Amazing Spider-Man #249-251
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #249, Amazing Spider-Man #250, Amazing Spider-Man #251
And here it is from the trade.
Why do that?!? Was it really just to avoid an external reference for trade readers? Or was it due to some deep seated Shooter hating? (I've been reading Jim Shooter's blog lately, that's why my thoughts are going in that direction.)
These issues also present a challenge to my project. As mentioned, in the course of this story, Spider-Man loses his spider-sense. And issues of Spectacular Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up take place while he's lost it. But there's no clean break between these issues of ASM where those additional Spider-Man stories can occur. Which means that the other comics must take place concurrently with this story arc, in between panels. Not the first time we've run into this, and we'll deal with it in the Continuity Considerations section, but it's always my preference when the issues take place sequentially. That said, this is still a case where i think there's a major benefit to reading Marvel's line as a whole in chronological order. Otherwise if you're reading, say, the Spectacular Spider-Man series and suddenly Spidey doesn't have his spider-sense, you're missing part of the story! And that's not even considering the fact that all of these issues end with Spider-Man heading to Secret Wars.
Before we get into the plot summary, one more thing. This is Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.'s last arc on Amazing Spider-Man. Issue #251 begins the Defalco/Frenz run, with Defalco scripting a Stern plot. Famously (among comic nerds, anyway), Stern didn't supply Defalco (or anyone) with the Hobgoblin's identity, and this will lead to a lot of confusion and a number of bad reveals over the next few years. I don't know why he chose not to reveal the Hobgoblin's identity, but in retrospect it seems like a bad idea. Nonetheless, Stern's run has definitely been a highlight of the Amazing Spider-Man series.
As for JRJR's art, it was of course great. Not stylized and angular like his later work. Just a very nice clean Marvel house style. On complaint is that his Peter Parker became too much of a heroic muscular type. Peter (and Spidey) is supposed to be slender and agile looking. Spider-Man is strong, sure. But he shouldn't look like Captain America.
And Peter should still look somewhat nerdy. It's even worse because the dialogue still has people referring to Peter as being geeky.
It's actually a pretty common problem for people drawing super-hero comics. In the 70s, Mr. Fantastic was drawn with a similar muscular frame. Beyond that, Romita Jr.'s was a great compliment to Stern's writing. And going forward, Ron Frenz's Dikto-tribute style will certainly correct the Peter Parker issue.
Now on to the plot! Via Osborn's notes, the Hobgoblin has acquired dirt on various business leaders, and he's decided to go for blackmail. J. Jonah Jameson and Harry Osborn are included in the plot. JJ for having created the Scorpion, and Harry for his father's identity as the Green Goblin. Roger Kingsley, the fashion designer from Stern's Spectacular Spider-man run, is also apparently included as well, but we'll get back to that. Harry brings Peter along, and the Kingpin also shows up at the Century Club where the blackmailing is going down.
Most of the blackmailees suspect Harry since his father would have had the goods on all of them. But when the Hobgoblin reveals himself...
...Harry confronts him directly, and knocks off his head. It turns out that he was really a robot (note Kingsley's overacting)...
...and the the real Hobgoblin bursts in.
Spidey jumps in to defend Harry...
...but the Hobgoblin hits him with the Green Goblin's old gas that blocks Spidey's spider-sense.
Without that power, the Hobgoblin has the edge and Spidey is defeated. But the Kingpin steps in and prevents the Hobgoblin from killing him, and even slips a spider-tracer on the Goblin's sled.
Spidey seeks out the individual blackmailees but doesn't get much help. Note two details from his visit with Kingsley, however. 1. Kingsley is upset that his brother is out of town. We haven't heard anything about a brother before. 2. Kingsley doesn't seem to remember his girlfriends name. Odd!
Finally, Spidey seeks out Jameson, and learns that JJ is writing up an editorial confession regarding his involvement in the creation of the Scorpion.
While Spidey notes some contradictions - JJ's only copping to his involvement in the Scorpion and not, say, the Spider-Slayers or the Fly, and the fact that he's only coming clean now - it's still a nice distinction between Jameson and the other people being blackmailed. JJ insists on publishing his confession even after Spidey stops the Hobgoblin and destroys his notes, and resigns as Editor In Chief of the Daily Bugle, turning that title over to Joe Robertson (JJ remains Publisher).
While he's without his Spider-Sense, Spider-Man pulls out his old device that tracks his Spider-Tracers. His internal monologue makes it sound like he hasn't used the device in a long long time ("It's been years since I've used the tracking receiver... and it looks like it! The batteries leaked... it's a mess in here!"), but Chris Claremont had him pull it out of his butt to give to the Invisible Girl in Marvel Team-Up #88.
Using the tracer device, Spidey tracks down the Hobgoblin, who had actually found the tracer that the Kingpin placed on his sled and was therefore prepared for the confrontation.
During the course of the battle, the Green Goblin's journals are destroyed in a fire.
The battle continues and Spider-Man regains his Spider-Sense (we've shifted into Frenz art here; note the very Dikto-like and skinny Spider-Man).
Then the two of them go over a pier into the Hudson while fighting in the Hobgoblin's battle van. At this point Spidey is trying to save the Hobgoblin from drowning, but the Hobgoblin seems to prefer death. He has an odd thought about how the "disgrace would be too much for me.... and my family".
Roger Stern intended Roderick Kingsley to be the Hobgoblin. He has a twin brother Daniel who poses as Roderick in these issues. If you know what you're looking for, you can kind of see the clues, but they're very subtle and it's not surprising that subsequent writers weren't able to follow up on it without any help from Stern.
After wrapping things up with Harry...
...Peter investigates a major spider-sense tingle in Central Park, and winds up getting sucked into the construct that will transport him to Secret Wars.
Regardless of the the long term problems with the Hobgoblin, this was a nice wrap-up to the Stern/Romita run, and the Defalco/Frenz combo looks promising at this point as well.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: As noted above, we have some concurrencies between this arc and some surrounding issues of Marvel Team-Up and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. Luckily, the Marvel Chronology Project has already thought this all through (probably based on the Marvel Indexes). Team-Up #138 and Spectacular #87 occur after Spidey has lost his Spider-Sense and while Spider-Man is talking to various people being blackmailed (but not JJ), basically between pages #10 and 11 of Amazing #250. Then we have Spidey's confrontation with JJ and his rebuilding of the Spider-Tracer Receiver in Amazing #250 pages 11 to 16. Then Marvel Team-Up #139-140. Then the rest of Amazing #250-251, except for the last few pages where Peter talks to Harry and then leaves for Secret Wars. Then we have Spectacular #88-89 (and, oddly, Web of Spider-Man #26, which is an unrelated continuity-insert that i don't have). Then Amazing #251, Spectacular #89, and Team-Up #140 all repeat the same scene of Peter talking to Harry and leaving for Secret Wars. Complicated, but luckily my personal obsession doesn't require the splicing up of individual issues and all we really have to say is that these stories are essentially taking place at the same time and all culminate in Spidey leaving for the Battleplanet.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Amazing Spider-Man: The Origin of the Hobgoblin, Marvel Tales #261
Inbound References (10): show
Peter's Spider-Sense goes off in issue 249, right before he and MJ go into the pool. It also goes off briefly in issue 250 and then disappears again. Maybe those scenes weren't included in your trade.
Thanks, i had just found the scene from #249 and was in the process of scanning when your comment came in. Updated above.
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