Goblins in the Night
Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Tom Raney (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Gina Going (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)
Summary: The Six team up with Man-Spider to stop the Green Goblin and his army of cloned goblins. The Green Goblin is cornered by the Fallen and Madelyne, whose Goblin Queen persona has emerged. Man-Spider arrives and is shocked by their behavior. With the Fallen’s help, Madelyne kills Man-Spider and Green Goblin. The Brute witnesses the event, but is silenced when the Fallen threatens to kill his parents. The murders are pinned on the Brute, who is taken into custody.
“That’s Crazy Because They’re Different”: This reality’s Spider-Man goes by Man-Spider, presumably because he has six arms (a callback to the storyline in Amazing Spider-Man #100-102). Also, this reality has a President Starr, which may or may not be a reference to an existing Marvel Universe character.
Better Than X-Factor?: This isn’t much of an improvement, to be honest. At the time, Howard Mackie was the sole in-continuity Spider-Man writer, a responsibility that I don’t think any writer had been given since the spin-offs began, so perhaps he’s playing off the reputation Marvel tried to build for him as the “Spider-Guy” with this issue. Of course, the critical consensus was that Mackie was unsuited to be the Spider-Guy, and the material produced during his stint turned out to be even worse than many were expecting, so this issue isn’t off to a great start. Mackie tries to throw in some clone-related meta-humor, but it feels awkward and a little forced. Plus, his Green Goblin isn’t any different from the standard Green Goblin of the era, right up to the nonsensical “world domination” schemes that were grafted on to Norman Osborn in the late ‘90s, so that’s another letdown.
Revealing that Madelyne and the Fallen are so evil they’ll casually kill their opponents and frame a teammate does up the stakes for this universe, however. We haven’t seen just how nasty Havok’s teammates can be in this reality, perhaps because the creative team was still trying to work out just how far to take the idea, so at the very least some new revelations are being made. Unfortunately, much of the action in this issue is hard to follow, and almost every page is drowning in unnecessary text. There’s also an awkward scene at the end that reveals that the Brute had an off-panel confrontation with the police after leaving the murder scene. I honestly can’t think of a single reason why this scene occurred in-between pages, especially when the Goblin fight dragged on forever. There should’ve been plenty of pages to work that scene in. For the most part, this book hasn’t felt as sloppy as X-Factor could be, but this is not an encouraging sign.