Appearing in "In the Zone -- !"
- Marc Portaccio (Only appearance)
- Larson Toddsmith (Only appearance)
- Roger Corman (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- X-Men (Video Game)
- Avengers (Video Game)
- Spider-Man (Video Game)
Synopsis for "In the Zone -- !"
Phil Urich and his friend Freddie Glazer are having a great time at a Consumer Gaming Expo.[Continuity 1] Phil particularly takes an interest in a virtual reality console that allows him to play as the Green Goblin and pit his abilities against more popular superheroes such as the X-Men and the Avengers. However, Freddie pulls Phil away from this game so they can go check out the CompuBoot booth where they are displaying the sequel to Killer Teenage Aliens from the Mutant Death Star. However, his focus shifts when he spots Lynn Walsh and Meredith Campbell, both of whom work with Phil at the Daily Bugle. Phil finds himself at a loss of words seeing Lynn at the convention as he has had a crush on her for the longest time and has been unable to express his interest in her. Due to his bashfulness, Phil allows Freddie to get an opening to make a move on Lynn and the two soon go off to explore the convention together. This leaves Phil with Meredith, who points out that she will be better company as she is actually a fan of video games. Phil accepts this as a consolation when suddenly, someone shoves past him.
This man is rushing over to the CompuBoot booth and is furious to see that the company is taking credit for his creation. Inside the booth, CompuBoot owners Marc Portaccio and Larson Toddsmith gloat over the profits they are making off the game, especially after they dumped one of the programmers. This programmer, Jonathan Gatesworth, is the man who has arrived at the booth and he accuses both Portaccio and Toddsmith of stealing his work, saying that it is the only reason why CompuBoot manages to stay in buisness. Larson disagrees and as he tries to explain how it is really he and Marc who saved the company, Jonathan strips off his overcoat revealing a strange bodysuit underneath. He tells them that this is his latest invention and that it incorporates virtual reality technology to give him great power. To demonstrate this, Gatesworth suddenly transforms into a giant dragon and trashes the booth. He then vows to utterly destroy the company that he helped create and flees. By this point, Meredith and Lynn have gone back to the Daily Bugle leaving Phil and Freddie to go looking for a pizza parlor. Along the way, Freddie tells Phil that he successfully asked Lynn out on a date to see a movie.[Continuity 2] Freddie quickly picks up on the fact that Phil is jealous that he was able to ask Lynn out and asks what was preventing Urich from asking her out first. Phil explains that he can never seem to find the right place and time. Freddie tells Phil that he should stop making excuses because an attractive girl like Lynn won't remain single forever.
The next day, Phil decides to take Freddie's advice and goes to the Daily Bugle to ask Lynn out. Unfortunately, she is too engrossed in the story about the incident at the gaming expo the day before. Merideth tells Phil that he won't be able to get through to her while she is focused on her work. She then explains the animosity between Jonathan Gatesworth and his former business partners and how he was pushed out of his own company a year ago. At that very moment, Toddsmith and Portaccio have hired men to break into Jonathan's apartment to find the plans for his virtual reality suit. When they report that they have found nothing, Toddsmith tells them not to call back until they do. The two hired men continue turning Gatesworth's apartment upside down unaware that Jonathan is watching them, disguised as a sculpture. Later that day, Phil has used an electronics kit to jury-rig a gaming controller into a remote control for his Goblin Glider. Figuring that Gatesworth may crash the convention again, Urich decides to go dressed up as the Green Goblin. Sure enough, when he arrives on the scene he blends in perfectly with the other costumed mascots. As he deals with clueless autograph hounds, the Goblin notices that both Lynn and Meredith have also returned to the convention. Aware that Lynn is a fan of the Green Goblin, Phil is prepared to put on quite the sight for her if there is trouble.
Also at the convention, Jonathan Gatesworth tries to sneak in again but is quickly spotted and cornered by the security hired by CompuBoot to try and steal his new technology. Witnessing Gatesworth activating his suit to change forms, the Goblin summons his Glider and attacks. The two fight across the convention, putting Gatesworth on the defensive. The video game programmer tries to fight back by taking on the forms of popular video game characters and superheroes, but can't stop the Goblin's advances. Watching from the sidelines is Lynn Walsh who is enthralled by the battle and is noting everything down even though Meredith insists that they get somewhere safe. Although the CompuBoot booth gets trashed again, the Green Goblin manages to defeat Gatesworth by slamming him into a bank of televisions. The resulting jolt of electricity shorts out his suit, rending him powerless. This comes as a delight to Lance Toddsworth who threatens to sue Jonathan unless he turns over his new invention. However, this threat quickly evaporates when all members of the competition begin a bidding war to buy the tech from Jonathan on the spot. Disgusted by this display, the Goblin makes his way out, stopping only long enough to scoff at someone interested in buying his property rights to make a Green Goblin comic book.
Changing back to Phil Urich, the Goblin returns to the convention and finds Lynn and Meredith. Once again, Phil's chance to ask Lynn out quickly passes by as the young reporter takes a cab back to the Daily Bugle to get her story out. Seeing that Phil is disappointed, Meredith tells him that Lynn's abrupt departure wasn't personal and she suggests that they both go out and get some pizza.
- All the video game technology on display here was considered cutting edge when this comic was published in 1996. However, modern readers should consider all the devices on display here to be topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Freddie says he is taking Lynn out to see a "new" Roger Corman movie. The fact that the movie is referred to as "new" should be considered a Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as Corman -- as of 2018 -- is 92 years old.