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
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
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.