Due to the recent events that happened in this past week's Amazing Spider-Man #649, the Outhouse pays respect to a character.
*Massive Spoilers and scans from Amazing Spider-Man #649 will be abound in this article. You've been warned.
On the final week of November, Amazing Spider-Man #649 was released. In it, fans (such as myself) who clamored for got what they wished for so very long got their wish. Roderick Kingsley aka the Hobgoblin had fully returned to the actual Spider-Man books (after a period of non cannon appearances in Spider-Girl comics). It was almost twelve years in the making (Kingsley's last appearance prior to this was in Spectacular Spider-Man #261 the finale of Goblins at the Gate), with the one who proved "crime does pay".
Yet, after the glorious first four pages fans of the character where in for a horrific shock, when Phil Urich, the fourth Green Goblin, butchered Kingsley. Suffice to say, it's caused a wide discussion amongst Spider-Man fans, newbies enjoying it, while long time fans cringing and in utter disbelief at what they've just read.
For myself I was in the later category. Being a child of the 80s, my very first comic book was of the original Hobgoblin (Amazing Spider-Man #275). Like many, he was my Goblin. In an era when Norman was considered dead and gone, the Hobgoblin filled the void left in that wake. Not only did he fill it, he expanded upon it, using Goblin technology and ideas Norman never could even dream. Yet, when Norman returned the Hobgoblin or any sort of goblin wasn't needed anymore.
The move made logical sense, after all in the 90s a total of EIGHT goblin-related characters swarmed the Spider-Man books (Green Goblin II, IV, V, and of course Norman, Proto-Goblin, Demogoblin, Hobgoblin II aka Jason Macendale, and Kingsley himself). So with Norman back all the other goblins even Kingsley himself felt pointless.
Needless to say, for the most part Norman's ten year run as the lone goblin supreme (no way would I count Gray and not much a Menace goblins) felt As in the case of Norman's modus operandi he always was the personal Goblin for Peter. Until, Thunderbolts and Dark Reign he never truly branched out into something more. Honestly, during those moments Norman was at his greatest. Yet, I still hungered to see Kingsley.
After all, Norman kept using the same old goblin tricks. Sure he got some new outfits, but never once did he just tinker with the toys like he or Kingsley did. Never refining them to deadly levels to which leave Spider-Man reeling.
The underworld for the most part in 00s was lacking and Spidey was avoiding it until Slott did the greatest thing possible for Amazing and reintroduced that element back with Mister Negative and later via Mysterio arc. Yet, still I kept thinking to myself what a waste all that potential in Kingsley wasn't being used for the open wasteland the criminal underworld was.
More so, just someone who could stick it to Norman besides Spider-Man himself. Afterall, if the words Kingsley or Hobgoblin would be uttered in Norman's presence it probably cause a response that likewise be a lunatic rage otherwise reserved for Spider-Man. So when Marvel announced Kingsley was back, I was giddy for a Spider-Man book again. I honestly, loved Amazing Spider-Man #648 save for one page.
Then the next issue happened, and was bore witness to this:
Roderick Kingsley, a character I've waited almost twelve years to return to canon Spider-Man comics, butchered by Phil Urich aka the fourth Green Goblin (who for some view as character assassination, but really anyone who read Loners knew this fall from grace was coming).
Honestly I've never been more upset over the possible death of a character. To wait all those years just for that quick an exit? Even more to watch Steve Wacker himself just twist the knife in the stomach as he baited fans such as myself on CBR forums?
No, I refuse to believe him dead. This very stunt by Wacker has got to be a trick beyond belief just so he can grin wickedly at the feverish glee from fans such as myself when it's revealed that Kingsley is but using the new Hobgoblin Phil Urich as nothing more than another dupe. If not, then wow, way to spit in the face of fans of Roderick, Mr. Wacker.
So why is it this character just truly effects me so? Not only for the fact he got away with it, but the simple fact that out of all of Spider-Man's illustrious Rogue Gallery's it is fact Roderick Kingsley is the one who gets away with the various crimes he committed. He was a magnificent bastard you just couldn't help but admire his lack or moral center. Even more, destroying Spider-Man was number five on his agenda (after #1 More Power #2 Attaining More Money #3 Expanding Criminal Empire #4 Screw with the Osborn Family). Consider other Spider-Man rogues who all usually actively seek out to squash the arachnid. Yet, the original Hobgoblin things with him where never personal, they where ALWAYS about business.
Every single action he took was always about furthering his agenda and the lives who got in that way be damned. The rare times he did seek out Spider-Man they where but mere tests to see how good his latest toys where (i.e. the modified Goblin serum or rapid fire finger blaster). It surprises me at times how not many Spider-Man fans know nothing of this fiend's exploits when even today his most villainous deeds are always felt (caused Harry's rebound into Goblindom, Betty losing her husband Ned, Jonah quiting as editor of the Bugle, and Flash's life never quite being the same after being framed for the crimes as yet another pawn of Kingsley's). The only people I blame is Marvel itself for not reprinting these wonderful issues again (they had in the past, but good luck finding the only two trades available with various appearances mashed into the recent MJ and Birth of Venom trades).
Still, the storyline of this arc isn't over yet. With that I still very much believe this to be nothing more than yet another charade by a man who's the master of them. The evidence and loop holes are just too numerous as they where when Ned Leeds bought it and was exposed as the original Hobgoblin. Not to mention the Hobgoblin killed had his mask still on (even if he showed signs of the Goblin serum). There is still plenty of room for any writer to manever the death. Then again, if Slott is truly a continuity freak as he so claims, then if Kingsley is pulling Phil Urich's strings I will respect the man for one of the greatest bait and switch of all time in this modern era of comics. If not well, then my hatred of this current era of Spider-Man will be more justified.
In anycase, if this truly is the end for another long period of waiting for Kingsley to return, then any person who's never heard or read about this character, but was intrigued by this all too brief appearance do yourself a favor. Either track the issues his more recent appearances (though the trade to Hobgoblin Lives is somewhat costly, the actual issues run for a cheap price online or at comic shops. Likewise, his final cannon appearance in Goblins at the Gate which was Spectacular Spider-Man #259-261). If your looking for his non cannon appearances in Spider-Girl? Look at Spider-Girl #98-100 for the best story that involved him. But if you truly wish to know the greatest stories than you must hunt down Origin of the Hobgoblin (a trade released in the early 90s which had the entire Roger Stern part of the Saga). The maddening price is well worth the stories included inside it (though your best bet is usually ebay. I got a copy for $20 two years ago. That or a damaged copy sold at conventions.). Again, this article isn't a epitaph for what happened in Amazing Spider-Man #649, more a tribute to one of he most villainous bastards I've ever read in comics.
Written or Contributed by: Zechs