By: Adam Basciano
“Dark times are coming for Peter Parker and change is closer than you even fear.
As we aim headlong to ASM #700, The Kingpin ‘s latest plan turns one of
Spider-Man’s greatest strengths against him. Hobgoblin is back…but his days
may be numbered as the past sharpens its blades. GOBLINS GO TO WAR…and Peter Parker is caught dead-center! Spider-Man joins the War of the Goblins! Roderick Kingsley, the original Hobgoblin, has returned—will any other Goblins show?” (Marvel)
Sometimes the three issue storyline works to a writer’s advantage, other times it can hinder the story. The last two story’s I’ve reviewed of this title are an example of both instances. This story “Danger Zone”, is another check mark in the win column of the shorter length story lines. We’ve got the Kingpin, two Hobgoblins, Peter Parker and Max Modell in peril all tightly packed into three issues. There were a lot of nods to the history between Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin. Being a relative novice to Spider-Man in comparison to other characters, I wasn’t aware of half of the stuff being recalled. Yet thanks to Dan Slott’s straight forward story-telling, I felt like I had been reading about these characters struggle for decades. It was also nostalgic to see the Kingpin once again menacing Spider-Man. It’s a reminder that Kingpin was originally a Spider-Man villain, before Frank Miller stole him for Daredevil. Max Modell’s genius is often touted, but this issue that intelligence saves Peter Parker’s life, allowing Spider-Man to ultimately prevail. The book almost undermines Max Modell’s intelligence by having him not realize that Peter is in fact Spider-Man, given what takes place. Maybe he does know and is keeping up the ruse for Peter’s benefit, although that’s a bit ambiguous here. A Goblin story would be incomplete without Norman Osborn and there’s a reference to him near the end of the story. I won’t ruin the spoiler for those who haven’t read it.
Giuseppe Camuncoli has once again picked up the pencil for this story, and my eyes are smiling. There’s an archetypal iconography when drawing the Goblin, be it Green or Hob. Camuncoli just gets it 100% right every time he drew the character for this story. That becomes even more impressive when he has to draw the character twice in most issues. Having said that, there’s very little difference between the old and new Hobgoblin in costume, which made it difficult to tell who was who during fights. Thank goodness for dialogue. Action wise, everything looked great in this issue. Specifically scenes with Peter’s spider – sense going haywire, Hobgoblin kidnapping Peter via his hand-glider, and the aerial fights between Spider-Man and the Hobgoblins. My favourite cover art of the three issues is #696 featuring the two Hobgoblins fighting through the Spider-Man mask.
“Danger Zone” is a fantastic story. With a story this good being the penultimate storyline, I wonder what’s in store for Spider-Man and the audience to close out this historic comic book series.
Overall Grade: 10/10