Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Bob McLeod (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: After Hobgoblin kills several of the Foreigner’s men while training, he agrees to pay off his debt by killing Moon Knight and Nick Katzenberg. Foreigner notifies Spider-Man of Hobgoblin’s assignment, hoping to add another level of difficulty for his prospective employee. Spider-Man finds Moon Knight and joins in his fight against Hobgoblin. When Hobgoblin mistakenly believes Moon Knight has drowned, he flees. The heroes follow, hoping to save Katzenberg’s life.
The Subplots: Mary Jane is jealous of the time Peter’s been spending with Betty. He buys her flowers and a pack of Malomars to placate her. Meanwhile, the imprisoned Demogoblin calls out to the Doppelganger.
*See _________ For Details: Mary Jane worries that Peter is emotionally fragile following the return of his parents in Amazing Spider-Man #365 and #366. Hobgoblin previously fought Moon Knight in Moon Knight #32 & #33. Moon Knight needs Reed Richards for a cure for “whatever is rotting my body away.” A footnote says Moon Knight #40-43 has the details.
I Love the ‘90s: When the Foreigner uses a spotlight with a Spider-Man design to draw his attention, the hero remarks that he feels like he’s in a Michael Keaton movie.
Review: It’s odd that the Foreigner quickly disappeared from the books after killing Ned Leeds, only to resurface in several Web issues in a row five years later. Perhaps Howard Mackie felt that characters like Foreigner and Richard Fisk shouldn’t have disappeared into limbo, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that he should’ve been the one to revive them. His big idea for Richard Fisk was to literally turn him into his father, and the Foreigner doesn’t seem to do anything but hire and train cannon fodder.
This is the second story in a row that has the Foreigner casually allowing the death of his agents, which seems like an uneconomical way of running a criminal empire. Foreigner claims that killing the men wasn’t a part of Hobgoblin’s training fee, so now he has to work off the debt, but why did he allow this in the first place? Instead of standing by and offering a dispassionate commentary while Hobgoblin murdered some of his finest men, couldn’t he have tried to stop him? And if the idea is that Hobgoblin is worth the loss of a dozen men, that requires us to ignore just how many battles he’s lost over the years. Mackie’s trying to resell the Jason Macendale Hobgoblin as a real menace, but giving him AIM weapons (Liefeld guns, basically) only serves to undermine his gimmick. If the Hobgoblin has to resort to using laser cannons, he’s not really the Hobgoblin anymore.
Outside of the superhero battles, there’s a brief subplot scene with MJ uncharacteristically nagging Peter about helping Betty Brant in the previous arc. I’ve always been under the impression that Mackie doesn’t understand MJ’s character, and this is an early hint of what’s to come. She isn’t a nag, she isn’t particularly jealous, and she’s not going to put Peter down for helping out a friend. I doubt she could’ve had a successful modeling career if she routinely consumed entire boxes of Malomars at a time, either.