If one believes Mary Jane’s explanations this issue–and Peter’s memory–then Bendis was laying the groundwork for the Mary Jane and Harry thing from the start.
The revelation doesn’t just hurt Peter, it hurts the reader. The reader, who knows the Osborns are bad news, who know Mary Jane is the secretly beautiful smart girl wowed with the handsome rich kid, feels the same pain Peter feels. Only the reader has been duped. Bendis can deceive Peter all he wants, it’s part of making a dramatic narrative. Deceiving the reader too? It’s a little different.
It’s calculated and cheap and incredibly affective. At this point–what with Harry setting his evil plans in motion–one has to assume Mary Jane gets into significant peril for her to become sympathetic again.
The issue hurts to read at times.
There’s also a little scene with Jeanne De Wolf towards the finish.
Hobgoblin, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.