The Goblin’s Last Stand!
Scripter: Gerry Conway
Artist: Gil Kane
Inkers: John Romita, T. Mortellaro
Letterer: Art Simek
Colorist: Dave Hunt
Originally published: July 1973
Spider-Man is furious after the Green Goblin has killed Gwen Stacy. Before attacking Osborn, though, Pete takes the time to bring Gwen’s body down to a nearby pier. He then launches into a very fast and, unfortunately, very sloppy attack. The Goblin is able to escape.
Returning to the pier and Gwen’s body, Pete finally has a chance to say goodbye to her. In fact, he says much more than goodbye and has a quite lengthy conversation to her, which is really quite sad and slightly disturbing. Again, Conway does a fantastic job of capturing Peter’s anguish. The police have also arrived, though, and when they demand a little attention, Spider-Man loses it and ends up getting into a bit of a brouhaha. Blaming himself for Gwen’s death, Spider-Man takes off to try and quash his guilt the only way he knows how – by seeking revenge on the Green Goblin.
Peter’s first stop is the Osborn mansion, to see if he can get any information out of Harry. The poor sod is in the midst of a major freakout and, disgusted and angry, Pete turns to leave. When his friend begs him to stay and help, to not abandon him like everyone else has, Pete just turns his back and literally slams the door in Harry’s face.
This scene is another example of Conway’s surprisingly great writing in this issue. Rather than have Peter be a hero and help his friend, Conway instead makes him much more human. Pete is overcome with grief and revenge is all he can think about. Yes he acts like a complete dick to Harry, but it’s understandable and makes for a much more powerful issue.
Next, Pete – as Spider-Man – heads over to the Daily Bugle in hopes of rounding up some info about Norman Osborn. With the help of Robbie Robertson, he’s able to track the villain down to a warehouse. The Goblin, meanwhile, is expecting Spider-Man and lays a trap. When Pete finally arrives though, he outsmarts Osborn and is able to take him by surprise.
While they fight, the Goblin makes the very unwise move of calling Gwen useless, and saying that “she never did more than occupy space”. This, naturally, riles Peter up like nobody’s business and he just starts wailing on the Goblin. He’s just seriously beating the living crap out of Osborn and, I must admit, it’s very satisfying to see. After awhile, though, Peter begins to come to his senses and realizes that if he continues, if he kills the Goblin, he’ll be no less of a murderer than Osborn is.
Taking advantage of this break, the Goblin uses a remote control to activate his flyer, behind Peter. As Peter struggles with his demons, Osborn sends the glider hurtling towards Spider-Man. What he hasn’t taken into account, though, is Pete’s spider sense. Just at the last instant, Spider-Man ducks out of the way and slams into the Green Goblin instead. The razor sharp tips of the glider, propelled by its jet engine, pin Osborn’s body to the brick wall. Only after the jet dies down does Osborn’s lifeless body slump to the ground.
Realizing that his foe is dead brings no satisfaction to Peter. He realizes that the death is meaningless, and that he now feels even more empty and alone. As Pete sulks away, we see that he is being watched by a mysterious man in the shadows.
In an epilogue, Pete finally arrives back at his apartment and finds Mary Jane. With grief and anger still washing over him, Pete snaps at MJ. He basically calls her shallow, and uncaring, and he orders her to leave. But, unlike Peter only a few hours earlier, she stays behind to help her friend.
This issue is no worse than the last. Conway finishes up his story with great skill, and creates a very powerful turning point for our hero. Basically every praise I gave for issue 121 still holds true here. I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of this book.