Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #261

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This story is part of an Arc: "Goblins At The Gate"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

The Hobgoblin, the Green Goblin, and Spider-Man are all tied in a three-way knock-em-down, drag-em-out. Nobody is really on anybody else's side, not surprisingly. This concludes the three-part arc, and also concludes the Spectacular Spider-Man title.

In Detail...

"Bad Business"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #261
Sep 1998 : SM Title
Arc: Part 3 of "Goblins At The Gate"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Co-Plot:  Roger Stern
Writer:  Glenn Greenberg
Pencils:  Luke Ross
Inker:  Al Milgrom
Cover Art:  John Romita, Sr.
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Articles: Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Hobgoblin I (Kingsley), Mary Jane Watson-Parker

This issue picks up right where the last one leaves off, with Hobgoblin about to rip off the mask of an unconscious Spider-Man. The Green Goblin intervenes, claiming that that's not what they came for. (You get the feeling Osborn wants Spidey all to himself?) Hobgoblin reluctantly agrees, rips the closet door out of its webbed-up frame, and finds brother Daniel cowering on the can. Taking him and Spidey, who's been wrapped up like a present in his own webbing, he and the Green Goblin fly back to Osborn's MultiVex facility. Norm's a little upset with Kingsley for bringing Spider-Man, and Roderick's offer to let him unmask Spidey is met with a terse "don't waste my time on insignificant matters!" "You already know, don't you," Kingsley says. "You already know who Spider-Man is!" Norman just smiles.

As the two of them continue to argue, Spidey starts to come around and is a little concerned by his present situation. The three Goblins fail to notice, and Osborn finally threatens to revive Daniel (who had fainted on the trip over) and make him reveal the location of the journal. The worried look on Roderick's face is all Osborn needs to put two and two together. "There is no extra journal, is there?" Roderick fesses up, and admits that he concocted the story because he figured that Osborn would break him out of jail to get at the journal. Norman responds by saying there's no reason to keep Kingsley alive any longer, and when Roderick responds by saying he's still needed to fork over Kingsley Ltd., Norman reveals that he's already taken it over. With nothing left to lose, Kingsley pulls his mask back on and starts after Norman. The Green Goblin tries to counterattack but Norman pushes him away. "He's mine!"

As Spidey tries to free himself, the two discover that they're evenly matched. Things really begin to heat up when the pumpkin bombs in Hobby's bag of tricks, flung across the room in the scuffle, explode on impact and start a fire. Spidey finally manages to break free but is immediate pounced on by the Green Goblin. After giving him a swift kick to the midsection, Spider-Man pounces on the Goblin and rips his mask off. Unfortunately, the Goblin manages to disappear into the smoke without Spidey ever seeing his face. (Grrrrrr!) Spidey starts to give chase, then realizes Daniel Kingsley's about to be charbroiled and shoves him out of the building. After throwing him in a cab, swivel chair and all, Spidey jumps back into the burning warehouse and promptly gets entangled with the Hobgoblin, allowing Norman to escape by pulling on the Goblin mask Spider-Man ripped off and flying out of the building. "Was that the Green Goblin?" says one cop. "If it was, he's sure dressin' better these days!"

Meanwhile, Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin are still scrapping, until Spidey goes to save a group of firefighters from a collapsing wall and gets caught in the rubble. He manages to dig himself out after a few minutes, but by then Hobby's left. After shrugging off Betty Brant's request for an interview, he heads home to be comforted by his loving wife. Norman, at that moment, is being less than comforting to his Goblin lackey after nearly having his identity blown. "Don't lose this again, my boy," he says, throwing the Goblin his mask, "or I'll see to it that you lose something far more valuable!"

And then there's the Hobgoblin, who has managed to flee jurisdiction to the Caribbean with the money from his Swiss bank accounts, accounts Osborn knew nothing of. And while Kingsley is comfortable, free, and has enough money to last the rest of his life, "has the world truly seen the end of--the Hobgoblin?" Only time will tell.

In General...

This battle was long overdue, and probably much-anticipated. And the result...? Well, not quite as earth-shattering as I was hoping for. Maybe it's just me, but I think your basic supervillain is a lot more fun if you don't know who he is. Hobgoblin used to be my favorite bad guy until his identity was revealed (twice, no less) and since then he's been kind of blah. I guess that while I still like the Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley bores me.

I liked the whole plot with the missing journal, especially with it turning out to be a ruse. Kingsley having a journal all this time that he never happened to mention would have been stretching credibility a bit, and I have to say that it's nice to have an element in the Spider books that hasn't stretched credibility. But the best part of this story arc was Osborn and Kingsley's mental war, each trying to outsmart the other, especially considering that both sides got what they wanted. And while their fight wasn't long enough, it was nice to see Osborn finally drop his mantle of respectability and throw down for once. A small taste of what's to come, I guess.

As for Hobby, well, keep him on that island for awhile, then bring him back after all this mess settles down. Jason Macendale turned the Hobgoblin into a laughingstock. I'm still holding out hope that Kingsley can do a better job.

Overall Rating...

The last Spectacular Spider-Man story arc ever and it's a pretty good page-turner to boot. I'll give it four webs