"Hobgoblin: Part 1"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), Scott Hanna (i), J.D. Smith (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As Harry Osborn returns to Peter's world, our young hero is thrown completely for a loop, as the last time he saw Harry he intended on killing everyone that he believed had played a role in his father's downfall, and since Peter knows he's right at the top of this list, he has cause for genuine concern. However, the situation stacks the deck against Peter even more, when he discovers another reason why Harry would be bearing a grudge.
Comments: I had actually forgotten this element of Peter's relationship with Harry existed over in the Marvel Universe, so having it resurface in the Ultimate Universe did catch me completely off guard. Now I hope it's not used as the sole motivation for Harry becoming this arc's big baddie, but discovering that Harry and Mary Jane were going out before she started going out with Peter does make for a nice bit of tension between the two, especially since it looks like Harry believes that Peter knew he was making time with his girlfriend. This issue also perfectly manages to capture the father/son dynamic that exists between Harry and his father, as Harry reacts to Mary Jane's comment that Norman Osborn is a "hole". In the end though the title of this arc gives one a pretty good idea of where it's heading, and speaking as a fan with fond memories about the whole Hobgoblin mystery era, I hope Brian Michael Bendis latches onto the idea of keeping the reader guessing about who is behind the Hobgoblin mask, as right now Harry is clearly moving down the path to becoming a costumed villain. I for one am hoping for some unexpected twists and turns on this path. Now the revelation that Mary Jane was secretly going out with Harry makes for an unexpected development, but I hope it's used as a springboard to take Harry in an unexpected direction rather than the obvious path. This issue also offers up a nice throwaway battle between Spider-Man and a generic baddie, where Spider-Man's value as a hostage is playfully brought into question.
Thanks to Mark Bagley for the previous seventy-one issues for which he provided the art. In spite of being a huge fan of his work, I had an increasingly difficult coming up with a new way of singing his praises without sounding like I haven't simply cut and pasted my comments from a previous review. I've praised his ability to deliver the issues at a better that monthly pace. I've gone on about his ability to deliver visually exciting action, and highly expressive characters. Heck, I've even taken the time to mention that Mark Bagley is one of the best artists when it comes to delivering Brian Michael Bendis's talking head scenes, as he's managed to escape the trap of simply repeating the same panel over and over, and the writing is all the better for this artistic decision to keep the camera moving around the room. Still, I guess the highest praise that I can offer when it comes to this book is that I never have any concerns when it comes to the art, as Mark Bagley's presence on this title guarantees quality art.
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