Amazing Spider-Man #176-180
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #176, Amazing Spider-Man #177, Amazing Spider-Man #178, Amazing Spider-Man #179, Amazing Spider-Man #180
Before we get to that, though, a few other items.
First, Spider-Man returns J. Jonah Jameson to his office after the Hitman's attempt on his life. It's quickly established that despite the rescue, there's no change in their relationship.
After that, Spider-Man goes home and goes to bed, and wakes up with his shoulder, injured by security guards during the fight with the Molten Man, completely healed.
And Aunt May, still in Grey Panther mode, has a heart attack at a protest.
Mary Jane shows up to support Peter while he's waiting in the hospital.
May survives the initial heart attack but has a second one during the course of this arc...
...and matters are complicated thanks to the fact that Peter is fighting the Goblin at the time and unable to authorize surgery.
Now on to the Green Goblin stuff. We saw in the last arc that Harry got into a fight with his psychiatrist, Bart Hamilton, and one of them became the Goblin. We are led to believe until near the end of this arc that it was Harry who became the Goblin, and that Hamilton is Harry's prisoner...
...but it will turn out to be the reverse.
Peter goes to the psychiatrist's office to pick up Harry and finds the police investigating the scene of the fight. Peter then heads to Harry and Flash Thompson's apartment and finds the Green Goblin harassing Flash.
The Green Goblin evades Spider-Man in their first encounter, and makes his way to a secret meeting organized by Silvermane.
It's always interesting to see the same stories, broadly, repeat themselves over the decades. One of the most memorable scenes with the Hobgoblin when i was reading comics in real time was seeing him show up and forge a tenuous alliance with the Rose. But that scene is (again, broadly speaking) an echo of this scene here, which in turn is an echo of the scene from Amazing Spider-Man #23 when the original Green Goblin tries to take over Lucky Lobo's gang.
Anyway, this Goblin has something unique to offer Silvermane's organization: Spider-Man's secret identity. Silvermane, however, was just in the process of consolidating the crime organization himself, so he doesn't take the bait, and instead tells the Goblin that he has to actually deliver Spider-Man in order for them to consider his offer.
After the Goblin leaves, Spider-Man, who was hiding in an air vent, is discovered, and he takes down the mob goons...
...but Silvermane escapes.
Spider-Man is subsequently captured by the Goblin and then by Silvermane's goons, but manages to escape from both (and eventually makes his way to the hospital for Aunt May's surgery). But Peter is then sent by JJ to cover a battle between the Goblin and Silvermane at Radio City Music Hall (Joe Robertson agrees to send Peter only to help him get his mind off his aunt). Peter, of course, shows up as Spidey.
Thanks to the deployment of a "sonic toad"...
...Silvermane is dropped and Spidey is unable to rescue him.
Meanwhile, the big reveal: Harry was the hooded prisoner.
I really like this scene where Harry decides that he has to use the Green Goblin costume to stop Bart Hamilton.
The subsequent dressing scene almost suggests that Harry could remain as a heroic Green Goblin.
But after he shows up to fight Hamilton...
...he symbolically removes his Green Goblin costume.
Hamilton is killed by an explosion that he caused during the fight, and the story ends with the implication that Harry is all better. And to wrap things up even more neatly, Liz Allan returns.
Before Harry shows up, Peter learns from Bart that Harry was the one who took the pictures of Peter disposing his clone and, under Hamilton's suggestion, was also the one who sent them to JJ. Harry now remembers none of this.
Sonic toads aside, my biggest problem with both Harry and Bart Hamilton as Green Goblins is that they shouldn't have the necessary strength to be a threat to Spider-Man. A Marvel Handbook entry included in my trade reprint of these issues states that none of the Green Goblins had any kind of superhuman abilities, but that's not logical, and a fairly big plot point of the later Hobgoblin saga is that finding the Green Goblin's equipment alone wasn't enough to let the Hobgoblin be a challenge for Spider-Man; it's only after exposing himself to the same chemical reaction that turned Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin that he's a fully realized villain.
That aside, if you accept the fact that the Green Goblin's equipment is enough to let someone be a challenge for Spidey, it's a decent arc that wraps up some lingering plot points, especially around those photos of Peter destroying his clone, but also for Harry and Liz. The implication that Harry's mental illness is totally resolved by this encounter is a little too neat but it's hard to imagine where else they might have gone with that so i guess it makes sense.
Ross Andru's art is wonky in places (the panels of Aunt May's second heart attack and of Silvermane running away both make me giggle) but it's generally classic house style, especially during the Goblin fights.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This begins directly after Amazing Spider-Man #175, with Spider-Man swinging home with JJ. I've placed Marvels: Eye of the Camera #3 between issue #175 and this arc since that issue ends with the scene from #175. In issue #176, Peter's arm is healed, placing this before Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #12, where Peter is testing out his newly healed arm.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Amazing Spider-Man: A New Goblin trade
Inbound References (12): show
Silvermane's injuries in this storyline caused continuity confusion. In Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 2, which was published in 1980, Silvermane appears and seems to be in good health. Then in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 69-70, Silvermane is on life support and Jean DeWolff claims that it's a result of his injuries during this story. Olshevsky decided that Silvermane recovered, and it was a combination of his injuries in the fall and his injuries in the Annual that caused him to be on life-support.
Posted by: Michael | June 15, 2013 5:32 PM
I regarded this as epic when I read it at the age of ten.
Posted by: Jack | July 19, 2013 7:32 AM
In fact, I would say this story hooked me for keeps on comics, especially Spidey. There was a sentimentality in the relationship between Peter, May, and MJ that truly tugged at me. Now, this is from the eyes and heart of a ten year old. I try to continue to see this run in that context, from that lens.
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 9:29 AM
I'm a big fan of Ross Andru's art, and don't have much of a problem with the heart attack panel, but that shot of Silvermane running away IS adorable.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 21, 2013 3:51 PM
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 4:46 PM
By the way, Jay - I may have misinterpreted your question regarding Monica. Truth to tell - if you're a fan of Andru, I'd like to be able to enjoy that with you on this board.
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 4:55 PM
Let's tread very carefully here. I'm not finding "I thought you were a racist but if you like Ross Andru maybe i misinterpreted the comment i made vehement and numerous protests about" very credible. I'm hoping it's a sincere attempt at outreach. But i asked for no more comments on the subject. So let's just let it drop and move forward from here.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 21, 2013 5:11 PM
It's an attempt to move forward. Regardless of my true thoughts on the matter, I want to move forward. Jay responded amicably to a couple of comics related posts I left and I want to reach out and move forward. And, got it - no more on the matter.
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 5:16 PM
And, this arc is special to me - let's not sully it. Wein and Andru have a special place in my (comic book) heart.
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 5:18 PM
I can't really recall a lot of the Norman Goblin having super strength. It seemed like all the time the two battled during the Ditko and Romita years Goblin was staying as far away as he could from Spider-Man so he threw stuff or tried to crush him with his glider. It seems like it wasn't until the Hobgoblin did this super strength matter come up. Two geniuses but one strong and durable and the other a cunning weapon crafter you know?
Posted by: davidbanes | December 5, 2013 9:36 PM
That's an interesting point, David. The Hobgoblin issues make it clear that it's hard to even stay on the glider and and dodge Spider-Man with just normal human strength, and that's logical to me. So it never occurred to me that i was really reading a retcon saying that the original Goblin actually had super-strength. A quick look at my scans on the original GG entries, at least, confirms what you are saying.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 5, 2013 11:12 PM
Much like his treatment of the Tarantula, it seems like Roger Stern's notion about the Goblins having super strength was an expression of his belief that nobody without superpowers should be able to credibly challenge Spider-Man in a fight.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | December 6, 2013 2:26 AM
I'm pretty sure the idea of the goblin formula originated with Roger Stern.
Posted by: kveto from prague | December 6, 2013 2:50 PM
I can go either way on it but I think the like Goblin being weak, fragile and relies on weapons. Though I haven't read a thing of Norman coming back to life minus Miller's Marvel Knights. I started Stern's run last year and it is a great point that a normal guy can't fly a glider like that. I still go 'but c'mon it is a comic book' but I guess we like Stern because he keeps a comic book a comic book but adds little thoughtful and realistic details.
Posted by: David Banes | December 6, 2013 4:23 PM
The main issue that usually comes up in these discussions is 1968's Spectacular Spider-Man 2. Norman shows incredible strength at some points, although it's debatable whether or not it was meant to be superhuman.
Posted by: Michael | December 6, 2013 7:52 PM
Now Spectacular Spider-Man 2 I have not read since it did not pop up in the Essential line, at least the ones I have. I think another point towards 'Goblin is weak' is when he returned after the first bout of amensia he had to release a vapor that weakened Peter then decked him one. One of the few times Goblin actually socked Spidey. There's plenty of room to swing either way and I think Roger really did look into that to make sure it wasn't too hard to believe.
I mean I admit it would be weird for Norman to make a chemical, have it explode and have it just drive him crazy? How about some super powers with that crazy serum huh?
Posted by: David Banes | December 14, 2013 8:54 PM
Norman Osborn may have relied on weapons, but he had super-strength. People forget that, in his normal guise, he knocked out Spider-Man with one blow to the back of the head, way back when he was first introduced in ASM #37. And this was during the Lee-Ditko era, before the likes of Gerry Conway, Len Wein and Marv Wolfman weakened the character to the point where it seemed anyone could knock him out.
Posted by: irh13 | April 8, 2015 11:27 PM
I added that scan to the ASM #37 entry. Thanks for pointing it out. That may have just been the equivalent of the "knock a person out with one punch" scenes that you see in a lot of older movies, but it is an interesting bit of evidence to be combined with the scene in Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #2 that Michael pointed out.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 9, 2015 9:06 AM
I think the Bart Hamilton Green Goblin tends to be quite underrated. His attempts to become a criminal gang leader harken back to the original Goblin before we learned he was Norman Osborn. And he had interesting motivations too. Wonder if he kept a journal like Norman?
But that said, its probably good he was killed off at the end of this story. Once he was revealed as the Goblin (and remember, 79% of the story was trying to make you think Harry was the Goblin again), I think trying to bring him back for future stories wouldn't be as effective (look at Jason Macendale as Hobgoblin).
Still, Hamilton's one-and-only Green Goblin story was a good one, and should not be overlooked simply because Bart wasn't an Osborn.
Posted by: mikrolik | June 10, 2015 11:46 AM
Given that this was 1977, I wonder if Harry's blue hooded look when tied up was an influence on a certain 1980s acquired licence Marvel character, given the initial toy was wearing his visor...
Posted by: Harry | July 2, 2015 12:10 PM
The first few pages of What If?#7(2/78) featuring Spider-Man are separate from the main What If? story and appear to be in continuity.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 15, 2016 11:05 AM
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