Friday, December 30, 2016

Trade Tales! - Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 13: Hobgoblin

Since it’s the end of the year, I thought I’d try to end with some more Ultimate Spider-Man. I didn’t talk about the newest trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming last time, so I’ll give a couple of thoughts here. It looked fine. We’re back to high school with an even younger Peter Parker. He’s even got Tony Stark as his mentor. It also looks like we’re getting a new villain in the form of the Vulture played by Michael Keaton of all people.  I don’t know if I’ll see this in theaters or not yet. I’ll just have to see when July comes. As for this trade, this is Hobgoblin. It contains Ultimate Spider-Man #72-78. The team is pretty much the same. Bendis is writing, Bagley is penciling, Hanna is inking, and J.D. Smith is the sole colorist on this one. So, let’s see what happens when Harry Osborn returns.

Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 13: Hobgoblin
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:  J.D. Smith

The story starts off nine months ago when Peter got bitten by the spider. We find out that Mary Jane and Harry Osborn had feelings for each other at that time. We then cut to the present day where Spider-Man takes out some random supervillain. He heads back to school where he finds out that Harry Osborn is back. After he gets some time alone with MJ, he tells her to stay away from Harry and the two get into a fight about it. After school, Peter heads home where Aunt May is packing up. Since they’ve now have had another person die at the house, it’s time to move down the street. While Peter is cleaning up his stuff in the basement, Harry comes by and tells him about his former relationship with MJ.
A little awkward considering their last meeting.

We also get flashbacks on what Harry was doing before he came back. Since things seem to be settling down for him, SHIELD decides to let Harry resume his life. He comes home and more or less becomes the sole owner of what’s left of his father’s business. While Harry’s trying to get everything sorted out, Shaw, the man who tailed Peter after he got his powers, tells Harry to come with him. They go to a lab that houses Norman Osborn’s Goblin tech. We also find out that Norman’s hypno experiments on Harry go deeper. Shaw wants to find out where Norman is at and he’ll use Harry to get Spider-Man to tell them where he’s being held.

Back in the present, Harry says he’s going to try to help Peter somehow. At school, Peter’s ignoring MJ in class. After class, the two have it out on the roof about her relationship with Harry. Peter leaves in a huff and MJ ends up bumping into Harry later. They talk and Harry tells her a lie about Peter killing Norman in self defense. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is out patrolling and almost kills a robber. He tries to turn himself into the police, but Captain Jeanne De Wolfe tells him to relax and probably switch to decaf. Peter heads back home and gets a phone call from Harry. He ask him to come on out in costume, but Aunt May refuses to let Peter to go out at night.
Man, Peter really should switch to decaf.

The next day, Peter avoids MJ. They later hash it out over lunch and she asks if Peter killed Norman Osborn. Peter lashes out and tells her the truth and runs off to find Harry. He finds Harry at his penthouse where Shaw is wondering when Harry will face Peter again. We then find out that Shaw is essentially a figment of Harry’s fractured mind. We also find out that Harry was also in the accident that made Norman into the Green Goblin. Harry then transforms into another Goblin and he and Spider-Man fight. It spreads to the street where we find out that MJ also skipped class and came to the penthouse. She almost gets hurt but a really peeved Spider-Man gets her out of there and tells her to hide.

The fight then continues and SHIELD even gets in on the action. The then find out a shocking truth: Harry wants to die. He does all he can to get SHIELD to use their weapons to take him down. He changes back into his human form but is still alive. This peeves off Spider-Man to the point where he punches Nick Fury. After he leaves, Fury says Peter will need to be reined in soon. Peter finds MJ at her house. He ends up breaking up with her since he doesn’t want to lose her too. The last issues looks at how MJ deals with the break up. Because of Liz, she ends up hanging out with a musician. Even though they almost hit it off, she can’t let go of Peter just yet.
Other Agents: (silence an stares)

After the decent filler that was “Superstars”, we get right back on track. This time, we’re back to the Osborns and not the Ozzie variety either. Remember when I said back in Ultimate Six that Harry would be making a big return? Well, here it is. Harry’s back and is apparently as crazy as his father is. Luckily, it’s the sympathetic kind instead of the scary kind. We really feel for Harry in his situation. When you find out he wants to die after he transforms, it’s pretty sad. He is pretty much an unwilling victim in this case especially with what his own father did to him.

Nice lab and is that Grant Morrison??

We also get another turning point with Peter’s and Mary Jane’s relationship. This time, it’s Peter who calls it off. Peter himself was pretty much a paranoid nutball here and you can’t blame him either.  After all that’s happened in the last few volumes, something had to break. You also got to feel sorry for MJ. They both handled some situations here wrong, but then you remember they’re two teenagers dealing with things that adults would have a hard time dealing with. MJ’s sole issue at the end was a nice way to see her side of the overall story. We also got an interesting exchange between Peter and Nick Fury towards the end. It was probably going to come sooner or later especially after the Ultimate Six storyline.

As usual, the artwork is pretty good. There’s not much really to say on that front. Harry’s Hobgoblin form was okay. It definitely had echoes of his father’s look but it was just orange. How that happened is anyone’s guess. Heck, I am talking about a dude who transforms into a fire-generating… thing, so it is what it is. The fight scene with Peter, Hobgoblin, and SHIELD was pretty good in itself. Even the dramatic, not-so-quiet scenes with Peter and MJ were effective especially the final embrace.

I don’t have too much to complain about this one. I did think the whole thing involving Shaw was a bit confusing. So, did Harry imagine that lab as well as Shaw or was that hidden lab real? Also, the reveal of Shaw being a delusion could have been shown better. That’s one area where the artwork failed a little bit. I also thought the flashback sequences were weirdly placed in the story itself. They weren’t bad at all but it did feel a little jarring. Other than those things and a couple of small things, this was good.

Reveals/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 0
That’s right, folks. Peter keeps his mask on that pale face of his this time. He takes it off around Harry, but that doesn’t count. Still, I think I’ll drink some sparkling grape juice anyway.

Total Reveals/Unmaskings of Spider-Man: 14

This too didn’t have too many highlights either. It’s weird that most of mine come from the latter half of the story.
-Spidey and SHIELD vs. Hobgoblin – The fight between the two was pretty brutal and sad especially at the end.

-Spidey punches Nick Fury – After having a bit enough of Fury’s SHIELD-ness regarding Harry, Spidey punches him down. I wonder what’ll come from this.

-The breakup – Pete’s and MJ’s breakup was pretty sad. I didn’t shed tears but it still got to me, man!


In the end, this was a good one even though it had a couple of issues. It definitely brought the feels in terms of how downbeat it was. Maybe next time will be a little less morose. Well, that’s all I got for now. Now if you excuse me, I need to finish reading something. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there.

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