Current Reviews


Ultimate Spider-Man #76

Posted: Monday, May 9, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

"Hobgoblin, Part 5"

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley (p), Scott Hanna (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Peter is horrified to discover that Harry has been subjected to the same experimental drugs that transformed Norman into the Green Goblin, and he is forced to battle against a raging monstrosity that was once his friend. As the battle carries out to the streets, Peter tries to reason with Harry, but it quickly becomes clear that Peter's pleas are falling on deaf ears. Peter's task is made even more difficult when Mary Jane arrives at the battle, and Peter has to work to keep her out of Harry's hands.

Comments: This issue is by in large one big extended fight sequence, as Brian Michael Bendis takes a step back to let Mark Bagley flex his muscle on this series. Now the writing effectively sells the idea that Peter spends most of the battle trying to reach Harry, and his desperate efforts to make contact before the situation escalates beyond his ability to control it adds a wonderful level of urgency to the action. In fact, I love that Peter quickly recognizes that a heated conflict in the middle of the city is sure to catch the attention of the other super-heroes that populate the city, as far too often writers avoid pointing out this idea. The issue also effectively renders Peter's desperation when Mary Jane finds her way to the battle, as there's a lovely little rooftop exchange where Peter tries to explain the situation while also urging MJ to run for her life. The sheer power that Harry possesses is also nicely realized as one is left to wonder if Peter can actually do anything to harm this hulking monstrosity, while the battle makes it quite clear that Peter is narrowly avoiding attacks that would do him significant harm. Now, it took this arc took far too long to arrive at this point of the story, but while it took a while to get going this issue delivers the large scale action, and it also offers up a lovely cliff-hanger, as Harry makes a request of Peter that ensures readers will be back for the next chapter. There's also a nice little bit that makes clear that Peter's battle with Harry is going to impact his out-of-costume life in a decidedly negative way. I can't wait for the scene where Peter explains himself to Aunt May.

After a number of talking heads issues Mark Bagley finally gets the opportunity to do what he does best and that is to deliver a big mess of a battle between Spider-Man and the monster that Harry transforms into at the beginning of this issue. In fact, the battle is even more impressive than the earlier bouts with the Green Goblin as this one plays out on the streets of Manhattan, and as such Mark Bagley is given ample opportunity to offer up the property destruction and bone shattering attacks that Spider-Man is barely able to avoid. This issue has cars flying around like little tinker toys, and of course the street lamp standards are also brought into play. In fact this issue is largely twenty-two pages of pure Mark Bagley goodness, as how can one not love how Mary Jane is visually introduced to the battle, and the sheer intensity of those final pages gave that final panel the gut wrenching impact that it needed? In fact, my only real complaint about this issue's art is that I found the cover image to be a little flat, as Harry looks far more dangerous inside the book.

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