Appearing in "The Dark Within"
- Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) (Appears in flashback)
- Richard Fisk
- The Rose (Blume)
- The Rose (Fisk) (Appears in flashback)
- Hobgoblin (Jason Macendale)
- Demogoblin (First full appearance)
Synopsis for "The Dark Within"
Richard Fisk witnesses a meeting between his father, the Kingpin, and his men.[Continuity 1] What Richard witnesses is one of the few instances where his father visibly loses his temper.[Continuity 2] The Kingpin is furious at the latest failure of one of his men and beats him within an inch of his life. When Wilson orders his son to kill the man, Richard refuses. The Kingpin crushes the man's head with his foot, warning his son that he will be unworthy to take over his empire if he doesn't develop his killer instinct. As the Kingpin exits the room, Richard can't help but think that Daredevil is starting to get at his father, particularly after the loss of Typhoid Mary.[Continuity 3]
Meanwhile, Spider-Man is trying to get a hold of himself after almost crossing the line in trying to find out who put a hit out on Peter Parker for a photo he didn't even take. His thoughts are interrupted by his spider-sense alerting him of a mugging in progress. Without saying a single word, Spider-Man quickly incapacitates the thieves and leaves them strung up for the authorities. While at the Tombs Prison, Jason Macendale undergoes yet another painful transformation between his human and demonic forms. As he undergoes this painful transformation, some armed men gun the guards and force their way into the facility. When they arrive at the Hobgoblin's cell, they tell him that they have been hired to set him free and begin setting plastic explosives on the bulletproof glass of the villain's cell. While at the Rose's hideout in Brooklyn, Richard Fisk looks over operations. He thinks about how this operation would have been his not too long ago. Smelling the roses that are growing in this hideout makes Richard think back to his past. How, as he grew up, his mother shielded him from the criminal enterprises of his father. Even as she shipped him off to private school, Richard can see the toll his father's operations had on her health. It was during his time abroad that he met first Alfredo, then Ned Leeds. The trio then began working together with Fisk becoming the Rose, and Leeds becoming the Hobgoblin in an effort to take down his father's criminal empire.[Continuity 4] However, things went sour when Leeds lost his mind and was later murdered by Jason Macendale, who took the role of the Hobgoblin in his place.[Continuity 5] With his scheme falling apart, Richard surrendered to his father and has fought by his side ever since. However, he vows to get revenge against his father and the Hobgoblin for Ned Leeds' death.
That's when Richard's thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of the Rose, who updates Richard on the hit on Peter Parker. They are interrupted when one of the Rose's men falls through the skylight. Through the hole in the glass comes the Hobgoblin who has come to kill them. However, Richard suddenly rips open his shirt, revealing a hand shaped mark on his chest. He tells the Hobgoblin that he has been touched by the same entity and that they serve the same purpose. Fisk then tells the Hobgoblin that he released them from prison to destroy the sinner Peter Parker and his bodyguard Spider-Man. Under the control of his demonic half, the Hobgoblin buys this explanation and agrees to eliminate the targets, saying he will return to judge their virtue upon their completion. This whole situation angers the Rose, who demands that he and Richard talk immediately.
Meanwhile, at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker learns from Joe Robertson that a printing error resulted in Peter's name being under Nick Katzenberg's photo. Peter is furious at this screw up, and Joe promises to make it good. That's when Nick Katzenberg comes in and makes a joke about keeping Peter's wife Mary Jane company when he eventually gets killed.[Continuity 6] Losing his temper, Peter grabs Katzenberg by the collar of his shirt and drags him into a supply room. There, he demands Nick tell him what he knows about the Rose and where to find him. When Katzenberg refuses to talk, Peter leans him out the window, but realizes what he's about to do he stops himself. He realizes Katzenberg is not worth it, and leaves. On his way out, he catches a news report about the Hobgoblin being sighted in Soho and rushes there to confront his foe. There, the Hobgoblin is outside of Peter's apartment demanding he come out and face his fate. Suddenly, the villain screams in pain as he reverts back to human form. This causes him to lose balance and fall off his glider. Thankfully, Spider-Man is there to save his life.
However, the wall-crawler is tired of these transformations, reminding Macendale how he originally came to Spider-Man and Moon Knight for help before turning on them.[Continuity 7] Returning to his demonic form, Hobgoblin blames Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Blaze for his current instability.[Continuity 8] Dodging his foes attack, Spider-Man realizes that the Hobgoblin has lost his mind. Crashing down onto the street, the Hobgoblin begins to scream once more. This time, instead of changing forms, the Hobgoblin's demonic form splits from him to become a separate entity. The demonic Hobgoblin is happy tofinally be free and is about to destroy his former host. That's when Spider-Man leaps in and pulls Macendale to safety.[Continuity 9]
While back in Brooklyn, the Rose is furious about how Richard is handling things. He points to manipulating the Hobgoblin and the strange mark on Fisk's chest. Richard pulls it off, revealing it is only make-up effects and assures him that everything will be worth it when the Kingpin is groveling at their feet.
- The narrative of this story states that this takes place before the events of Daredevil #300. In that story, Daredevil exposes the Kingpin's criminal empire, ending his career.
- To be clear, this is not Richard Fisk, but his friend Alfredo Morelli. As revealed in Web of Spider-Man #100, Alfredo underwent plastic surgery to take Richard's place in the Kingpin's empire. To be clear, the real Richard Fisk is seen later in this story, meeting with the Rose just before the Hobgoblin attacks. The man in the Rose costume is NYPD Sgt. Blume.
- Daredevil defeated Typhoid Mary in Daredevil #297.
- Fisk's scheme to take down his father as the Rose ran from Amazing Spider-Man #253 until Web of Spider-Man #30. Although Richard believes that it was Ned Leeds operating as the Hobgoblin the whole time, it was actually Roderick Kingsley. As explained in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #1–3, Kingsley originally operated as the Hobgoblin until he brainwashed Ned Leeds to take his place.
- Ned war murdered while on assignment in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1, Macendale's involvement was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- 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.
- Hobgoblin sought Spider-Man and Moon Knight's help in Marc Spector: Moon Knight #33.
- The Hobgoblin is referring to their battle in Ghost Rider (Vol. 3) #17.
- Spider-Man says the Demogoblin could compare notes with Venom. As revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #300, Eddie Brock bonded with Spider-Man's former alien costume that Spider-Man left for dead in Web of Spider-Man #1.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters: