Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Bendis
Art by: Mark Bagley
Collects: Ultimate Spider-Man #14 – 21
WHAT’s THE STORY?
Legacy is the fourth volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, wherein the adventures of Peter Parker are reimagined for a new audience in a more updated setting than the classic sixties comics.
This particular story, while continuing the ongoing narrative present in the past two volumes, is also something of a direct follow-up to the original volume, Power and Responsibility, as it sees the return of Ultimate Spider-Man’s first and most dangerous foe, the…
Real Name: Norman Virgil Osborn
Affiliation: The ‘Dark’ Avengers
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964)
A celebrated businessman with an insatiable hunger for greater wealth and power, Norman Osborn‘s downward spiral began when he discovered the notes for a power-granting formula created by his old business partner Mendell Stromm.
The formula granted Norman enhanced physical abilities, but also fractured his mind, slowly driving him insane. Taking on a new ‘Goblin’ persona, Norman strove to become not only a business magnate, but also a crime-lord, and utilizing his genius in weapons design, created an extensive arsenal of blades and explosives, as well as a flying ‘glider’ to help him traverse the city.
However, his plans were foiled by Spider-Man, with whom he quickly became obsessed.
Thanks to his genius and ruthlessness, he has had many successes, including the murder of Spider-Man’s old girlfriend Gwen Stacy, and his meteoric rise to power as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s replacement agency, H.A.M.M.E.R.
Yet Osborn still struggles to balance his pursuit of power with his desire to terrorize the wall-crawler, and his crippling mental issues will often prove to be his undoing.
The Green Goblin has his own idea of Spider-Man’s role in the world, and no one is off-limits when it comes to getting his way.
But Spider-Man isn’t the only one worried by the Goblin’s surprise return, as Nick Fury enters the fray!
With the wealth of Spider-Man villains at their disposal, it does in some ways feel a bit early to be returning to the Ultimate Green Goblin, but in doing so, Bendis and Bagley do their best to turn the character into less of a monstrous behemoth, and something resembling a solid arch-enemy for Peter Parker.
Although, for the most part, I still find Bagley’s design of the Green Goblin to be pretty horrible, there are some design alterations that take place here that lessen the blow.
On the writing side of things, the Goblin and his alter-ego Norman Osborn are given more intelligence to go with the brute strength the Goblin possesses, although at times the character does suffer from being overly wordy. There is a cool issue where the action is shown from the Goblin’s POV, where we get to see the true extent of Norman’s madness, and it gives some interesting context to his maniacal ramblings, but outside of that some of his dialogue can feel like a waste of space.
Unfortunately, the Goblin isn’t the only character to suffer from needless dialogue, as the book as a whole has some odd bits of writing. At one point, a civilian yells out at a thief (just prior to Spider-Man arriving on the scene) “I hope you get cancer– you should only get cancer!!”
Ignoring the ethics of wishing cancer on someone, grammatically… ‘you should only get cancer’? Later, Harry Osborn exclaims ‘Holy galoley!’ Who talks like that?
It often feels like Bendis sometimes puts dialogue in for the sake of putting dialogue in, regardless of whether or not it fits or even make sense. And while an argument could be made for people not always speaking in perfect, grammatically correct English, pages like these do remind me of Bendis later in his career where the quality of work takes a dip, as opposed to the 2000s when he was at his best.
Still, for the most part, he has the whole ‘teen voice’ down, and while this arc doesn’t dive into Peter’s supporting cast as much as the last one (outside of the main characters Peter, MJ and Harry), it still provides some interesting drama and a refreshing take on high school Spider-Man, as well as some enjoyable alternate takes on the big events of the Amazing Spider-Man’s adventures.
Thus far, I’d say this is probably the weakest arc, but it is still by no means bad. And so, I’ll give it a…
(They won’t all be thumbs up, I swear)
Thanks for reading! What do you think of the Green Goblin being a mutation rather than a costume? Let me know in the comments below!