As the Phil Urich's life falls apart, the Superior Spider-man finally ends the Hobgoblin!
So after Spock publicly revealed Phil Urichs’ secret identity last issue, we now have to deal with the consequences. Phil’s hand is forced and he threatens the bugle staff when Spock arrives. After a bit of a tussle Spock captures Phil and he gets taken away to prison. Meanwhile Carlie and Wraith close in on Spidey's secret. Finally, The Goblin King adds a new and powerful member to his growing goblin empire.
I’ve got to say I absolutely love that this issue raises a valid criticism of Spock revealing Phil’s secret. Spock’s essentially forced Phil into taking hostages. It also raises the point that these people have no idea if Spock’s telling the truth about Phil. These were just small points that I really liked.
I like how Slott ended this Hobgoblins story. From Big Time to now, (There’s a Marvel Now joke in there somewhere) we’ve seen that Phil change from a bit of loser to a fully-fledged super villain. In the course of becoming a super villain there’s been mounting pressure on him. He’s had to pay The Tinkerer to maintain his gear, work for The Kingpin, keep Norah and the Bugle staff on side and finally he’s got the psychotic Kingsley breathing down his neck to keep the Hobgoblin identity. It feels like Spock ruining his new life and revealing his identity is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and he just snaps. So for me Phil taking hostages to save himself felt like a natural progression of a man driven to the brink. That and with The Goblin telling him to abandon his old life and Phil accepting it, after Spock destroyed his old life, so readily felt natural.
Speaking of Phil’s madness, his use of the sonic laugh was brilliant. The way Slott teased it was perfectly done, with the small “heh heh’s”. You could see it coming and I was personally drawn into the looming threat. So when he finally let’s rip it was really cathartic moment. But the real pay off was Phil noticing his uncle Bens pain and stopping. It showed, to me at least, that despite how far he’s gone Phil used to be a good guy and has just lost his way. With the theme of the book being Otto’s redemption, or attempted redemption, we have to ask ourselves. Had Otto not forced his hand could Phil have been redeemed.
Any movement in the goblin story is good for me, more of that in "the bad". I loved The Goblins line about wasting Phil's secret and not knowing how to play the game. Its a line that hints at Norman being under the mask. But as we know with Slott always expect the unexpected.
I liked that Norah wasn’t afraid to challenge Phil, it felt true to the character.
I must say despite disliking the character, I love this little Tiberius Stone subplot. He’s just so pathetic, it’s hilarious. There’s also his little to do list which has a rather intriguing second point. I wonder what this could potentially mean for the future.
I’m a huge hobgoblin fan and Phil’s new identity as the Goblin Knight kind of disappoints me, but that’s more of a personal thing and I’m more than willing to accept it, especially because it’s different. It does however lead into my biggest criticism of the book, and really the series in general. It’s the big green elephant in the room, The Green goblin sub plot.
I understand what Dan Slotts trying to do but all these teases have left me a bit bored with the whole thing. That and the teasing of the goblins identity. Yes I realise that it’s a reference to the original goblin stories, where we didn’t know who he was but I’ve read that story, it was done years ago.
This issue also unfortunately bring back one of my least favourite Spidey villains ever. “Menace”, A bad reminder of my least favourite Spidey story, “Origin of the Species”. Don’t get me wrong I don’t completely hate the character; I think she was handled well in “American Son” for example. I also don’t think that Slott captures her voice very well. It just doesn’t read like the character we’ve met before.
I’m a bit sick of the avengers tip toing around Spock’s behaviour. It feels unnatural to me that Cap and the team wouldn’t have taken action against Spock. I’ve read Superior team up and the Hyperion story but that feels like a weak justification for the team’s reluctance to deal with Spock.
Also as much as I love Ramos’s style I really don’t like the way he draws Phil Ulrich’s face, he makes him look too old in my opinion. I think Ramos’s style works best in frantic quick stories like issue 14. In a smaller scale story like this however it just doesn’t work for me. Also I don’t like the cover…
Despite the criticism I loved this story. It was good conclusion to Phil’s story. It effectively shows Spock’s methods of dealing with super criminals now he has his army. It also moves the goblin story forward, slowly … ever so slowly but at least it’s something. However the real reason I like it is because it closes out the Hobgoblins story.