Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #312

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Recently a demonic horde lead by N'astirh has invaded New York. Due to the dimensional tear, an usual type of energy is let loose upon New York, affecting people in a variety of ways. The X-Teams are handling this problem, so don't worry about that.

Years ago (in Marvel time) Harry Osborn, under the influence of LSD discovered that his father had killed Gwen Stacy, Peter's then-girlfriend, and subsequently died during a battle with Spider-Man in a back alley. He changed his father's clothes to conceal his dual identity from the police, discovered Peter was Spider-Man, and eventually became the second Green Goblin to avenge his father's death. He attempted to kill some of their closest friends before he was stopped and sent to a mental institution. Eventually he developed partial amnesia, blocking out his brief career as a costumed criminal and Peter's secret identity. He later married Liz Allen and had a son named Normie (told you it was a long time).

Recently (again) the second Hobgoblin has attacked Harry at his house demanding he turn "it" over to him. Harry bought some time by telling him "it" was in the downtown office of Osborn Chemical, having no idea what he was talking about. Hobgoblin promised to return if he was lying.

The combination of the dimensional energy and the stress brought on by the Hobgoblin's attacks have begun to restore Harry's memories of his time as the second Green Goblin. As of this point, Harry remembers the location of some spare Goblin equipment he had hidden in his attic.

In Detail...

"The Goblin War!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #312
Feb 1989 : SMURF 312.500 : SM Title
Summary: Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Todd McFarlane
Inker:  Todd McFarlane
Cover Art:  Todd McFarlane
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 Reprinted In: Legends Vol. 2: Todd McFarlane (TPB)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Son of the Goblin (TPB)
Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn) (FB, Cameo), Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Hobgoblin IV (Macendale), Jameson, J. Jonah, Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Lizard, Mary Jane Watson-Parker

Harry's memories of his stint as the second Green Goblin come flooding back as he suits up. He knows he and his family are living on borrowed time until the Hobgoblin discovers his ruse. Unwilling to rely on anyone's help, Harry hops on the glider and leaves for Osborn Chemical to confront the Hobgoblin.

As Peter makes his rounds to the Daily Bugle, E.S.U., and back to Bedford Towers, he receives a message from Liz Osborn informing him that Harry's missing and she - correctly - believes he went to confront the Hobgoblin. Remembering his bluff from earlier that morning, Peter heads to Osborn Chemical.

When he arrives he finds the Goblins going at it full force: pumpkin bombs, sparkle blasts, razor bats, and everything they could fit into their respective weapons cache. Realizing it's two against one, Hobgoblin leaves, only to be followed by Harry and then by Spider-Man hitching a ride on Hobby's glider. Noticing the extra weight, Hobgoblin quickly changes direction, slams Spider- Man into a nearby water tower, and gets out of range quickly. He then focuses his attention on Harry.

Harry is eventually able to outmaneuver the Hobgoblin and drops all remaining pumpkin bomb on top of him, causing him to lose control and crash the glider into a nearby rooftop. When he finally has the advantage, Harry forces Hobgoblin to admit why he was threatening him. He responds "the Goblin formula". The strength-enhancing compound that gave the first Goblin super strength. Harry informs him that the formula was lost years ago otherwise he would have used it against him. Furious that this was all for nothing, Hobgoblin fires randomly at him to cover his tracks and leaves.

In General...

Ok, I have to admit I'm biased about this issue. It's one of my absolute favorites, so it's difficult for me to be too critical about this. The only item that seems a bit too unbelievable is the fact that Harry got very good with the equipment very quickly, specifically the glider. Good enough to even take on a second-stringer like the second Hobgoblin. It never mentioned how long he practiced with it when he was crazy, but the "riding a bike" analogy applies apparently. What works for me is the fighting-for-my-family angle, which can account for his instant expertise.

He proves he's still a bit crazy when he decides to face down a professional assassin without any real preparation. For some reason it works. Probably because this Hobgoblin is way too cocky to consider Osborn a real threat and pays for it in ego points.

Overall Rating...

4.5 webs. This issue required a bit more exposition than normal (I hit the high points and it still took a while to set it up). The casual reader may not fully understand the significance, but there are enough hints to let readers know that he went crazy and became the Goblin in the past; he's familiar with the equipment. Without that key fact, the remainder of the story would have been completely ludicrous.

Michelinie and McFarlane do and a great job on this issue. The art is amazing, the pacing is great, and we actually see some character development for Harry. They omit some things from the recap panels that I think would have explained Harry's history a bit better, but that takes up valuable space and would probably come across as awkward since the recap is through Harry's memory - which is just returning.

Footnote...

Harry began his career as the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #135

The Hobgoblin attacked Harry at his house in Web Of Spider-Man #47

A humiliated Hobgoblin makes a bid for additional power in Spectacular Spider-Man #147