AXIS: Hobgoblin #3 Review


“May I remind you that I’ve spent the last few weeks being a savior to the city? . . . So I ask you. . . Isn’t this a face you can trust?

Hobgoblin and Goblin Knight throw down as the mini-series that was so much better than anyone thought it ever deserved to be ends way too soon. But is Roderick Kingsley truly a changed man? Read on and find out!

WRITER: Kevin ShinAXIS Hobgoblin #3 Coverick

PENCILER & COLORIST: Javier Rodriguez

INKER: Alvaro Lopez

LETTERING: VC’s Clayton Cowles

COVER by Javier Rodriguez

EDITOR: Ellie Pyle

SENIOR EDITOR: Nick Lowe

 

 

 

 

STORY: Roderick Kingsley is being honored by New York in the celebration of “Hobgoblin Day” at Gracie Mansion. While Roddy panders to the crowd, Missile Mate, one of his Hob-Heroes-turned-traitor, nervously thinks over Goblin Knight’s plan to publicly shame and kill Hobgoblin. Phil is going to allegedly give Missile Mate a position of honor in his criminal organization because the latter delivered Lily Hollister, who hasAXIS Hobgoblin 3 Panel 1 apparently betrayed Kingsley for Phil. Missile Mate sweats bullets in anticipation and makes his move as Hobgoblin publicly unmasks, but when he tries to kill Roddy with Phil’s fire-sword, Roddy reveals that the Hobgoblin figure on stage was a hologram. Goblin Knight shows up with Kingsley’s former villain-franchises and a battle breaks out. When Phil tries to call a cease fire so that the two leaders can duke it out (a la Superior Spider-Man #26), Hobgoblin completely overwhelms and humiliates Goblin Knight, shattering his mask with his own sword and impaling him through the gut with Hobby’s glider (“Still so desperate to become Norman Osborn huh? Well. . .why don’t I help you?!”). Adding insult to injury, Hobgoblin reveals that Lily had never turned to Phil’s side, as Lily no longer feels any loyalty to Phil whatsoever and is genuinely grateful to be able to start her life over. But when a disenfranchised (in more ways then one) Missile Mate threatens to vaporize Kingsley’s heroes using incendiary devices he hid on their persons, Hobgoblin seemingly turns on his men and fries them with his Pumpkin Bombs. However, this was yet another ruse as Kingsley claims he used his holo-tech to replace his people during a lull in the fight, allowing the authorities to arrest Phil and his goons. The policemen present are still skeptical towards Kingsley’s newfound altruistic bent, but Hobgoblin insists that his recent track record should speak for itself. As the dust settles, Steve Rogers joins the crowd of admirers at Hobgoblin Day, telling Hobby that he now knows Kingsley to be a changed man. Pulling rank, Steve passes Kingsley’s group of Hob-Heroes to Lily, and consoles an indignant Kingsley by offering Hobby a place in the Avengers (to deal with the events in AXIS), a position Hobgoblin graciously accepts.

 

THOUGHTS: I was so happy with this issue that I got up and did a full-body fist-pump when I finished reading it. I have literally been waiting for this fight for four years, ever since Phil usurped the role of the Hobgoblin at the beginning of Slott’s solo run. It’s no secret that Kingsley’s Hobgoblin is my favorite Spider-Villain, and this issue shows why. Roderick Kingsley is presented as a cold-hearted, clear-headed, opportunistic tactician who is not afraid to both get his hands dirty and swallow his pride by manipulating others to fight in his place. His fight with Goblin Knight was so satisfying and, for this Hobby-Fan and others, I’m sure, was a long time coming.

 

The shaming defeat of Phil Urich at Kingsley’s hands echoed the death of Jason Macendale from Hobgoblin Lives #1. (Like the rest of us) Kingsley had become so fed up with a loser shaming his identity that he took matters into his own hands, killed Macendale, and reclaimed the mask of the Hobgoblin for himself. Ever since Phil AXIS Hobgoblin 3 Panel 2chopped off the Hobgoblin’s head in ASM#649, I have been waiting for Phil to receive similar comeuppance. Although Roddy returned in “Danger Zone,” his fight with Phil was pretty unsatisfying as the latter fared way too well against Kingsley. Phil has never been all that convincing as a credible threat, as he’s too much of a yutz, a quality that makes you kind of root for him as a hero, back in his Green Goblin days, but despise him when he’s written as the kind of threat that can shame both Hobgoblin and Spider-Man, in the same issue no less. Still, I wonder what will happen with him next, as Phil is assumingly going to be a part of Gerry Conway’s five part “Spiral” story this coming spring in ASM(2014)#’s16.1-16.5. And I wonder if, in light of their recent attempts to diversify their presence on the shelves, Marvel will try and give us a Lily Hollister: Queen Cat ongoing in the near future? (Sorry guys, I know I shouldn’t give them any ideas)

 

(Lol! When I was telling my wife about how happy I was with this current issue, she remembered me complaining about the aforementioned issue of ASM back in the day when it first came out! This is actually the story of how I first found the Crawlspace, as we were studying abroad in Italy at the time ASM#649 was released and I simply couldn’t wait to find out what happened as my favorite baddy was returning to the pages of Spider-Man for the first time since “Goblins at the Gate.” And since the late, great samruby.com was no longer putting up synopses of new issues, I found this site and have been a Crawlspacer ever since! So you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered what Slott had done to Roddy. I apparently made quite a fuss about it as my then-girlfriend-now-wife can recall my complaints from four years ago as we walked around Florence together! To quote Bruce Almighty: “Yes folks, behind every great man there’s a great woman, rolling her eyes.”)

 

Anyways, I will say that the only thing lacking from this comic was the some of the humor that characterized it over the past two issues. But, honestly, that does noAXIS Hobgoblin 3 Panel 3t detract from my enjoyment of this book a single iota, as one of my complaints last time was that Roddy was getting a little too hokey. Notsomuch here. By the current issue’s end, one legitimately wonders if Hobgoblin is beginning to revert to his old self, which Rodriguez totally sells as the Hobgoblin sinisterly grins at the authorities, saying “Isn’t this a face you can trust?” Oooo, that was so good it was chilling. And the way Hobgoblin was one step ahead of everyone around him was simply delicious. This issue leaves Roddy in the opportune position for the future, as he could either revert to villain-status in Amazing Spider-Man, or spin off into his own ongoing (you heard it here first, Marvel: drop Silk and give us Hobgoblin!)

 

All-in-all, Shinick and Rodriguez have crafted a thematically and visually satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest Spider-Man mini-series in recent memory.

 

GRADE: A- (great – though somewhat lacking in the humor that ingratiated itself with fandom, this mini-series ends on a high note with plenty of fantastic action, subterfuge, and forward motion for the one, the only, the greatest. . . Hobgoblin!!)

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(24) Comments

  1. hornacek

    @21 - Prof X was killed at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men so it's only a couple of years ago. @23 - Entertaining is great, but not at the expense of logic. If I had to choose, I'd rather read a logical comic that wasn't entertaining than an entertaining comic that made no sense and insulted my intelligence.

  2. Ben

    @15 - Ah thanks for explaining that. Charles Xavier is dead? Man I haven't read X-Men in a long time. @20 - Coughmoneycough. But to it's credit, it's been genuinely entertaining (which is more than I could say for most event tie-ins), and has tied up some of the loose ends from Goblin Nation.

  3. hornacek

    @19 - "So Kingsley is back to being bad." If that's true, then what was the point of this mini-series?

  4. Big John

    I think that Hobgoblin, Carnage, Sabretooth, Jack O'Lantern, et al. were just meant to be "provisionary Avengers" for the sake of bringing down the Inverted Avengers and X-Men. In fact, at the end of AXIS #9, all of the Inverted characters were Reverted by Scarlet Witch (possessed by a resurrected Daniel Drumm) and Dr. Doom, except for Iron Man, Sabretooth (who is apparently being set up as the new Wolverine), and Havok. So Kingsley is back to being bad.

  5. draco

    I really liked the mini but I do think it's implausible that Kingsley would be on any Avengers team as look how badly that idea turned out with Osborn when he became an Avenger. I can see Kingsley being on the Thunderbolts but not sold on the Avengers idea.

  6. DXD

    I thought this was a well written series, but I'm not really that high on the direction they are taking the Kingsley character. Though, this inversion/change of heart/joining the Avengers...are we going to see Spider-Man interact with an Avenger Kingsley? That could be interesting...

  7. hornacek

    @14 - Ok, I have been reading these reviews as if Kingsley was not inverted and this change of heart was his own idea, so that makes more sense. I can understand him deciding that being a hero could be more profitable than being a villain, but I can't see him deciding to go full good-buy. I still say that him being forgiven for all past crimes (didn't he break out of jail in Goblins at the Gate after he was jailed for all his Hobgoblin crimes?) by everyone and asked to join the Avengers, that just doesn't make sense to me. Even if you're aware of the inversion and you know for a fact that Kingsley is now a good guy, this inversion could wear off or be reversed. Just a few weeks of acting good should not have everyone (including Cap) forgiving him and asking him to join the Avengers. I mean, the Sandman spent a long time reforming and earning people's trust before he was accepted as a good guy (I still can't forgive Marvel and Mackie for turning him evil again in the dumbest way possible, that was soooo stupid!).

  8. Big John

    @12 Steve Rogers wasn't in Genosha at the time the Inversion spell was cast. Neither was Spider-Man. The spell was a last ditch attempt to stop Red Onslaught as it was intended to bring Charles Xavier's mind to the fore of R.O's consciousness (Red Skull had exhumed Xavier's body and grafted the psychic's brain onto his own - comics). . .which was kind of an important plot point. . .seriously feeling so bad about missing that and misleading you guys in my review. . .

  9. Big John

    @hornacek: I apologize, that was my mistake. I don't know how I missed that point in my first reading of AXIS #3, but there was an actual magical inversion spell cast by Scarlet Witch and Dr. Doom that flipped everyone's moral compasses, i.e. those who were present at the fight with Red Skull in Genosha. I'm sorry guys! So, yeah, Roddy, Carnage, Sabretooth, Jack O'Lantern, and everyone there was caught in that spell. And when I read #3 again, I noticed a small line from one of the policemen present at Hobgoblin Day about how because there have been so many Hobgoblin's they can't pin anything on Kingsley (even though Betty Brant got his confession on tape in Hobgoblin Lives #3). This ties back to the 1st issue from when Kingsley told his Phase 3 members of his program that he couldn't appear in public because there was too much heat on him. But now that he's been doing so much good in the city "for the past few weeks" in Marvel time, I suppose the public is meant to assume that this Hobgoblin is a good one, and isn't identifiable with any of the former evil ones. And Steve tells Roddy that he doesn't trust him when he recruits him to this provisional Avengers team. So, your discontent with the authorities' and Steve Rogers' willingness to look past Kingsley's crimes is totally valid, but it was addressed (albeit in a very forgettable way) in the issue.

  10. sthenurus

    @11. The inversion didn't make good guys become bad or bad guy become good. It just changed the way they see things. The x-men began to see things the way magneto used to, but still believe they do what's best for mutantkind. The inverted avengers do what they believe is best to protect the world. Even if it means killing. None of em just woke up wanting to burn the world; the just lost their moral compass. For the villains. Its the opposite. They gained a moral compass. They still act out of selfish things, but will do it because it will feel like the right things to do.

  11. hornacek

    @9 - Maybe it's badass, but it's totally out of character for Cap and unbelievable from a logic standpoint. @10 - I'm not reading this mini or anything AXIS so I'm just going by what Big John wrote in his review of issue #1: "Anyway, regarding Kingsley’s new heroic bent, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the much-publicized “Inversion” that AXIS #3 brought about was not some psychic trick by the Red Onslaught, or some other character. I appreciate that Bunn and Remender took the harder road and attempted to bring about this change from the individual characters’ standpoints. " So maybe I'm wrong, but I took from that blurb that Kingsley did not have any external influence put on him to invert him from bad guy to good guy - he did it of his own free will because he saw more profit in being a good guy. If I'm wrong, I would appreciate it if someone can explain if Kingsley has been inverted or someone has put the whammy on him.

  12. Ben

    @8 -I don't remember it ever being explicitly stated if Kingsley was inverted or not. I don't think any of the villains have noticed they've been inverted, and his comment about realizing he could make more money being a hero could have been the suggestion that the inversion spell planted in his brain to make him "good". I don't know, the logic behind the inversion is really convoluted, and this event is certainly quite headache inducing. From what I could make out from the plot synopsis it seems although the normal Avengers (excluding Spider-Man) have been inverted and have become "evil". So I guess this inverted-Avengers team is the last line of defense against the inverted X-Men? I'm with you on it being out of character for Steve Rogers to trust a bunch a villains though, especially someone like Carnage.

  13. hornacek

    @7 - But I thought that Hobgoblin was not inverted. When this mini was announced everyone thought he would be inverted and that would explain him becoming a hero. But from the issue #1 review it was said that he wasn't inverted, he just realized he could make more money from being a hero than being a villain. So if Sabretooth and Carnage have been inverted and are now good-guys ... I can't understand the logic of Cap wanting them on the Avengers, whether it's an existing team or a new inverted-evil Avengers. I don't care if they have become inverted and are now good guys, they have been villains for years. They should have to pay for their crimes, not be put on an Avengers team, that just sounds so idiotic. My point being that 3 issues ago, Hobgoblin was a villain who had committed many crimes and killed people. 3 issues later, he says he's a good guy now and everyone believes him and is looking the other way regarding all of the crimes he committed in the past ("past" being 3 issues ago and earlier). It just makes my head hurt.

  14. Fisk

    Rogers is inviting inverted-Hobby to the inverted-evil Avengers, along with Sabretooth or Carnage who are much worse than Roddy ever was. And this was BTW a very cool mini.

  15. Ben

    I thought this was a pretty good conclusion, though not as strong as the first two issues. Seeing Kingsley consistently be one step ahead of everyone was great. Honestly I hope Phil is dead, he's been a really tedious character for a while now, and I think he just needs to be retired. @Hornacek - After a read through the main plot of Axis, it seems like Hobgoblin isn't actually joining the 'real' Avengers, but a temporary team consisting of the inverted villains that Steve Rogers has assembled to fight the (currently evil) X-Men. So basically I think Steve is aware of this inversion thing, and knows exactly what he's doing by recruiting Hobgoblin.

  16. Hobo-Goblin

    I don't think the glider impales Phil per se...just crushes him against a tree. But as a big Kingsley fan myself, I liked this. Let Kingsley keep his rep and get some payback. Too bad poor Phil is virtually beyond salvage now. At least he gets a nice future in MC2...

  17. AmazingOSUman

    Kind of what I was thinking, but if Spider-Man can snap a man's neck in Grand Central Station and still be an Avenger . . .

  18. hornacek

    (continued from previous comments, it wouldn't let me post this all in one comment - stupid WordPress!) Kingsley is a publicly known villain and murderer. But in three issues everyone thinks he's a hero and Cap invites him to join the Avengers? That's just too much too soon.

  19. hornacek

    (continued from previous comment) I'm not against this story, but this whole thing seems very rushed. For a known villain to turn into a hero who is invited to join the Avengers, all in three issues? If there was a time-skip, maybe but from what I know this mini-series is taking place in normal Marvel time, right along with AXIS.

  20. hornacek

    So Hobgoblin impales Phil with his glider, and Captain America offers him membership in the Avengers??? Was this impaling in front of everybody? Does Cap or the authorities or the public know that this happened?

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