"Hobgoblin, Part 2"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), Scott Hanna (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As the issue opens, Harry Osborn is being released from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, but his memories of the events surrounding his father's transformation into the Green Goblin have been wiped. He is sent back in the world in full control of his father's considerable wealth. However, Harry shows signs that he's haunted by elements of his past that he can't quite remember, but when he's visited by one of Norman's agents, the memories come flooding back.
Comments: The problem I found myself having with this issue is that I spent most of the issue waiting for the writing to offer up some vital insight about Harry Osborn that would explain why we spent the entire issue focused on what happened between the last time we saw him and his most recent return to these pages. The last issue offered up a pretty solid revelation as we learned that Mary Jane was going out with him before she hooked up with Peter, but this issue's big surprise is pretty much exactly what I had been expecting. Essentially, it repeats the performance of the scene where Harry discovers one of his father's hidden labs. The episode also doesn't really explain why Nick Fury set Harry loose without giving Peter the heads up, though I fully expect that Harry was let off the leash so that S.H.I.E.L.D. could see what rats emerged from the woodwork when Harry was back in play. Of course this leaves me a little nervous that S.H.I.E.L.D. will arrive to save the day in the final moments when it looks like the situation with Harry has gone completely off the rails. In the end though issues like this leave me a little annoyed with Brian Michael Bendis's writing. Often he spends far too much time examining elements of the story that don't feel like they needed the extra attention. Most of this issue essentially repeats performance of material that was already covered on the issue's recap page. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if we're going to spend two issues fleshing out the character of Harry Osborn, it would be nice to walk away with information that made it easy to understand why it took two issues to cover this ground.
Once again though it's great to see the covers of this book are starting to reflect the story we get inside. While the Hobgoblin has yet to put in an appearance, this cover impressively plays up the idea that the character is going to be a visually striking creation when he finally does arrive. As for Mark Bagley's work inside the issue, the blacked out panels that indicate Harry's blacked out memories are used a little too much for my liking, but I can't deny the sheer impact of the big reveal moment when Harry's memory is restored. The use of black space on that final page does a lovely job of selling the idea that Harry's future is a decidedly sinister looking one. There's also a nice little sequence where Norman's assistant lashes out at Harry, as the art manages to deftly sell the idea that this is not a person you want to tick off.
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