Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #136. The Green Goblin Mark 2

Amazing Spider-Man #136, Harry Osborn, the New Green Goblin
(Cover from September 1974.)

"The Green Goblin Lives Again!"

Words by Gerry Conway.
Pencils by Ross Andru.
Inks by Giacoia and Hunt.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by L Lessmann.

Cakes. You can have them and eat them. This issue proves that, in every way possible. How do you bring back the Green Goblin while not devaluing his death?

Easy. Have someone else adopt the guise.

But that isn't as simple as it might sound. We all, I'm sure, remember Blackie Drago, the second Vulture who was never a patch on the original?

Then again, maybe we don't. He wasn't around for long before the creators saw the error of their ways and brought back the inimitable Mr Toomes. And, as for the third Vulture. Can anyone, off the top of their head, even remember what he was called?

So, the Goblin. How do you replace Spider-Man's greatest ever foe with one who isn't going to feel similarly ersatz?

Easy. You replace him with Harry Osborn. Of course, you have to send him mad first - for no normal man can be the Goblin - and Messrs Conway and Andru have more than done that. The Harry we're confronted with is a raving lunatic. Logically, Harry can't work as the Goblin. He's not had the years of practice and experience the original had and he doesn't have the super-strength his father seemed to possess. The original had been showered in experimental chemicals that, presumably, enabled him to slug it out, toe to toe, with Spidey. How Harry can take a punch from Spidey without his head being knocked off is anyone's guess. But somehow, it doesn't seem to matter. The sheer vengeful madness of Harry Osborn somehow makes you willing to turn a blind eye to such blatant logic holes.

On the art front, the thing that leaps out at me this issue is Ross Andru's ability to capture the mood of his characters. Even when Spidey's in his mask, you're never left in any doubt what he's feeling.

Oddity of the tale has to be its ending. I'm not quite sure what it has to do with anything. It comes across like the story lacked a neat resolution and so Andru had to add an extra scene to make it feel like the issue had wrapped up properly.

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