Goblin Moon

All of the content on this site is derived from comic books and graphic novels that have been published by Marvel.  Furthermore, the emphasis has been on events involving the Green Goblin that take place within the 616 Universe.  Enter: Kurt Busiek and Nathan Archer's Goblin Moon prose novel.  The story featured in that novel, according to the authors, should be considered 616 canon...don't believe me?  Check out the opening caption for the story:


That's enough disclaimer to cover it for the Goblin's Hideout and the goal here is to provide a brief synopsis of the events that occurred therein for completeness sake of the 616 Norman Osborn.  Also, I'm including the art from the beginning of each chapter, they are the only visual images from the book and now they're all collected here.  Let's get started.

The story opens with Norman Osborn hosting a lavish party for New York City's elite.  It doesn't take long though for Norman to get disgruntled with his wait staff after he finds a an empty wine glass that hasn't been picked up.  He immediately chews out the VP of PR for Osborn Chemical, Arthur Lewiston, who is charge of running this party.  After the threatening of Lewiston, Norman heads out to the balcony to enjoy the view of the full moon....

Meanwhile a group of domestic terrorists, dubbed the Rat Pack, raids the IRT Powerhouse that is part of the Con Edison electrical grid.  Spider intervenes and stops them from destroying the plant but the thugs manage to escape.  According to the Spidey, the Rat Pack had been pulling stunts like this for a few months, always operating on a full moon.

A few days later Norman Osborn is a featured speaker at a Rotary luncheon and he takes the opportunity to slam the mayor for his poor handling of the Rat Pack terrorists.  He claims the mayor, who is never named in the story, and his inaction against the terrorists had enabled them to wreak havoc on the city's infrastructure.  A short time later Paul Charenton, the NYC Public Advocate, is found murdered in the street.

A few days later, the mayor arranges a meeting with Osborn at the infamous Century Club.  In an attempt to squash Norman's public attacks against him, the mayor offers Osborn the position of Public Advocate.  Norman accepts the offer.  The journalists at the Daily Bugle question the nomination but are rendered ineffective since Osborn is a co-owner of the paper.

Spidey begins digging in to the Rat Pack's dealings and finds out that they are actively recruiting new members.  After a tussle with Boomerang, the web-slinger also finds out that someone is financing the Rat Pack.  MJ helps Spidey realize the duplicity in Osborn's actions when she reminds him that if the mayor dies, the Public Advocate becomes mayor until an emergency election is held.

Peter then attends a reception for Norman's appointment in to his new role as Public Advocate.  The two share a veiled exchange of threats and Osborn becomes unnerved at the mention of the Green Goblin.  Peter begins to wonder if Osborn is once again experiencing amnesia regarding his alter ego (similar to the way he was after the events of Amazing Spider-Man #40). 

A short time later Peter is requested to meet with Osborn and J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle.  Norman, who is very complimentary of Peter, offers him a full-time position with benefits at he European office of the Daily Bugle.  Peter is reluctant to accept the offer because he doesn't trust Osborn, he tells the, he'll think about it.

MJ thinks they should take the job but since Peter is convinced that Norman is trying to get him out of the picture.  On a hunch, Spidey breaks into an Osborn Industries Chemical Plant in Astoria section of Queens (the same site where Osborn had Stromm arrested).  Spider-Man was unable to find any incriminating evidence on Osborn and he's eventually captured by the security squad, dubbed SecuriTeam.  Norman makes his way to the detained web-slinger and after taunting him he lets Peter go freely.  After this interaction it was clear that Norman was not suffering from amnesia.  Peter returns home to MJ sleeping in bed...he doesn't wake her.

Peter goes to work at the Daily Bugle then patrols the mayor's mansion since he's convinced Osborn will target him next.  When Peter returns home he finds MJ still in bed and realizes she never woke from the night before, he immediately rushes her to the Parkway Hospital.  He finds out that she was 'chloroformed' but the chemical used was more complex than chloroform...Peter immediately suspects Osborn.

Whilst Peter is out searching for someone to help with MJ (like Curt Connors), the Rat Pack takes Parkway Hospital hostage...it was a full moon.  That turns out to be a decoy meant to distract Spidey because the mayor was the real target, the Rat Pack abduct him as well.  Spider-Man dismantles the thugs at Parkway Hospital then heads to New Jersey on a hunch that Osborn wouldn't hide the mayor in NYC.  The webslinger clobbers and handful of Ratpackers and then uses a radio direction finder to trace the signal of their headquarters.  The signal leads him to Torpey Chemical Company.

Indeed Osborn was behind everything, the Rat Pack, the abduction of the mayor, the poisoning of MJ.  He was operating under the alias of 'Mr. Green'.  When Spidey arrives at Torpey Chemical, the mayor is tied up and behind a one way mirror next to Norman (who was using a voice distorter so the mayor wouldn't recognize him).  Osborn's plan involved Spidey breaking through the glass, killing the mayor in the process.  This would frame him for murder and once Osborn became mayor he would outlaw superhero vigilantism.  Peter doesn't take the bait though, so Norman dons the Goblin attire. 

Pumpkin bombs and webbing fly through the air as the two longtime foes duke it out.  Osborn is surprised by Peter's determination and considers killing the webslinger if need be.  But Osborn soon realizes he's not going to be able to defeat Spider-Man, no matter how many punches he landed Peter kept coming back.  The Goblin decides he'll need an escape route but Spidey pummels and corners him and it appeared as though he was finished.  Luckily for Osborn two Rat Packers remained on the floor below with the bound mayor and they quickly got Spidey's attention by threatening hizzoner's life. 

Spider-Man left the defeated Goblin to save the mayor.  He does so in short order, easily subduing the two Rat Pack thugs and freeing the mayor.  This allowed the Green Goblin to escape Spider-Man and justice at the same time.  Although Spidey was disappointed the Goblin escaped, his bigger concern was returning to MJ's side at the hospital. 

The story ends with full public knowledge that the Rat Pack was connected to Osborn Industries, however it was not Norman who takes the fall...instead Osborn had everything traced back to VP of PR, Arthur Lewiston.  Nevertheless Norman resigned from his role as Public Advocate due to the poor optics around Osborn Industries.

MJ is eventually released from the hospital and although they know there's no Paris in their future, they're both happy to have each other.

Some parting thoughts...

The story had something interesting themes but ultimately comes up a little small; it lacked heart.  For instance, Norman and J. Jonah are both featured throughout the novel and yet there is no tension depicted between the two, which is completely orthogonal to how the comics displayed them during this timeframe.  There was a tremendous opportunity here to flesh out their relationship over the course of the novel.

There was also some head-scratcher moments as well.  One is thing that comes to mind is what was the significance with Osborn and the full moon? Why did he want everything synchronized with their appearance?  Was it just that the crazies come out then?  You would think that would be explained since the title of the book is Goblin Moon.  Also, the loyalty of the Rat Pack to Osborn seemed odd and under explained.  They were just guns for hire as far as I could tell, so why risk yourselves to spare Osborn like the did at the story's conclusion?  Were they that scared of 'Mr. Green'?  If so, some exploration into how Osborn earned (more likely coerced) their loyalty beyond money would've helped as well.

Lastly, what really hurt this story was just how similar this plan for framing and making a fugitive out of Spider-Man was to the Spider-hunt storyline that occurred around the same time time.  That similarity made this story seem really redundant and made its lack of heart all the more obvious.

At the end of the day though, this was not a horrible story so if you're a Goblin enthusiast it's worth a shot.

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