And it’s Bob McLeod to take us into the home stretch on cover inks! Another sharp pairing for Alex. Man, “The New Kingpin.” The audacity of finding out Kingpin is going to be deposed and going, “Ah, ok!” and replacing him IMMEDIATELY. Totally crazy. And yeah, this new Rose is “Blood Rose,” Which is both very funny and very of its time, right down to the outfit. The new Kingpin has called a meeting of all the mob bosses, but only some minor ones showed up.
Fisk orders body parts of all those guys sent to all the guys who didn’t show up, then recaps this whole storyline, including the bit about Peter Parker not being responsible for the photo that got the ball rolling, and announces the hit is off on Parker and now on Nick Katzenberg. Meanwhile, we cut to The Parkers, hiding in a hotel room, when today’s Bugle is delivered with breakfast, running a front page story about how Peter didn’t take that photo. Which is… kind of crazy, really. Both that it’s front page news and that it more or less puts a huge target on another Bugle photographer. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy! MJ says it’s over. Peter says it isn’t.
That’s our guy.
Blood Rose. He should hook up with Bloodshed. Elsewhere, Richard has just put a ring on it, while still refusing to tell his betrothed he’s trying to be The Kingpin. Not a good foundation for a relationship, Rick! Then he gets some news and leaves her, like he always does.
Sssssmells like a trap! All the villains wants to team up with Spider-Man. Fisk has arrived at the remnants of The Rose’s warehouse, brought by a note signed by The Rose telling him to come without his goons. He brought his goons, anyway, but tells them to hang back while he finds out who sent the note. Then his men are attacked by Blood Rose.
Fisk has spent so much time mourning his beloved friend Alfredo throughout this story I assumed the other Rose was him. How he’s shown up to take up the mask seems hard to explain.
Spider-Man dives into the goons, but Hobby is off to find Fisk, uninterested in them. Fisk is having a big fight with his best friend, who tells him he’s betrayed everything that he stood for. And he has, but why? His change of heart from “I’m done with this” to “I’m gonna be Kingpin” seemed pretty arbitrary. Outside, Spider-Man dispatches all the goons, and is proud to do so without anyone getting killed.
Nobody even had to invent a backstory about child abuse or send him on a drug-induced vision quest or anything!
Is Blood Rose Richard’s old friend Alfredo? Could be! We’ll be seeing him again very soon in this title. As for Richard himself… Woof. A weird future ahead for him. Things got shaky in the back half, but this was still a pretty good one. Very intense. A shame mobsters didn’t ventilate Katzenberg, but you can’t have it all. And that’s it for this block. A lot of Hobgoblin in it. In my mind, Hobby really fell into the background for awhile since Venom showed up. But I didn’t have such a full picture as a kid. Between January 1990 to June 1992, he was in 31 comics. He fought Darkhawk, She-Hulk and Moon Knight in comics I don’t have when he wasn’t fighting Spider-Man, Darkhawk and Ghost Rider in the comics I do have. Hobby was really out there in this era.
Weirdly, due to the long stretches of unbroken story in the previous 1991 block, this one featured no issues of Spectacular. At this point, WEB & SM are in cover date July 1992, while ASM is in February and TAC is in March despite not appearing in this block at all. I think things will even out a bit next time we visit this period. But next post, we head back to the 70s to close out Len Wein’s run.