Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #276

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeanne Burch

Story 'Unmasked!'

Hovering over the prone form of Spider-Man, the Hobgoblin continues to gloat. "It was only a matter of time before he'd be crushed by my skill! My cunning! My genius!"

Moving at the last minute, Spider-Man adds, "And let's not forget your big mouth!!" Knowing he has little time before the Hobgoblin discovers how shaken up he is, Spider-Man throws a sling full of congealed web-fluid on the Hobgoblin's face. Blinded, the Hobgoblin rips off his mask. "Got to cover my face! If I should be recognized--! No! The disgrace would be too great!" Gunning his glider, the Hobgoblin speeds away.

Interviewed on television about his girlfriend's kidnapping, Flash vents his frustration about life in general on the Hobgoblin. "He's a big bully who has to get dressed up in a stupid costume in order to terrorize defenseless women! A first-class sicko!" (A nice speech from someone who hit his girlfriend the previous issue--but I digress...) When his partner the Rose consoles him on the interview, the Hobgoblin is amused. "I can exploit it for my own advantage," he says. "After all, Spider-Man isn't the only one who will soon taste the wrath of the Hobgoblin!" Later Flash, still consumed with self pity, hears someone from an ally call his name. "Do you recognize me, Thompson?" Flash gasps: "Ohmigosh! You--!!"

Searching among the city's skyscrapers for each other, the Hobgoblin and Spider-Man finally connect. The Hobgoblin says, "Even you had to realize that this war between us has gone on much too long! No matter what the outcome, we must settle things tonight!"

"No argument here, Hobby--just so long as you're the one who loses!" The Hobgoblin speeds toward the warehouse district. Swinging after him, Spider- man calls out. "Hey, Fright-Face! I though you came out to fight! Where's your courage? Did you leave it in your other costume?"

"I love it when you think with your mouth instead of your brain, Spider-man! It makes it so much easier to set you up for -- the kill!"

The bomb thrown by the Hobgoblin releases a gas; Spider-Man loses his grip and falls, realizing that his ability to adhere to surfaces has been neutralized. But he is not helpless. Rebounding off the sides of buildings, Spider-Man vaults to the back of the Hobgoblin's glider and gets the Hobgoblin in a headlock. "You're finished! Do you hear me?! Finished!!"

The Hobgoblin responds with: "While it is true that one of us shall surely fall tonight--I can unequivocally guarantee you that it won't be me!...You've pushed me too far, Web-swinger!...I must kill you!"

"Are you sure you couldn't settle for just calling me a few nasty names?"

The fight continues inside the warehouse. A stray sparkle burst hits a gas furnace, causing an explosion. When the smoke clears, Spider-Man sees the unconscious form of the Hobgoblin. Ripping the mask off the still figure, he discovers: "Flash Thompson?!" The just arriving police take Flash into custody, thanking Spider-Man for a job well done. When they search Flash's apartment, they find spare Hobgoblin costumes and a small arsenal of pumpkin bombs. Listening outside the window, Spider-Man wonders what to do: "I've known Flash since high school! I can't desert him now! And yet, why should I attempt to help a man who's been trying to kill me?!"

In his secret headquarters, the real Hobgoblin is putting away his costume, thinking the heat will be off of him for a while. "It's a real shame that Thompson will have to take a fall...but, I guess, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving fellow!"

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeanne Burch