Otto’s world is coming apart. He swapped his mind with Peter Parker’s, but it didn’t take completely: Peter’s persona, which Otto thought he had destroyed, survives, lost in Otto’s own memories. He also thought he’d eliminated crime from New York, but he failed there too. The Green Goblin was operating under Otto’s nose, setting himself up as the new Kingpin. The Goblin knows all about Otto’s mind-swap, and tried to use that knowledge to blackmail Otto into serving him. When Otto refused, the Goblin ordered his forces to destroy Spider-Island.
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Associate Editor:||Devin Lewis|
The Goblin’s forces seem capable of doing it: Menace and Monster (the latter being Carlie Cooper’s nom du crime, now that she’s been corrupted by the Goblin Formula) are leading a troop of flying Goblin warriors, all of whom have pumpkin bombs to spare. As the walls - and Otto’s Spiderling minions - are all smashed to pieces, Otto orders his men to “hold back the enemy at all costs”. While they’re doing that, he sneaks away, deploying the Living Brain as a makeshift motorboat to get him and his most vital equipment back to Manhattan. Without Otto to defend them, the battle is quickly over, and the Green Goblin arrives to gloat among the ruins. He then initiates the next step in his plan, ordering his Goblins to kidnap Spider-Man’s loved ones, to use as leverage against the web-spinner.
At Alchemax, JJJ calls a press conference to announce that he is deploying a fleet of Goblin-Slayer robots, each of which sports his own glowering face, to apprehend the Goblin looters and restore order. In Brooklyn, Mary Jane and her new boyfriend Ollie watch the press conference, and MJ has a sense of foreboding. Whatever Jameson is calling them, she knows Spider-Slayers when she sees them, and knows nothing good can come of this. Their talk is interrupted by the arrival of two Goblin warriors who burst through the picture window. Ollie is uncertain about fighting child soldiers, but MJ isn't, especially as she’s got a wonderful non-lethal weapon: a pair of web-shooters left behind from the old days. Pinning the Goblins to the wall with webbing, she and Ollie leave for parts as yet unknown. Where are they going? MJ doesn't say, but she does explain that the Goblin’s plan is to take Spider-Man’s friends hostage. “I've seen it before. So I know how [this game] is played. Y’know what that makes me in all of this…? The wild card.”
Ah, the Mary Jane who can take charge and dominate a crisis. I’m glad she’s back - I’ve missed her!
At Parker Industries, Otto and the Living Brain arrive, but before they can get to work, they’re confronted by a livid Sajani Jaffrey. She’s incensed that Otto’s been away for a month, leaving her to handle the business, but she’s even angrier that Otto has brought Spider-Man’s technology to the lab when the Goblins are tearing up New York City. Her point is proved when Monster arrives to kidnap Peter Parker. Otto swears he doesn't know where Spider-Man is, but Monster isn’t buying it, and she illustrates her point by removing her cowl. The sight of Carlie Cooper is terrifying to Otto, because it signifies that the Green Goblin knows “everything” - not only the mind-swap, but also Spider-Man’s secret identity as Peter Parker!
(Oh, yes, Yuri “the Wraith” Watanabe shows up just before Monster does, wanting answers from Peter as to Carlie’s whereabouts, but she’s only around for a single page of ineffectuality before Monster knocks her out. Thanks for playing, Yuri!)
Otto and Sajani run for cover inside Parker Industries, with Monster in hot pursuit. They’re able to buy a little time thanks to the Living Brain running interference, plus some automated Doc-Ock-style tentacles operating as a defense mechanism. Otto uses the time he’s gained to push Sajani into a safe room, less because he’s concerned for her safety and more because he’s afraid Monster will dish his secrets where Sajani could hear. Little does he know he’s playing into Monster’s hands; once they’re alone, she destroys the transmitter linking her to the Green Goblin - “Uh oh,” she says, “you got me” - and abandons the pretense of fighting him. Addressing Peter as “Otto”, she explains that she needs his scientific genius to cure her of the Goblin formula. She wants to be fixed, and Otto’s the only one she knows who can do it.
Elsewhere, MJ is doing great. She’s collected Aunt May and Jay Jameson Sr., getting them to safety just ahead of a Goblin kidnap squad. Who else does the Goblin know about? Well, JJJ for one, but he’s the Mayor; he’s got enough juice to fend off the Goblins. And Peter is safe, or at least that’s what she tells his aunt. But there’s one person that the Green Goblin knows about that MJ doesn’t. At Empire State University, Lily “Menace” Hollister asks Anna-Maria to come with her, explaining that she’s been sent to keep Anna-Maria safe. And Anna-Maria, trusting her, gets into the car.
Just what you’d expect from the second part of a six-part arc. Six issues? Yes - follow the story into Superior Spider-Man Annual #2 before its continuation in Superior Spider-Man #29 through #31 True Believer! The stakes are raised, with Otto losing his Spiderlings, his base, even his Living Brain. Worst of all, his girlfriend is now in the Green Goblin’s clutches, and we all know the Goblin’s track record with Spider-Man’s girlfriends.
Anyway, not only is the tension mounting, but we've got several plot twists as well: MJ is out of the Goblin’s reach and determined to foul up his plans, but the Goblin doesn't know this. JJJ has unleashed an army of Goblin-Slayers. And Monster is trying to get free of the Goblin’s leash. There’s lot of scope for this story to develop.
Three webs: it’s a competent middle-entry into an extended arc. It would be better to rate “Goblin Nation” as a whole, but it needs to develop further before we can do that.
I’ll miss the Living Brain, both as comic relief and as a link to Spider-Man history. We didn't really see the Brain’s fight with Monster; I hope the Brain didn't suffer irreparable damage. I’d love to see him at Parker Industries in the future.