Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #85

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeanne Burch

Story 'The Hatred Of The Hobgoblin!'

We do not know his name. We have never seen his face. He is a cipher seething with menace and mystery - PPSS 85

In an unknown location, presumably within the environs of New York City, a man approaches a large cylinder in which a green mist swirls. He recalls how he reached this point: his discovery of the journals of Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin; his decision to test the strength-inducing Osborn formula on Lefty Donovan in an attempt to discover what dangers were involved; Donovan's attainment of super-strength, then Donovan's death when the goblin glider slammed into the side of a building; and, finally, the alterations in the formula which might negate the original formula's side-effects. Stepping into the chamber, the figure writhes for long minutes. Warning lights blink. The cylinder explodes.

Crawling from the wreckage, the man wonders if he has stayed in the chemicals too long. Yet; "I can feel my body bursting with more sheer power than I could ever have conceived of! I've done it! I've become as powerful as the original Green Goblin. Maybe even more powerful! But the only way to test that theory is to defeat the one foe the Goblin could never defeat himself! Thus, tonight...the Hobgoblin will destroy Spider-Man!"

Peter Parker, Spider-Man's civilian alter-ego, is hurrying to meet Liz and Harry Osborn. The Osborns have called together several people, including Ned and Betty Leeds, Flash Thompson and his girlfriend Sha-Shan, Mary Jane Watson and Peter himself to make a special announcement: they are going to become parents! Amid the congratulations, Peter notices that Flash and Sha-Shan are unusually quiet. When Peter asks him directly if anything is wrong, Flash replies that he doesn't want to talk about it and walks away.

That night Spider-Man goes out with his girlfriend, the Black Cat. For the first time he realizes that she has no superpowers of her own; the "bad luck" abilities she appeared to possess when they first met were, she admits cheerfully, "all a trick, Spidey!" Suddenly aware how vulnerable she is, Spider-Man is just about to take her home when his spider sense kicks in. Grabbing Cat, he leaps just as pumpkin bombs hit.

Soaring above the roofs, the Hobgoblin closes in on the two. Leaping in front of Spider-Man, the Black Cat tries to take the offensive. The Hobgoblin stops her with contemptuous ease. Making a cup-like shield of his webbing, Spider-Man catches the next pumpkin bomb and flings it back in the Hobgoblin's face. Thinking that "Spider-man's speed, skill and agility make him practically unbeatable...but the purpose of my attack this night is to test my newly acquired super-strength!", the Hobgoblin breaks the stonework corner off of a rooftop with his hands and throws it at Spider-Man. Trying to protect the Black Cat, Spider-Man is struck hard by debris he would normally dodge. The Hobgoblin grabs the Cat and starts to fly off with her, but Spidey leaps across the rooftop and connects with a solid right. " You may have gotten stronger, 'Goblin--but you haven't gotten any smarter...or you'd have known better than to come after Spider-Man!"

Staggered, the Hobgoblin releases the Cat. He is amazed to discover that, even with the increased strength granted him by the Osborn formula, Spider-Man is still defeating him. Thinking "I was a fool to rely on physical strength when I have so many other means of causing mayhem at my disposal!", he unleashes a sparkle blast directly into Spidey's eyes. Blinded, Spidey crouches on the rooftop and plans his next strategy, knowing that his spider sense will warn him when the Hobgoblin, pressing his perceived advantage, gets close enough to nab. The Black Cat, however, only sees that he is down and that the Hobgoblin is swooping in for what may be the kill. She leaps in to warn Spider-Man, and collides with him in mid-spring. Pulling up, the Hobgoblin knows he has barely avoided capture. "Spider-man sought to snare me--but the Cat sprung the trap too soon! Ha! The fools! They are their own worst enemies!" Speeding away, he vows to renew the fight another day.

On the ground, Spider-Man angrily turns on his girlfriend. "I could've had him, Cat!"

"But I only leaped in to save you," the Cat protests. "Doesn't that count for something??"

Watching his arch-enemy fly away, Spider-Man does not answer.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeanne Burch