Cover Price: $.25

#137
October 1974

Value: $75 (Near Mint-)

 

Supporting Cast:
 Harry Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe Robertson, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson, Mary Jane Watson, Aunt May


Guests:


Villains:
Green Goblin II

"The Green Goblin Strikes!" - 17 Pages


Writer -
Gerry Conway
Artist - Ross Andru
Inker - Frank Giacoia & David Hunt
Cover - Gil Kane
Letterer -
Artie Simek
Colorist - Petra Goldberg
Editor - Roy Thomas

Hoo boy! Where to begin? Amazing Spider-Man #137 is the culmination of a more than one-year storyline of Harry Osborn taking over his father's mantle as the second Green Goblin. And this issue doesn't disappoint!

In Amazing Spider-Man #136, Spider-Man discovers that Harry has inherited more than just the Green Goblin's costume and lethal bag of tricks. Like his father, he also knows that Peter Parker - his real-life best friend - is Spider-Man and that has ol' Spidey plenty worried. He planted a bomb in their apartment, injuring Mary Jane Watson, and nearly kills Spider-Man in their first encounter, with Spider-Man getting a reprieve only because the Goblin's finger sparks have run out of energy. This issue begins with the Green Goblin hijacking an eighteen-wheeler on a lonely New Jersey highway. We don't know what he's stolen, but the side of the truck reads "Atomic Industries." That can't be good. The scene then shifts back to Manhattan, where a desperate Spider-Man has spent the last two days searching for his rogue roommate. In the back of his mind, he realizes he really doesn't want to find the Green Goblin. "The better the chance he'll calm down and snap out of this craziness on his own," he says. I wouldn't bank on it, Wall-Crawler. Anyway, Peter changes clothes and goes to visit Mary Jane at the hospital, where Aunt May, Flash Thompson, Liz Allen, J. Jonah Jameson and Joe Robertson are also visiting the vivacious redhead. At the end of the previous issue, Peter quit/was fired from his freelance job at the Daily Bugle, in part because he was upset about his encounter with the Green Goblin. Jonah tries to bury the hatchet and offer Peter his job back, but Mr. Parker is having none of it. "If you don't mind, JJJ, I just had this jacket cleaned," Peter says, brushing Jonah's hand off his shoulder. That's cold, Pete!

Peter hustles out of the hospital when he hears a radio report of the Green Goblin's attack on the Atomic Industries truck. After confirming that the Goblin was involved, he tracks the Green Goblin down to Norman Osborn's (with "Osborn" misspelled in the thought balloon) abandoned townhouse. "I don't want to hurt you, Harry," Spider-Man says. "We both know that's not the truth! All you've ever wanted to do is hurt me, Parker -- I know that now," the Green Goblin replies. He mistakenly blames Spider-Man for his father's death in the classic Amazing Spider-Man #122. Spider-Man gets the better of the fight, noting that Harry lacks his father's experience. However, before he can put the Green Goblin away, the grinning villain points to a bank of monitors in the townhouse.

Aunt May, Mary Jane and Flash are all in separate locations, strapped into chairs with strange devices dangling over their heads. The Green Goblin reveals that one of the devices is a small-scale nuclear bomb he stole from the truck - and it is set to detonate in six minutes! "You only have time to pick one -- and if you pick wrongly, the person most dear to you dies!" the Goblin cackles. An angry Spider-Man punches him out, then sets out to defuse the bomb. Something the Green Goblin said gives Spidey a clue as to which bomb is the real one. He desperately races to Grant's Tomb, where he finds Aunt May captive and throws the bomb into the water. "I just hope my guesswork -- that Harry's "most dear" meant Aunt May, because if it wasn't -- and that bomb doesn't explode -- then it's either Flash or Mary Jane who'll die tonight," Spider-Man says as he waits for the bomb to explode. Fortunately, it does, and he sinks to the ground in relief. He goes back to the townhouse, where he finishes the fight with the Green Goblin. As he hears the police sirens, he strips off Harry's costume and changes back into his own secret identity. The last scene really takes the story to another level. Harry screams to the cops, ''Peter Parker is Spider-Man -- and I can prove it!" Peter thinks his life as he knows it has just been destroyed. He's about to confess when the skeptical police ask for his proof. "That's obvious, officer. I'm the Green Goblin!" The cops think Harry is just some other delusional nut and haul him away without giving his accusations a second thought.

Writer Gerry Conway and artist Ross Andru undoubtedly were under tremendous pressure to deliver a classic here, given the long build-up. But they were able to deliver. The story of Harry becoming the second Green Goblin is such a part of the Spider-Man mythos that it was adapted in the blockbuster movie Spider-Man 3. The Green Goblin won't reappear again until Amazing Spider-Man #176. I like the way the Goblin was used in the '60's and '70's. He only appeared once every few years, but his appearances always were a major deal.

Next issue: Madness means...the Mindworm!

Reviewed by Bruce Buchanan.

Quality Rating: 4
Significance Rating: 4

Overall Rating:

8

Reprinted In:
Marvel Tales
#114

Amazing Spider-Man #136

Also This Month:

Marvel Team-Up #26
Giant-Size Spider-Man
#2

Amazing Spider-Man #138