Amazing Spider-Man #189-190
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #189, Amazing Spider-Man #190
Spider-Man feels like things are moving up in his life. After getting exonerated by the police, and with a merchandise deal pending, he's feeling comfortable about being able to pay for Aunt May's medical costs. He arrives at the hospital to see her get transferred to a nursing home. His good mood doesn't prevent him from overreacting when a doctor makes a really snide remark.
I'm not sure where the doctor is coming from; Peter has been shown to be visiting May on a regular basis.
Later, after nearly bungling an attempt at assisting the police dealing with a hostage situation, and then getting closer with Betty Leeds than he probably ought to ...
...he spies a bandaged figure attacking J. Jonah Jameson.
The "mummy" turns out to be the Man-Wolf.
While Spidey fights him, Jameson repeatedly tries to get through to him.
We learn that Spencer Smythe is behind the Man-Wolf's attack.
His reasoning's not all that great, but he's clearly not well.
Jameson continues to try to reach his son...
...and eventually the Man-Wolf reverts back to John Jameson.
Smythe still has the ability to affect him remotely, though, and he uses a device to cause John to feel pain and stagger off a bridge. Spider-Man is unable to save him, but instead of hitting the water, he disappears.
JJ predictably blames Spider-Man.
We also get a glimpse at Barney Bushkin, city editor at the Daily Globe, and his boss, KJ. KJ demands that Bushkin hire Peter Parker.
I'm a big fan of John Byrne's art but possibly because it's only layouts, the art doesn't quite have the same kick for me here. It's also worth noting that you don't see any big pin-up type pictures of the Spider-Man/Man-Wolf fight; there really weren't any for me to include here. That's not necessarily a bad thing; the storytelling is great and the action is clear. It's just surprising. In any event, Wolfman's Spider-Man is a doldrum period for me and Byrne's art doesn't really help.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The fight with Man-Wolf is briefly shown in Fantastic Four #204 and prevents Spider-Man from responding to the Human Torch's request for a meeting, so these issues take place concurrently. FF #204 also takes place during Avengers #181 and therefore so does this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): show
I think Byrne may have done these issues on short notice; "Jigsaw" in that newspaper looks nothing like the guy in #188.
The cover to #189 shows the Mummy talking.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 23, 2013 6:21 PM
I consider this the issue where Peter shags Betty while she's still married. (the caption makes it obvious). And also explains why Pete lets Ned Leeds beat on him a few issues later. Guilt trip.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | June 24, 2013 11:24 AM
The counterargument is that Peter boinking Betty without telling Betty that he's Spider-Man when he knows that Betty hates Spider-Man for her brother's death is kind of squicky and arguably out of character for Peter.
Posted by: Michael | June 24, 2013 7:47 PM
Peter should have kept her.
Posted by: doomsday | July 9, 2013 3:14 PM
Not only is there implied infidelity in this issue, but there's also a mummy that is actually a werewolf in disguise. Awesome.
Posted by: TCP | September 11, 2014 6:41 PM
Hasn't Betty Brant realized by now that her brother Bennett was killed by Blackie Gaxton? I can see her still being in denial about it being Bennet's own fault, but I was sure that by this point she'd have realized that Spider-Man is a hero. He saved her at least three or four times I think. Peter boinking Betty may not entirely out of character if we assume she hasn't been hating Spider-Man all that much. I recall her enthusiastic gratitude for Spidey when he rescued her and Aunt May from the Sinister Six. And she has been portrayed as pretty upset with Jonah Jameson's anti-Spidey smear campaign, at least in that ASM issue where our hero fought the Green Goblin for the second time (back when that character mattered).
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 15, 2015 6:11 PM
Well, supposedly Betty's issues about Spider-Man killing her brother were responsible for Ned becoming the Hobgoblin- but now that I think about it, you're right, I can't think of any scenes between issue 150 and issue 289 when Betty actually SHOWED hatred or fear of Spider-Man- that's another problem with Amazing 289- it hinges on Ned wanting to avenge something Betty seemingly got over ages ago.
Posted by: Michael | August 15, 2015 6:32 PM
Correction- fnord points out there's a reference to Betty hating Spider-Man for her brother's death in the first Carrion storyline- Spectacular 25-31.
Posted by: Michael | August 15, 2015 6:42 PM
Yes, when I first found out that Bennett Brant's death was the reason why the Hobgoblin hated Spider-Man I assumed it had happened AFTER Spider-Man's first encounter with the Sinister Six. Betty Brant was unequivocally thrilled to see Spider-Man come rescue Aunt May and her after defeating Doctor Octopus. [It was particularly humorous because Aunt May herself, completely oblivious to her hostage status, was dismayed with Spider-Man's terrifying demeanor, contrasting him with the more elegant and gentlemanly Dr. Octopus].
Back then, I naturally assumed that Bennet and Ned Leeds had been the best of friends as well as in-laws. Years later I found out that Bennet had died long before Betty had ever married Ned, and, worse still, before the Spidey's first brouhaha with the Sinister Six. I was positively stumped. Betty was not only delighted to be rescued from Doc Ock's clutch--er, tentacles by that dashing red-and-blue-clad super-hero, SHE WAS THE ACTUAL BAIT meant to lure Spider-Man towards the Sinister Six's elaborate gauntlet. The Vulture TOLD J. Jonah Jameson that she was taken hostage because there was probably some deeper, unfathomable connection between Spidey and her--considering how often he saved her.
I would really like to see the Betty-hates-Spidey reference in the Carrion storyline, because, while I had always taken for granted that Ned Leeds was the original Hobgoblin, I was absolutely flabbergasted to read the actual story--and in no small part because of the pusillanimous way the Bennet connection was casually squeezed into an already ludicrous plot. Peter David, in his perplexing attempt to make an upside-down house of cards with the awful hand he was dealt, made it seem like Betty spent night after sleepless night screaming Spider-Man's name while dreaming of her brother's entrails ripped apart by poisonous webs. I would've bought my own personalized Spider-Smasher at that point.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 15, 2015 8:42 PM
*correction: Spider-SLAYER. "Spider-Smasher" would've been the literal meaning of the Brazilian translation of Spider-Slayer.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 15, 2015 8:45 PM
The reference is in PPTSS #25. Peter is thinking about his screwed-up love life. He "blew a marriage proposal to the gal I thought I loved" (Mary Jane), and "a girl who's married thinks she loves me" (Betty). Peter has "been trying to disentangle myself from Betty - things would never work between us. She used to love Peter Parker - but she blames Spider-Man for her brother's death. Sheesh! A guy could get schizophrenic in this biz!".
Posted by: fnord12 | August 15, 2015 11:01 PM
The mummy actually being a werewolf is a way better twist than the one from Being From Another Planet.
The HUGE UNEXPECTED TWIST IS-
The mummy is actually a space alien. Or as Joel put it best "Oh so the mummy was really a lame styrofoam head?"
Posted by: david banes | August 16, 2015 12:06 AM
At the end of Amazing Spider-Man #11 -- the comic where Betty's brother Bennett dies -- Betty tells Peter that she does understand that Spider-Man was not responsible for Bennett's death. She mentions that it was her shock over seeing her brother killed in front of her that caused her to blame Spider-Man in the heat of the moment, but after she has been able to calm down, she realizes the truth.
However, she also mentions at the end of that issue that she would prefer to not see Spider-Man again, as his presence would only remind her of Bennett's death. But in later stories -- Amazing Spider-Man #12 and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 -- Betty seems to have adjusted to Spider-Man's presence, although Peter might not be fully aware of this change.
Betty does have a flashback to her brother's death in Amazing Spider-Man #33, where she attributes Bennett's death to his being attracted to action and danger, a trait she fears Peter is developing(!), and that becomes another one of the major catalysts for her and Peter's romantic relationship ending.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 16, 2015 1:42 PM
Thank you, fnord12. I guess Spider-Man was so distraught while rethinking his love life (which, by the way, has involved an inordinate amount of 'foxy ladies' for a guy who had been a brainiac nerd in his pre-arachnid days) that he sort of exaggerated Betty's distrust of Spider-Man. It's not completely out of continuity: he did plan on revealing his secret identity to Betty and changed his mind when Bennett died; so in a way his death had made it hard for Spider-Man to be her boyfriend/husband/sex toy.
I'm kind of relieved: I had imagined that the Carrion-storyline reference to Bennett would have been more dramatic, maybe Betty had actually TOLD Peter she hated Spider-Man. But that not being the case, I can reconcile Peter's thoughts with Aaron's observations on Betty. Betty can--at least up to a certain degree--blame Spidey for Bennett's death and still not fear him, let alone hate him. And Peter could certainly assume as much and still realize that it doesn't really amount to fear or hate. And he was probably blowing it out of proportion in that interlude of anguished emotional reflection.
Thanks to Aaron, I now fully realize that Betty was reasonable enough to spare Spidey from unjust finger-pointing (the kind JJJ does in such a gratuitous manner, no less so in this story of a Mummy-that-turns-out-to-be-a-werewolf-but-not-a-space-alien-much-less-a-lame-styrofoam-head).
Of course, all of this means that Betty never went crazy with Jameson-level antropo-arachonophobia as ASM #289 claimed. The Hobgoblin could've easily been Donald Menken blaming Spidey for his mentor Norman Obsorn's downfall, or Kris Keating bitter with our hero for years of humiliation and friction.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 16, 2015 5:17 PM
Well, Betty did have some issues with Spider-Man in Web of Spider-Man 63 (the implication was Ned's death stirred up a few feelings) but that issue mostly featured her getting over it. But yeah, the problem is that Betty has generally only turned against Spider-Man when brainwashed (e.g. Cult of Love, WOSM 63), so Ned thinking that she wanted Spider-Man dead makes no sense. (Of course, Priest's explanation was that he became the Hobgoblin as part of a plan to take down the Kingpin and only became evil after taking the serum, which doesn't explain why he committed murder immediately after finding the stash.)
Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2015 5:58 PM
And I completely agree here with your and Michael's sentiments about issue 289. Ned and the readers deserved better than what we received from that story.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 16, 2015 6:50 PM
Why does the Hobgoblin have to have any personal animosity towards Spider-Man? One of the things I found refreshing about the Hobgoblin, at least as Stern introduced and wrote him, is that he had no feelings towards Spider-Man, one way or the other. He had no personal connection to him. It was only when Spidey literally drove him into the ground in their first battle, that things became personal for the villain (it was always personal for the hero, since he felt partially responsible for the birth of this new villain, not to mention this was Norman Osborn's legacy here). I still think Stern could have made the Kingsley reveal work, if only because his work on the Hobgoblin (at least from ASM #238-250) was some of his best work.
Posted by: irh13 | August 16, 2015 8:25 PM
Irh13, I think you completely nailed it. I've inutively thought about the Hobgoblin this way, but you articulated it really well -- helping me better clarify my feelings.
It was personal for Spidey in terms of him constantly developing his sense of responsibility towards others vs. Kingsley being obsessed with power and the need to use power in a clandestine manner, a trait Stern established in Kingsley's previous appearances.
I've always preferred super villains who wanted to commit a crime rather than seek revenge on the hero, as it gives the villains a motivation separate from their interactions with the hero, allowing for a richer characterization.
The late 1980s-early 1990s media overplayed the "This time it's personal" theme to the point that the hero became less heroic and less proactive -- more focused on protecting himself/herself from the villain in an endless cycle of revenge and vengeance, rather than stopping the villain for altruistic motivations.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 16, 2015 9:58 PM
Aaron, the situation you describe in your last paragraph will be extrapolated into the future of Alex Ross's Kingdom Come, where the next generation of heroes and villains are virtually indistinguishable.
Posted by: cullen | August 16, 2015 11:38 PM
Cullen, excellent point.
When Kingdom Come was published was around a period of time when I almost stopped reading comics. That series certainly commented on (and I've heard some say, contributed to) that problem. I'm not sure that comics have ever recovered. I'm fascinated to see how fnord12 is going to cover the 1990s as his project moves forward -- his insight on 90s trends (both positive and negative) will be informative.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 17, 2015 1:41 PM
Irh13 has a point: Hobgoblin didn't need a personal reason to hate Spider-Man. Peter David, on the other hand, felt he did. Hobgob's motivation was power, pure and simply, and the closest thing to what one could've called a "this time is personal" schtick was nothing but a furious bitterness against the one hero who stood between him and more power. Even more so after Spider-Man's intervention that led to the destruction of the Norman Osborn diaries that would have made Hobgoblin a billionaire by blackmail.
Had Hobgoblin been someone who had merely bumped into Spider-Man on a previous occasion (and perhaps an unpleasant one), it could've just been further incentive to fuel the hatred of someone whose affairs were foiled. But he never really needed any reason to hate Spidey prior to his transformation (although it would help explain his willingness to dress in a more threatening variation of one of his enemies). Of course, being Ned Leeds, who had a positive attitude towards Spider-Man and even owed his life to him, then he'd probably need some personal reason for hate for such an "about face". Peter David understood that. But of course, this just makes the Ned Leeds option even MORE puzzling.
So puzzling, in fact, that Christopher Priest--himself one of the architects of Hobgob's descent into ridiculous--came up with the least convincing back-up story for Ned's supervillian motivation. Like Michael (and I suppose, like most mammals), I felt it was galactically absurd for Ned to dress up as a monstrous, murderous, blackmailing, and more macabre version of a publicly known supervillian in order to write an expose on the Kingpin. Instead of, you know, doing some down-to-earth muckraking in the Ben Urich tradition.
It would've made more sense to reveal the Goblin as a "Mummy-that-turns-out-to-be-a-werewolf-but-not-a-space-alien-much-less-a-lame-styrofoam-head". (let's keep trying, Aaron!)
I agree with Irh13 that Roger Stern's Hobgoblin storyline was one of his best works--if not the very best. But I doubt even he could've sold the Roderick Kingsley solution quite well, even back then (he certainly couldn't have--and didn't--twelve years on with the disappointing "Hobgoblin Lives" melee). I can't accept the idea that an already powerful tycoon would dress up as a demon and pumpkin-bomb parts of a city, risking the wrath of an arachnid-themed superhero. Why would he take the chance of being defeated, arrested, unmasked or even killed unless unless he was totally nuts like Norman Osborn (and it was known that Hobgob WASN'T). Why risk it all if he already enjoys a cushy lifestyle, if he already makes millions with a lower-profile involvement with white-collar crimes that few masked vigilantes confront? If Kingsley were exposed as Hobgoblin, he'd be ruined, his stocks would plummet. He always had too much to lose, as opposed to, say, Kris Keating, Blake Tower, Jonas Harrow or even Ned Leeds.
Plus, Stern wrote Roderick Kingsley wondering who the Hobgoblin was IN A THOUGHT BALLOON. He claimed to know the Goblin's secret I.D. from day one, but I don't buy it.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 17, 2015 5:03 PM
Transparent Fox, fnord posted scenes from that sequence in his entry on Amazing Spider-Man 249-251. He points out that in that sequence (a) Kingsley thinks about his brother being out of town and (b) Kingsley gets his girlfriend's name wrong. So it looks like Stern DID have the "identical Kingsley brothers" planned from day one.
Posted by: Michael | August 17, 2015 7:57 PM
Yeah, I remember that sequence, Michael--in fact, that being one of my favorite arcs in all of Marvel recall, I could probably recite all its sequences by heart! Funny thing, though, is that the same sequence could suggest the exact opposite! Why would Daniel Kingsley think Roderick was out of town if he had just seen him as the Hobgoblin? Unless he didn't know they were both the same person, but that would make it less reasonable to have him dress up as Roderick. Was it some sort of prank on the New York business establishment? Would they take it as far as having Daniel smooch his brother's girlfriend? With the risk of messing up the secret by, say, getting the girl's name wrong? It was clear to me that the sequence was meant to flesh out Kingsley, to portray him as a less than scrupulous ladies' man who consorts with so many girls that he can't even get their names straight. Who was walking up and down, back and forth, because he was tense with Hobgoblin's blackmail, who was thinking "of all the times for my brother to be out of town" because he could really use the help.
Roger Stern's dedication to the development of secondary characters was one of the things that really made him stand out in the comics biz. The sequence immediately before that showed George Vandergill behaving towards Spider-Man in an arrogant fashion, denying any fear from the Hobgoblin, and then making hasty plans to get out of town, frightened from the whole blackmail quandary. Kris Keating, Detective Snider, Blake Tower, Barney Bushkin, Marcy Kane, Debra Whitman, Nathan Lubensky, Belladona's sister, Philip Chang, Steve Hopkins, Professor Morris Sloan all get the royal treatment from Roger Stern. He does it wonderfully.
As a matter of fact, Stern's dedication to detail helps refute the "Kingsley-from-day-one" theory. In that very same Hobgoblin blackmail arc, we get a brief glimpse of Kingsley at the Century Club with the rest of the filthy rich thinking about their misdemeanors known to Norman Osborn. I can buy Daniel dressing like Roderick and playing the part of the extorted magnate to protect Hobgoblin's identity, but to have do it in an inner monologue is far too ludicrous for such a well-crafted storyline. And that a cunning and calculating villain like the Hobgoblin would hide his true identity from a brother that dresses like him is in itself quite unreasonable. But it is certainly way too risky and cumbersome--let alone unnecessary--to have his brother believe they are being blackmailed by a fearsome supervillian. For the sake of what, I ponder?
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 18, 2015 12:38 AM
Simple- Kingsley wanted everyone to think he wasn't the Hobgoblin but at the time he didn't trust Daniel. So if it works, fine, and if someone figures out it's Daniel and questions Daniel, he can't reveal Roderick's the Hobgoblin.
Posted by: Michael | August 18, 2015 7:33 AM
Well, people were already thinking that Lefty Donovan was the Hobgoblin. What's more, people thought that the Hobgoblin was dead. So the Daniel-as-Roderick scheme is unnecessary. If Kingsley were Hobgob and didn't want anyone to find out, he should've stuck to the Donovan decoy and conducted the blackmail business in a different fashion. I can accept that keeping Daniel in the dark gives him plausible deniability. But it will only take him so far. We recall Spider-Man approaching each blackmailed bourgeois from the Century Club, don't we? What if Daniel decided to accept his aid and spill the beans? What if he sought police protection? What if he had struck some sort of deal with one of the other mortified millionaire? What if he decided to skip town? What if Spider-Man's spider-sense detected Daniel's trickery? Shit, what if his wig were pumpkin-bombed out of place in the Century Club kerfuffle? It is easier to make a Hobgoblin decoy out of anyone that to make a Roderick decoy out of Daniel. And if neither Kingsley had shown up at the Century Club with all the other tyrannized tycoons, no one would have assumed that Hobgoblin and Roderick were the same person. It's too convoluted. It's Mr. Sinister convoluted.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 18, 2015 3:34 PM
Roger Stern gave an interview in Back Issue regarding how he created the Hobgoblin, which answers the question of whether he knew from the start that Kingsley was the man behind the mask. I'll post a comment about it on the Amazing Spider-Man #238 entry, so as to not highjack the comments on this entry, as someone might want to discuss "Mummy-that-turns-out-to-be-a-werewolf-but-not-a-space-alien-much-less-a-lame-styrofoam-head" further... 😉
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 18, 2015 8:16 PM
Good call, Aaron. Let's go to the Amazing Spider-Man #238 and conclude that Sterny is recalling history inaccurately, as Byrne and Stan are wont to do. It's unlimited fodder for controversy, whereas it's a worldwide consensus that mummies-that-turn-out-to-be-werewolves-but-not-space-aliens-much-less-lame-styrofoam-heads are always cool no matter what.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 22, 2015 4:15 AM
I have yet to see it myself, but apparently in the 1960 Mexican horror comedy LA CASA DEL TERROR (House of Terror), which Jerry Warren later cannibalized for FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF, a mummified man turns out to be...a werewolf. The fact that he is played by Lon Chaney Jr., who had starred as both the Wolf Man and Kharis the Mummy in the old Universal classics, gives it an extra twist.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | August 29, 2016 2:51 PM
This was a fun Spidey tale. Any time the Man-Wolf turns up, I'm there 👍🏻
Posted by: Ian | July 10, 2018 12:57 PM
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