Characters Appearing: Dina (Richard Fisk's girlfriend), Gauntlet (Alfredo Morelli), Kingpin, Richard Fisk, Spider-Man
Web of Spider-Man #30
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #30
I similarly can't imagine Fisk as the Hobgoblin, a character whose motivations seem more about amassing power for himself. He's too much of a super-villain, obsessed with gaining more strength and equipment to defeat Spider-Man and engaging in flamboyant battles. Guys like that wind up working for the Kingpin, not challenging him.
All that said, i really don't like Priest's idea that Richard Fisk is really a squeaky clean good guy. This is a guy that previously battled his father in the streets as the Schemer and then worked his way up the ranks of Hydra. And you can read through the Rose's (non-Priest) appearances and clearly see examples of real criminal activity that don't fit Priest's interpretation. Plus it just makes the character a wimpy whiner now that he thinks he's in over his head. This issue has him mewling in a confessional to a priest...
...as a device to give us the background when he and Ned "Hobgoblin" Leeds first met.
And some other details, like how Johnston and Varley got recruited.
"We were... ultimately... the good guys".
Since this is just Fisk's telling, and he's clearly in a state of mental distress, i'd like to believe that his story here is just the one he made up in his own head (although it most likely contains elements of truth). He's a good guy only in his own mind, and it's something that started to conflict him only he met his girlfriend Dina. There's nothing here that says this, but it does coincidentally work out that way (because that's when Priest started writing him). This is also how i'd explain any discrepancies between the revelations here and what's eventually revealed in Roger Stern's Hobgoblin Lives.
At the end of this issue, Fisk tells his father that he wins, and "agrees" to work for him. This is meant to be a twist ending after all his crying to the priest, but we're spared a "WTF is my basketcase of a son talking about?" thought bubble from the Kingpin.
We're moving into a new era for the Spider books, and this is the last we'll see of Richard Fisk for a while.
As a story, this is really an undramatic ambling explanation, and it's one that doesn't try to square any of the inherent contradictions in the recent Rose and Hobgoblin revelations. Artwise the book had five inkers, and it shows (you really shouldn't use the very distinct Kyle Baker in a fill-in capacity). So it's just a failure.
In an introductory scene providing a different set of flashbacks with the details of recent issues, Spider-Man refers to "this new Hobgoblin" a few times, which seems to suggest that he doesn't remember that the Kingpin told him that it was Jason Macendale, formerly the Jack O'Lantern.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: A footnote on the opening page tells us this takes place "right after Amazing Spider-Man 289 and Web of Spider-Man #29, and before Spectacular Spider-Man #128 and Amazing Spider-Man #290. Yeah -- we know it's confusing -- but no one ever said we knew what we were doing! -- Red Faced Jim Salicrup". I dunno, that makes perfect sense to me. This book is almost entirely a flashback from Fisk in the confessional - Spider-Man, Alfredo, Dina, and Kingpin only appear briefly in the present.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Motorvate? Alfredo has his own slang I guess.
Posted by: Robert | March 28, 2014 3:28 PM
Actually, that is genuine '80s slang.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 28, 2014 6:36 PM
Richard Fisk made a certain amount of sense as the Hobgoblin. He was wealthy, unlike Ned, and the Hobgoblin was clearly wealthy in his early appearances. (This story doesn't attempt to explain that, does it?) More importantly, the Hobgoblin got touchy every time someone accused him of being crazy. DeFalco's idea was that he was afraid he was nuts like his mother, a twisted mirror image of Harry's fears.
Posted by: Michael | March 28, 2014 7:54 PM
Each subsequent writer seems to have taken steps to absolutely rule out the previous guy's choice for Hobby's identity. Stern intends it to be Kingsley. DeFalco eliminates Kingsley by assigning him the Rose identity instead. DeFalco then reframed the mystery, with Ned Leeds as a heavily promoted red herring--DeFalco even may have told Frenz and others at Marvel that it really was Ned--but with Richard Fisk as his choice for Hobgoblin.
But Priest won't let DeFalco make it Fisk, and once Priest fires DeFalco he eliminates DeFalco's candidate by doing to DeFalco what DeFalco had done to Stetn: making his guy the Rose instead.
Priest also eliminated the character to whom all if DeFalco's false clues pointed--Ned--by killing him off.
But then Priest got fired before he could set up his own candidates, and Peter David was brought in to wrap it up. Priest or Salicrup suggested that PAD make Hobby the Foreigner, but PAD objected.
Instead, PAD found an elegant solution that the other writers had never seriously considered: it really was Ned. This was an elegant answer because 1.) it would be a heckuva surprise, now that Ned was dead, 2.) it agreed with DeFalco's clues, and 3.) with Ned dead, the Spider books could definitively move on. PAD tells his side of things here, http://www.peterdavid.net/2004/11/18/foolish-consistencies-and/
Each writer was basically trying to take control of the mystery and eliminate the earlier writer's candidate, until PAD was called upon at short notice to just end the whole thing. He went with a logical candidate, one who was in some senses the prime suspect, based on what DeFalco had led almost everyone to believe.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 28, 2014 11:14 PM
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