Thursday, 10 December 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #137. Harry Osborn's Green Goblin

Amazing Spider-Man #137. Harry Osborn, the Green Goblin
(Cover from October 1974.)

"The Green Goblin Strikes!"

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

Elementary, my dear Miss Watson? Not when you're the Amazing Spider-Man. We're told, at the tale's start, that Spidey's been out searching for Harry for two nights in a row and come up with nothing. Then, later in the issue, our hero finally thinks of where to search for him.

His house.

Somehow I don't think Sherlock Holmes needs to fear the competition just yet. Happily Harry's secret hideout is indeed his house and, there, the ensuing mayhem breaks out.

I'm still not sure how Spidey works out that it's Aunt May who's the target of Harry's bomb. He says it's because Harry referred to his planned victim as Pete's, "Most dear." But how was Harry to know our hero regarded May, and not MJ, as his most dear? Plus, given that Petey stole his girlfriend (MJ) from him - and his father's involvement in the death of Pete's previous squeeze - I'd've thought Mary Jane was a nailed-on cert for assassination.

But, whatever the ins and outs of it all, the real strength of this issue is Ross Andru. His use of "camera" angles and character poses is remarkable, especially when Spider-Man and the Goblin fight each other. Their moves are practically a demented form of ballet. And I love the splash page of Gobby closing in on the truck. Like Gil Kane before him, freed from the constraints of gravity that affect real people, Andru seemed to be revelling in the freedom the characters gave him.

Speaking of lacking gravity, MJ's so much cooler in this issue than Gwen ever was. If it'd been Gwen in the hospital bed, she'd have spent all her time simpering and whining and demanding to know just where Pete had disappeared to while she was laid up, then have started drivelling on about how she wished she could believe everyone else was wrong to think him a coward. Come to think of it, if I'd been his girlfriend, I'd have been simpering and whining and demanding to know where he'd been.

But not our MJ. She's made of stronger stuff. Despite having been blown up in the previous issue, we find her full of humour - even when Pete runs out on her. And what's best is she's clearly got a chemistry with Aunt May that Gwen completely lacked.

Good to see Harry reveal Peter Parker's secret identity to the world and have no one believe him; although the reason no one believes him - he's too young to be a villain who's been around for so long - makes no real sense bearing in mind that, in Marvel continuity, Spidey and the Goblin can't have been around for more than two or three years.

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