Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Retro Review: Spider-man #88

This issue comes from my personal favorite time in Spidey history, right after the clone saga and right before the relaunch. This was the time that hooked me onto Spidey. One of the things I loved during this time was Norman Osborn AKA the Green Goblin had returned to the scene and had managed to reclaim a standing as a legitimate business man and was just relentlessly fucking with poor Peter. At one point Peter lost his temper and attacked Norman as Spider-man in his office. This was captured on security camera and Norman managed to make himself look like a victim and even put a $1million bounty on Spidey's head.

This issue starts out with some cops finding some crooks webbed to a city lamp post in the snow. When they cut them down it turns out the crooks has suffocated in the webbing. We then cut to Peter and MJ in bed. Jameson is calling Peter to take pictures of the crime scene, ecstatic that is seems he finally got Spidey dead to rights. When walking home from the crime scene Peter spots the Green Goblin on a roof top. Once he gets up there as Spider-man he finds nothing but a single pumpkin bomb. This cat and mouse continues a couple of times with Peter almost catching the Green Goblin until he finally breaks into Norman's office and drags him up on the roof. The two have an intense verbal back and forth before Norman announces Peter is not a worth opponent and without a worth opponent he has no reason to live. Norman jumps off the roof and Spidey saves him. Norman laughs at how Spidey's morality makes him weak. Then he spots the Green Goblin on another roof. But wait if it's not Norman then who is it?

This issue was great. Norman was just relentlessly fucking with Peter and there wasn't much of anything he could do about it. You could really feel the tension. The artwork by John Romita Jr. was very dark and moody and that combines with an oppressive snowstorm in the story really added to the tension. One a side note, this 5th Green Goblin, we would later find out is working for Norman to further convince people he is not the Green Goblin. A lot of people apparently thought it was Phil Urich, the hero Green Goblin but I always thought it was a clone of Harry Osborn. I turned out to be right (sorta) as when he was unmasked he looked like Harry, but then shape shifted into a bunch of other people then melted and died. Apparently he was just a genetic construct, or something. Whatever, guess I shouldn't care who he was when apparently the writers didn't. Also the person who framed Spidey for the webbing related manslaughter was the Trapster, working for Norman of course.

So back to the issue itself. This is a damn good read and a good character study of both Peter and Norman. This was a good time in the Spidey books and this was a good example of why. I would say if you see this in a back issue bin pick it up.

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