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Jeanne Burch is a dedicated fan of Roger Stern and his creation - the Hobgoblin. As you no doubt know, several years after Stern finished with Amazing, the Hobgoblin was revealed to be Ned Leeds. Stern always rejected this, and his upcoming mini-series will reveal all.
Until then, Jeanne lists the top ten possibles, and the Pros and Cons for each.
- Person: Kingsley
- Pro: Stern creation. Has been shown to be ruthless. Was seen with A Shadowy Figure in street clothes holding a pumpkin bomb, so he is at least involved with the Hobgoblin in some way. And, as Jonathan Couper pointed out, who else but a fashion designer would care about re-designing the Green Goblin's costume?
- Con: Strength Level unknown. Family ties unknown (since the Hobgoblin is always concerned about his family finding out his identity, this is important). Background and motivations largely unknown.
- Person: J.J.J.
- Pro: Was behaving mysteriously at the time of the Hobgoblin's creation, which included carrying around a gym bag when he was known to dislike physical exercise. Hates Spider-Man, Hobgoblin's main enemy. Is a family man.
- Con: He was being blackmailed by the Hobgoblin, who knew about his funding of the Scorpion project. He hates all vigilantes, not just Spider-Man. And he (like many of the other suspects) would have to develop the mutant ability to be in two places at once, since he was at the Bugle when a fight between Spidey and Hobby at the warehouse district set that part of town ablaze.
- Person: John Jameson, J.J.J.'s son, the former Man Wolf
- Pro: Long-time Spidey supporting character. Someone who would care how his family (in his case, his father) would be affected by public disgrace. Can be ruthless when he thinks it called for.
- Con: To the best of my knowledge, never appeared in the Stern Amazing Spider-Man run; rumor has it the "real" Hobgoblin did.
- People: Robbie Robertson, or Randy (His Son)
- Pro: both family men. Both long-term supporting characters. Robbie is in some of the critical issues.
- Con: Robbie was with Peter when one of the Green Goblin lairs was discovered. This was a place the Hobgoblin had already visited and partially destroyed. If Robbie were the Hobgoblin, he would more likely try to keep people away from the lair, not bring a newspaper photographer to view the remains of it. Also, there is some circumstantial evidence that Robbie suspects Peter of being Spider-Man; the Hobgoblin would have checked that out if he'd been Robbie. Randy didn't appear in any of the critical Stern issues. Finally, in Spectacular Spider-Man 85, which has a Stern plot assist credited, the near- naked Shadowy Figure is shown with pale skin.
- Person: Liz Osborn
- Pro: Liz is susceptible to post-hypnotic suggestions, which could include one from her father-in-law or husband to take over the Goblin legacy. And she would certainly worry about how her family would take the news of her being the Hobgoblin.
- Con: Apart from the Shadowy Figure clearly being shown to be male at least twice, Liz was kidnapped by the Hobgoblin when she was very pregnant with little Normie, and gave birth right after that adventure. It's the two-places-at- once problem again.
- Person: Flash Thompson
- Pro: Flash was disenchanted with his life, and could have gone over the edge into violence. He might be concerned about family. He struck his girlfriend Sha-shan, and also hit Ned Leeds, which demonstrates a proclivity to picking on those he perceives as weaker than himself. He is fascinated by super- powers, and might have been willing to sacrifice other people to obtain them.
- Con: Flash was actually found in the Hobby costume and sent to prison pending trial; at the same time, the "real" Hobgoblin was shown in the Rose's apartment, talking about Flash's capture. Later, when Jack O'Lantern broke Flash out of prison, Flash and the Hobgoblin were seen close proximity to each other. And, finally, the Hobgoblin beat up Flash in one of his last appearances before Ned Leeds was killed. This could be explained if there were actually two Hobgoblins (see Ned Leeds entry)...
- Person: Lance Bannon
- Pro: A Stern character. A photographer who was always missing when Spider-Man was fighting Hobgoblin. Family ties are unknown, but he cared about what his girlfriend Amy thought about him.
- Con: He's dead. He was killed rather convincingly on panel and buried. This being comics, it's not necessarily that big a hurdle...
- Person: Betty Brant
- Pro: Betty has recently been shown to be unexpectedly ruthless and weapons-savvy. At the time, she was having an affair with Flash Thompson, whom the Hobgoblin seemed to have a personal mad-on for.
- Con: There's a couple of problems: 1) Betty's female, and the Hobby has been shown to be male, and 2) she walked in on the Hobgoblin when he was beating up Flash, and actually saw the Hobgoblin without his mask on, whereupon she screamed and fainted. Of course, if she was the Hobgoblin, it could have been sheer surprise at finding a fake Hobgoblin in her apartment...
- Person: Professor Mendel Stromm
- Pro: The Professor was the one who developed the original Green Goblin strength formula. He was an embittered man who might be willing to resort to extreme violence.
- Con: He's dead. Also, the Hobgoblin systematically looted the Goblin's storage facilities looking for the strength formula; presumably, Stromm would have his own notes or be able to at least partially re-construct the formula from memory.
- Person: Ned Leeds
- Pro: Has been seen in the suit by the Rose, the Rose's partner Alfredo, and the Foreigner's men. The Hobgoblin went after Flash Thompson a lot; Flash was having an affair with Ned's wife. Always missing when Spider-Man and Hobby were fighting.
- Con: Roger Stern says it ain't him. (Which is pretty conclusive). But ... why was he dressing up as the Hobgoblin? Possibly involved with Hobby in some unknown way, and may have masqueraded as him at times. Whether this was willingly or under hypnotic suggestion is anyone's guess at this time.
If you want to review the appearances of the original Hobgoblin, the necessary links can be found on the character info page for Hobgoblin I (Kingsley).