Due to the inversions of AXIS, Roderick Kingsley has found an opportunity to expand his franchise into super-heroics and has become something of an unlikely hero himself. But he has to contend with the still-loose Goblin Knight, aka Phil Urich, aka Philgoblin. As the recap page rather hilariously states: "Goblin Knight still a threat? Eh..who cares"
The story opens with Philgoblin holed up on the roof of an empty warehouse, lobbing pumpkin bombs at the police who've gathered below. Turns out there are children playing inside that police now consider hostages. Roddy arrives on his bat-glider, and crashes into the building. Pinning Philgoblin to the wall with the bat-glider, Roddy takes a moment to take a phone selfie with the kids. The job-seeking undergrad from last issue, now named Missle Mate, swoops in and rescues the hostages.
Breaking free, Philgoblin demands sixty percent of Kingsley's operation, for keeping quiet about Norman killing who he thought was Kingsley back in Superior Spider-man #26. Kingsley tells him if he wants to talk business, they do it as civilized businessmen with no costumes, and at his office. Giving Philgoblin his card advertising his HQ (Hob-Quarters--heh), Roddy zips away leaving the warehouse to collapse on an exasperated Philgoblin.
As an interlude of sorts, there's a fake advertisement, sort of an anti-bullying PSA, with Roddy foiling the Hypno Hustler trying to brainwash kids at a school dance (says Roderick, "Don't make good manners a chore--make 'em a Hobby!").
Kingsley is then at his penthouse HQ, hanging out of costume with a few of his recent costumed recruits. Phil comes calling, also out of costume. They banter for awhile, and getting agitated by Kingsley, Phil draws his flaming sword. But Lily, hanging upside from a chandelier, and in an outfit much like the Black Cat's old one, except for it being white, tells Phil he has to go through her first.
Kingsley says "Allow me to introduce Queen Cat".
Lily knocks Phil around for awhile, and then Kingsley's goons join in, but he makes rather short work of them before flying out through the penthouse window. In the sky, he fire-writes "Find me Lily". Lily asks what that's about, seemingly unable to remember her past due to some amnesia, but Kingsley assuages her doubts. Just in time for another fakeout PSA starring the Tinkerer for Kingsley's "Hobstoppers" (what they are exactly is unclear, but they come in cherry, grape and pumpkin).
Epilogue, at Philgoblin's hideout. He comes back to his henchmen quite upset. But he has a visitor--John Meyers, Missile Mate, who says he wants to throw in with Phil. Angry, Phil asks what Meyers has that makes him so special--a splash page at the end shows a gang of super-villain types lined up outside that Roddy supposedly cast aside.
Issue two follows a similar structure to the first, in that it's limited to about three scenes, though broken up here by the faux-Hostess style one page house ads. It's a structure that works very well for this tale, which is contained to its own world. There are no Avengers or even Spider-man appearing here, and it's all the stronger a comic for it, as the tale continues to explore Kingsley and his machinations, and the hot-headed Philgoblin and his desire for power, respect and revenge.
Lily Hollister being repurposed by Kingsley as the Queen Cat I also found extremely clever, and is something that could have great potential.
Somehow more enjoyable than it has any right to be. The cutesy humor sometimes comes off too clever for its own good, but Shinick and Rodriguez seem to be having a blast producing this miniseries, and it shows.
More of this, please
I wonder if Rodriguez took inspiration from Buddy Jesus for this issue's cover.