Appearing in "The Best Defense"
- Nick Katzenberg
- Sgt. Blume
- Alfredo Morelli (Photo)
- Vanessa Fisk (Photo)
- Ned Leeds (Photo)
- Rebecca (Richard Fisk's fiance)
- Twitch (Death)
Synopsis for "The Best Defense"
Richard Fisk is training against a number of warriors in the Kingpin's office as part of a training session. He fights with savagery, unwilling to surrender in order to prove his father wrong, that he does have the killer instinct to be his successor.[Continuity 1] Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swinging across the city, exhausted after his ordeals with the mob hit on Peter Parker, and his battle against the Hobgoblin and Demogoblin. That's when he sees someone flying by on a goblin glider. At first, he thinks it might be Harry Osborn, but upon closer inspection, it turns out to be Demogoblin.[Continuity 2] Spotting the wall-crawler, Demogoblin tells them that they are not enemies and that he is seeking out Jason Macendale to destroy him. As Demogoblin leaves, Spider-Man tries to tag him with a spider-tracer but misses. He has no other choice but to let Demogoblin go because he has to continue tracking down the Rose.
At that moment, Sgt. Blume of the NYPD pays a visit to the Parker's apartment in Soho and discovers that nobody is home. Looking around the apartment, he overhears a voicemail left by Peter's wife Mary Jane saying telling him that she and Aunt May are having a great time in the Catskills.[Continuity 3] While at the Upper East Side penthouse, Richard Fisk spends time with his new fiancee Rebecca. She notices the bruise on his face, but he dismisses it as just family business. He then gets upset when Rebecca knocks over some photographs. He apologizes for his sudden outburst, because they are photos of his mother, his best friend Alfredo, and Ned Leeds, the most important people in his life. When she asks what happened to them, and he says that it is a complicated story.[Continuity 4]
They are then interrupted by one of Richard's men who tells him that the "package" he has been waiting for has arrived. He excusese himself and enters the other room where he is discovers that his men have managed to track down and capture Jason Macendale, the Hobgoblin. Macendale has shrugged off the beating he received given all he has been through in the past year.[Continuity 5] Fisk explains that he intends to avenge the death of Ned Leeds.[Continuity 6] However, Macendale has been a mercinary for far too many years and manages to break free and get ahold of a gun. Finding themselves in a stand off, Macendale explains that he is looking at getting back into the mercenary game and is offering his services to kill Peter Parker. Flipping down the photo of Ned Leeds, Richard Fisk has decided to take him up on the offer.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man continues his hunt for the Rose but doesn't find any leads until he is told the location of the Rose's Brooklyn hideout by an underworld stoolie named Twitch. As it turns out, Twitch was being paid by Nick Katzenberg to provide this information to the wall-crawler. After Katzenberg is gone, Twitch hears someone moving around nearby. He is soon ambushed by someone who kills Twitch for talking to the wrong people. While in Brooklyn, the Rose informs Richard Fisk that his father, the Kingpin, is going down and that they no longer need to eliminate Peter Parker.[Continuity 7] However, Richard refuses to change his plans until he says so, reminding the Rose that he created him. The pair come to blows and their men prepare to engage in gunfire. However, Richard orders everyone to stand down, reminding them that they are all friends. He then asks the Rose to wait and humor him for what happens.
Sure enough, Spider-Man arrives shortly thereafter much to the horror of the Rose. However, there are armed warriors that ambush him with various high tech weapons. To make matters worse, Spider-Man spots a homeless woman and her child in caught in the middle of the corssfire. Meanwhile, the Rose is demanding that this madness end immediately. Suddenly, the Hobgoblin comes crashing through the skylight. Richard is disappointed that the Rose won't fall in line and considers their partnership over. With that said, the Hobgoblin picks up Fisk and carries him away. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is ambushed by the men hired to eliminate him. After getting the homeless woman and her child to safety leaves Spider-Man open to attack from the Praetorian Guide. When their leader tries to shoot the wall-crawler in the head, Spider-Man bends the barrel of his gun. Unfortunately, the warrior is not without other weapons. He grabs Spider-Man and jolts him into unconciousness with his electrified gauntlets. With Spider-Man defeated, he is presented to Richard Fisk and the Hobgoblin. The latter pulls out one of his razor-bats, having looked forward to this for quite some time.
- This is not actually Richard Fisk, but his best friend Alfredo Morelli. As revealed in Web of Spider-Man #100. For the sake of clarity, the real Richard Fisk is disguised as the Rose here due to the fact that Sgt. Blume is operating in his capacity as a police officer.
- At the time of this story, Spider-Man was also searching for Harry Osborn, who had just recently become the Green Goblin again as seen in Spectacular Spider-Man #178–185.
- 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.
- The relationships at play here are quite complicated indeed. In the case of Vanessa Fisk, she has had mental health problems since a near death experience in Daredevil #171. She has been recovering in Europe since Amazing Spider-Man #288. Although "Richard Fisk" is Alfredo in disguise, to the world at large he seemingly died in Web of Spider-Man #30 as part of this ruse. As for Ned Leeds, Richard and Alfredo thought he was their ally the Hobgoblin in their previous scheme. Leeds was murdered in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1. However, in reality, their ally was actually Roderick Kingsley, who unknown to them brainwashed Ned Leeds into thinking he was the Hobgoblin, as seen in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #1–3.
- He is referring to being possessed by a demon since Spectacular Spider-Man #147 until last issue. Macendale says it has been about a year since this situation this is accurate per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 and should be considered a factual reference.
- The Hobgoblin's role in Ned Leeds death was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #289.
- The Kingpin's eventual fall is chronicled in Daredevil #300.