Comics : Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #25

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

In the "Revenge of the Green Goblin" limited series, Peter was unknowingly using hallucinogenic toothpaste and listening to hypnotic CDs, supplied by the nefarious Norman Osborn. Then, in the ultra-shiny ASM #25, Pete had the startling revelation that he has been subconsciously operating for the last little while as the Green Goblin. And at the end of the issue, the shocked and stunned Spider-Goblin was dragged into the darkness of the Osborn mansion by Norman himself...

In Detail...

"Trick of the Light"
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #25
Jan 2001 : SMURF 263.550 : SM Title
Summary: Green Goblin
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Paul Jenkins
Pencils:  Mark Buckingham
Inker:  Dan Green, Mark Buckingham, Rodney Ramos
Cover Art:  Mark Buckingham
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Revenge of The Green Goblin (TPB)
Articles: Osborn, Amberson (FB), Aunt May Parker, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn (FB), Osborn, Jr., Norman (Normie)

The issue opens at Peter Parker's funeral. The hitch, though, is that Peter isn't dead, and he's banging on the roof of the coffin, trying to get someone to notice him. But then we see that Peter is actually just hallucinating, and that he's really inside the Osborn mansion, with Norman, who explains to his raving, half-conscious guest the importance of embracing the darkness and embracing the unknown, lest it devour you.

Back in Peter's dream, he sees Aunt May tossing a rose into his grave, and then he enters the afterlife. He's greeted there by Uncle Ben, who tells him it's okay, and that he should come to join him in the darkness. But Peter knows something isn't right, and he sees Ben turn into the Green Goblin. Pete strikes the Goblin in his dream, just as he lashes out at Norman in real life. Norman batters Pete down, and tells him that he's going to make him want the darkness.

During a lightning storm, a room in the Osborn mansion periodically flashes with brightness, and each flash is accompanied with a grunt of pain. Inside the room, we find Peter lashed to a chair, Norman looming over his shoulder, and two glasses of liquid in front of him. One has light shone on it, and the other is covered in shadow. Peter hasn't had a drink of water in two days, and every time he reaches for the light glass, he is treated to a jolt of electricity. Norman goads him, trying to get him to choose the dark glass, but Peter refuses, promising that he'll never choose the darkness.

Meanwhile, back at the Parker/Robertson abode, Randy is on the phone with Aunt May, telling her that Peter is off on a photo shoot in Minnesota. May is relieved as she hangs up, but Randy is as troubled as ever, as he wonders where his roommate is. The answer to that question, is that Peter is shackled to the floor in a dark room, and every time that light enters the room, it is in the form of a burst of electricity that shocks Peter. After enduring more torture, an exhausted Peter asks Osborn why he's doing this. Norman tells him a story: when his son, Harry, and his wife, Liz Allan Osborn, had their child, Little Normie, Osborn, although he was believed dead at the time, came to Manhattan from Europe to see the child. But when he arrived outside the hospital in his Green Goblin guise, he found Spider-Man already there, looking through the window, watching over the grandson of his greatest enemy. That was when Osborn realized that Peter should be his heir. And so No! rman has taken Peter to the Osborn mansion, so that he can convince him that he is the perfect heir, because it has to be by Peter's choice.

Some time later, we find Peter, battered and broken, laying in a dark room. Osborn, dressed now as the Green Goblin, opens the door, allowing the light in. Peter shies away from the light, begging for it to be turned off. The Goblin shuts it off, letting Peter choose the darkness. Now the Goblin leads Peter further into the darkness, where a vial of green liquid awaits. The Goblin implores Peter to drink it, and as he brings it towards his lips, Peter sees a vision of his Aunt May in the murky green, saying what a good boy he's always been. Peter throws the liquid in the Goblin's face, and throws away Osborn's promise of power with it. The Goblin attacks Peter, and the exhausted hero manages to fight back. The battle spills outside into the lightning storm, where, after a vicious battle, Peter finally manages to put the Goblin down.

But the Goblin explains that he's already one. In that instant when Peter chose darkness over light, he opened a doorway. He's no longer the good, pure hero that he alleges to be. He's allowed himself to choose the path of darkness, and if it's happened once, it will happen again. The Goblin manages to get away from Peter and onto his glider. The Goblin explains how they're so much alike, and how, one of these days, one of them is going to kill the other. He promises that that day is coming soon, and as he flies away, he asks Peter which way he'll go when the day does come, leaving Peter laying, beaten, on the roof.

In General...

If I had to choose just one word to describe this issue, it would be "intense". The idea of Osborn making Peter the Green Goblin, introduced in the "ROTGG" limited series, was an interesting one from the start. Then ASM #25 came out, and it just got better, and it ended with a bang in this issue.

Mr. Jenkins really outdoes himself this issue. This is what that "Peter vs. Norman in the elevator" issue from before the reboot should've been like. It's a battle of wills between Peter and Osborn, where Norman holds all the cards, but Pete is just too stubborn to give up. But Mr. Jenkins shows us that Peter is human, and fallible, by having him flinch at the light, providing the first chink in his moral armour. This is powerful stuff.

And Mr. Buckingham, I'm sorry for what I said in my last review. The action scenes in this issue were terrific... the kind of thing that makes the reader flinch away from the page in sympathetic pain for a character. But even better than that is the non-action stuff. Mr. Buckingham draws a big, scary looking Norman Osborn, and I love some of the expressions on Peter's face, particularly when he realizes that the Uncle Ben in his dream isn't what he seems, and every time he looks Norman in the eye and says "Never". Oh, and there's a neat cover, too.

Overall, this issue was simply incredible. Spider-Man hasn't been this good in a long time.

Overall Rating...

Wow. Five webs. It doesn't get any better than this.