Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #184

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Child Within"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: Jan 2011.

Background...

Harry Osborn has become the Green Goblin again. After a climactic battle with Spider-Man, he's still free and roaming the city. Vermin, who was captured by the police last issue, is once again in the care of Dr. Kafka.

In Detail...

"Aftermath"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #184
Jan 1992 : SM Title
Summary: The Child Within (Aftermath)
Arc: Part 7 of "The Child Within"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Sal Buscema
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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 Reprinted In: Complete Spider-Man (UK) #24
Articles: Kafka, Dr. Ashley, The Fabulous Frog-Man, Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Molten Man, Osborn, Jr., Norman (Normie), Vermin

Since this is just an extended epilogue to the last six issues, I’m gonna run through this fairly quickly.

Spidey is meeting on a rooftop with Mark Raxton (aka Molten Man) to tell him about Harry’s relapse into supervillainy. Raxton is rather upset, because it was Harry who gave him a job and a chance at going straight several months ago (way back in Web of Spider-Man #62). Now he has the unenviable job of breaking the bad news to Liz, Harry’s wife.

Then Spidey goes and visits Dr. Kafka to check in on Vermin. After a quick chat he hits the rooftops again. Finally, he gives up and goes home to MJ. Peter starts in about how he feels guilty for just letting Harry get away last issue, but MJ puts a hand over his mouth and quietly leads him to bed. After a short while we see Peter out of bed with his Spider-Man costume on as once again he goes out looking for the Green Goblin (I think one unknown superpower all superheroes have is the ability to stay sane without regular sleep).

Meanwhile, the Green Goblin is flying around town and having an argument with himself. Is he really the caring, loving family man he thought he was, or is he the strong-willed and evil Green Goblin? Unable to decide, he once again visits his son Normie to say goodbye (he must have done this while Spidey was visiting with Dr. Kafka). Liz, however, checks in on her son and sees Harry in costume. She screams in terror, but Harry is already flying out the window. The Green Goblin then goes on a mini-rampage in the deserted streets below. Finally, he decides to go away somewhere safe and start planning his revenge on Spider-Man.

What about our favorite half rat/half human cannibal? Well, Vermin is back in Dr. Kafka’s observation room. This time he’s actually manifested his Edward persona for a short while, until Vermin takes over and threatens to eat Dr. Kafka. She tells Spider-Man that the time is coming when Edward won’t need Vermin to protect him anymore, since he has faced his biggest fear (a confrontation with his father that sexually abused him as a child) and come out alive.

And on that ominous note, we’ll end this issue’s review.

In General...

The Green Goblin comes back with a vengeance in the 30th anniversary special Spectacular Spider-Man #189 (the one with the nifty hologram cover). But that’s not their final battle; that actually occurs in Spectacular Spider-Man #200 (this time with a less nifty holo-foil cover).

Vermin takes center stage again beginning in Spectacular Spider-Man #194, which kicks off the three issue Death of Vermin story arc.

Overall Rating...

While I really enjoyed this issue at the time, I do have one major problem with it now after re-reading it. It seems to me that J.M. DeMatteis is trying to cram too many characters into one book. We’re getting in depth views into Vermin’s treatment and Harry’s descent into madness, but Spider-Man just gets a few scenes in between. If these dangling plot threads were so important, DeMatteis had plenty of time in the previous six issues to follow-up on them. I think it’s past the time for reflection and high time we move on to something new.