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Good Guy Green Goblin: Why the Little Guy Matters in Comics

I don’t remember how or why I came to possess a copy of Green Goblin #1 in 1995, I only remember the joy I felt flipping through its pages. I can remember marveling at the artwork by Scott McDaniel, possibly the first time I ever actually appreciated comic book art. I can remember haphazardly scouring the comic book shops and supermarkets in Central New York searching for all the follow-up issues, before I ever even knew that comic books come out on Wednesdays. And I can remember waiting 10 years, well into adulthood, before I finally managed to track down the final issue online, and how reading it after all those years was like stepping back in time. The series was just as good as I remembered – if a little dated.

With the Green Goblin series in the mid-90s, Marvel Comics was trying desperately to reach out to both youth culture and longtime fans by mixing a semi-familiar brand name with a slacker protagonist. Green Goblin was a blatant cash-grab. It only lasted 13 issues.

But those 13 issues may be the very reason why I’m such a big comic book fan today. Green Goblin was my ‘gateway drug’. And Phil Urich is my hero.

He’s a funny guy

Some of you reading this have probably never even heard of Phil Urich. He’s no Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne, that’s for sure. But nevertheless, Phil Urich came along at just the right time to hook me into comic books. Green Goblin wasn’t the first comic I had ever read, but it was the first series I ever started collecting on my own. And when all 13 issues were over, I kept reading and I kept looking for more new comics. It was a fun little series with a lot of energy and some cool ideas.

After it was cancelled, one would reasonably expect never to see Phil Urich again. His story hadn’t sold, it was cancelled; shouldn’t that be the end of it?

Nope! Apparently not! And that’s why Phil Urich is such a fascinating character. Phil kept coming back. New writers like Brian K. Vaughn and Dan Slott came long with new ideas and new roles for Phil to play. And through their work, Phil Urich’s story continues to be told, even after all these years. And that’s one of the things I love about comics: through unexpected teamwork, through new writers and new ideas, even the little guys get their own stories. Phil will never be as popular as Spider-Man or Batman, but he’s got a story nonetheless.

Join me after the jump if you’d like to hear it.

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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 8/24/13

For the first time in a very long time, DC Comics owns the week! The New 52 comics have been in a downward spiral for me for a long time. But this week, they score a one-two punch of success. For awhile now, I’ve been worried that comics just don’t reach me anymore, that everything is just generic superhero filler, that nobody is trying anymore. But between Batman and Nightwing #23 and Wonder Woman #23, DC shows me twice in one week that somebody still cares. Characters still matter.

There are a lot of good comics this week. Superior Spider-Man puts Phil Urich front and center, so you know I’m happy about that. Avengers and Justice League Dark continue their respective crossovers, though neither one is particularly special. And by popular request, I decided to pick up the latest issue of Thunderbolts to give that another try. Not too shabby. But the week belongs to DC. Wonder Woman easily snatches up another Comic Book of the Week.

Did we know she could go Super Saiyan?

Though Batman and Nightwing (or as it should have been called, Batman and Alfred), isn’t far behind.

Comic Reviews: Avengers #18, Batman and Nightwing #23, Batwoman #23, Justice League Dark #23, Superior Spider-Man #16, Superman Unchained #3, Thunderbolts #14, and Wonder Woman #23.

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Phil Urich Dead!? Crossover with Kaine?! Ben Reilly Returns!?

Solicitations have come out for the Superior Spider-Man family of comics in August, and they all seem geared to characters I love. What’s up with that? But hey, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, even if that gift horse tastes like rancid, bitter tears!

First up, in Superior Spider-Man itself, it seems that Otto is going to target the new Hobgoblin, otherwise known as Phil Urich, otherwise known as one of my all-time favorite comic book characters. I’m always pleased when Phil pops up in the pages of Spider-Man, but based on the solicitations, it looks like Phil’s days might be numbered!

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #15
DAN SLOTT (W) • HUMBERTO RAMOS (A/C)
“Run, Goblin, Run!” Part 1 of 2
• What’s it like to be a villain in the Marvel Universe…once the Superior Spider-Man sets his sights on you?
• Find out, from Phil Urich’s point of view, in what might be the final days of the Hobgoblin.
• Plus, what is the secret of “The Tinkerer’s Apprentice”? Who’s been helping the Terrible Tinkerer? And how is he, of all people, the reason everything in Spider-Man’s life will be changed forever?!

Superior Spider-Man #15

That would really, really suck. But I’m not going to nerd rage about one of my favorite characters being killed. Slott has been building to a confrontation like this with Phil ever since he started writing Spider-Man. So I’m just going to look forward to an awesome Hobgoblin story. And check out Spidey’s new evil costume! Villains always go for black.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #16
DAN SLOTT (W) • HUMBERTO RAMOS (A/C)
“Run, Goblin, Run!” Part 2 of 2
• How has the Hobgoblin evaded the Superior Spider-Man for so long? And does that hold the key to the Superior Spider-Man’s greatest success — or greatest failure? It’s the end of the line for Hobgoblin, and possibly an end for a big chapter in the history of Spider-Man.

Superior Spider-Man #16

Everybody keep your fingers crossed. The Phil Urich Death Watch begins here!

Next, it looks like we’re finally going to get the first crossover between Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider. Chris Yost writes both Scarlet Spider and The Avengers Spider-Man (which will soon be renamed Superior Spider-Man Team-Up), so in August, he’s bringing the two comics together for a two-part story of Scarlet Spider meeting the Superior Spider-Man. Kaine and Otto have a torrid history stretching back to Kaine’s heyday in the 90s, when he killed Otto by snapping his neck with his bare hands. So one would think that Otto probably isn’t going to like running into Kaine again.

Marvel has an interview with Yost on their website. And we get a better look at the new Superior Spider-Man costume. Looks almost like an inverted version of Kaine’s costume.

But more importantly, check out the last question of that interview. The interview is about Scarlet Spider #20, but he question looks ahead to the solicitation for Scarlet Spider #21, which apparently mentions a confrontation with Ben Reilly!? And Yost says that the last page of the crossover will be a real game changer.

So, for reals, it looks like Ben Reilly might be coming back! I will tell you more when it becomes available.

Here are the covers.

Scarlet Spider #20

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2

 

That should make for an awesome team up. Though I’m a little disappointed that it’s not happening in the actual Superior Spider-Man series, as if this crossover doesn’t warrant anything more than just the secondary Spidey titles. But I can live with that.

So Phil Urich and the Scarlet Spider are a big deal in August! It’s like the 90s all over again!

October is Going to Be A Big Month for Me and Marvel Comics

The solicitations for the first month of Marvel NOW have hit the web – and  things look pretty damn cool! Marvel plans on launching a new #1 issue every week, and the first one will be Uncanny Avengers #1, which I already told you guys about. So there aren’t any more fancy new comics to tell you about. But there are still dozens of other post-Avengers vs. X-Men comics coming out in October, and apparently Marvel has geared a lot of them towards some of my favorite characters. Weird! But awesome!

You can read all of the solicitations here, but I’m going to be going through a few of my favorite titles.

X-Factor #245

X-Factor #245: Starring Multiple Man, my all-time favorite comic book character, it seems that the book is getting a pretty big shake-up. We already know that Havok is leaving the team to join the Uncanny Avengers, but who else?

“BREAKING POINTS” Conclusion!
• In the last of five issues that will change the face of X-FACTOR forever, two characters find their lives irrevocably altered.
• When the smoke clears, the team’s roster will be nearly halved…

Finally! I’ve been complaining about the size of X-Factor’s cast for a long time now. It’s about time writer Peter David trimmed the fat and made the team more manageable. It’ll make for a much better series. I hope he keeps Multiple Man, Strong Guy and Wolfsbane for sure. The rest can come or go as he sees fit. Based on an interview I read about Marvel NOW, one of the Marvel head honchos said that X-Factor is going to be largely unaffected by the relaunch. On the one hand, that’s too bad. But on the other hand, I’m glad it will be sticking around in a version that’s similar to what I’ve been enjoying for years. X-Factor doesn’t sell very well, but it has a very loyal fanbase, myself included. So I’m glad it’s not going to have its feathers ruffled too much by this relaunch.

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Secret Avengers #33

Secret Avengers #33: I’ve written a bit before about Eric O’Grady, the Irredeemable Ant-Man! He’s been a member of the Secret Avengers for awhile now, but most recently, he was ‘killed’ and somehow brought back to life by the bad guys. Well in October, it looks like he’s going to become a full-on villain!

THE RISE OF THE DESCENDANTS part 1
• THE RISE OF THE DESCENDANTS BEGINS HERE! The event that will devastate the lives of the Secret Avengers!
• Descendants siege on Avengers Lighthouse station!
• Father launches his invasion. Can the Marvel Universe survive the plague of contagious robotic evolution?
• A terrible new Avenger’s foe is born: Beware the bite of The Black Ant!

I can’t say as how I really like this change, because I was a big fan of O’Grady’s perverted, jerkass version of a superhero. He had a lot of potential as a member of the Avengers. But I suppose he could make an interesting villain, maybe. Though aren’t red ants far more evil and dangerous than black ants? But then the superhero Ant-Mans usually dress in red, so I guess he needed to dress differently. We’ll see where this goes.

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Hobgoblin Fight!

Amazing Spider-Man #695 & 696: Writer Dan Slott is finally getting around to doing something awesome with Phil Urich, the new Hobgoblin! Though it looks like Phil might be in the crosshairs, because the solicitation sounds like a former Hobgoblin is going to be coming back and gunning for Phil. That makes sense, considering Phil had to kill the previous Hobgoblin to take over. And nobody stays dead in comics.

ISSUE #695 – DANGER ZONE Part 1
• 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.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
ISSUE #696 – DANGER ZONE Part 2
• GOBLINS GO TO WAR…and Peter Parker is caught dead-center!

So I’m worried that Phil would make for an easy death. He’s not as established as the previous Hobgoblin, and hasn’t exactly proven himself to be all that great. Since he became Hobgoblin, Phil became a total jobber, thrown into books like Venom and Spider-Girl just to be beaten, to make the heroes look good. Not to mention the fact that he hasn’t beaten Spider-Man. Though of course I hope Phil’s days aren’t numbered. Maybe he’ll become a good guy again! That would make my life.

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But the October solicitations are not all good news! The solicitation for Uncanny Avengers #1 mentions “the funeral of one of Marvel’s greatest heroes!” So it looks like Cyclops is going to bite the big one after all at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men. And it appears that X-Men: Legacy is getting cancelled only a handful of issues after writer Christos Gage made the Mimic an X-Man again. Mimic barely got to do anything! So I guess from now on I just have to hope that he shows up somewhere else…I must hold on to hope!

And finally…where’s the Scarlet Spider comic?

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