Superior Spider-Man #26: Goblin War Is On


Perhaps it’s the hype that surrounded the coming of the Goblin War. Perhaps it’s the fact that Peter Parker has finally made himself known. Perhaps it’s that the Avengers have once again been written to look like idiots. Whatever it is, Superior Spider-Man #26, the kick off of the Goblin War, is really dull. The snap, crackle and pop of the usual SSM story is nowhere to be found. Instead, the issue is subject to a number of convoluted plot developments.

The Hobgoblins and the Green Goblins are beating the holy hell out of each other. Pumpkin bombs are flying, bragging and bravado is zipping through the air. Suddenly, in the middle of the melee, the Green Goblin commands his troops to stop and calls for a truce. An untrusting Hobgoblin lays down his forces and agrees to join Green Goblin against Spider-Man. Cut to the Avengers, who confront Superior Spider-Man as he is about to take down an AIM weapons shipment.

Cut back to the Goblins. Green Goblin suddenly decides he and the Hobgoblin should fight each other, with the victor gaining control of both armies. The fight rages, and after proof is given that the Green Goblin is actually Norman Osborn, the Hobgoblin relents and his beaten. Problem is, it isn’t Roderick Kingsley. Woven throughout the Avengers confrontation and the Green Goblin/Hobgoblin thrown down is Peter Parker, a shell of a memory, trying to push himself to battle back and take over his psyche. So much goes down in issue #26, I find it fascinating how boring it all is.

The entire exchange between Green Goblin and Hobgoblin makes no sense. Why not just slaughter the Hobgoblin and be done with it? Why all the posturing? More importantly, why does Dan Slott continue to write the Avengers as if they were idiots? This is the third time they’ve confronted Spider-Man, they have proof he deleted his brain scans, and yet they just stand there and say “Explain yourself, young man.” At this point, I would think the greatest superhero team in existence would capture Spidey, and force the psychics to do a full brain visit. Nope, they stand around and let Spider-Man jump out a window, quitting the Avengers.

Finally, the return of Peter Parker feels largely like an afterthought. I’m sure the final beef between Ock and Parker will be epic, but his return should also seem important. Peter managed to hold on after Ock pushed him out of his brain forever. He fought back and is looking to continue to fight. That should be given a weight I feel it’s missing.

Several artists pencil Superior Spider-Man #26. Humberto Ramos, Javier Rodriguez and Marcos Martin. Ramos handles the Goblin fight, Rodriguez the Avengers arc, and Martin the scenes involving Peter Parker in Ock’s mind. The three artists styles are very different, which works really well for the story. Ramos’s bombastic style brings out the action of the Goblin War, while Rodriguez’s lighter touch gives the Avengers scenes their own life. Finally, Martin’s work clicks especially well within the dream-like center of Ock’s brain. Three compelling visual styles for a book that is anything but.

(4 Art, 3 Story)