Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #97

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeanne Burch

Story 'In the Grip of the Goblin!'

  Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #97
Summary: No Comics Code
Arc: Part 2 of 'Green Goblin Reborn! (Drug Issues)' (1-2-3)
Editor: Stan Lee
Co-Plot/Art: John Romita, Sr.
Writer: Stan Lee
Pencils: Gil Kane
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Cover Art: John Romita, Sr.

It's happening again! As we saw last ish, Norman Osborn, the wealthy chemical manufacturer who just gave Peter Parker a part-time job, has reverted back to his deadly, demoniac identity as --- the Green Goblin!! And, as he and Spider-Man meet once more, it's the Goblin who lands the first blow..." Amazing Spider-Man 97

Picking himself off the floor, Spider-Man vows not to let the Goblin escape. The Goblin has other ideas, blasting out an open window to give himself more maneuvering room. Outside, he taunts Peter with his knowledge of Peter's secret identity: "Let's go, Parker. I don't like to be kept waiting ... You were always afraid of me. You always backed down at the crucial moment."

The real reason he held back, thinks Spider-Man, is because he knew Osborn had brain damage. "When he's rational, Osborn doesn't even know he's the Goblin. But ... how do I stop him -- short of killing him?" Webbing doesn't seem to hold the Goblin. Spider-Man tries a desperate stunt. Launching himself at the Goblin, Spider-Man crosses his legs around the Goblin's neck and clamps down. "Goblin -- you must listen to me -- I'm not your enemy! I want to help you." Gasping for air, the Goblin says, "All right! All right! Loosen your grip!" and promptly blinds Spider-Man with a sparkle blast when Spidey lets go. Falling, a dazed Spider-Man grabs a ledge and huddles underneath, gathering his strength. Looking for him in vain, the Goblin pronounces "He's gone! Must have fallen to his death! And good riddance. His accursed grip almost finished me just then." Rubbing his throat, he jets off.

Changing back into his civilian identity, Peter wonders what to do next. He can't attack Norman Osborn directly. He worries about what will happen if his estranged girl friend, Gwen Stacy, learns who he really is. "When Gwen lost her father -- she blamed Spider-Man for his death. Gwen -- who means the world to me! And now -- I have to silence the father of my best and closest friend. But, what if something happens to him? Something fatal. Must I always bring tragedy -- to those I love the most?" Hoping that Spider-Man's presumed death will keep the Goblin quiet for now, Peter goes back to his apartment to regroup.

There is no peace at home, either. Harry Osborn is still angry over Mary Jane's attentions to Peter at the play opening. Peter tries to allay his fears: "Look, Harry, you're making a mountain out of a molehill. Mary Jane and I mean nothing to each other -- and you know it."

Suddenly losing interest in the conversation, Harry unsteadily walks to his medicine cabinet and tosses a handful of pills down his throat. Watching uneasily, Peter asks, "Since when did you become a pill-popper? I never..."

"Get lost, willya? When I need a chaplain I'll let you know."

"How many of those pills did you take?"

"What's the difference? Who counts?" And Harry passes out on his bed.

Utterly out of his depth, Peter wonders what, if anything, he should do.

Matters get worse the next day when Mary Jane ignores her boyfriend, heading right for Peter and complementing him extravagantly. Harry walks away before he can hear Peter take M.J. to task for her behavior. Tormented by images of his best friend and his girl friend together, Harry is an easy target when a pusher, oozing sympathy, offers him drugs guaranteed to make him forget whatever it is he wants to forget. Harry accepts, but walks away vowing this is the first and last time he ever buys illicit drugs. "Yeah --" the pusher mummers after his departing back, "that's what they say."

Searching in vain for Harry after sending Mary Jane on her way, Peter wonders how Harry puts up with M.J. "I sure don't know how he takes it from Miss Ever- Faithful." Deciding it is time to face the Goblin again, Peter begins to look for his enemy.

A suddenly up-beat Harry Osborn has had more success tracking down his girlfriend. He tells Mary Jane he's ready to forgive her. "It's a great day .. and I feel zingy .. and you're still my girl! Right?"

Mary Jane is not in a mood to be forgiven. "You've always been good for a few laughs, Harry--but don't let it go to your head. I'm nobody's girl but my own -- and that's the way I like it. See ya around, Curly."

Back at the apartment the two men share, Harry lashes into Peter. "I've had it with you! So hit the road, smart guy -- you're movin' out." Thinking that he has never seen these odd highs and lows in Harry until recently, Peter agrees. Harry does an immediate about-face. "No! It's not how I want it! It won't help if you move out. That won't get her back! I don't know what I want, Pete." Thinking all Harry needs is some rest, Peter leaves the apartment. As soon as he's gone, Harry races to the medicine cabinet in search of his pills.

Still unable to find the Goblin after hours of searching, Peter returns to the apartment to find Harry writhing in agony. Reaching for the phone to call for help, he hears insane laughter outside the window. Looking out, he sees -- the Goblin! "Did you think I wouldn't find you, Parker? Did you expect the Green Goblin to let Spider-Man live?"

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeanne Burch