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Appearing in "Victims"

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Synopsis for "Victims"

It begins with a dream, Spider-Man has dived into the Hudson River to try and find a trace of his foe the Hobgoblin during their most recent battle.[Continuity 1] The wall-crawler can only find the villain's mask and as he rushes up to the surface, events change from the way Spider-Man remember them. This time, the Hobgoblin -- impossibly large -- grabs Spider-Man in his hands. Drowning, the masked hero reaches out and pulls away the Hobgoblin's hood to learn who he really is. With his face finally revealed, Ned Leeds asks Spider-Man if he is satisfied.

That's Peter Parker then wakes up screaming from his nightmare. His screams wake up his wife, Mary Jane who asks if he's alright.[Continuity 2] Peter responds that it was just a bad dream, but Mary Jane presses on, asking if it was more than just a bad dream. Peter then muses over all the events that have happened in the past few months.[Continuity 3] Peter then admits that he's been having the same nightmare for the past few weeks about the Hobgoblin.

This nightmare is likely due to the news coverage being of Jason Macendale's ongoing trial.[Continuity 4] Peter states that he believed that the trial would bring him some closure but it doesn't. Mary Jane then points out that Peter dreams about Ned Leeds, and that Macendale wasn't the original Hobgoblin. To which Peter counters that it's not a fact most people are aware of, and that not even Macendale's defense attorney brought up at the trial. Peter then recalls that Macendale paid off the Foreigner to have Leeds killed, only to take on the Hobgoblin mantle himself immediately afterward. As Mary Jane asks Peter if he's alright, however, Peter is more concerned for Betty Leeds.[Continuity 5]

At Betty Leeds' apartment, she is having a nightmare about her late husband. In the dream, Ned blames her for all his problems and asks if she ever really loved him.[Continuity 6] He makes these accusations, he slowly transforms into the Hobgoblin. Betty then awakens once again. As she sits in her bed, she thinks back to all the horrible memories of Ned's involvement with the Hobgoblin, all the while he was the Hobgoblin. She has known this because Ned revealed his double-identity to her when he attacked Flash Thompson prior to his death.[Continuity 7] Betty ponders the possibility of seeking out counseling but decides against it when she realizes no one would believe her when she admits Ned was the Hobgoblin.

At a bar, Jacob Conover is having a drink while watching news coverage of Macendale's trial. He laments to himself over the loss of his job at the Daily Bugle as a reporter.[Continuity 8] He is bitter that he always got stiffed in favor of other reporters. Ned Leeds being one of the many he feels screwed over his career, recalling that he was so close to a corporate expose on companies like Roxxon and Oscorp, but that Ned Leeds wanted to borrow his files, and that after he died, said files vanished. The bartender then recites an old saying from his mother; "Don't get mad, get even." To this, Conover states that he will get even and that nobody will be more sorry than J. Jonah Jameson.[Continuity 9] At that moment, J. Jonah Jameson also looks over the news of Macendale's trial. This brings up old memories for him as well, and he feels that even if Macendale gets the maximum penalty for his crimes, it won't bring back all the people he killed. His thoughts are interrupted by his wife, Marla, who asks Jonah what he is thinking about. He tells her about the time the original Hobgoblin tried to blackmail him and other business leaders in the city at the Century Club.[Continuity 10] He thinks back to how, after that experience, he secretly assigned Ned Leeds to investigate the Hobgoblin. He regrets not making Ned stick to that story, instead sending him on assignment to Berlin where he was ultimately murdered. When Marla tries to convince her husband that Ned's death is not his fault. he can't make himself believe it, especially after all the suffering and grief this has caused Betty Brant. Although there is nothing he can do to bring Ned back, he figures there is something he can do to help.

The next day, Peter Parker and Betty Brant are sent to the courthouse to cover the Hobgoblin verdict. When they arrive on the scene, Peter notices that Betty is distracted and she admits that she didn't sleep very well the night before. He knows the feeling and thinks that they are both due for a vacation. They are then joined by Jacob Conover, who tells them that he is covering this story for the Wire Service. That's when court officials come out and make a statement to the press. It is announced that Jacon Macendale has been found guilty. Soon, Macendale is escorted out of the courthouse by NYPD's Code: Blue. That's when Jacob Conover asks Macendale to confirm that he wasn't the original Hobgoblin. Jason admits that he killed the original Hobgoblin and stole his identity and tells the press that if they want to know more they should ask Betty Brant, since the Hobgoblin was her husband Ned Leeds. As the other members of the press begin swarming Betty with questions, Peter gets between them and tries to get her to safety. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Stone of Code: Blue asks Macendale why he admitted to a murder in public on live television. Macendale points out that he has already been tried for his crimes and this gives him an opportunity of having another trial where he can prove that he wasn't responsible for some of his crimes.[Continuity 11]

Meanwhile, Peter and Betty duck into the court building's stairwell. He sends Betty ahead while he jams the door, giving Peter time to also slip away and change into Spider-Man. He then picks Betty up and swings her away from the throng of reporters.[Continuity 12] The wall-crawler feels lousy when he has to feign ignorance of the situation and has Betty explain everything to him in order to maintain his double-identity. When the story hits the news, the report is caught by Senator Bob Martin and George Vandergill. The Senator is interested in talking to Vandergill about the news about the Hobgoblin. Oddly, Vandergill isn't interested in talking about it. Although they at least agree that they both mutually hate Spider-Man. While at the Osborn Manufacturing Corporation, Donald Menkin hears the news about Macendale's accusations and figures that this will have an impact on the Daily Bugle's stocks.[Continuity 13] That's when Menkin gets a phone call from a reporter and flatly denies that there is a takeover bid for Osborn Industries. Also watching this is Roderick Kingsley and his brother Daniel. Upon hearing Jason Macendale's revelation, Daniel begins to panic as it might lead to an investigation into Kingsley International and they will be ruined. Roderick tells his brother to calm down and assures him that he will handle this recent development. From his secret lab, Doctor Jonas Harrow hears the reports and has his computers examine footage of the Hobgoblin before and after and can clearly see that what Macendale is saying is true.[Continuity 14]

By this time, Peter and Betty have returned to the Daily Bugle where Betty admits to J. Jonah Jameson and Joe Robertson that Macnedale's assertions are true and that she learned that Macendale hired the Foreigner to kill her husband not long after his death.[Continuity 15] After hearing this admission, Joe asks Jonah what they should do. Jameson says that they do what they have always done: report the truth. Later that evening, as Peter relates this turn of events to his wife, they both figure that Jameson had no other choice given the circumstances. Still, even after all this time, Mary Jane can't believe that Ned Leeds was a super-villain, as the facts don't add up. Peter feels the same, but he reminds her of the file that the Kingpin gave him that showed the truth. Although Mary Jane doubts the validity of the source, Peter points out that the file contained photos of Ed, in the Hobgoblin costume, getting murdered by the Foreigner's men. When Mary Jane points out that it seems impossible that Ned could have been easily taken out by normal men, Peter realizes she was right. He recalls how the Hobgoblin had gotten ahold of Norman Osborn's Goblin Formula and used it to augment his strength, making it impossible for the Foreigner's men to have killed him so easily.[Continuity 16] Convinced that Ned Leeds was not the Hobgoblin, Peter can't believe how he couldn't have seen it sooner. However, if Ned Leeds wasn't the original Hobgoblin, Peter wonder who the villain really is.

While at the Great Neck Maximum Security Facility, Jacon Macendale tosses and turns in his sleep. He dreams about his past, remembering his career at the Central Intelligence Agency, which he quit when his employers questioned his extreme methods. He remembers becoming a soldier of fortune and developing the identity of Jack O'Lantern.[Continuity 17] He then thinks about his first battle against Spider-Man, and that's when the dream takes a turn.[Continuity 18] He is suddenly stalked by the Hobgoblin and begins to panic. Macendale then wakes up begging the Hobgoblin to keep away because he is dead. Macendale is shocked to discover a bearded man wearing a hoodie standing outside his cell. This man explains that he knocked out all the guards so he can deal with Macendale, and claims to be the real Hobgoblin. Macendale can't believe it, telling the mystery man that the Hobgoblin was Ned Leeds, and Leeds is dead. The intruder explains that Leeds was a patsy, much like Lefty Donovan, used to trick everyone. Grabbing Jason by the throat, the man claiming to be the Hobgoblin explains that he was amused by the mercenary at first, and allowed him to co-opt the Hobgoblin identity while he had other business to attend to. However, Macendale has become an embarrassment to his legacy. Deciding to do something about it, the Hobgoblin tosses Jason against the wall and then blasts him, leaving nothing but a charred skeleton behind. Walking out of the prison, this man then changes into his Hobgoblin costume and takes off on his glider laughing like a maniac.

In Midtown Manhattan, Roderick Kingsley is also haunted by dreams of the past. He recalls how he was present when the Hobgoblin attempted to blackmail the patrons at the Century Club, then later was forced to prepare weapons for the villain. His nightmare ends with the memory of being shot by one of the Rose's men for his association with the Hobgoblin.[Continuity 19] Going to the bathroom to splash water on his face and calm down, Kingsley is interrupted by the Hobgoblin. The villain tells him that he has come to renew their business partnership. Kingsley tries to refuse as he was almost killed the last time. However, the Hobgoblin strongarms him into compliance. going over some of Kingsley's paperwork, the Hobgoblin decides that he is going to become personally involved in Kingsley International's current takeover scheme.


Continuity Notes

  1. This flashback is from the events of Amazing Spider-Man #251. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, this happened roughly three years prior to the present day of this story.
  2. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
  3. Peter Parker's internal monologue goes over a number of his trials and tribulations that were still current at the time of this story:
    • The death of their baby, Peter and Mary Jane were expecting a child. Tragically the child was stillborn in Amazing Spider-Man #418.
    • He also mentions the death of his Aunt May, who everyone believed had died in Amazing Spider-Man #400. In reality, this was an impostor as will be revealed in Spider-Man #97.
    • He also makes a passing reference to the long running Clone Saga.
    • Lastly, the recent revelation that Norman Osborn was still alive and responsible for a lot of Peter's recent troubles. Norman Osborn was believed to have died in Amazing Spider-Man #122. However, he survived and was responsible for a lot of the manipulations that Peter experienced during the Clone Saga as explained in Osborne Journals #1. Peter discovered that Norman was still alive in Spider-Man #75.
  4. Macendale has been incarcerated since his arrest in Spider-Man #69.
  5. At the time of this story, Peter Parker believes that Ned Leeds was the original Hobgoblin. This information also led to Ned being assassinated by the Foreigner. This hit was put out by Jason Macendale, who then co-opted the Hobgoblin identity for himself. These events happened in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1 and Amazing Spider-Man #289.
  6. Betty and Ned were married in Amazing Spider-Man #156. However, their marriage became strained prior to his death. Particularly because she was having an affair with Flash Thompson that began in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #109.
  7. Betty's flashback here is from Amazing Spider-Man #288 when the Hobgoblin unmasked in front of her.
  8. Jacob Conover was one of the many Bugle employees that were laid off when the company was forced to downsize in Amazing Spider-Man #416.
  9. Conover's attempt at revenge was to become the Rose, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #436.
  10. The Hobgoblin's blackmail attempt was thwarted by Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #249.
  11. The discussion here is framed as though Jacon Macendale is facing the death penalty for his crimes. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as New York state abolished the death penalty in 2007. Modern readers could assume that instead of trying to get out of the death penalty, Macendale is trying to at least obtain a lesser sentence for his crimes.
  12. The original twin towers of the World Trade Center are depicted as part of the New York City skyline here. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The original towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and have since been replaced by the Freedom Tower.
  13. This is alluding to the fact that Norman Osborn will later purchase half of the Daily Bugle, as seen in Spectacular Spider-Man #250.
  14. The report here makes mention of Lefty Donovan, a criminal that worked for the original Hobgoblin who was manipulated into testing out a version of the Goblin formula and died from the impure batch while posing as the Hobgoblin. These events occurred in Amazing Spider-Man #244245.
  15. Betty learned the truth about her husband's death in Web of Spider-Man #9192.
  16. The Hobgoblin exposed himself to the Goblin Formula in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #85. The file Peter obtained was given to him in Amazing Spider-Man #289. Peter mentions how the Foriegner didn't use super-operatives until recently, he is referring to the events of Web of Spider-Man #9192.
  17. Macendale first became Jack O'Lantern in Machine Man #19.
  18. Macendale first battled Spider-Man as Jack O'Lantern in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #56.
  19. First of all, this isn't actually Roderick Kingsley, but his brother Daniel wearing a wig. As will be revealed in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3, Daniel often posed as Roderick when he was active as the Hobgoblin in order to prevent people from make a connection between Roderick and the Hobgoblin. As such:

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