Comics : Spider-Man vs. The Green Goblin

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This review was first published on: Jul 2010.

Background...

This is another "I Can Read!" (Level 2) book from Harper Collins. These are the 32-page format, 6" x 9" with soft card cover (though a Library Binding is also available). This is one of a pair released very late in 2009 (the copyright date is 2010). The other in the pair is Spider-Man vs. The Lizard.

In Detail...

Spider-Man vs. The Green Goblin
Dec 2009 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0061626228
Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers
Writer:  Susan Hill
Artist:  Andie Tong
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Review

Before starting, we are given ultra-lite profiles of Spidey, Peter, his pal Harry Osborn, and... the Green Goblin, who (we are reliably informed) has a secret. Now on with the story.

Peter visits Harry to find out why he wasn't at school. It's because his father was in an accident at his factory, OsCorp. Peter becomes Spidey and swings off to investigate.

On his way to OsCorp, Spider-Man encounters a man who was mugged by a weird flying green man. Peter tracks him down and finds The Green Goblin. Gobbo hurls pumpkin smoke bombs. "Those smoke bombs could only have been made by OsCorp!" Spidey says to himself.

What? Seriously? Where the heck does that logic come from? Just exactly how much time has Peter Parker spent studying the intricate details of OsCorp smoke bombs? And where does the Green Goblin's costume, glider, robot bats and other gear come from? We are given no explanation of this at all.

But we're already running out of space. We need a quick wrap-up. The Goblin is unmasked and revealed to be Norman Osborn (no surprise there, folks). Then he falls and bumps his head, conveniently losing memory of all events subsequent to the accident. That's lucky!

In General...

Sibling story Spider-Man vs. The Lizard managed (barely) to slice and dice down to the required page count, yet left just enough skeleton left to be essentially recognizable as the underlying original tale. This Green Goblin adaptation however has cut too deep and left too many incomprehensible gaps.

Could the original Green Goblin story be told in this format? Possibly. Some pages are squandered and wasted. For example, three pages and spent as Spidey interacts with the Goblin's mugging victim. A single page of wreckage and carnage at OsCorp could have been used instead.

Those and a few other pages would have been much better used to explain the Green Goblin's transformation and motivation. The Lizard didn't need that. He drank a lizard potion. It's sad to say it, but we have enough popular culture context to easily move from there to "green and scaly, reptile army and world domination" in one step.

By contrast, I don't feel that there are any such popular culture hooks to explain the Green Goblin's costume or equipment. We have no idea what OsCorp did. If we had been told that it was a "weapons and halloween costume factory" then we might at least had a head start in assembling some sort of explanation for the Goblin's existence. But no.

Overall Rating...

Enough laboring the point. Suffice to say, this tale is flawed and incomplete. It doesn't really work on any level. One web.