The Spider-Man Challenge: Monday through Friday, I read a Stan Lee-written issue of Amazing Spider-Man and write crap about it.
“The Grotesque Adventure Of The Green Goblin”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Synopsis: The issue kicks off with the Green Goblin (his real face in shadow) working on a “flying broomstick”. He puts on his costume and meets up with The Enforcers and recruits him in a plan to take down Spider-Man. The Goblin then bursts into the office of Hollywood producer-caricature B.J. who he entices into making a Spider-Man film.
Meanwhile at Midtown High, Liz continues to fawn over Peter and Flash is, as usual, put off.
Peter hears about the Green Goblin flying around the city and runs off to investigate. When they meet, the Goblin tricks Spider-Man into meeting with B.J., who offers him 50,000 to star in the film. Thinking of Aunt May’s ever-rising debts, he signs the contract and a hidden Green Goblin does his best David Caruso impression:
The next morning, at The Bugle, Jameson assigns Peter to cover the Spider-Man filming out in Hollywood (This is a major metropolitan newspaper and their one photographer is a 17 year old kid! COMICS!). Peter asks Aunt May if he can go and she relents when he points out that he’s almost in college. Later, Spider-Man, Green Goblin, and The Enforcers are standing around the set before shooting (Spidey remarks that the make up on the “actors’ playing The Enforcers is genius!). The Goblin suggests to Spider-Man that they practice their fight scenes before shooting. Poor, dumb Spider-Man.
Naturally, The Goblin and The Enforcers use this as an opportunity to try and kill Spider-Man and fight breaks out. Spider-Man is eventually …dogpiled by The Enforcers and…look, I’m just going to show you the panels.
…right, so Spider-Man gets out and creates a dust-storm using the webbing and nearby dirt. Back in New York, Betty and Liz pine over Peter and Aunt May writes him a letter. Back in Hollywood, Spider-Man takes refuge in a cave and Green Goblin and The Enforcers close in on him. One by one, Spider-Man takes out Montana, Fancy Dan, and Ox ala Batman. The Green Goblin and Spider-Man fight, but they manage to catch the attention of The Hulk and he is fucking pissed.
Spider-Man manages to feint his way out of the fight and get out of the cave. Spidey spots The Goblin fleeing and tries to stop him, but he throws him off into a lake and escapes. Spider-Man notices The Hulk and stays hidden in the lake until the Jade Giant leaves. Spider-Man leaves The Enforcers for some arriving Army officials and scrams. When B.J. hears about the appearance of The Hulk, he decides to ditch Spider-Man and do a Hulk movie with Doris Day (thesixties). He pays Spider-Man for his expenses (enough for bus fare and alittle extra for Aunt May). Back at his lair, The Green Goblin curses his luck and vows to strike again, while Peter walks the streets of Manhattan, certain that his foe is out there…somewhere.
- The Green Goblin is, almost unarguably, the most important Spider-Man foe. Even ignoring the fact that he kills Gwen Stacy, he’s probably the most intelligent and capable villain in his rogue’s gallery. Lee writes him pretty well here, you definitely get this vibe of impish cruelty. Ditko’s design is a classic, though Romita draws the definitive Green Goblin, imo. This is also the start of the long-running mystery regarding the Goblin’s secret identity, though it’s interesting that Ditko never wanted his identity to be revealed.
- This is probably the most action oriented issue so far, most of the issue is just set up to the fight. It ends up working out great, the fight sequences in this issue are great. The Hulk battle in particular is awesome.
- Speaking of the Hulk fight,I love fights where Spider-Man is completely outmatched and this one’s no exception. Early Hulk is weirdly wordy, though.
Final Thoughts: It’s a simple plot, but just overall a great issue and a nice set up for The Green Goblin plot line that runs into the 30’s. And really, you can’t go wrong with the issue’s set up can you? Tomorrow: The Circus of Crime and some dude named “Dare-devil”.