There is a series lost to the late 1990s related to New York’s wall-crawler. A comic run tied to SPIDER-MAN that doesn’t have Spider-Man. Instead, it features one of SPIDER-MAN’s iconic villains as a hero. GREEN GOBLIN ran from 1995-1996 and is a necessary read for people craving a different SPIDER-MAN story.

Origins Of The Goblin King

Spider-Man Villians Green Goblin vs HobGoblin
Image courtesy of Marvel

If you are familiar with Dan Slott’s run with SPIDER-MAN, you are already familiar with the Green Goblin. Phil Urich reappeared in the SPIDER-MAN event, BIG-TIME, as the new Hobgoblin. In the first three pages of his introduction, he takes a jarring turn from his original character. He goes from the hero at the end of the original series, to a head chopping villain.

Phil goes from the newest incarnation of the Hobgoblin to Goblin Knight, and finally the Goblin King. It is interesting comparing the two iterations of the character. Indeed, they seem like two entirely different people. Reading Tom Defalco’s GREEN GOBLIN may give you some insight into Phil Urich. Certainly, it will help you see both iterations as two different characters. Either way, you will see how this random character already has goblin powers, as well as a deep knowledge of the tech involved.

A Short And Comfortable Read

Green Goblin Facing Off With DareDevil
Image courtesy of Marvel

Jumping into a new series can be intimidating. Luckily, readers need not feel scared of the GREEN GOBLIN. Let’s start with many readers’ two main concerns: how much time it will take, and how much will it cost me? These are vital points, and we here at ComicsVerse get it.

Let’s start with how long it will take you. The answer is, not long at all! The series ran short, only thirteen issues. Don’t worry about being left with a major cliffhanger either — the story is conclusive. Moreover, it leaves you wanting to know more about Phil Urich’s personal life, which is a sure sign of a good story.

Now the cost. On Marvel’s website, you can buy the digital comic for $1.99 each or read it all for free!

When it comes to time and money, this series fits the bill perfectly. Indeed, commitment to the GREEN GOBLIN comes with a low risk for such high reward.

A Goblin Take On The Peter Parker Formula

Green Goblin v.s, Spider-Man Villain Rhino
Image courtesy of Marvel

Most importantly, GREEN GOBLIN is a thrilling read, especially for fans of SPIDER-MAN. Indeed, readers familiar with the “Peter Parker Formula” will recognize the basic breakdown. A young outcast receives superpowers. At first, they are either selfish with their powers or feel like they don’t need to do anything as it isn’t their responsibility. Then there is the death of someone close to them that they feel they could have prevented. In response, they don the hero mask and take on the great power and all the responsibility that comes with it.

We’ve seen this so many times that it became a running joke in INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE. But Phil Urich’s story takes a unique twist on the formula. It leans into the impact a hero title has on the ego and the selfish desires that may emerge. Though Phil becomes the Green Goblin to do good, he still looks out for himself. The story shows a similar change that Peter went through, but stretched it out through the whole 13 issues.

Elements of Peter’s life are also twisted a bit in Phil’s world. He has an Uncle who looks out for him, an established character in the SPIDER-MAN mythos, Ben Urich. Additionally, the Daily Bugle makes an appearance as the vigilante-tracking news source that dubs heroes as “criminals.”

On top of these other elements, Phil has a love interest. As a superhero, he must keep his secret identity from this person and many others. If you are a fan of SPIDER-MAN, you will have many moments where you will see something of Peter in Phil’s story.

Spider-Man’s Iconic Villain Gone Hero?

 Haunted By Spider-Man Villain Past
Image courtesy of Marvel

Everyone who picks up a Goblin mask uses it for villainy. Examples include both Norman and Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin, and Roderick Kingsley and Jason Macendale as the Hobgoblin. Not a giant leap —  a goblin-faced man hurling pumpkins doesn’t scream “trust me.” That’s what makes this iteration great. The story doesn’t hide the history of villainy that comes with the mask. Instead it uses the history to its advantage, playing on everyone’s expectations of what the Green Goblin would do. Indeed, people assume the villains he is trying stop are either in a turf war or they are secretly teaming up each other.

It’s not only the public who thinks this; Phil himself agrees. In GREEN GOBLIN #5, the ghost of goblins past decides to haunt Phil. The issue carries the underlying theme of his role as a Goblin. In the rest of the series, Phil desperately tries to find a way to put himself in the hero limelight. He wants to distance himself as far as he can from the previous Goblins’ actions.

Phil Urich is Deeper Than He Seems

Phil Urich walking away
Image courtesy of Marvel

It bears repeating that Dan Slott’s Phil is different from others’. Slott’s interpretation of Phil becomes a villain in the first view pages after being confronted by Daniel Kingsley, the brother of the original Hobgoblin. Defalco’s Phil is a selfish kid who looks out for himself but after the night he was baptized in Goblin goo, he gradually becomes a hero. This is all comes to a close in the comics’s last two climactic issues.

Without giving too much away, the GREEN GOBLIN asks a key question about his character. It is the same idea Tony brought up to Spider-Man in HOMECOMING when he said, “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.” The age-old quandary:  if you take a crucial element from a character, who are they?

Since his introduction, that was the big question that the GREEN GOBLIN kept asking. Who is Phil now that he is the Goblin? Are the actions he takes actions his own? Or, are his actions only because of his new Goblin powers? Ultimately, readers will be struck by the question. Will he fall to villainy or will he become better?

PICK IT UP!

Close up on the green gobklin
Image Courtesy of Marvel

GREEN GOBLIN is a series forgotten and stuck in the late ’90s. Any fan of SPIDER-MAN will connect with the story, despite dated slang and ’90s cultural references. Not many people are aware of this comic even though the main character became a frequent figure in Dan Slott’s run. Is this a ground-breaking achievement in comics? No. But it is a high quality series with a compelling character. It’s also a quick read that’s cheap to get but provides more fun and exciting story for its buck. It’s a unique concept and new perspective on an iconic villain. Ultimately, it’s worth the time and money, so go and check out GREEN GOBLIN.

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