Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #260 - August 1998


Goblins at the Gate Part 2 - Spider in the Middle
Credits:  Roger Stern (plot), Glenn Greenberg (plot/script), Luke Ross (penciler), Al Milgrom (inks), John Kalisz (colors), Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters)

The Plot:  Osborn spares Hobgoblin’s life after he offers to hand Osborn his business empire, and the remaining Osborn journal.  With Osborn’s help, Hobgoblin locates his brother Daniel, who is in protective custody.  Osborn sends his new Green Goblin to follow Hobgoblin.  Spider-Man also learns of Daniel’s location from Detective Lou Snider and soon confronts Hobgoblin there.  The new Green Goblin interferes during Hobgoblin’s fight with Spider-Man.  Spider-Man is knocked unconscious by one of the Green Goblin’s darts, giving Hobgoblin an opportunity to unmask him.

The Subplots:  Billy Walters walks past a closet that Peter and MJ (who just brought Peter a change of clothes) are exiting.  He gets the wrong idea.  Peter and Flash have a brief disagreement over Osborn’s stewardship of the Daily Bugle, which is ended by Betty.

Web of Continuity:  
  • Hobgoblin blames his brother, Daniel Kingsley, for his capture following the events of Spider-Man: The Hobgoblin Lives!  
  • Detective Lou Snider is an obscure character going all the way back to Roger Stern’s run on Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man.
  • Billy needs to use the dark room, even though (I'll repeat) he’s a reporter, not a photographer.

Review:  This does read like a lost Roger Stern Spider-Man comic, which on a very basic level makes the storyline a success.  When characters like Lou Snider start showing up, you know that you’re getting a story by Spidey fans for Spidey fans.  The brief touches with the supporting cast, such as Peter and Flash’s short argument and the lighthearted romantic scene with Peter and MJ, also create a sense that this is a “real” Spider-Man story.  The other stories from this era rarely feel so well rounded.  The elements of what makes Spider-Man unique occasionally appear, but overall the titles can’t seem to find a balance between the villains, supporting cast, and subplots.  There actually isn’t a real “subplot” as such so far in the arc, but the chapters still take the time to check in on the supporting cast members, relate their pasts logically to what’s happening in the main story, and give Peter and MJ small romantic moments.  You wouldn’t think this would be so hard, but it seems to rarely happen in the post-clone era.  My only real complaint is that Norman Osborn has yet to appear as the Green Goblin during this arc.  The faux-Goblin storyline is automatically irritating because I don’t recall it ever having a real conclusion, but even worse is the fact that Marvel went to such great lengths to resurrect Norman Osborn, only to pass the Goblin mantle on to a mystery character.  So now, Norman Osborn sits behind a desk and plays Kingpin while a shadowy figure does the fighting for him.  That’s not what anyone really wanted to see, is it?  And isn’t part of the appeal of this storyline the basic wish fulfillment of the original Green Goblin and original Hobgoblin in a classic supervillain fight?  The story’s almost over and the audience is still waiting for the true Green Goblin to do something.

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