Spidey and Vermin have just been knocked out by the Green Goblin on top of some roof.
|Cover Art:||Sal Buscema|
|Reprinted In:||Complete Spider-Man (UK) #23|
Starting out this issue, instead of the asylum-cam, we are treated to some home videos of Vermin and his family when he was a little boy. Next we see the various players in our little saga – Vermin, his mother and father, Dr. Kafka and Spider-Man.
Our hero has recovered from the pumpkin bomb from last issue. Vermin is getting up just behind him, but the Green Goblin quickly knocks him off the roof with another pumpkin bomb. He falls in front of a line of police that have cordoned off the area. Vermin is so sick of the turmoil he feels that he decides to commit suicide by cop. Spider-Man sees this and rushes to help him.
The Green Goblin gets in his way, however, saying they have unfinished business. Spider-Man just swats him away, then jump down and saves Vermin from a hail of bullets. At this point, Vermin meekly gives up, and the police put him on a stretcher and take him away while his father watches silently in horror, seeing firsthand the harm his actions have caused.
Before our hero can catch his breath, though, the Green Goblin swoops in and whisks him away on his goblin glider! Spider-Man climbs up and grabs the Green Goblin around the neck and then tears off both of their masks while holding him in a headlock (not an easy feat, I imagine).
Harry doesn’t like this one bit, and blasts Peter in the face with his finger lasers, all the while ranting madly. Peter lands on the ground and starts trying to talk Harry into giving up and getting help. Harry really doesn’t like that, and starts throwing everything he has at Peter, who nimbly dodges the attack. Apparently, trying to reason with Harry isn’t going to work this time. All out of ideas, Peter asks him point blank, “What do you want from me?”
Finally, one of the pumpkin bombs connects. There’s a big explosion and big cloud of smoke. Harry screams, “I want your life!” Slowly, we can see the form of Spider-Man emerge from the smoke. Tired of the pointless fighting Peter gets down on his knees and just says, “Then take it.”
Harry is stunned and thinks it must be some trick, but eventually revs up his goblin glider and starts to run down on Spider-Man at full speed. Except at the last minute Harry swerves away from Peter and crashes!
Peter races over to his friend’s side. “I knew you couldn’t, Harry.” Unexpectedly, Harry lashes out at Peter. He says he still hates him, but doesn’t know why he can’t kill him. So instead, he’ll go away and leave Peter to worry about where he’ll show up again. The Green Goblin vows that he’ll be back. Then he just flies off and Peter does nothing to stop him.
We then get a look inside Peter’s thoughts and we see how he hopes that in time Harry’s anger and hatred will pass, and until then there’s nothing he can do to help him.
We close this issue with three short epilogues…
The first starts with more home movies of Edward playing in the pool with his father. Then we pull out and see that it’s Edward’s father watching them. He’s finally seen the folly of his ways, and can only hold his head in shame.
In the second vignette we see Normie, Harry’s son, sleeping in his bedroom when the Green Goblin flies in through the window and pats his head. Then we see Harry fly off with a very confused look on his face.
Finally, we see Peter at his parent’s grave, relating the whole sad story to them. But he ends on a hopeful note, telling himself that it’s never too late for redemption. Then he swings off.
So that’s the big finale. Everything is over… or is it? Check out next issue’s review for the aftermath of The Child Within storyline.
Since this is the official end of a long-running story arc, there are a couple of things I’d like to comment on…
While this is a new and darker take on the Ol’ Webhead, it’s not your standard fare of blood and guts. It takes serious issues (sexual abuse, father/son dynamics, and childhood guilt) and weaves an engaging story with characters readers can relate to. J.M. Dematteis’ writing is clearly well thought out and his storytelling techniques are quirky enough to make it work.
I also like how Peter’s guilt was laid out. Instead of taking the easy way out and returning to the much rehashed death of Uncle Ben, DeMatteis goes deeper into the character and brings Peter’s parents into the mix. It’s a refreshing way to deal with the ol’ Parker guilt trip. (Although a reader has remarked that Peter should be too young to actually remember anything about his parent's death.)
In closing, it’s a real shame that since OMD none of this actually happened in continuity. I think it should at least rate a TPB reprint. You can’t get much better than the revitalization of one of Spidey’s most classic villains – done with just the right combination of realism and menace.