I’m a sucker for Goblin characters in Spider-Man. Once you see how high of a score I gave this book, you’ll know there are plenty appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #12. Written by Zeb Wells with art by John Romita Jr., Peter Parker is still testing the waters with Norman Osborn, even if he just got blown up by a Hobgoblin. Often superhero comic covers fib a bit, but know there is an excellent showdown between the webhead and Hobgoblin in this issue. Nuff said?
More or less, yes, as this is an excellent issue that juxtaposes the interpersonal drama of Peter and his friends with superhero fight scenes. Amazing Spider-Man #12 opens with medics on the scene where Norma and Roderick Kingsley, along with his goons, were attacked. Norman told Peter this meet-up was the following day, and he’s likely pondering his choices since Spider-Man could have helped fight back the Hobgoblin. The question is, though, which Hobgoblin attacked him?
From there, Peter visits Norman and expresses his frustration–he’s angrier these days–with Norman for lying to him. Their dynamic continues to be interesting since getting a bead on it is so hard. Is Norman a father figure to Peter, or is he his boss? Peter connects with a few other classic supporting characters like Betty Brant, and soon, he’s on the trail of who he thinks is Hobgoblin.
I won’t spoil who is revealed as the Hobgoblin, but a delicious action sequence spills out of a major reveal. By my count, nine pages are devoted to Spider-Man fighting Hobgoblin and Romita Jr., and Scott Hanna and Marcio Menyz deliver excellent action and Spidey renderings. Whether you grew up with Romita’s style or not, you can’t argue you can feel every punch and crunch of characters thrown around. Spider-Man even shows off a few tricks with his new Norman Osborn-made Spidey suit. Fine details like Spider-Man’s web shooter poking out or the general webbing look to the glider he rides are nice touches. This also means seeing the odd edge of the Spider-Man helmet that seems just wrong for the character. The yellow also doesn’t suit the red and blue look.
This issue is well timed for Halloween not only because there is a major Hobgoblin battle but also the surprise twist or two along the way. Given the Winkler Device is revealed, there’s a lot of dread and fear going through Spider-Man’s mind. Who could be pulling the strings?
Letters by Joe Caramagna are outstanding, bringing a loud and in-your-face nature to the sound effects. They’re not drawn by Romita, which lifts them and makes them seem even more their own thing, like actual sound would bring to a film. Caramagna is also great at emphasis in dialogue, with a red border on a “Clearly not” that’s fun or an “Eat this” that’s almost bursting from the word balloon.
Hobgoblin fans rejoice, Amazing Spider-Man #12 has the entire package of action, intrigue, and compelling twists. The identity of Hobgoblin has always been a part of the character, and Wells has somehow found a new way of exploring it while exciting and surprising fans.
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