Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #697

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This story is part of an Arc: "Danger Zone"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: Nov 2012.

Background...

After being exposed in a Daily Bugle story as being the scientist who makes tech for Spider-man, Peter was abducted by the Phil Urich Hobgoblin, in hopes of retrieving a briefcase belonging to Norman Osborn, which was swiped from Phil by Spider-man.

Phil has troubles of his own, though, as the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, has returned to settle the score with Phil over taking over the Hobgoblin identity. Suffering the effects of spider-sense jammers set up over the city by Horizon's Tyler Stone working for Kingpin, Peter, along with Max Modell, are now on the run from the goblins, having made off with the contents of the mysterious briefcase: a key to Norman Osborn's secret files.

In Detail...

"War of the Goblins"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #697
Dec 2012 : SM Title
Summary: Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, Kingpin appear
Arc: Part 3 of "Danger Zone"
Writer:  Christos Gage, Dan Slott
Artist:  Guiseppe Camuncoli
Inker:  Dan Green
Cover Art:  Steve McNiven
Lettering:  VC's Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist:  Antonio Fabela
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Issue
Review
Articles: Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Green Goblin IV (Phil Urich), Hobgoblin I (Kingsley), Winters, Norah

Picking up right where last issue left off, Peter and Max are on the run out in the streets, with the bickering Hobgoblins chasing them above. The key in Max's hand starts pinging--Peter thinks it'll lead them to where Norman's secret stash is, and perhaps to a secure room. Kingsley throws a razor bat at Modell, and Peter is too slow to stop it. It bounces harmlessly off of a prototypical force field that Max has developed.

The Hobgoblins start to turn on eachother, Phil trying to grab Kingsley's stash of pumpkin bombs from him. Kingsley says "I've got a bat-drone loaded with C4 tailing your sweetie-pie, Norah. You mess with the alpha dog and it'll be raining pieces of her all over the west side freeway.".

The key starts beeping louder as Peter and Max near Oscorp. Norman's secret lair is nearby. They gain entry inside just as the Hobgoblins catch up with them. A pre-recorded hologram of Norman appears, saying if the intruders fail to enter an authorization code in sixty seconds, the lair will self-destruct, with them in it.

The scene quickly shifts to Seattle, Washington: a bald, goateed man is in a park with a young child. His phone rings, "Just answering this call means I have to move again." he says to the caller. It's Harry Osborn, with his young son Stanley. Peter's on the other end of the call, asking for a password for the Goblin workshop. Harry says it's probably "Stromm", the first business partner Norman ever screwed over. The call is dropped before Harry can find out if it worked. Harry tosses the cellphone in the garbage.

The password works, the countdown is averted. The Hobgoblins are close to breaking in the lair. Phil yells through the door that they've got a bat-drone of explosives following Norah Winters, and to give them what they want or "she's gonna be abstract art along the west side highway!". This impresses Roderick, who thinks Phil is getting his priorities in order and "just might have a future at this".

Finding a custom 'spider-glider' in Norman's lair, and some Spider-man costumes on dummy bodies used for target practice, Peter tells Max he'll put on the costume and use the glider to distract the Hobgoblins while Max goes to bring help and find Norah.

Tyler Stone amps up the spider-sense jammers, meanwhile, giving Peter a splitting headache. He thinks back to when he lost his spider-sense and was trained to compensate by Shang-Chi, and that he can block out the pain by focusing. Max finds an escape hatch, and re-initiates the self-destruct sequence for ten minutes, so no one can get what's in the 'goblin workshop'.

Spider-man gets outside, and starts fighting with the Hobgoblins. The police spot them, and radio it in. The gold octobot from last issue is seen attaching itself to the back of the squad car.

Kingsley, meanwhile, activates the explosive bat-drone following Norah. Max finds her just in time out in the street, having honed in on the drone's signal at the goblin lair. He pushes her out of the way just as the drone explodes, his shield taking the brunt of the blast. He says she's just helped him "beta-test my force field app".

Peter gets word from Max via a com-link that Norah is safe, and the goblin lair explodes. Spider-man says everyone's safe, and that he's out of there. Phil turns to Kingsley, saying they should go after him. Kingsley says "Nah." and electrocutes Phil and drags him into the harbor to make an escape. Under a pier, Kingsley says he planned to kill Phil, but that Phil showed potential today, and that he'll give him a chance to live, and even keep being the Hobgoblin. Phil asks what's the catch?

Max, meanwhile, sends a text to Tyler Stone that he's fired. Stone himself has made an enemy of Kingpin for his spider-sense jammers not stopping Spider-man, and is out in the streets. In the coma ward at Columbia University Medical Center (we see the gold octobot scaling the wall of the building), where Julia Carpenter is laying in a coma, and alarm goes off that one of their patients is waking up. Doctors rush in to find an empty bed and an open window. The name of the patient: Norman Virgil Osborn.

Final epilogue: Roderick Kingsley has returned to his home in Paris, where he's greeted by his butler, who tells Kingsley the first payment from Phil Urich has been posted to Roderick's Swiss bank account. Kingsley looks at a bank of monitors showing footage of all the villain franchises he's set up around the world (I don't recognize all of the characters on the screens, but there is the Tarantula-esque Devil-Spider persona, as well as a character that looks like Blaze). He says it's time to expand into Russia next, and tells his butler to start headhunting local talent, and to tell them that super-villains are his business, and business is good.

In General...

A lot packed into this issue, yet again. Kingsley comes out looking the best, here. While it's too bad that he won't continue to be the Hobgoblin, having sold the persona to Phil Urich for a fee, it makes a certain bit of sense. Kingsley was never keen on sticking his own neck out, and frequently brainwashed other people to take over for him in the Hobgoblin outfit in the past. Having the villain franchise and taking over defunct super-villain identities the world over falls in line with Kingsley's character: at the end of the day, it's all just business to him.

Unfortunately, that also means we have to suffer more of Phil Urich as the Hobgoblin. Phil as Hobgoblin has his fans, of which I am not one. I thought he made a better Green Goblin. All in all, though, having Kingsley still around in some fashion makes up for Dan Slott apparently offing him close to fifty issues ago.

Getting to see Roderick and Phil fight eachother was entertaining, but this 'war of the Goblins' was overshadowed a bit by the whole key-to-yet-another-Norman-Osborn-lair thing. A 'war of the goblins' should have been a little better than this. It's fairly annoying, also, to see Spider-man using the spider-glider tech again (first glimpsed during ASM #682). Why would Spider-man use tech based on the villain who violently killed Gwen Stacy? Why does Spider-man need a glider to get around when he has webs? And finally, why would Osborn himself have a working prototype glider in the shape of a spider in his lair?

It was interesting to finally see Harry Osborn again, even if it was a brief cameo (did anyone else get a 'Breaking Bad' vibe from Harry's new appearance and the whole scene with him in general?). And finally, the bit at the end, with Norman Osborn escaping the coma ward, is quite the cliffhanger. Things are about to get very difficult for Peter. After three more issues (and yet another 'point one' issue), the Amazing Spider-man comic ends with #700, as Marvel launches a new title called The Superior Spider-man (however long that will last). Details are minimal, but Marvel have suggested that it will no longer be Peter Parker in the Spider-man identity. I can't imagine how this is going to play out, but I look forward to the last few issues, and the new series.

Overall Rating...

Goodbye to the Amazing Spider-man title. It's been a fun ride.

Footnote...

Norman Osborn was put in a coma after a battle in Avengers Vol 4 #24.

Before going into hiding with his son, Harry Osborn was last spotted in this title in a backup story way back in ASM #647.