Comics : Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75

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This story is part of an Arc: "Revelations"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

This has to be the most awaited Spider-Man story Ever. If you don't know the background to this story, then you probably spent the last three years in a country which only recently discovered language.

In Detail...

"The Night Of The Goblin!"
Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75
Dec 1996 : SM Title
Summary: Green Goblin, Death of Ben Reilly
Arc: Part 4 of "Revelations"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Revelations (TPB)
Articles: Watson, Anna, Ben Reilly, Betty Brant, Doctor Folsome, Flash Thompson, Glory Grant, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Jameson, J. Jonah, Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

Peter jumps rooftops to the hospital. Upon arrival, Peter runs into MJ's doctor, who injects him in the back of the neck with a drug. Peter passes out, and when he revives, he's back in the original red-and-blues, and standing before him is Norman Osborn. Norman explains that Stromm's formula also gave him an incredible healing factor, and that after his apparent death, he went abroad planning Parker's demise. Ripping his shirt off to expose the cross-like scar on his chest, Norman also tells Peter that he's been behind everything, including the Jackal's clones. He plans to destroy Peter's life, and everyone in it. Norman shows Peter the beaten body of Ben, who he reveals to be the true clone, and donning mask and glider, flies out of the window towards the Bugle (which happens to be right across the street). Ben tells Peter that the Green Goblin plans on blowing up the Bugle, with everybody Peter cares for inside it.

Peter goes swinging into action (yeah!!!) against Norman, whose terrorizing all the gang at the Bugle. the one-and-only Spider-Man pulls Norman outside, and the two engage in a gigantic battle above New York's streets. Ben, at the same time, crawls over to the Bugle and rescues everybody. As he's collecting the pumpkin bombs left by Green Goblin, Flash Thompson runs to pick one up, and Ben shields Flash from the explosion. Meanwhile, Norman throws everything he has at Peter, but he still keeps coming back. Peter, taking off both of their masks, tells Norman that he'll never let him win. Ben comes running up to the roof with the bag of bombs, just as the goblin-glider's head pops-off, revealing an assortment of deadly spikes. It rockets toward Peter, but Ben jumps in the path, running him through, and dropping him off the roof of the Bugle to the street below. Peter, in his rage, throws the bag of bombs at Norman, which cause him to go flying down into the street in a great inferno. "You have no idea what I've taken from you!" Norman screams as the flames engulf him.

The issue end with Peter taking Ben's body up to a rooftop, where it disintegrates into dust. Peter finally realizes that he is the REAL Spider-Man, and goes to the hospital to comfort his wife. "We'll get through this," Peter tells MJ, "and we'll face it together as husband and wife."

In General...

Gary Miller Says...

This storyline has been one of the best in terms of the creative teams getting together and maintaining continuity. Gaunt's identity was ingenious but one could have figured it out months ago if they had figured out the clues. However saddened I was by Ben's death in part 4, I believe it was cheap and undignified for his character to perish so simply - as well as totally wrong to have him degenerate at the end, proving he was a clone (or was he?). On the other hand, Norman Osborn's reintroduction into the Spider-mythos was wonderfully executed - but again it fell short ultimately due to lack of reasoning on the part of the writer who should have known the kind of maniac Norman was, cold, calculating and not showing emotion until the deed is done. He came unglued when Peter refused to die, and that should not have been!

There will also be people who say that Norman's "death" at the end of "Revelations" was cheap and moreover that Spider-Man killed him. He didn't die from a glider impaling him, I don't think a few well-placed bombs are going to off him this time. I hope I'm right.

I also hope that the travesty of Norman's stealing Peter and Mary Jane's child is resolved soon. No doubt Marvel did this to make us despise Norman when all they really accomplished is making us despise Marvel itself.

All in all, though, considering the brother-like bond Ben and Peter shared at the end, but also taking in the loopholes in the plot early on and still left unresolved, I give this Spider-Saga a surprising three-and-a-half webs.

Jason Lindsay Says...

The only thing I didn't like about the ending was that the Parkers don't have their baby. Mary Jane must have been pregnant for three years, and in the end, they get no happiness from that. But I'm sure Marvel intends to address the Parker-child issue. I think Norman will be back, however. I don't think Marvel went through all that trouble bringing him back just to kill him again. I hope he comes back!

The Revelations had one job; reinstate Peter as the true Spider-Man. It did that very well, but did not wrap up all end in a tiny little package. In fact, it created as many questions as it answered, but that's okay. We've got to have something to look forward to. Four Webs overall.

Will Harrison Says...

Peter and MJ's baby is dead. Ben is dead. Okay, that's a fair price to pay to resolve this whole clone storyline and bring Peter back as Spider-Man. Norman Osborn, back from the dead, is revealed to have been manipulating everyone from Miles Warren to Seward Trainer (also dead). It's a bit of a quick fix, and it wouldn't have worked if it had been anybody else. Norman was the only man with enough resources, patience, and malice to do it.

I was really surprised that they had the guts to kill off Ben, even though I thought it was necessary. I would've guessed that they would move him off somewhere and resurrect the Scarlet Spider identity. His death scene was the most powerful thing I've read in a comic book. I didn't really care much about Ben until he became Spider-Man, but since then I really started to like him, and I didn't realize that until he died. He deserved better than clone degeneration! It's not fair! Overall, the longest storyline in Spider-Man history comes to an outstanding conclusion. Spider-Man #75 itself deserves the highest rating possible, and I can't give Revelations as a whole any less.

Welcome back, Peter.

Mark Jenkins Says...

I enjoyed this series. I was surprised at how little was revealed though. No explanation of the skeleton. No explanation of the Evolutionary. No explanation of... you get my point. In fact, the Spider-man listserver knew just about every revelation except that May was going to be kidnapped. Speaking of baby stealing, I did have some problems with this series which can be summed up with the following three points:

  1. Stealing May is going a bit too far.
  2. Ben's death was way too final to bring him back, but I'm afraid Marvel will try anyway.
  3. Did Norman die? That page looked pretty enough; it just didn't make any sense. Did the Green Goblin become malleable? Is he the Molten Goblin now?

There were other little things, like that doctor sneaking up on Peter without him doing anything, and Stromm getting killed when he just came back, but the above three were my main complaints. However, it was handled far better than I thought it would be. Norman was downright frightening, which he should be. That panel where he ripped his shirt open and we saw that massive scar was awesome! Also the one true Spider-man has been restored, which is the most important thing. I would prefer that Benjie had lived and gotten his own ID, but that's a moot point now. The original is back in the driver's seat, and Marvel has a chance to redeem themselves. I hope they do.

Overall Rating...

Most of the reviewers for PPP have been fans for some time, and I guess most of them were looking at this from Peter's point of view. That's probably why there was much more comment about the return of Norman and the loss of little May than there was about the death of Ben.

I would say that the single event which shocked me most was May being stolen (I can't believe she is actually dead) and as a father, I also am stunned that Peter isn't on the rampage to find out what happened to his child. Surely he must be suspicious. I expect to see some serious damage done when he learns more.

If Marvel's intention was to shock, then I believe they have truly succeeded. The 'Revelations' from these four books will provide them with material for a long time to come. Peter is back, and he's going to be busy!