Appearing in "The Demon and the Dead Man"
- Professor Evan Swann
- Martha McBride (First appearance)
- Phil (Martha's Neighbour) (Only appearance)
- Bob (Martha's Neighbour) (Only appearance)
- Sally (Martha's Neighbour) (Only appearance)
Synopsis for "The Demon and the Dead Man"
Having learned the time of a prisoner transport for the creature known as Carrion, the Hobgoblin attacks the armored vehicle returning him to the facility, forcing it to crash. He quickly incapacitates the Guardsmen and rips open the back of the transport. However, one other Guardsman revives and grabs Hobgoblin in a headlock. While his back is turned the Guardsman falls victim to Carrion's lethal touch. That's when Hobgoblin tells him that he has come to free him. Surprisingly, Carrion had no interest in being free, having come to consider himself a mockery of life that needs to be destroyed. However, the Hobgoblin convinces Carrion to come alone to eliminate the one responsible for his continued existence, Spider-Man. With Vault personnel heading their way, Hobgoblin and Carrion fly away. Several hours later, Spider-Man goes to the Four Freedoms Plaza to investigate an attack on the lab there. Examining the wreckage, Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic discover that the attacker was none other than the Hobgoblin. They also discover that the notes on Carrion and Miles Warren's notebook had been stolen as well. Telling Reed to contact the Vault and warn them of a potential attack, Spider-Man leaves as he has pressing matters at Empire State University. Along the way he recalls how the Carrion virus was created by Miles Warren and how he destroyed the original Carrion. Recently, he discovered Warren's old notebook, but another sample of the Carrion virus was discovered by a rival student named Malcolm McBride, who was infected by it, turning him into the new Carrion.[Continuity 1]
When he arrives at Empire State University, Peter visits Professor Evan Swann. He asks his professor an ethical question about an experiment adversely affecting someone. Swann tells him that a true scientist does whatever is necessary as long as the benefits outweigh the risk. This gets Peter thinking on if he had the right to keep Carrion's true identity a secret until he could find a cure. Peter is lost in thought when his spider-sense goes off. It turns out to be his wife, Mary Jane, who is finished on the set of "Secret Hospital" for the day and suggests they go out for a picnic.[Continuity 2] Peter takes her up on the office and leaves without noticing the front page story on the Daily Bugle, detailing the jailbreak at the Vault.
Meanwhile, Hobgoblin and Carrion are hiding out in the sewers below the city. There, Hobgoblin shows Carrion the documents he stole at the Four Freedoms Plaza that prove that he is really Malcolm McBride. This upsets Carrion who is then convinced to join the Hobgoblin to see his mother. Noting that the creature couldn't read his mind, Carrion explains that Hobgoblin is something more than human and immune to his mental probes.[Continuity 3] Meanwhile, at the penthouse apartment of J. Jonah Jameson, Jonah meets with his long-time friend Joe Robertson to discuss the offer Thomas Fireheart gave him to be president and publisher of the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 4] Jameson gives him a counter offer, a position of editor-in-chief of his news magazine, but understands if Joe says no because Jonah's offer isn't as good as Fireheart's. Jonah is delighted to hear that Joe is going to accept his job offer instead of the one offered to him at the Bugle. While on the campus quad at Empire State University, Peter and Mary Jane are having lunch. However, Peter can't get his mind off of Malcolm McBride. He feels guilty for keeping his true identity a secret, figuring that he would have cured him quickly. However that it doesn't seem to be the case anymore, he worries about Malcolm's mother. Mary Jane agrees with him that he should tell McBride's mother what happened to her son.
Later, in Astoria, Queens, Martha McBride is doing dishes in her kitchen. She is suddenly frightened when Carrion appears in her kitchen window. Entering the home, the ghoul convinces her that he is her missing son. The pair reach to touch each other. However, that's when Spider-Man arrives and pulls Carrion outside of the house with a web-line wondering why Carrion would use his deadly touch on his own mother. Carrion attempts to kill the wall-crawler, believing that a cure for his condition to be impossible. However, Spider-Man insists that Carrion not give up hope. Wandering too close to an exposed manhole, Spider-Man is ambushed by the Hobgoblin who blinds him with a finger blast and pulls him down into the sewers with Carrion following after them.
- Spider-Man states that Miles Warren's work created "fake" clones of Gwen Stacy and others. Spider-Man was told this by the High Evolutionary in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8. However, this was a lie to try and prevent others from utilizing Miles Warren's cloning technology. This was revealed in Scarlet Spider Unlimited #1. Spider-Man found Warren's journals (secretly tampered with by the High Evolutionary) in Spectacular Spider-Man #149, this was also when McBride was turned into the new Carrion.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here as opposed to husband and wife.
- The reason why Carrion cannot read Hobgoblin's mind is because he was transformed into a demon in Spectacular Spider-Man #147.
- Thomas Fireheart purchased the Daily Bugle out from under Jameson in Spectacular Spider-Man #156. Fireheart then offered Joe this job last issue.
Events in this story occur behind the scenes that affect the chronology of the following characters:
- Page 1-16 - Spider-Man continues to try and find a cure for Carrion.
- Page 17-22 - Spider-Man is captured by Carrion and Hobgoblin.