You know, ever since this new Hobgoblin showed up way back in Amazing Spider-Man #649 (Jan 2011) I’ve been waiting for the day Spidey took him down. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Hobgoblin, he’s one of my favorite Spider-Man villains, but this new one was such an obnoxious tool that I eagerly awaited the day when he was taken down permanently. That he was really Phil Urich who was equally obnoxious was just the icing on the cake.
I had no idea he would be taken down like this, however… (spoilers)
So, for a while now we’ve known of a new Green Goblin who was slowly usurping Spider-Man’s control over New York City and rechristened himself as the Goblin King, and doing a great job of it because Spider-Man has no idea there is a new Goblin! The biggest assault on the Superior One was hacking into his network of Spider-Bots and making anything Goblin related ‘invisible’ to them. This also allowed Urich to go about his activities as Hobgoblin without Spider-Man jumping on him all the time. In the previous issue Green Goblin decided it was too much of a risk letting Hobgoblin run around like this so he shut down his hack and let Spider-Man take down Hobgoblin. It also didn’t help that former Horizon tech and traitor Tiberius Stone feels he was done wrong by Hobgoblin and when hired by The Tinkerer to fix his equipment did so with a few modifications that allowed him to shut the toys down with a push of a button.
The final chapter in this How To Take Out A Hobgoblin story was the outing of Urich as the villain. Spider-Man does it in what’s becoming a trademark style for him: He hijacked all the airwaves in the city and publicly announced Urich as Hobgoblin. In another example of why it’s entertaining having a long time villain as a ‘hero’ and building on how Otto thinks, everything Urich tries to do to escape is blocked because Spider-Man has thought about every possibility. He’s finally taken down in a very public way and carted off. He doesn’t make it to his final destination, however, as the Goblin has plans for him and sends a familiar face to long time readers to go get him: Menace! She hasn’t been seen in a very long time, not since Doctor Octopus tried to take her newborn baby if my memory serves, and now she’s working for the new Goblin and this apparently comes with some new equipment. This eventually leads to Urich being freed and given a new lease on villainy as the Goblin Knight and the Green Goblin’s army grows by one more!
I don’t know when this Goblin King/Green Goblin story will come to a head but I absolutely love the slow burn and build for it. Seeing someone actually out-think the Spider is surprisingly entertaining and, as I’ve said before, it’s going to be fun seeing how the Superior Spider-Man handles failure, especially on the scale that it appears to be.
Other highlights in this issue, and perhaps kinks in Spider-Man’s armor, is the Birds Of Prey style team-up of Carlie Cooper and The Wraith as the begin to track down the resources Spider-Man has been using to pay for everything he’s suddenly got. They are convinced that something isn’t right with Spider-Man and so far they are the only ones actively doing something about it. Eventually they will trip some kind of alarm set by Spider-Man but until then it’s nice seeing things happen out of his range.
Slott is building something here, to me it feels like it’s Otto’s ultimate downfall and, perhaps, the return of Peter Parker. It feels like for all the control Spider-Man is taking for himself, for all the plans and back-up plans he has in place, he’s doing too much, much more than even his mind can keep track of. Now, I’m not advocating for the immediate return of Peter Parker, I’m actually really enjoying the Superior Spider-Man a lot, but we all know it’s going to happen, somehow, and perhaps this is the beginning of the end here for Otto… but considering how Slott loves to write this series it most likely isn’t. That’s the other thing: Dan Slott is really having fun with this series and idea, you can tell. There is a lot of energy and excitement in this series and it comes from Slott’s love for the character and enjoyment of writing something different. It shows and it pays off in a big way.
Now, there is very little I can say about the art. It’s Humberto Ramos. That pretty much tells you the book looks amaz-er, Superior! But even with how sharp the interiors look, it doesn’t compare to that awesome cover! This was the cover I was waiting for and I’m gad it’s finally here! This cover is the second most anticipated cover (the first is the Spider-Man 2099 variant for #17) and I can’t stop looking at it.
Superior Spider-Man #16 is another in a long line of hits for a series that people claim to hate but can’t help but show it love. This issue has gotten a lot of attention and for good reason: everything is coming together and one nice packaged webbed up for your enjoyment!