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Subj: He's had enough, he's getting out.
Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 09:06:41 pm EDT (Viewed 136 times)
Reply Subj: Re: So much larger than life
Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:04:13 am EDT (Viewed 127 times)
> Indeed. Considering that this was over ten years after the Hobgoblin's first appearance and that it required undoing a previous resolution just to reveal that it had been this complete nonentity was a huge letdown (part of the reason why Roger Stern had comparatively little trouble to make "Hobgoblin Lives!" technically work was that Roderick Kingsley had simply been lost in the shuffle in 1987 and that afterwards no writer had any interest in using him).
Wasn't he just shot by one of the organised-crime types he'd been involved with, and left dying, right around the time of the Ned-as-Hobgoblin reveal? He vanished because as far as anyone knew or cared, he was dead and buried.
As I think I've said before, if we'd all stopped to think about it back in 1996, we might've figured he HAD to be who Stern wanted it to be, simply out of the "They brought that guy back? Really? ....why?" of it all.
> For all that fans of the Rodgoblin say about the weaknesses of the resolution Peter David came up with at very short notice, it contained a very original twist (the guy revealed as the real Hobgoblin was already dead, and without Spider-Man being involved in taking him down) and revealing Ned Leeds as the Hobgoblin struck "close to home". And even at that point (1987) the guessing probably had been going on too long for the resolution not to be considered at least a little anti-climactic.
It had been going on for around 60 issues or more by the time of that reveal, and let's face it, if DeFalco was going to run with "lead everyone to think it's Ned, but it's actually Richard Fisk", it would've likely run a good deal longer, to do the work to set him up as a viable suspect. And in that time, readers had already been teased with at least three counts of the identity of the Hobgoblin being revealed, only for it to be a stand-in, or for Peter to rip the guy's mask off but never see his face. You can only keep teasing the audience like that so much before they stop caring, like I did.
In short, after all that time, all those issues, and several false-unmaskings already, it was long past time to bring the saga to an end. And given the time he had to do it in, and the problem of the fact that the man who most of the Spidey office appear to have been led to believe really was meant to be the Hobgoblin had just been killed, he not only made the best of a bad situation, he gave the saga an ending that managed to be memorable for just how shockingly against the "formula" it was, and managed to be emotionally powerful, and also contain a good fight scene that set up the new Hobgoblin as a credible foe who didn't need a mystery to carry him.
In contrast, the finale of "Hobgoblin Lives" manages none of these things, with Spider-Man demolishing the villain in a shockingly brief and even more shockingly one-sided "final battle", before an unmasking worthy of a Scooby-Doo cartoon. "It was old man Kingsley, the corrupt fashion mogul all along!" "And I'd have gotten away with it, if I hadn't come out of retirement for no good reason."
> > In contrast, not only is Rod not going to go foaming-at-the-mouth crazy at any point (well, unless someone does an "it happens to everyone who uses Goblin Formula eventually" story), but they've also retconned away his intense feud with Spidey as having been all Brainwashed Ned, the idea being that Rod couldn't care less about Spidey, so long as the guy stays out of his way (evidently people love that, but I really can't see how it's any aid to making the guy a recurring Spidey villain).
> My guess is that people like this aspect (not caring about Spider-Man) because it is perhaps the only thing where Roderick Kingsley differs from Norman Osborn and he does not come off like a lesser Goblin, but as someone pursuing an equally valid or even smarter policy. Because otherwise, the more you look at him, the more like a Green Goblin imitator, sometimes Green Goblin wannabe he appears in all important aspects. Even at the time of the "Who is the Hobgoblin?" mystery, he was echoing the "Who is the Green Goblin?" mystery of the 1960s, something that was lampshaded in "Hobgoblin Lives!" by homaging several individual panels from the old Green Goblin storyline.
The trouble with this is that really, it's his feud with Peter that MADE the Green Goblin. Nobody really cares about early Green Goblin, the mystery man for whom defeating Spider-Man is the means by which the criminal underworld will "surely put him in charge". They care about Norman Osborn, father of Peter's best friend, Spider-Man's bitterest arch-enemy, the man who keeps on hurting the hero in new ways.
A villain who doesn't care about his enemy only really works if he doesn't have a "home" title and just shows up anywhere to fight anyone, or if the villain has unwittingly done something to hurt or enrage the hero, giving us the feud from the other angle.
And because the Hobgoblin was stuck in the "mystery" plot, stuck in homage to the early Green Goblin, no-one could really flesh the guy out as a three-dimensional person, reveal his motivations or backstory, and thus, the only real development they COULD give him was his developing an intense hatred for Spider-Man, moving his motivation from "let's make lots of money" to "kill Spidey", pushing him down a self-destructive path that ultimately got him killed when his war on Spidey got him picking a fight with another supervillain who only fights for profit, and just hired an assassin to deal with him.
They gave him as much characterisation as they really could without unmasking him, and in bringing him back, it all got wiped away, leaving us with a villain we have no reason to care about beyond nostalgia.
> Also one could say that the thing with Kingsley not caring about Spider-Man was done a bit half-assed anyway, as Roderick Kingsley/Hobgoblin never really built up a resume of appearances outside the Spider-books.
I think his only other appearances at all are a single issue of Power Pack (guest-starring Spider-Man), and probably amongst the supervillain-army that Mephisto assembled to attack the Beyonder during Secret Wars 2.
> Indeed, when he stopped fighting Spider-Man, he generally retired from supervillainy altogether.
Annoyingly, his retirement really does seem to have been intended as a "happy ending" for the character, in contrast to the fitting ends both the Hobgoblin and Rod had received in the 1980s.
That his retirement stuck was a combination of how Norman's returning before he did had left him redunant even before he came back (which really makes you wonder how they possibly thought there was any long-term viability in the guy, or how they managed to justify killing off Jason, who could've co-existed alongside Norman and continued to appear, just like he did when Harry was the Green Goblin), and of how underwhelming the unmasking was for the vast majority of readers, with even an issue of Wizard taking the time to call out the reveal for the let-down it was.
And there's the trouble. You'd have to do so much work to bring the character out of retirement, and retro-fit him up with motivation and backstory to attempt to make him any kind of compelling villain at all, else he's just riding on people's nostalgia, and you can't keep that up for long before people realise the emperor has no clothes.
The upcoming storyline sadly HAS to be Rod to be "the most requested villain of all", because that's what the Internets want, but it would make more sense for them to continue to write him off as a bad idea and bring in a new Hobgoblin (except that no-one is likely to care about a new guy or give him a chance), or do the right thing and bring back Jason.
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