Appearing in "The Wages of Sin"
- The Rose (Main story and flashback) (See chronology)
- Dina (Last appearance)
- Alfredo Morelli (Main story and flashback) (See chronology)
- Hobgoblin (Leeds) (Only in flashback) (See chronology)
- Mister Varley (Only in flashback)
- Mister Johnston (Only in flashback)
- Wolverine (Recap)
- Arranger (Recap)
- Flash Thompson (Recap)
- Hobgoblin (Kingsley) (Recap)
- Jack O'Lantern/Hobgoblin (Macendale) (Recap)
- Vaness Fisk (Recap)
- Harry Osborn (Recap)
- Daredevil (Recap)
- Captain America (Recap)
- Nuke (Recap)
- Hammerhead (Recap)
- Punisher (Recap)
- Blue Boys (Recap)
- Silvermane (Recap)
- Germany (Recap)
- Mexico (Only in flashback)
- Italy (Only in flashback)
- Venice (Only in flashback)
- Goblin Glider (Only in flashback)
- Pumpkin Bomb (Only in flashback)
- Captain America's Shield (Recap)
- Daredevil's Billy Club (Recap)
Synopsis for "The Wages of Sin"
Spider-Man is reeling from the revelation that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin.[Continuity 1] He thinks about everything that has happened in the last day, starting with Wolverine coming to get him a pep talk and the appearance of a new Hobgoblin.[Continuity 2] He thinks how the Arranger told him that the Kingpin wanted to see him, and how he got the file that explains how Leeds was the Hobgoblin and how the Foreigner had him killed, to how Flash Thompson assisted him in defeating the new Hobgoblin.[Continuity 3] With Flash's name cleared, and the fact that he rededicated himself to being Spider-Man, the wall-crawler begins his hunt for the new Hobgoblin.[Continuity 4]
Meanwhile, in Greenwich Village, Dina tries calling all over the place to find her lover Richard Fisk. She is worried about him after he disappeared a few days ago. She fears that, due to his being the Rose, she fears that the Hobgoblin may have killed him. Alfredo assures her Richard is still alive, figuring he has been laying low. While at St. Patrick's cathedral, Richard Fisk has entered a confessional to talk about how his life has spiralled out of control. He starts by explaining how it all began years ago when he had retreated to the Hamptons to get away from his father. It was then that Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds came to learn more about his father, the Kingpin, for a series of investigative reports on the notorious mobster. However, at the time, Richard didn't want to talk warning Ned that his father will either kill Leeds' story or Ned himself. However, Ned wasn't easily scared that easily, that's when Alfredo tells Leeds to take a hike. Before Leeds left, Richard told him that he attempted to overthrow his father in the past, only to get burned in the end.[Continuity 5] On his way out, Ned swears that he has only just begin to try and take down the Kingpin. Richard goes on to say that Ned Leeds followed him and Alfredo as they travelled the globe living the playboy lifestyle. Richard figured it was all over when his father promised his mother to give up his life of crime.[Continuity 6]
Richard goes on to say that his father came out of retirement when the Kingpin's former minions kidnapped his wife.[Continuity 7] His mother was injured in an explosion and lost her memory until she was rescued from the dregs of society by Daredevil in order to stop the Kingpin from backing a crooked politician.[Continuity 8] When the news reached Richard and Alfredo they were in France. Seeing that his mother was being traded like a commodity, Richard decided that it was time to take a stand. They secretly moved back to New York City where they began planning to bring down the Kingpin. To start, Alfredo called in Ned Leeds to help them out in this scheme.[Continuity 9] Ned agreed and then took them to one of the Green Goblin's old lairs and shows them his newly created identity of the Hobgoblin. While Ned began the Hobgoblin's career, Alfredo recruited Johnson and Varley, two crooked cops to be his lieutenants of his new criminal empire.[Continuity 10] With the Hobgoblin's credibility established, Richard Fisk took on the costumed identity of the Rose in order to protect his identity. They then staged a public display where the Hobgoblin "pledged" his allegiance.[Continuity 11] However, as the scheme progressed, the Hobgoblin became more and more unhinged. He became obsessed with getting any remaining diaries written by Norman Osborn to increase his arsenal.[Continuity 12]
Things started falling apart from there, particularly when Ned Leeds discovered that his wife, Betty was having an affair with Flash Thompson. Ned became obsessed with getting revenge and planted evidence that suggested that Flash Thompson was really the Hobgoblin, leading to his arrest.[Continuity 13] With his father focusing all his time and energy on trying to destroy Daredevil, Fisk had Alfredo hack into the Kingpin's database to get information. This ended with the Kingpin leaving New York in disgrace.[Continuity 14] His mother was left in the care of a doctor and briefly left to Europe before returning to New York seemingly worse than before.[Continuity 15] During the Kingpin's absence, a gang war erupted between the Arranger, Hammerhead, the Blue Boys, Silvermane, and the Rose. During this gang war, Ned became more unhinged then ever before.[Continuity 16] The priest is horrified to hear all of this and suggests that Richard go to the police. However, Fisk can't bring himself to do this because he killed a police officer near the end of the gang war.[Continuity 17]
With this, Richard realises that he had become just as ruthless as his father, especially now that he thinks all of his friends are dead.[Continuity 18] Richard then flees the confessional booth and runs out into the night. Later, Richard arrives at Fisk Tower when he concedes victory to his father and pledges his allegiance to the Kingpin.
- Spider-Man was convinced that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man #289. However, this is a lie, as revealed in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #1–3, the real Hobgoblin was actually Roderick Kingsley. After deciding to abandon his costumed identity, Kingsley brainwashed Leeds into thinking that he was the Hobgoblin.
- Wolverine came to talk to Spider-Man about the wall-crawler's guilt over the murder of Ned Leeds in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1. Spider-Man states this happened in West Berlin. This is a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as Berlin reunified in 1989.
- The Arranger spoke with Spider-Man last issue and the battle with the Hobgoblin occurred in Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- Peter decided to quit being Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #275, but this got delayed when Flash was accused of being the Hobgoblin in the following issue. Spider-Man decided to continue his career after Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- Richard previously attempted to overthrow his father when he posed as the Schemer in Amazing Spider-Man #83–85.
- Specifically, the Kingpin divested himself of his criminal activities in Amazing Spider-Man #197.
- This happened in Daredevil #170–172. The Kingpin returned to crime after his wife seemingly perished in an explosion.
- This was the backing of Randolph Cherry. Daredevil found Vanessa and convinced the Kingpin to stand down in Daredevil #180.
- As explained in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3, these events occur after the Hobgoblin was defeated by Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #250–251. Ned's willingness to assist Richard Fisk in his scheme was a product of Roderick Kingsley's brainwashing.
- This cache of Goblin weapons was actually found by Kingsley, who created the Hobgoblin identity back in Amazing Spider-Man #238–239. Up until that point, Kingsley was always the one under the mask as the Hobgoblin as explained in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #1–3.
- This happened in Amazing Spider-Man #258, however the Rose wasn't meeting Ned Leeds, but Roderick Kingsley as revealed in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3.
- Roderick Kingsley collected the lion-share of these journals in Amazing Spider-Man #238, but they were destroyed in Amazing Spider-Man #250. He later attacked Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man #260 to try and obtain more.
- Betty and Flash began their affair in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107 and Ned found out in Amazing Spider-Man #273. Flash was framed in Amazing Spider-Man #276. However, this had nothing to do with Flash's affair with Betty. As explained in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3, Kingsley explained that he decided to frame Flash after Thompson called the Hobgoblin a coward on the news, the affair was just a convenient contrivance.
- Alfredo broke into the Kingpin's database in Amazing Spider-Man #287. The Kingpin became obsessed with eliminating Daredevil lasted from Daredevil #227–233.
- Vanessa went to Europe in Marvel Graphic Novel: Daredevil Love and War #1 only to be back in New York City in Amazing Spider-Man #285.
- The Gang War ran from Amazing Spider-Man #284–288. By this point, Roderick Kingsley retired from his costumed activities leaving Ned Leeds to continue on as the Hobgoblin, as explained in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3. The splash panel depicts Silvermane getting killed during the Gang War. He was seemingly killed in Amazing Spider-Man #284, however he turns up alive in Web of Spider-Man #80. The original twin towers of the World Trade Center are depicted as part of the New York City skyline. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 as these towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001 and a new building has since been reconstructed in its place.
- The Rose shot and killed a rookie police officer in Amazing Spider-Man #286.
- Richard was led to believe that Alfredo was killed last issue.
Flashbacks and behind the scenes events in this story affect the chronology of the following characters:
- Flashback: Page 5, Panel 4-Page 13, Panel 4 - Richard Fisk, Alfredo, and Ned Leeds begin building their conspiracy to oust the Kingpin.
- Flashback: Page 15, Panel 2 - The Rose worries that Ned is taking the Hobgoblin role too seriously.
- Flashback: Page 20, Panel 3-4 - The Rose is forced to shoot a police officer.
- Main Story: Page 1-21 - Richard Fisk confesses his sins to a priest.
- Page 22 - Richard pledges his allegiance to the Kingpin.
- Flashback - Alfredo helps Richard begin the conspiracy against the Kingpin.
- Page 5, Panel 4-Page 6, Panel 5 - Ned Leeds approaches Richard Fisk to give him info on the Kingpin.
- Page 7, Panels 2-4 - Leeds begin following Richard all over the world to pressure him into talking.
- Page 9-13, Panel 4 - Ned becomes the Hobgoblin to assist the Rose in taking down the Kingpin.
The episode's last page showed an advertisement of Mary Jane and Peter's wedding in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 and recap of their relationship in Marvel Saga the Official History of the Marvel Universe #22.