Review: Superior Spider-Man #26 (Andrew’s Take)

The Hobgoblin Steals the Time Dilation Portal and Then—wait you mean this isn’t the 90’s cartoon? The two ghoulish titans battle it out to find out WHO IS THE SUPERIOR GOBLIN.

WRITERS: Dan Slott

PENCILS: Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin, and Javier Rodriguez

INKS: Olazaba, Lopez, and Martin

COLORS: Delgado, Rodriguez, and Martin

 LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos

COVER: Ryan Stegman and Jason Howard


EDITOR: Stephen Wacker

THE STORY: Our story begins at a dark deserted Oscorp factory when suddenly BOOM page one we get exactly what we were promised last issue GOBLINS AT WAR. Until they call a truce but it’s not really a truce it’s merely an invitation from the Green Goblin to fight the Hobgoblin one on one, Goblin to Goblin. The confused Hobgoblin agrees to this challenge and their fight commences. Meanwhile the Avengers interrupt the Superior Spider-Man as he attempts to thwart an AIM shipment demanding they have a serious conversation. A conversation that leads to nothing and has the Avengers repeat almost verbatim what’s been said in the last three issues. It amounts to the phrase: “Hey Spider-Man seriously you’ve been acting weird” and like always he makes an excuse and runs off. At least this time he boldly exclaims “I QUIT” before doing running off, saving us from having to deal with another Avengers appearance for at least two issues. Along with this subplot we have another subplot wherein a confused Peter Parker (the REAL ONE) wanders through the remnants of his memory (which were purged at the end of Superior #9) and discovers new strength to take on Otto to get his brain BACK.

From there we cut back to the meat of the issue the all-out Goblin brawl. The Goblins are whipping pumpkin bombs and talking trash when pow Hobgoblin smokes Green Goblin square in the chest. When the smoke clears we discover that DUN DUN DUN there is a scar in the middle of Green Goblins chest which proves it must be Norman Osborn (Spoiler alert it’s not). Green Goblin then proceeds to beat Hobgoblin to a bloody pulp taking over his empire and extinguishing him for good. Phil Urich better known as Goblin Knight decides to unmask Hobgoblin just to make sure Kingsley didn’t pull another brother from out of his hat, and its revealed that it’s not Kingsley at all, it’s just some random dude. Cut to Paris where we see the real Hobgoblin Roderick Kingsley having some fine Liquor and using his Henry Winkler machine to turn yet another poor sap into The Fonz er I mean Hobgoblin.

STORY: In order to prepare for this issue I went back and read the last issue in which these two titans of Spidey’s rogue gallery fought, Goblins at the Gate. That issue involves Roderick Kingsley and Norman Osborn having a battle of the wits much more than a traditional comic fight. The clear winner of the duel is Osborn who steals all of Kingsley’s company and forces him to flee the continent. This story kept the Hobgoblin out of the picture for a looooong time, and it seems that he truly never bothered coming back from Europe (as shown in this issue). This is why in part I find this story a little disappointing. Nothing in this story is liable to have a long lasting effect. The Green Goblin who may or may not be Osborn defeats another fake Hobgoblin. The fight scene itself was done well and had a good tension to it but the end reveal that it’s not Kingsley made the entire charade a little pointless to me. To be fair I give Slott credit for having the Goblins fight it out between the two of them as too often in villain fights the winner is never decided due to Spider-Man hopping out last minute and breaking the whole thing up.

The section of this issue I thought was by far the best were the bits of Peter walking through his old memories. There are some classic issues hidden in the background of this scene and clearly a lot of time and effort went into choosing the most important memories that define Peter’s history. It was like a Spider-Man clip show. I honestly think they should do a point one issue just of Peter wandering through looking at old memories attempting to deceiver their significance in his life. It would be touching and very interesting to see what they chose to point out.

The scenes I really weren’t too fond of were of course the Avengers scenes. In order to sum it up quickly so I don’t rehash myself from last review the Avengers don’t do anything of note and Ock makes another lame excuse. How pray tell can someone tell your identity by looking at your medical scans? Wouldn’t you need all of Peter Parker’s medical information to even attempt to make that connection. This scene continues to make the Avengers look like the three stooges, and only has any meaning when Ock decides to quit the Avengers. Which I highly doubt will take long to reverse, they will find some antiquated reason to bring him back on the team as soon as Amazing returns quote me on it there is no way they will be keeping him off the Avengers for long.

ART: All the art in this issue is fantastic; I was worried that the amount of different artists in the book would conflict with the flow of the story. My worries were thankfully proven wrong. Each artist is used to encapsulate each storyline. Funny enough my favorite art in the book accompanies my least favorite plot line. Rodriguez does an amazing job with the Avengers artwork, the panels come alive, and they are put together in some interesting and unique ways. Martin’s style seems to work perfectly with the barren wasteland of Peters mind palace, and Ramos does very well with the big Goblin hoedown. The only artistic flaws I have are the pupils on the Green Goblin (definitely intentional it just weirds me out) and the bizarre shape of Green Goblins supposed glider scar. This can’t be the first time we’ve seen Norman shirtless since his return, he hasn’t had this ridiculous looking scar in any of his previous appearances, so the fact that it would show up now leaves even more credit to the fact that it’s not Osborn under the mask.

ODDITIES: Green Goblin is caught off guard when trying to standup for Harry. This is highly unlike Norman to do especially while in full on Goblin mode. Could it be Harry under the mask all along? At one point Green Goblin’s word balloon says “One Big Happy”….is this a misprint or did someone just forget to finish the sentence. One Big Happy…meal? One Big Happy…dump truck? We may never know.

BEST BACKGROUND CHARACTER:This is a new idea I had running around in my head based off of the fact that lately Superior has had a lot of weird background characters. This hands down goes to the villain EIGHT BALL. Seriously this guy may be my new favorite villain apparently he is from an old marvel series called Sleepwalker. He can be seen in multiple panels while the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin are fighting. This is clearly one of the defunct super villain identities the Hobgoblin sold out to a new person but I really hope he gets more screen time (panel time?) in future issues. His ability is to use a super pool cue to hit anything within range of him and turn it into a missile AWESOME.

NEXT ISSUE OF SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN:Eight Ball is revealed to be the true mastermind behind Goblin nation and fires an array of Spider-bots at Superior Spider-man with his unbeatable pool skills. Last minute it will be revealed that Spock is being a hustler and totally out pools Eight Ball in order to stop Goblin Nation once and for all.




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(14) Comments

  1. draco

    Does anyone find it annoying that Phil was the only one who was smart enough to check under the mask to see if that was really Kingsley instead of Green Goblin himself? I mean it's common knowledge that Kingsley uses decoys so wouldn't GG be wondering if the Hobgoblin he killed was the original instead of his lackey Phil? I could buy GG not wanting to check under the mask out of fear that he might lose his newly acquired force but he would be wondering if Kingsley was really dead.

  2. draco

    I wouldn't really agree that Osborn really won the first time he and Kingsley won when they fought in Goblins At The Gate as remember Kingsley got what he really wanted which was his freedom after he got busted out of prison. Plus he was smart enough to have several bank accounts Osborn wasn't aware of so I would say it was more of a standoff than a definite loss for Kingsley. It was pretty much the same deal here as even though GG got his army after killing one of his decoys, Kingsley pretty much tricked him into thinking he's dead and gets to live to fight another day. I theorize Kingsley will probably just watch from the sidelines as Spock and GG battle it out and then make his return down the road.

  3. Sirspidermonkey

    Would it be too much to hope for a 8ball ongoing spinoff series? C'mon Marvel bring it on. It will be a massive success.

  4. Lord Alford

    While I'm loathe to go against Chris's idea (as we know, Chris is always right), I think the Green Goblin might be Liz. I figure she was saying, "Don't talk about my husband." When the caved in chest was shown, I thought it was odd, because I don't remember ever seeing Norman with a caved in chest before (in fact, I thought he was hit around waist line, but it has been quite a while since reading those issues). My theory is that she is in a body suit and the cave in is not a scar, but a dent in her body suit that allows her to look like Norman.

  5. AndrewRoebuck - Post author

    @5 and @8Thanks to the both of you I wasn't sure how those segments would go over.@9I agree I think it is normie. I mean think about it technically saying that he was "Norman Osborne" last issue would still be true while simultaneously explaining his hesitance to unmask. Also in the Superior arc with Spider-man 2099 when Spock comes face to face with Normie his Spider sense goes off even though there is nothing in the surrounding area (asides from maybe tiberius stone) that would set off his Spider sense.

  6. Gary

    What’s stupid about the whole Ock quitting the Avengers thing is Slott expecting us to just believe that Tony Stark will leave it at that and still not pull up the files of Spider-man’s medical scan to see what they said.And I think Normie Osborn is the Green Goblin. I know the Green Goblin is a full sized adult here, but when Hobgoblin was mocking Green Goblin about what “loser” he might be under the mask, when Hobgoblin said something about that loser Harry, Green Goblin said, “Don’t talk about my..” before getting hit. He could have been saying, “Don’t talk about my dad”. He could have had some kind of exposure to Goblin formula, which could have reacted differently to him and caused him to have the appearance of an adult. Sounds stupid, I know. But this IS Dan Slott we’re talking about.

  7. Stillanerd

    Great review, Andrew. And I, too, like your "Oddities," "Best Background Character" and "Next Issue" sections. Those are great additions. Also, good catch about that "One, Big Happy!" word balloon, because I agree, it does look like either Dan Slott or Chris Eliopoulos forgot to finish the sentence.

  8. Big John

    @4 Thanks George! I just didn't know where to post it. (I've been following you guys since 2011, but only recently started posting comments, listening to the podcasts, and hitting the boards) I love your guys' site! Thanks for giving fellow Spidey-nerds a place to yak about the issues!

  9. Phantom Roxas

    Oh, Andrew! I'd like to add that I really like the idea of the "Best Background Character" section! It seems like a fun little way for you to cast the spotlight on things that people might otherwise gloss over. The "Next Issue of Superior Spider-Man" was a nice little follow-up to that part. Can't wait to see more of your reviews!

  10. George Berryman

    @2 - "Does anyone else think that Slott is not at his best when writing Spider-Man?"I am right there with you. In the last week I've read all of Superior Spider-Man (the main title) and by and large it's Slott's best work as a Spider-Man writer. That's what kills me. They've been mishandling Peter Parker so badly since OMD/BND that in order to get the sales to turn around and get people interested they actually had to remove said mishandled main character for a year. I've got no anticipation for Peter's return. That might've been different with a new writer."Anyways, I think that Slott would be much better as Spider-Man’s editor... Could you guys maybe discuss it in an upcoming episode?"The best thing to do would be to ask us that question on our February Message Board question section on the forums. Right now we still have room for one more question! 8)

  11. Phantom Roxas

    So first Flash doesn't die, and now Kingsley doesn't die. I think the only real thing that MATTERS from this story is the revelation that the Kingsley that we've been following since - I don't know, late 2012? - is just a fraud. The only way I can see something of substance resulting from this is if it leads Kingsley to coming out of hiding.

  12. Big John

    Yeah, this was yet another Green Goblin vs Hobgoblin fake-out. Just like ASM312 (not Norman vs Roddie; Harry vs. Macendale). And kind of like SPEC261 (I know Kingsley and Norman fought, but they didn't Goblin-out), so I was disappointed. I still am holding out for a true Kingsley/N.Osborn brawl!Oh, and Norman's chest scar was revealed in PPSM75, right when he made his comeback. He ripped off his shirt and revealed it to Peter while he was monologuing about being behind the Clone Saga.Does anyone else think that Slott is not at his best when writing Spider-Man? It's like his head is so full of Spidey-lore that he can't distill it into a decent story without throwing in useless continuity references, which the Martin scenes felt like (though they weren't actually useless). But, case in point, we have yet more previous Hobgoblin identity-dumping during the Goblins' trash talking and even some previous Green Goblin identity dumping (although they seem to have left out the Harry clone from the reboot era - it seems even Slott doesn't want to think about that flub).Anyways, I think that Slott would be much better as Spider-Man's editor. I think that that would be the job he's been preparing his entire life for. That way, you could have stronger writers on the titles and Slott's knowledge of Spidey-history guiding them. I'd be interested to see what the podcast crew thinks of this. Could you guys maybe discuss it in an upcoming episode?

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