So! You give your biggest star his own comic book. And then he quits. So you give another of your biggest stars that book. And he quits. What now? Random, random-seeming fill-ins. And Bagley covers for a bit, because he’s fast. What’s funny to me about this is, Spider-Man cost more than the other books due to its higher paper quality. People paid it because Todd McFarlane, obviously. But now it’s just whoever was available this month, and yet it still costs more. You’re not really getting your money’s worth anymore, if ever you were. Spidey eyes are gettin’ weird, there, Bags. So, this is a tie-in to Infinity War, the sequel to Infinity Gauntlet. “Wait, wasn’t Infinity Gauntlet just a few months ago?” Nothing creates bloat like success. I didn’t really read this crossover, all I know is The Magus, Adam Warlock’s literal evil twin, created evil twins of all the Marvel characters. Very convenient for tie-ins. Inside, we got “H. Austin Mackie” writing (?), Larry Alexander penciling, Andrew Pepoy inking and Gregory Wright hanging in there on colors. I know Alexander from drawing an ongoing Red Skull backup story in Captain America around this time. This, tho… woof. Not exactly living up to this title’s pedigree. Peter Parker’s having a nightmare. He and MJ are sleeping above the covers, presumably because Larry doesn’t know how to draw them?
Peter decides to head out, thinking he sometimes feels like a character on MJ’s soap opera. Then we see Spider-Man for the first time, looking like the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade Spider-Man float.
It’s like if Alex Saviuk was drawing the float. Our man stops a mugging before the victim even knows he’s being mugged, thinking he has fun at this, as a mysterious, 6-armed figure watches him. Who could that be? Couldn’t be the thing on the cover, right? Meanwhile, Jason Philip Macendale, former Jack O’ Lantern, current Hobgoblin, also has nightmares, about his deal with the devil. He seems himself being clawed by demons, one of which just straight up looks like Morbius. He wakes up and does some exercising. It’s weird, I remember this book, and more so as I read it, but I somehow forgot about all this. I thought Macendale had juuuust been freed from the demon way back in Spider-Man 46, I forgot all this other stuff. Anyway, ol’ Jason decides to go hunt down his demonic double, who is already hunting him.
Cannot stop thinking about that balloon.
So this is the official debut of Demo’s new outfit. It didn’t click before, even looking at the cover. Spidey decides to get involved, but his web is snapped, but a 2nd, razor-wire webline, and he goes crashing into Hobgoblin.
There it is, looking essentially like the latest symbiote to hit the scene, but it’s not, it’s our special Infinity War guest star. It tries to bite out Spidey’s throat, but he forces its mouth shut. Hobby gets on his glide and flies off, wishing Spider-Man luck. Then his own evil twin comes after him again. And Hobgoblin, who went out tonight looking for Demo, says he’s not getting paid, so he’s not fighting. Uh… ok. Spider-Man sees this is only going to endanger a lot of people, and tries to move the fight out of Times Square by swinging over and kicking Demo, allowing Hobby to escape, but then webbing onto Hobby’s glider so both evil twins will follow them. Hobgoblin tries to shoot Spider-Man, but eventually, thanks to the spider-thing’s razor webbing, everyone wind up crashing into an alley.
13-year old me LOVED that teflon joke, I can remember that. Hobby produces some kinda fancy gun from AIM whose effect he doesn’t even know and begins blasting his double to see. Spider-Man starts brawling with his double, remarking that at least Hobgoblin knows where his came from, and how he’s in the dark here.
Unlike, I believe, every single evil twin from this event except The Magus, who’d been around since the 70s, that dumb Spider-monster is going to become a fixture around here. As improbable as that sounds. What a weird issue.