Amazing Spider-Man #287-288
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #287, Amazing Spider-Man #288
Issue #287 is actually more notable for the first Marvel work by Erik Larsen (who had already created his Savage Dragon character and done other work at smaller publishers like AC and Eclipse).
I like his art here. It's definitely still early in career, and he's also seemingly restraining himself to align more with Marvel's house style.
#287 is almost entirely a Spider-Man / Daredevil battle...
...and it does at least give us this image of Daredevil in a fat suit.
Earlier in this issue, Spider-Man thinks to himself that Daredevil "pretends" to be blind, which is weird phrasing since Spider-Man seems to know that Daredevil is actually blind but supplements it with his radar sense.
Later, after instinctively trying to web up Daredevil's eyes during the fight, he realizes that was a dumb idea because "the guy's blind". So he does know that Daredevil's eyes don't work.
The whole fight is just part of a decoy so that the Kingpin can slip into the city elsewhere. However, the Hobgoblin (who has apparently severed his partnership with the Rose) had earlier interrogated Alfredo Morelli, who we learn has been tapping communications for the Rose, and so he's able to find the Kingpin's true location. And he collects from the Kingpin information on Soviet spy operatives (a topic we saw Ned Leeds talking to Joe Robertson about earlier). In return he gives the Kingpin information on the Rose's true identity, but the Kingpin already knows it.
Earlier, while Morelli is talking with the Rose/Richard Fisk, we see Morelli's twisted sense of justice.
Continuing the various clues/red herrings, we see Lance Bannon in an argument with Roderick Kingsley.
And then issue #288, the wrap-up deluge.
The Kingpin, having taken power again, begins mopping up in his own organization, starting with the doctor that did a bad job of keeping his wife Vanessa sedated.
The doctor is personally executed by Kingpin.
He then fires the Jack O'Lantern.
And has a bunch of people killed.
The Kingpin and the Rose have a confrontation but it doesn't resolve anything.
And the Kingpin gathers all of his lieutenants in a single place where he arranges a charade wherein it seems he's going to have them executed but instead they are rescued by Daredevil, Tork, and the Falcon, Black Cat, and Spider-Man so that they can just be arrested. Everyone is in on it except poor Spider-Man (and i think Black Cat, but of course she's got her own secret dealings), a dupe again.
The event also serves as a distraction so Kingpin can have Vanessa transported to Europe.
Spider-Man of course doesn't like being duped, so he confronts the Kingpin but (as we've seen before), realizes that he can't really do anything.
That locket he is holding is from the Daredevil: Love & War graphic novel. Actually, it seems a good portion of issue #288 is devoted to fixing the fact that Vanessa was no longer with the Kingpin after that Graphic Novel but she was shown still comatose earlier in this storyline, and the above scene with the locket actively undermines that story to a degree.
Continuing the unsatisfying wrap-up, here's both Hammerhead and the Punisher claiming they're going to do stuff. But Hammerhead won't be seen again until Web of Spider-Man #51, and Punisher next appears in his own new series.
And continued teases regarding Lance Bannon and Ned Leeds.
The Hobgoblin pretty randomly attacks Jack O'Lantern during this story (vengeance just because he ran away previously?) and Alfredo Morelli gets in on the fight too.
This also ends inconclusively.
Frankly, if this wasn't marked as "Part Five The Conclusion" you'd never know this was really the end of Gang War. Hammerhead is still active, the Rose is still active, the Blue Boys are unexplained and while it seemed we might get a resolution on the Hobgoblin identity, that doesn't happen yet, with the mystery instead getting dragged out further.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man's life has turned into a Betty & Veronica situation.
I leave you with this:
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 276,064. Single issue closest to filing date = 288,300.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Spider-Man's call from Daredevil in issue #286 was "a few days ago" giving us time to place a number of other Spider-Man appearances during Gang War. A footnote in issue #288 tells us that Gang War #1-5 take place before Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1 (since Ned Leeds is alive) and after the Daredevil Graphic Novel (1986's Love and War / Marvel Graphic Novel #24; Vanessa left the Kingpin in that issue). An opening spread in #288 also shows Blaze among the participants of Gang War, either indicating an Untold Story or that Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #123 ought to be considered part of Gang War.
Either way i've placed it during Gang War, between Amazing #286-287 since the firebombing of the Black Cat's apartment is also referenced.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAbraham Varley, Arranger, Arthur Chekov, Aunt May, Ben Urich, Black Cat, Daniel Johnston, Daredevil, Dina (Richard Fisk's girlfriend), Falcon, Flash Thompson, Gauntlet (Alfredo Morelli), Gladiator, Hammerhead, Harriet Rose Palermo, Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley), Jason Macendale, Karen Page, Kingpin, Lance Bannon, Mary Jane Watson, Ned Leeds, Punisher, Redwing, Richard Fisk, Sgt. Tork, Spider-Man, Vanessa Fisk, Victor Palermo
The "why Spider-Man doesn't have ears" sounds like it is trying to defuse it before it becomes another "why Iron Man doesn't have a nose" scenario...and Marvel probably didn't want to go through THAT again.
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 5, 2014 1:17 PM
We never do get an explanation as to why Lance was doing all those things (arguing with Kingsley, photographing the Hobgoblin, getting excited on seeing Betty with Flash) if he wasn't the Hobgoblin. And where did he go if he wasn't the Hobgoblin when the Hobgoblin attacked Flash?
Posted by: Michael | March 5, 2014 7:55 PM
Aside from the "Who was the Hobgoblin" mess, I still want to insist that they would have been better off making Lance Bannon into Venom than just creating Eddie Brock. It's a much better set-up.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 11, 2015 10:38 AM
Given that they're called the "blue boys," my guess is that they were intended to be either a bunch of corrupt cops or, more likely, a vigilante group secretly composed of police officers like the one from the Dirty Harry film Magnum Force.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 20, 2015 9:51 PM
Congrats Phil of Calgary!
You passed the you're a moron test with flying colors!
Posted by: JC | December 24, 2015 6:24 PM
About Lance...he was a pretty good suspect to be the Hobgoblin. I know he was mine back in the day. In addition to the parallels with Peter Parker, Lance was shown to have money, as there was an issue or two where he drove around in a fancy car that his photography job couldn't cover. Stern likely had some history for him in mind, but never got the chance to tell it.
As for the explanation to what Lance was doing all those things, Michael, it's actually all right there in the stories. He was preparing to tell a huge expose on the Hobgoblin. He had all those photos on the wall, he was seen in #284 in the rafters taking photos of Spider-Man's fight with the Blue Boys. He very likely found out Ned was the Hobgoblin (at that time), which would explain why he was hassling Kingsley and was concerned Ned himself would discover what he was up to when Leeds visited him in #288. In the same issue, when Lance saw Flash Thompson in Betty's window, he knew he had the chance to speak with the guy Ned framed to be the Hobgoblin, but he likely saw Ned entering Betty's apartment (as Hobby) and took off like a bat out of hell. In addition, Lance was very likely the guy in shadows that recognized Peter Parker in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #271, which also saw the return of Kingsley (which DeFalco was setting up to be the Rose).
How Lance discovered Ned was the Hobgoblin is another thing, but it seemed obvious that he did. This expose could explain all of his absences during this period, too.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | October 12, 2016 11:07 AM
Andrew, your explanations for Lance's behavior certainly make sense but Michael's comments remain valid: the writers never did explain Lance's odd behavior here. Part of the big wrap-up over the next several issues should have been devoted to explaining this. We never get confirmation that he knew Ned was the Hobgoblin. And if he did know, the writers missed a big opportunity to follow-up on this when Ned showed up dead and a new Hobgoblin appeared on the scene. Did Lance just drop his story then? And how did he make the connection between Hobgoblin/Ned and Kingsley? Too bad Lance was killed off before "Hobgoblin Lives". It would have been interesting to see how Stern would have explained all this.
Posted by: ira13 | November 13, 2016 10:30 AM
Daredevil wearing a Kingpin fat suit reminded me so much of the time he disguised himself as Thor. At least the guy has kind of consistent long term hobbies.
Posted by: OverMaster | June 25, 2017 5:39 PM
He invented an entire goofy ensemble for Mike Murdock. For someone with radar senses instead of sight, Matt knows his costuming. (outside the yellow suit...but you can blame just starting out then...or just not caring about color due to being blind. Seriously, I could see a Toph joke with that)
Posted by: Ataru320 | June 25, 2017 6:25 PM
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