At the end of issue 29, Richard Fisk – The Rose – ran off determined to give up the role after the Hobgoblin (the new one, not Ned) had seemingly killed all his friends. Meanwhile The Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) is back, Pete is committed to being Spidey again (ASM289, Web 29), the Black Cat has left (Spectacular 129) and, in terms of issues coming out, Pete has just asked MJ to marry him again (Amazing 292). There is a blurb telling us that (deep breath) this issue takes place after ASM289/Web 29 but before Spec128 and ASM290.
Ned is dead – killed by the Foreigner's men in Berlin (Spidey vs Wolverine). Spidey is told by the Kingpin that the Hobgoblin is Ned Leeds (ASM289) so goes to the Foreigner's office to kick some arse. A new Hobgoblin shows up though but Flash Thompson saves Spidey by catching a pumpkin bomb and hurling it back at Hobgoblin. Flash is in hospital and Spidey is out looking for the new Hobgoblin.
Richard Fisk's best friend Alfredo is in his flat with Fisk's girlfriend, Dina. Fisk believes Alfredo is dead and has gone missing. Fisk is at a church, confessing. (Cue flashback…)
He used to have a place in the Hamptons and one summer, Ned Leeds comes calling. He was doing a story on Richard's dad – the Kingpin but Richard warns him off. Ned follows Richard incessantly. Meanwhile back in NY, the Kingpin's wife convinces him to give up crime but she is abducted by Kingpin's lackeys who aren't happy about this. Daredevil rescues her but uses her as a tool to get the Kingpin to drop his support of a crooked politician.
Ned is still pushing Richard to talk, meanwhile and Fisk eventually gives in – agreeing that he wants to take down his father. Ned reveals himself as the Hobgoblin to Fisk and Alfredo. Fisk buys off some cops to spy on his father and Ned gets himself a reputation committing crimes as the Goblin.
Between them, they come up with the Rose identity for Richard. Things were going well in their empire but Ned gradually becomes obsessed with Spider-Man and defeating him. He frames Flash Thompson after finding out his affair with Betty and begins to go mad.
Rose begun to distance himself from the Hobgoblin. He used Alfredo's skills to spy on his father, who was in a constant battle with Daredevil himself. When he lost the battle, he moved to Europe – sparking the Gang Wars. Rose then moves in to try and take control. This is when he killed a policeman – the first and only time he actually murdered himself. He says that bullet killed him too because a part of him died then also.
Back in the present and Richard has run from the confessional. The next scene is at the top of a skyscraper with his Dad – the Kingpin. He agrees to work for him.
This issue is a really good one for tying up all the loose ends. It also has just the right ending so it's not merely a flashback story but one that ends with bringing the plot forward. The pacing is pretty good and doesn't have any filler bits plus avoids the 'afterthought' feeling that 29 leaves you with.
The whole book is quite well thought out and is ultimately one of the most crucial issues in piecing together the last 50 or 60 books across the three titles. Along with ASM289 and Web 29, it gives you the complete-ish picture (at least until the Hobgoblin Lives miniseries) of what has actually been going on.
The implications of Richard working with his father Wilson are also pretty intriguing for what happened next in the titles. With Pete about to get married in Amazing, Felicia gone, the Gang Wars over and the Hobgoblin revealed, it really does now feel like a new saga in Spidey is about to begin. This issue gives it that 'end'-feel now all the open questions have been answered. It also has the father/son link though so that things aren't completely forgotten. It's a nice touch. We also still have a Hobgoblin on the loose, of course.
Issue 30 succeeds where 29 fails. It still manages to mop up the loose ends but keeps its own story as well. It has a nice ending that, while keeping aspects open for the future, signals the end to a long arc of story building.