Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

Amazing Spider-Man Message Board >> View Post
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Post By
The Green Ninjas

In Reply To
NF

Subj: Re: Hobgoblin Poll
Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 at 03:19:59 pm EDT
Reply Subj: Re: Hobgoblin Poll
Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 08:14:05 pm EDT

Previous Post

> Pretty much the same kind of "Roderick WHO? What is this crap?" It felt like a cheat in 1997, and would've felt like a cheat in the 1980s, too. I tend to fear that Stern is so highly thought of by so many fans that the majority would just smile and accept whatever he gave them, though.

The thing is, Roderick Kingsley was the only character who had been shown through the entire storyline to have a connection to the character - really, the biggest clue to his identity in the entire run - and the nature of this connection had never been revealed prior to this series (it was clear that he at least knew who Hobgoblin was), so it wasn't really as out of the blue as it might appear. It might have helped if the writers following DeFalco hadn't completely abandoned the character (although they might well have made the storyline completely unreconcilable too).

Personally I also thought the rationale for the characters realising that Ned wasn't the real Hobgoblin was thoroughly sound.

The brother thing was a bit silly but he had been mentioned in the storylines where Kingsley and Hobgoblin appeared simultaneously.

> That we had a well-developed and characterised Hobgoblin quickly, stupidly and implausibly killed off and replaced with an obscure non-entity of a poor-man's Norman Osborn no-one wants to use, and people APPROVED of this, makes me want to flip out and cut heads off.
>
> This miniseries killed the Hobgoblin's career.

Perhaps. I think it more likely that the return of Norman Osborn is what really superseded the Hobgoblins' place in the Spider-Man universe. (Although I can't help but wonder what Peter David had in mind for the character - or, for that matter, why Marvel didn't let him do it.)

> > Pretty much the same kind of "Roderick WHO? What is this crap?" It felt like a cheat in 1997, and would've felt like a cheat in the 1980s, too. I tend to fear that Stern is so highly thought of by so many fans that the majority would just smile and accept whatever he gave them, though.
>
> The thing is, Roderick Kingsley was the only character who had been shown through the entire storyline to have a connection to the character - really, the biggest clue to his identity in the entire run - and the nature of this connection had never been revealed prior to this series (it was clear that he at least knew who Hobgoblin was), so it wasn't really as out of the blue as it might appear.

Kingsley was introduced as a guy with underworld ties, and it was, if I remember right, DeFalco who later revealed him as having become a lackey of the Hobgoblin.

The _ONLY_ real clues to the Hobgoblin's identity in the entire mystery were:

a) He was someone who was afraid of his identity being exposed because of his family and how they would react. (which really doesn't work for Kingsley, whose only known family is a brother who was in on the secret)
b) He was someone who knew MJ.

I really don't consider his ability to redesign the Green Goblin costume as a "clue" he was secretly a fashion designer, since every supervillain seems capable of making his own costume.

And the Hobgoblin being a master mechanic able to modify and improve on the Green Goblin's weapons, and a master chemist able to recreate the Goblin Formula never made much sense whether it's supposed to be journalist Ned Leeds OR fashion mogul Rod Kingsley under the mask.

Keep in mind that while a minor character like Kingsley might make an acceptable secret identity for a villain introduced and unmasked in the space of an issue or two, the Hobgoblin mystery ran on for around 5 years. By the time we got to the reveal, it HAD to be someone important. And "that corrupt fashion designer MJ worked for" really wasn't ever going to cut it, whereas Ned was about the biggest, most important name the book could afford to lose by making a villain.

The only thing that sold longtime readers on Kingsley being a good idea are the words "Stern's original intent", with no real consideration being paid to the concept that original intents might not always be good ones.

> It might have helped if the writers following DeFalco hadn't completely abandoned the character (although they might well have made the storyline completely unreconcilable too).

The writers following DeFalco _KILLED_ Kingsley, (with mob guys gunning him down because of his Hobgoblin connections, as I recall). They didn't just "abandon" him. They had to retroactively reveal that his brother had showed up in time to save him to justify his return in 1996.

> Personally I also thought the rationale for the characters realising that Ned wasn't the real Hobgoblin was thoroughly sound.

People keep saying this, but, even ignoring that having MJ point this out to Peter 10 years later was just silly, the "reasons" Ned couldn't be the Hobgoblin rested on two points:

1) Flash knocked Ned down, thus Ned couldn't be the Hobgoblin. Evidently although Peter, and every other superhero with a secret identity to protect, is smart enough to play the weakling rather than give away that they have powers, it's too much to expect that an evil criminal genius might manage to do the same, and would of course be cretin enough to blow his secret identity under such circumstances.

2) The Foreigner's assassins were not superhuman, so how could they kill a superhuman? This unshakeable belief that a group of highly-trained fighters would be useless against a guy with super-strength pretty much ignores the entire career of guys like Captain America and Daredevil, along with all Spidey's own non-superhuman foes who've held their own against him.

Even if one is still unswerving in his belief that these two reasons prevent Ned from being the Hobgoblin, the exact same people don't seem to care that the miniseries went on to repeat the "how could that guy possibly be killed by that other guy?" debacle with Macendale's nonsensical death at the hands of a weapon that's never killed non-powered humans, after being physically overpowered by his weaker predecessor. It's over ten years later, isn't it time MJ reminded Peter how much sense that didn't make?

> The brother thing was a bit silly but he had been mentioned in the storylines where Kingsley and Hobgoblin appeared simultaneously.

A brother had been mentioned, but how anyone could possibly have been expected to guess "bald but otherwise identical brother" from that is a logic-leap that is more than a bit of a cheat, rendering the mystery into something that would be near-impossible to figure out.

> > That we had a well-developed and characterised Hobgoblin quickly, stupidly and implausibly killed off and replaced with an obscure non-entity of a poor-man's Norman Osborn no-one wants to use, and people APPROVED of this, makes me want to flip out and cut heads off.
> >
> > This miniseries killed the Hobgoblin's career.
>
> Perhaps. I think it more likely that the return of Norman Osborn is what really superseded the Hobgoblins' place in the Spider-Man universe.

It's clearly a lot of both. Given that we HAD a Hobgoblin who was a different enough character to co-exist with the Green Goblin (and had co-existed with Harry, with each occupying different roles), it stands up as one of the bigger bonehead mistakes of the era to get rid of him and replace him with a guy who can't help but come across as a poor man's Norman Osborn, mere months after Norman had just returned. This murdering scum being retired to an island paradise with a happy ending really bothered me.

> (Although I can't help but wonder what Peter David had in mind for the character - or, for that matter, why Marvel didn't let him do it.)

So long as Norman's around (and face it, he ain't going anywhere again), there's not a whole lot you CAN do with his poor imitation beyond actually giving us the to-the-death battle we were promised in 1998.

Another thing that bothers me that I just figured out: This is a villain who owes his entire existence to Spidey allowing some random criminal to escape, rather than chase the guy into the sewers. Spider-Man, the guy whose whole origin and guilt-complex revolve around what happens when he lets some random criminal get away.

Fail.


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