Appearing in "Friends and Enemies"
- New York City
Synopsis for "Friends and Enemies"
At the offices of J. Jonah Jameson Publishing Company, Joe Robertson is upset that Jonah used a photo of Spider-Man taken by Peter Parker after Joe refused to accept any more pictures from Peter due to ethical reasons. As Jonah and Joe argue with each other, Peter and his wife Mary Jane are witness to the heated words.[Continuity 1] Whispering, Peter explains to Mary Jane that he had to say he "faked" their advertising promo featuring Spider-Man in order to protect his secret identity, and that Joe took issue as he viewed it as unethical for a photojournalist to do so.[Continuity 2] Jonah explains that he has to think about the money he has been putting into his new publishing venture and that Peter, regardless of Joe's feelings about him, provided a newsworthy photo. Unwilling to listen to anymore, Joe storms out of the office. Peter tells Mary Jane that he needs to try and talk to him and follows Robertson into the elevator. Mary Jane is then approached by Betty Brant, who has just started working as Jonah's secretary again. MJ can't believe how good Betty looks considering everything she has endured in recent times.[Continuity 3]
In Upper Manhattan, Mark Raxton ends the first day at his job working for Osborn Chemicals. As he walks off the plant property, he overhears two of his co-workers making fun of his appearance and criminal past.[Continuity 4] As he prepares to cross the street, a limo parks right in front of him. The passenger window rolls down and a man points a gun at Mark, telling him to get in the back. Raxton complies, unaware that the Green Goblin is observing from above. Inside the limo is the mobster known as Tombstone, who has come asking Raxton for his help on a job.[Continuity 5] Tombstone asks Raxton to help him steal a supply of Diox-3, a chemical created by Osborn Chemical. He explains that the chemical is beneficial in the production of cocaine and that Tombstone intends to steal it that evening, with or without Raxton's help. He warns Mark that if he refuses, they will plant evidence that frames Mark for the crimes.
Meanwhile, at a small cafe near Battery Park, Mary Jane asks Betty how she would have acted if her friends intervened in her life after the death of her husband Ned. She admits that she would have hated it, even though it would have caused her less grief. Although she did go a little crazy at the time, Betty says that she needed to process it in her own way. When Betty asks who she is asking about, Mary Jane tells her that she can't say, and she hasn't told her husband Peter either, but now she is sure she will.[Continuity 6] Meanwhile, a few blocks away from the World Trade Center, Peter continues to try and explain himself to Joe Robertson.[Continuity 7] The two argue their points, and before parting ways, they both say things that they regret after so many years a friendship. Both men know the root of the issue, that Joe came back a changed person after his brief stint in prison.[Continuity 8] As Peter changes into Spider-Man and swings away, he thinks Joe's judgment isn't fair. At that moment, Joe is approached by one of the prisoners on his old cell block, who tells Joe that he has a lead on where he can find Tombstone.
As Spider-Man swings for home, his spider-sense goes off warning him of danger. On the roof, he spots Mark Raxton lurking around on a nearby rooftop. Finding this suspicious, Spider-Man confronts RAxton. Mark explains that he is clean and tells the wall-crawler about Tombstone's plan to rob Osborn Chemical of the Diox-3 and asks for the hero's assistance in stopping him. Since Mark's brother-in-law has put his faith in Mark, Spider-Man decides to do so as well and agrees to help him stop Tombstone. After Raxton has left, Spider-Man returns home and changes out of his costume. There, his wife Mary Jane tells him about the Green Goblin gear stashed away in the Osborn home. Peter wishes she would have told him sooner and insists that there is only one thing they can do. They go downstairs and tell Harry's wife Liz about the discovery. Liz finds this hard to believe as she was told that Harry destroyed the costume after he used it last.[Continuity 9] However, when Mary Jane shows them the hiding place there is nothing there. As Liz demands an apology, Peter's spider-sense goes off warning him of some unseen danger, unaware that the Green Goblin is currently hovering outside the window.
Later that night, the Molten Man is there to open the gates when Tombstone and his men come to steal the Diox-3. As they head toward the processing plant they are unaware that they have been following inside by Joe Robertson. The Molten Man leads them into the Diox-3 facility where they discover that Spider-Man has been waiting for them. Although Tombstone and his men have been set up, they have prepared for such a contingency. Opening the back of his van, Tombstone reveals that he has a gang of men with high tech armor and weapons ready to deal with super-powered threats. As Spider-Man and the Molten Man fight off Tombstone's goons, the mobster goes looking for the Diox-3, unaware that Joe Robertson is secretly following him in order to end their feud once and for all. Suddenly, Spider-Man and Mark are assisted by the Harry in his Green Goblin costume, who has come to help. At that same moment, Tombstone has found the testing chamber for Diox-3 and is confronted by Joe. As it turns out, Tombstone was expecting him and charges at Robertson. In a panic, Joe fires his gun, hitting Tombstone in the chest and sending him reeling backward into the test chamber. His elbow strikes the electronic lock on the door, sealing Tombstone inside as the chamber fills with Diox-3.
By this time, Spider-Man and his allies have defeated Tombstone's goons. With the battle over, the Green Goblin explains that "Harry" had asked him to guard the facility and help out Spider-Man and the Molten Man. The wall-crawler accepts the explanation, but fears that Harry may be having another breakdown. They then go looking for Tombstone and find Joe Robertson trying to open the Diox-3 chamber. As the trio help to open the chamber, the Green Goblin explains that Diox-3 bonds to the cellular walls of plants to prevent decomposition, but doesn't know what effect it will have on animal tissue. When they finally get the chamber open, they discover the rear wall has been blown open from the inside and that there is no sign of Tombstone. The Green Goblin insists that Diox-3 is not explosive, leaving them to wonder what really happened. Spider-Man insists that they try and find out as quickly as possible.
The Green Goblin returns! Tombstone and Molten Man plot new mayhem!
- 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.
- The photo of Peter Parker unmasking himself was taken by Nick Katzenberg in Web of Spider-Man #63.
- Betty had a mental break following the death of her husband Ned Leeds in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1.
- The two employees gloss over the accident that gave Mark Raxton his golden skin in Amazing Spider-Man #28.
- Mark recalls how Tombstone had recently broken out of prison and joined up with Hammerhead's mob. That was in Spectacular Spider-Man #157.
- Mary Jane had recently discovered that Harry Osborn had kept his Green Goblin equipment. That happened last issue.
- The original twin towers are depicted at the site of the World Trade Center. 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 a new tower has since been constructed in its place.
- As revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #139, Joe failed to report a murder committed by Tombstone 20 years earlier. As a result, he was found guilty of being an accessory to murder and sent to prison in Spectacular Spider-Man #150. He was ultimately pardoned in Spectacular Spider-Man #161.
- Harry briefly became the Green Goblin again in Amazing Spider-Man #312 in order to defend his family from the Hobgoblin.