Illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Inked by Victor Olazaba
Colored by Edgar Delgado
Lettered VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
THE PLOT: Under pressure from Spider-Man publicly outing him throughout New York, Phil cracks and tries to hold Norah hostage. Peterpus overpowers and defeats him on the streets outside of the Bugle. Before killing him per usual, a finger-waving call from Captain America keeps Ock from delivering the final, unnecessary blow.
LONG STORY SHORT: Carlie and Watanabe continue to do nothing. Meanwhile Menace returns and springs Urich from the paddy wagon, bringing him to the Goblin King where he pledges his loyalty.
MY THOUGHTS: After being continuously disappointed with issue after issue in the last several reviews, I can safely say that I really enjoyed this. Coming after being outnumbered on the Crawlspace podcast with the positive sentiment the other gave the title, I was hoping with the Hobgoblin conclusion, we’d be seeing some real forward momentum. Not only does that happen here, but it’s done in a totally logical and entertaining fashion that is Spider-Man comics’ bread and butter. This FELT like a classic Spider-Man comic in how the action and plot moved at a brisk yet easy-to-follow pace. It was great.
Getting my only two cons out of the way, the first, of course, is the Watanabe/Carlie plot. Just tell the #%^@ing Avengers already. Quit dragging this out. Less predictably a negative in my opinion was Ramos’ art. Last issue I thought it was really solid. In this, the typical complaints detractors usually have stuck out at me. The people look weird and the storytelling is often very off. Robbie in particular just looks strange and deformed. I’ll give it to Ramos where Phil is concerned, as he makes Urich look crazier and crazier as the situation grows worse for him. When he grabs Norah, he’s straight-up Jokerish in his expression. It works well because it comes off as he’s more desperately crazy rather than evil or diabolical, though those count for it too.
But the art overall wasn’t as polished as last issue’s was. The scene with Robbie and Norah at the end in particular felt especially rushed. According to the dialogue, the two characters go through a number of different emotional ranges that should reflect the artwork in order to send the full effect. It’s all done in one panel. Norah hangs her head in shameful acceptance despite the fact that her dialogue espouses expectation, shock and anger. Ramos goes for expediency instead of emotion and makes the whole scene feel tossed off. Norah’s firing comes off as a simple fact of the issue rather than an unfortunate result of the story’s events or character turn for Robbie. It’s rare that I give more grief to the artist rather than Slott in these reviews, but Ramos dropped the ball with this, unfortunately.
Slott on the other hand does well in capturing the reader’s attention with Phil’s desperate situation. We’re watching two villains go up against each other, as SpOck is treated like the antagonist in his pursuit of the Goblin. I liked how Robbie took up for Phil in the lack of evidence, as it rang true for his defense of his co-workers all throughout the character’s history. It was nice to see him and Ben get a bit of the spotlight, especially as I honestly didn’t think they would at the end of last issue. I would have liked to see a little more reaction from Ben at the end, but the story had a lot going on that I don’t miss it. I also found Norah’s adamant refusal to believe Phil until he was proven innocent to be an interesting showing of her character as well.
I’ve not read too much of Norah Winters. I’ve heard nothing but terrible things from the old podcast, and whenever she’s appeared since Slott’s taken over it’s been in very small scenes. My understanding is that as a person she’s awful, and without being an out-and-out villain, she’s basically an amoral, unethical snot who is only worth saving because she just happens to be an innocent bystander in all of this. The fact that she was involved with the Hobgoblin without knowing his identity does harken back to the 90’s show (take a shot), and adds an interesting wrinkle in the whole Goblin mythology. Her appalled reaction to her boyfriend being the Goblin added a dimension to her character that I’ve not seen or heard of before. It was nice seeing her written like this. As for her firing, I honestly think she’s entitled to call up a lawyer after what Robbie did. She’s let go mere minutes after learning that she was dating the Hobgoblin. I don’t think there should be any real cause to get rid of her. Even if it makes the Bugle look bad in doing so, they re-hired the Big Man and Peter Parker after they were arrested for murder. It’s a bit loose in reason, but Norah’s not that great of a character in the first place, so whether this goes anywhere or not isn’t a big deal to me.
This was fun. I’m interested more in where the Green Goblin subplot is going now that Lily Holister’s back, and the fact that Phil survived this issue despite its cover was a fresh take on Slott and SpOck’s usual dealings with bad guys. This might get pushed to the sideline after Spider-Man 2099 next month, but I’ll be interested when this plot picks back up again.