Spider-Man Revisited: Beware the Rage of a Desperate Man, Clone Saga Part 3b

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Posted October 22, 2013 by Beau Roth in Comic Books

Spider-Man #46 – 49 was aptly titled “Beware the Rage of a Desperate Man” and this is the storyline that taught me how powerful writing can be in comics, as opposed to just the storyline and art.

After reading this, Howard Mackie became my favorite writer through my teens. (then i read Roger Stern but that’s another story.) “Beware the Rage of a Desperate Man” was a story based on the soul and not just the human variety, a story on what it means to be truly evil and a story of legacy. If it wasn’t for the introduction of Coldheart, this would have nearly been a perfect story.

34997-4421-39088-1-spider-manWith Spider-Man sinking deeper into darkness and consciously separating Peter Parker from Spider-Man, we find the Demogoblin crouched atop of one of many New York’s buildings. We hadn’t seen Demogoblin since he joined Carnage on his massive killing spree in “Maximum Carnage” and atop the building he was contemplating his existence. You see, many years ago the current Hobgoblin, Jason Macendale (also my favorite Hobgoblin ever) made a pact with a devil N’astirh for more power. N’astirh’s essence was fused with the Hobgoblin and for awhile the Hobgoblin was a true goblin. Hobgoblin quickly realized being possessed by a demon was less than beneficial, and, thanks to the effects of Blaze’s hellfire gun and Ghost Rider’s mystical chain , managed to expel his demon half, creating the Demogoblin, a darker, mystical version of the Hobgoblin persona.

Since then, the Demogoblin has been on a mission to eradicate all the sinners on the planet and his number one victim was always Jason Macendale, who had also always alluded him. The Demogoblin had felt he was swayed by blood lust into joining Carnage and the others and remembering his oath to himself, promised he would now stay on the path of righteousness by seeking out Jason Macendale. Spider-Man spots Demo flying around NY and instantly Spider-Man is filled with anger. He is sick and tired of seeing the same villains escape jail, only for him to put them back there. He’s sick and tired of fighting the same fights, over and over again. He just sick and tired.

Over at an apartment overlooking Central Park, some punk thief is showing Jason Macendale the rooms explaining to him that he’s been living there for the past few months and he called Jason there because he found something. After Jason threatens the punk and says he better not be wasting his time, the thief leads him into another room where there is a painting of Kraven the Hunter. Jason turns to the punk and says “What did you find?” and the thief throws him a book. Jason opens it up and realizes its the journal of Kraven. The wheels start to spin in Jason’s mind and a eery grin starts to emerge. The thief turns to Jason and says “Imagine how much we could make selling this thing?” Jason pulls out a (I cant call it anything else, other than a batarang) and kills the thief. Before Jason can leave, Demogoblin smashes through the windows screaming “Macendale, I have come for you…” Jason screams back “Why wont you leave me alone?” and Demogoblin responds with “I just ask for a final moment” Before the fight can start, Spider-Man catches Demogoblin with his webs and pulls him back and Spider-Man says, “This time Demo, I’m putting you away….for good.” Demogoblin pleads with Spider-Man to leave him alone, saying that he knows he himself has sinned recently but is back on the right path, before Spider-Man can respond, he suddenly realizes where he is. One of Kraven’s apartments. Instantly memories flood into his mind, memories of being buried alive, memories of total darkness, and he has to get out of there, right now. Hobgoblin then sends a pumpkin bomb there way and Spider-Man grabs Demogoblin and saves him, only to wrap him up on webbing.

Spider-Man goes to deal with Jason when Demogoblin alights the webbing around him, freeing himself. Spider-Man says to himself “I should just let them kill each other” but then realizes he cant. He stands in front of Jason and attacks Demogoblin once more. Demogoblin swats Spider-Man out of the way, surprising him and grabs Jason saying “Now it is time to put an end to all that has transpired between us” and once again Spider-Man stops him, saving Jason this time. Spider-Man then piles on the punches to Demo, again and again until Demogoblin’s too weak to fight back. Spider-Man goes back to Jason, who now has three pumpkin bombs in his hands. He throws them at him, saying he’s got places to be. Spider-Man leaps back in and saves Demogoblin, again, and Spider-Man wonders why he keeps bothering. Spider-Man says to himself “Im not worried Macendale, you’ll come back, all of you, always come back. Except you Kraven, you’re the only one I can count on NOT coming back.” Spider-Man grabs Demogoblin and starts swinging towards the police, when Demogoblin says, in a weak tired voice “Spider-Man, you do not understand, I must find Macendale. I had to tell him, my mind, my mission have become clear. The blood quest against Macendale was pointless, it is over. I was only trying to tell him this…and that…..I forgive him…as I can forgive no other.” The issue ends with Jason arriving in Russia, a guard asking him “What brings you to Russia? Business or pleasure?” Jason replies “A little of both…”

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The opening page to Spider-Man #47 is one that resonated in me forever. A very simple page of Jason walking through the snow in Russia talking to himself. He is near being frozen to death but he marches on saying “Got to keep talking to myself, keep alert, keep sharp. Haven’t seen another person for a week in this frozen wasteland. The weather is tough, the mountains are tougher. I love it. Haven’t felt in this good shape in years and Im gonna feel better soon” Wolves then appear growling, preparing to attack. Jason smiles and says “You guys look hungry but not as hungry as me. Lets do it !!”

At Rykers Island, The Demogoblin is incarcerated, wallowing at what he has become. How he strayed so far from his path? To be captured again? He cannot continue like this, he knows. Its time for redemption and it will begin now. His shackles start to glow…..
Jason has finally found his destination and hides his goblin glider outside in the snow in case he needs it. He walks up the stairs and knocks, only for an african american to answer. The man tells Jason that he trespassing on The Kravinoff Estate and to please leave, only for Jason to reply that he’s here to see Vladimir Kravinoff…..Kraven’s son. The black man asks what business he has with Vlad, only for Jason to pull out the journal and show it to him. With that, the man allows Jason entry and within the first few steps, Jason is leapt upon by a man, wielding a blade at his throat. “You say you have my fathers journal, I could slit your throat and take it from you.” Jason then shows Vlad, that he also has a batarang at his abdomen. Jason says “Whatdya think Im stupid? I didn’t bring the whole journal here. Half is in my bag, the other half I’ll give when we’ve reached an arrangement.” Vlad lets Jason up and asks his security to make a room for their new guest.
Spider-Man swings to Rykers Island, hearing on the news of mass murders and upon entering the prison, realizes Demogoblin is loose and is killing all the inmates. In Spider-Man’s current state of mind, he finds it very hard to have any sympathy for anyone. He follows all the screams and finds Demogoblin threatening all the inmates with death. Before Spider-Man can attack, he’s jumped on by another old adversary, the man who was posing as The Kingpin’s son, Richard Fisk.
Back in Russia, Vladimir asks for the remainder of his fathers journal, now that Jason has warmed up and Jason says no. Vlad angrily asks him what it is that he wants? Money, Jewels? and Jason responds with Power, or more specifically Kraven’s power. The Elixir Kraven used to gain his. Vlad responds with picking up a spear and throwing it at Jason screaming “Die” when Vlad’s security guard whispers into his ear. Vlad then calms down and says to Jason that he has been hasty. His guard has shown him that his request is not unreasonable and perhaps they can help Jason after all.

Back inside Ryker Island, Demogoblin holds Richard Fisk by the neck and says to Spider-Man “If i could have a moment of your time. A mere moment to explain. This thing, i hold in my hand will be safe until then. After I’m done, you can have a hand in deciding his fate.” Spider-Man agrees and Demogoblin continues “Thank you. In so many ways our goals are similar. I seek only to permanently rid your world of the evil that pervades it. Evil has the habit of rearing its head over and over again. The only way to be rid of evil, is to destroy it and then, when the wickedness has all been eradicated, I will be saved. The sins of my past, MY evil ways, will be forgiven. THIS is my mission. Allow me to demonstrate on this enemy of yours?” Spider-Man stands there frozen, not sure what to say, think, feel but finally, he responds with “No, Do not kill him……please.” Demo says “Is he your enemy?” Spider-Man says back “Yes” Demo asks “Is he evil?” Spider-Man responds with “I’m only a man, I can’t judge….I don’t know.” Demo sniffs Fisk and says “I do. He is. I can smell it on him. If i were not to destroy him here tonight, would he not continue along his wicked path? Would he not make good on his vow to attempt to kill you?” Spider-Man says in a low voice “They always do” “Then he must die.” Demo says. Spider-Man looks into Richard Fisk’s eyes as a tear rolls down Fisk’s face….

In Russia, Vladimir has shown Jason a machine that they have been using in an attempt to distill his father’s strength-enhancing potion whilst also improving it. Jason gets strapped in and Vladimir whispers to his guard Gregor “Is this wise? Are we not, just giving him more power?” and Gregor says not to worry, all the other experiments died and so shall Jason and even if they are wrong, a bullet to the head WILL end him. Jason can hear them muttering away and says to himself that he shouldn’t worry. Even if Vladimir is lying to him, he’ll still take them all out with his hidden glider outside.

Spider-Man shoots webbing at Demogoblin letting Fisk go. With Fisk now in safety, Spider-Man attacks. As he punches and punches away, Spider-Man contemplates killing him, thinking to himself, how much easier his life would be, if he could just kill all the Octopus’s and Venom’s, Demogoblin isnt even human..would it even count? Spider-Man shakes the thought away and slams Demogoblin into a wall. Demogoblin responds with a burst of flame to the roof causing it to break apart, whilst Spider-Man webs up all the debris and saves all the inmates, Demogoblin escapes into the night.

In Russia, Jason is screaming in torture as fluids get pumped into his bloodstream. As the pain continues, he believes he’s been tricked and Vlad is killing him and in the snows outside, Jason’s glider rises slowly into the air. The pain then stops and Jason rips all the tubes out of him screaming “You tried to kill me” Vladimir commands Gregor to kill Jason only for the bullets to feel like mosquito bites. Jason then realizes the machine worked and smiles. His glider smashes through the window and Jason hops on throwing the other piece of Kraven’s journal to Vladimir saying “There’s no percentage here from killing you and seeing as how you juiced me up, ill give you this as a thank you.” Jason flies off saying he’s got a family reunion to get to. Vlad demands Gregor explain how he survived the procedure and Gregor says “There appears to have been an anomaly in Jason’s blood chemistry, something that interacted with your father’s serum. The outcome was unpredictable.” Vladimir knows what he has to do.

35255-4421-39378-1-spider-manSpider-Man #47 , three days pass and Demogoblin has turned New York’s underworld into scared children. Killing anybody he deems a sinner. Spider-Man promises to put him away for good.
Hobgoblin meanwhile calls all the heads of New York’s crime families to a meeting. When they all arrive and see it was The Hobgoblin who called them there, they start to leave. Hobgoblin flies to one of them and simply snaps their neck like a twig saying “Anyone else wanna walk out on The Hobgoblin?” Some soldiers of the families run out and attack Hobgoblin and he easily overpowers them, throwing some out the window. Hobgoblin says to the rest that he’s changed…..a lot. He tells them he has no interest in running any families, he still wants to work freelance but from this day forward he will be treated with the respect he deserves. He then continues on to say that he knows Demogoblin has been killing their men, and can put a stop to him, for a price. The families agree and Hobgoblin says he’ll come back once he’s taken care of Demogoblin.

On the other side of town, Spider-Man has a couple of crooks in his hands who were dealing drugs and he’s calling them idiots. Not just for dealing drugs but because they’re the exact type of crooks Demogoblin is killing. Spider-Man swings off and yells back “Your lucky I found you before he did” With the crooks laughing at Spider-Man, Demogoblin leaps over around the corner saying “Welcome to judgement day sinners.” Hobgoblin flies around New York hoping to get Demogoblin’s attention when he finally gets exactly what he wanted. Demogoblin and Hobgoblin stare at each other intently and Demogoblin says that he is sorry….but for him to remain true to his cause…he must kill The Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin laughs and leaps at Demogoblin saying “I’ve gone through some changes recently Demo” and they start what is to be there last fight.

At the queens home of May Parker, Mary-Jane is there waiting by the phone when it rings. She hopes and prays it’s Peter and answers. When nobody replies on the other end, Mary-Jane hangs up saying to herself “Like I need this with what’s happened to Aunt May!” We can only see the back of the strangers head, as he hangs up the other end.

Spider-Man finds the goblins fighting and before entering, a policeman and priest tell him what’s going on, that there are people trapped inside, a woman and her small daughter. The priest begs Spider-Man to help those inside, only for Spider-Man to say back to the priest “Don’t worry, father, after tonight you, and everyone else won’t have to worry about Demogoblin and Hobgoblin anymore.” The goblins continue their battle inside, trying to kill each other, when Spider-Man spots the unconscious mother and her crying daughter. The little girl is screaming to Spider-Man to save them and Spider-Man thinks to himself, “how many times does this happen? How many times do they have to keep coming back? So many children left without parents, so many, like me….it stops…NOW.” Spider-Man picks up a massive piece of concrete and hurls it at Demogoblin, only for Hobgoblin to thank him, saying “You obviously determined that the big bad demon was the greater threat. Now, you figure you’ll just swing on over and take out little old Hobgoblin, everyone’s punching bag, with ease! Guess what? You thought wrong!” and sends a pumpkin bomb his way. Trying to recover, Hobgoblin leaps on Spider-Man and beats him down until Spider-Man is lying on the floor helpless. Hobgoblin throws Spider-Man into a wall and then picks up Demogoblin by the neck.

Back in Russia, Vladimir demands Gregor get everything ready, for Vladimir intends to have his father’s power too and truly be worthy, so he can be called the son of the hunter. Hobgoblin is brutalizing Demogoblin and in the process destroying the building there in. One of the pillars starts to crack and Demogoblin begs The Hobgoblin to let him go so he can save her. “If there is any part of you that is not tainted with evil…..please, Macendale, save one who is still pure of heart.” Hobgoblin laughs and says “You won’t have to worry about her in a moment” Demogoblin ferociously swipes his claws along Hobgoblins chest, causing him to let him go. Demogoblin runs to the pillar that is about to collapse and screams “Run child, save yourself and remain untainted by the evil that infests so many in this world.” Hobgoblin laughs saying “Who would have thought that you’d have a soft spot for children?” With Demogoblin still hanging on to the pillar he replies ” They are the only hope, this world has from the scourge of evil which burns across it. THEY are the way to salvation.” Hobgoblin gets up and walks over to Demogoblin and says “Yeah well, too bad, you’re never going to see it.” Hobgoblin puts his hands on Demogoblins head and Demo looks at him and says “I will see you in the fiery pits of eternal damnation.” Hobgoblin pulls Demogoblin’s head back snapping his neck. ” Hold a place there for me, will you? Say goodbye to the kid Demo.” Spider-Man finally recovers and attacks Hobgoblin “This is low Jason, even for you” he says. As Spider-Man grabs the mother and child and swings them to safety, Demogoblin says “Get the child to safety, Spider-Man. Thank you, my time here is done.” Demogoblin cannot take it anymore and lets go, letting the roof cave in on him. Once the chid and mother is safe, Spider-Man swings back but Demogoblin is dead. In the end. the demon was the noble one and the human….gone. Spider-Man swears out loud that when he finds Jason, he won’t be holding back. Before he can swing off, the priest he was talking to earlier stops Spider-Man and says “Calm yourself my son. You have done a good thing that is keeping me going but the rage I sense in you, if you do not seek peace within yourself, it will consume you.” Spider-Man swings away and says back “Father, right now the rage is the only thing keeping me going and I’m taking it to hobgoblin. Let him deal with it, if he can.”

35380-4421-39511-1-spider-manSpider-Man #49 opens up with Spider-Man being totally consumed by hate. He now refers to himself in the third person and he calls himself The Spider. The Spider has no compassion….only rage.
We now enter Coldheart, Kateri Deseronto. Kateri was once a government agent with the codename Coldheart. After her son’s death during a battle between the Hobgoblin and Spider-Man, she was deemed mentally unfit for field duty. Her clearance was revoked and she was forcibly retired. This was actually her first appearance and to this day, I still have no idea why she was created. After this issue we don’t see her again until she is arrested and imprisoned in the Raft during Civil War. Coldheart was apparently one of the many villains that escaped from the Raft prison during New Avengers #1-3. Hiding in Stamford with some other escaped convicts, she was eventually tracked down by the New Warriors. Breaking into the government agency she worked for, Coldheart steals her costume, then fights her way out.

Hobgoblin then makes his way to his ex-wife’s house and kidnaps his son, claiming that his son, is his property. Spider-Man hears this on the news and doesn’t understand why Hobgoblin is making it so easy for him to be found. When Spider-Man arrives at the crime scene, a police officer starts to tell Spider-Man was going on and Spider-Man says “Not now, this will be over in a minute.” Coldheart waits in the shadows, listening to a police radio that says Spider-Man is confronting the Hobgoblin, who is attempting to kidnap his own son. As Spider-Man swings into action, Coldheart freezes his web-line, sending him crashing through a table. This gives Hobgoblin enough time to escape with his son, Jay. Coldheart rushes at Spider-Man, but Spidey easily evades her swords, and kicks her in the face, letting him catch up with the Hobgoblin. Spider-Man fights Hobgoblin on the roof of the building, but the Hobgoblin, realizing he’s losing, throws a pumpkin bomb on the roof, sending his son flying. Spider-Man jumps after Jay, saving him, but when he looks up, Coldheart has a blade under his chin, freezing him. Jay begs her to leave Spider-Man alone, and Coldheart decides to pursue the Hobgoblin instead of killing Spider-Man. They both escape. Spider-Man knows they’ll be back, they always do. Right now, that doesn’t seem to matter, the boy is safe, anything else he can live with.

Back in Russia, Vladimir tells Gregor to start the process. Gregor asks him if he sure and Vlad responds with “I am the son of Kraven the Hunter, I will wait no longer. I will honor my families name.” The process begins and when it ends, Vladimir emerges feeling reborn. It was a success, Kraven’s legacy now belongs to Vladimir. He tells Gregor to ready the servants as they’re going traveling. Vladimir wants to return to the states and claim the FULL legacy of Kraven the Hunter, that part that involves Spider-Man.

Next week , I bring you Part 3c……SHRIEKING, which has the return of Shriek and Carrion, the living death.


About the Author

Beau Roth

I live in the comic universe and read about the real world.....