Spider-Man: Legacy of Evil

Background

Legacy of Evil is a story about Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. What, you say, the Green Goblin's dead? That doesn't matter, he's in it anyway! Evil goblin-women have kidnapped Normie Osborn junior, claiming fulfillment of a Legacy. The Goblin's due for a ressurection, and who better to fill the purple-pointed boot than Norman's namesake grandson?

Story Details

A wonderfully-contrived story about Spider-Man's classic arch-foe, Legacy of Evil follows Ben Urich (who else) as he attempts to finish writing his book on the Osborns. He pays a visit to Liz Allen Obsorn and just in time to witness another chapter. Thr ee goblin-women, all flying gliders and armed to the teeth blow a hole through Liz's apartment, using Spider-Man as their battering-ram. The women move in concert, taking Ben and Liz as hostages and snatching Norman Jr. As they leave, they seemingly give Liz a telepathic message. "...they were taking Normie to receive his birthright," she said, "the legacy of the Green Goblin!"

The only thing that can follow is an investigation. Ben Urich goes back to his mountain of research, along with Liz's brother-in-law the Motlen Man, to uncover the mystery. They exhume Harry's body, and they confirm that he's dead. Spider-Man turns all the riff-raff on their butt, looking for a sign of the Goblin. As they both look, a comprehensive history of the Green Goblin's evil is played out. Peter (yes, this one is before the clone-saga), Ben Urich, and Molten Man all visit the old battle sights in search for clues, and Spider-Man's whole history fighting the Goblin is flashing before his eyes. Ben can feel Spidey's inner torment.

One thing, and perhaps the most imporant, was the disagreement of Ben and Peter over which Goblin killed Gwen Stacy. Urich seems to think that Harry killed young Miss Stacy, and Spidey swears it was Norman. Before they can finish their discussion, however, the Goblin-women burst in again, throwing pumpkin bombs and electricity bolts. Spidey manages to get the best of them, and one runs into a wall, exploding into pieces. That's when they realize that the women are in fact androids, and Spider-Man makes quick work of them. As the smoke clears, Ben realizes the family connection can only lead back to one person: Liz Osborn!

Sure enough, Liz has been brainwashed by the Green Goblin's mind-distorting devices, and has been leading Spider-Man astray. She ducks down an escape passageway that leads to a secret headquarters of the Goblin. Positioned above a vat of Stromm's magic formula is Normie Jr, his mother standing idley by. Spidey moves quickly, ignoring the computerized Goblin's taunts (Norman and Harry's images are projected up on large screens), gets zapped by tranquilizer darts, and saves Normie from drowning. Everybody has just enough time to escape before the whole complex comes crashing down!

On the last page, there's a wonderful moment where Ben asks Spider-Man what happened between him and the Green Goblin. A quick series of flashes tells the details as they race through Peter's head, but he swings away before giving Urich the whole story. Ben goes home and changes the name of his book from "Legacy of Evil" to "Dynasty of Evil.". He only made one mistake in writing the book - letting his nephew, Phil, read it.

General Comments

This had all the makings of a really good story, especially for Goblin fans (like me). And for the most part, it was. I liked the artwork (painted comics are a very cool product), and the development of the history behind it all was excellent. Kurt did a very good job creating mood and emotion, and portraying the lingering shadow the Goblin has left on New York.

But (you knew there was a but), there's only one detail that ruins it for me: If Liz had been brainwashed by the Goblin's computer-programs why didn't she just take Normie Jr. down into the headquarters and chuck him in the vat? Why the over-obvious androids and massive damage to city property? Can you say...filler?

That is a minor detail, and I hate to dwell on the details. Like I said above, the story was wonderfully-contrived.

Overall Rating

For this one, I have to give it two ratings...one for story, and one for art.

Art : Mark Texeira had a daunting taks ahead of him, paint a comic that won't look like Alex Ross' work in Marvels. I can safely say that he accomplished that. His painting style is much rougher, with more shading and blurred images, creating an attractive, realistic look. His detailing of Spider-Man is sweet, and I can also say I've never seen anyone portray Liz Osborn more beautifully. All the characters, including Mark "Molten Man" Raxton and evil Norman Osborn, were sharp and distinctive. I have to give him five webs.

Story : Kurt Busiek is a very good writer. The way he portrayed Ben's thoughts during the adventure, he succeeded in getting us inside the reporter's head. The narrative gives a good pace to the story, and keeps everything moving and up in the air. The dialogue was very easy and humorous. However, I can't see past the story's most outstanding flaw. If Liz was brainwashed, the adventure never should have happened. A ten-year-old should have been flying around, throwing candy pumpkin bombs at people in a flying green wagon. He scores a solid four-webs.