Cover Price: $.60

September 1983

Value: $15 (Near Mint-Mint)


Supporting Cast:
Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, Liz Osborn

Black Cat


"Ordeals!" - 22 Pages

Writer -
Roger Stern
Artist - John Romita Jr.
Inker - Klaus Janson
Cover -
John Romita Jr.
- Joe Rosen
Colorist -
Bob Sharen
Editor - Tom DeFalco
Editor In Chief -
Jim Shooter

Often, it takes time to build a following in comics. But sometimes, you know from the start that you've got something special.

Such was the case with the Hobgoblin, who first was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #238 and encountered Spider-Man for the first time in Amazing Spider-Man #239. From the start, Marvel Comics readers were captivated by this new villain, who was an updated version of the Green Goblin, Spider-Man's classic arch-villain of the 1960's and '70s. Readers particularly wanted to know the true identity of the Hobgoblin and flooded the Marvel offices with letters speculating on that very topic. Guesses include Daily Bugle photographer Lance Bannon, Peter Parker's lab partner Roger Hochberg, the Kingpin's son (who later turns out to be the Rose!), the Chameleon and even J. Jonah Jameson himself! After a brief absence, the Hobgoblin returns in this issue, deadlier than ever.

Having decided to leave graduate school in Amazing Spider-Man #243, Peter Parker goes by the office of Dr. Sloan, the head of the bio-physics department to formally drop out of school. Sloan has some thoughtful words for Peter: "I'm not usually given to praise, son. But of all my bio-physics graduate students, you are by far the brightest. I wish you'd reconsider your decision. You have the makings of a first-rate scientist...if you'd only buckle down a bit." This, in a paragraph, is the dilemma of being Peter Parker. He has so much potential, but his "great responsibility" as Spider-Man often keeps him from reaching that potential -- or finding personal happiness. It's a big part of why we love this guy and Roger Stern does a great job of explaining it with this exchange.

Meanwhile, Peter's old friends, Harry and Liz Osborn, meet up with Peter's ex-girlfriend Mary Jane Watson, who recently returned to town. Liz not-so-subtly mentions Peter, which causes Mary Jane to nervously change the subject. "You should know better than to think you could convince Mary Jane Watson to settle down!" Harry says. But Liz says she isn't finished trying to play matchmaker. The Osborns are having their own problems, though. Another one Osborn Industries office has been ransacked. Of course, we know the Hobgoblin has been behind the break-ins, as he is looking for Norman Osborn's old Green Goblin equipment. Spider-Man hears of the latest break-in and checks it out. It turns out that someone has stolen files on chemical storage from the past six years. "Why would anyone want that stuff?" Spider-Man thinks. Just then, he hears a police report. Another Osborn warehouse has been hit and a gang of criminals is holed up inside with a ton of firepower. The police are outgunned. "All right, this is a citizen's arrest! I see at least six cases of illegal use of firearms"! Spider-Man says, jumping into the pile of crooks. They brawl and Spider-Man is getting the best of the fight, although there are more than a dozen thugs trying to put him down. However, a mysterious figure (presumably the Hobgoblin) is watching the fight from the sidelines and throws a stack of the Green Goblin's razor bats toward Spidey. An incendiary pumpkin bomb then sends the warehouse up in flames. Spider-Man is forced to save the lives of the thugs who were looting the warehouse, rather than chasing the truck speeding out of it. However, he does land a Spider-tracer on the truck's bumper. But the Hobgoblin is too crafty for that. He's got a van hidden in the back of the truck and uses the van to make his getaway, leaving Spider-Man with nothing more than an empty truck. "The Green Goblin was crazy," Spider-Man thinks. "The seems to be a perverse logic to the way the Hobgoblin operates." That's true - the big difference between the two is that the Green Goblin was truly insane, while the Hobgoblin is not. Evil, yes, but not insane.

The captured thugs give police (and Spider-Man) a name: Lefty Donovan. Spider-Man sets off to track down Donovan, convinced that he is the Hobgoblin. However, we learn that Donovan is simply working for the Hobgoblin, who is trying to recreate the legendary Goblin Formula that gave Norman Osborn super-strength as the Green Goblin. The Hobgoblin is still recovering from his injuries suffered during his fight with Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #239, but he's eager to settle the score once he obtains the Goblin Formula. "With such strength at my command, Spider-Man will be powerless to stop the Hobgoblin!" he says.

Wow; Amazing Spider-Man was firing on all cylinders during this period. You had intrigue, romance, drama and perhaps the best villain of the 1980s. Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. did a great job of balancing Spider-Man's life with Peter Parker's life. Both seem equally important and interesting here.

Next issue: The mystery of the Hobgoblin continues!

Reviewed by Bruce Buchanan.

Quality Rating: 3
Significance Rating: 2

Overall Rating:



Amazing Spider-Man #243

Also This Month:

Marvel Team-Up #133
Spectacular Spider-Man


Amazing Spider-Man #245