur Chekov. Peter can't keep his mind on the game because he can't stop thinking about how the Black Cat invited herself back into his life after her apartment was recently firebombed. This has put him at odds because, despite the fact that he and Mary Jane don't have a formal relationship, he still feels like a creep. Suddenly, his outing is interrupted by a phone call from Matt Murdock.[Continuity 7] Peter tells Murdock not to call his Aunt May's house again and slams down the phone. While at Jack O'Lantern's hideout, the villain is fuming over being fired by the Kingpin. Suddenly, the Hobgoblin comes crashing in and attacks him for deserting him in battle.[Continuity 8] Things get hairier when Alfredo, who followed the Hobgoblin, tries to shoot the villain from behind. When the Hobgoblin tries to fight back, Alfredo uses a device that jams all of the Hobgoblin's equipment, rendering him helpless. But, before Alfredo can eliminate the Hobgoblin, he is attacked from behind by Jack O'Lantern, who wants the Hobgoblin for himself. Alfredo drops the jamming device, giving the Hobgoblin enough time to recover and flee, as he finds that protracted battle will hinder his plans to take over the underworld for himself.
While back at Richard Fisk's loft, Dina takes a call from Alfredo and informs Richard about his failed attempt on the Hobgoblin's life. Richard is upset by this, because he figures that the Hobgoblin will think that the Rose has betrayed him. Suddenly, his private line rings, and Richard answers it. Instead of Mr. Varley, as he expected, Richard is shocked to hear the voice of his father. The Kingpin tells Richard that they need to talk and he should come to his office immediately. While in Hell's Kitchen, Sgt. Tork, Daredevil and the Falcon are planning the next phase of their plan. Falcon is upset that Matt pushed Spider-Man to the point where he won't be any help. However, they are soon interrupted by Spider-Man and the Black Cat. The wall-crawler is still furious that Murdock called him at his Aunt May's home. However, before he can fully vent his anger, he is told that the Kingpin is plotting to kill all his lieutenants and this is Spider-Man's chance to nail the Kingpin once and for all. Meanwhile, Hammerhead is tipped off about the Kingpin's meeting. Figuring something big is up, Hammerhead decides to lay low and bide his time before making his next move. While in an alleyway not far from the Kingpin's headquarters, the Punisher is also preparing for his next move. Having heard that the police have been instructed to stay away from the Kingpin's office tower, a deal cut for the Kingpin's return. The Punisher continues his watch, intending to deal with the problem himself.
At a quarter to midnight, the Kingpin is spending more time with his comatose wife. He's joined by the Rose, who asks the Kingpin how he discovered that the Rose was really his son, Richard Fisk. The Kingpin says it doesn't matter, that he called his son to say goodbye to his mother as this will be the last time he sees her. The Rose pulls a gun, angry that his father has been keeping his mother in a comatose state. The Kingpin responds back by informing his son he is aware of the rookie police officer he killed the night before. He then tells his son that he plans on doing something good for this city and his wife. He explains to Richard how Vanessa had left him recently and fled to Europe.[Continuity 9] The Kingpin monitored her and learned of a plot against her life. He then brought his wife back to the United States and kept her sedated to save her from the shock of learning she had been pulled back into her husband's life. He explains that he has dealt with the price on Vanessa's head and that she will be soon be taken back to Europe. Then, as a token gesture to the local authorities, the Kingpin plans to end the mob war at midnight. As the Kingpin calls his lieutenants to his office later that evening, Spider-Man and the other heroes make their way there. The Kingpin announces to his minions that they have all been "fired" and orders them killed. As the Kingpin and the Rose leave to oversee Vanessa's transport to the airport, the heroes come crashing in. Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Falcon, and the Black Cat round up the guns to prevent them from assassinating the Kingpin's failed minions.
As the battle rages, Sgt. Tork reports that Vanessa Fisk's ambulance has just cleared the area and sends in his officers to start making arrests. Spider-Man suddenly realizes that this was all a set up as the assassins guns are filled with blanks. Fed up of being manipulated by the Kingpin, Spider-Man leaves the battle to face the fat man alone in his office. The Kingpin gloats over his manipulation over the wall-crawler, explaining that he has had years of experience manipulating do-gooders like Spider-Man to suit his own means. He also reminds Spider-Man that he is the unbeatable foe, as killing the Kingpin will only keep the gang war going. That's when Daredevil and the others come into the room, warning Spider-Man to stop. Daredevil finally gets through to Spider-Man, but he doesn't like it. In a fit of rage, Spider-Man smashes the Kingpin's desk with his fist and warns Fisk that one day the Kingpin will push him too far, he then leaves with the Black Cat in tow.
In the aftermath of Spider-Man's outburst, the Kingpin pulls the photo of his wife that was on the desk when Spider-Man smashed it. The crystal glass has been shattered, the symbolism of the situation is not lost on the Kingpin. He and Daredevil have parting words, both agreeing that they lost something important that day for the greater good. Daredevil, his morals, for making a deal with the Kingpin, while the Kingpin lost his wife. As he leaves, Daredevil tells the Kingpin to take a good look at the shattered crystal of the photo and see if he can find his reflection so he can truly know what he has lost. With Daredevil gone, the Kingpin reflects on his parting words for a moment before putting the photo of his wife into a drawer.
- The date on the Daily Bugle in this issue is December 19, 1986. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- This story recaps the gang war, as well as Spider-Man's recent battle with Blaze, which happened in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #123. This was also the moment when the Black Cat's apartment was firebombed, and Peter allowed her to stay at his place.
- The Kingpin is angry at Dr. Zachar because he had been frightening his wife, as depicted in Amazing Spider-Man #286.
- The Black Cat's apartment was firebombed in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #123. Mary Jane Watson mocks the Black Cat's new look. The Cat adopted her new haircut and costume in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #117.
- Flash Thompson was accused of being the Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man #276, he was broken out of jail in Amazing Spider-Man #280 and has been on the run ever since.
- The "true" identity of the Hobgoblin is revealed next issue, explaining why Betty fainted when seeing him. However, this has all been an elaborate ruse by the true Hobgoblin as revealed in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #1–3.
- Matt Murdock knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man since both men discover their identities in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #109–110.
- The Hobgoblin is angry at Jack O'Lantern for abandoning him during their battle against Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #286.
- The Kingpin reveals to his son that his wife had recently left him. That was in Marvel Graphic Novel: Daredevil Love and War #1.
Events in this story happen behind the scenes that affect the chronology of the following characters:
- Page 1-12, Panel 2 - The Hobgoblin tracks down and attacks Flash Thompson.
- Page 12, Panel 3-Page 22 - Hobgoblin battles Alfredo and Jack O'Lantern.
This issue contains a letters page, The Spider's Web. Letters are published from Greg Welch, Jim Tudor, Michael Shavalier, Paul Thiel, Kim Lee, Steve Farrow, Luiz Mendoza, Brian Connor, Todd Oberndoffer, Alex Pogel, Joshua Terrell and Michael Reis.