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Review: Amazing Spider-Man #697 – War of the Goblins Concludes!

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Amazing Spider-Man #697
Writers: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli [Pencils], Dan Green [Inks], and Antonio Fabela [Colors]

Opening where the last issue left off, Amazing Spider-Man #697 has Peter Parker and Horizon Labs owner Max Modell on the run from both the original Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley) and his would-be replacement, Phil Urich–who are also fighting one another.  If you recall, Max helped Peter escape from the Kingpin’s HQ in Hell’s Kitchen while stealing the “Goblin Key” in the process, and was even nice enough to bring him a couple of Spider-Man’s webshooters from his lab. (Remember, Max doesn’t know Pete is Spider-Man.  He only knows that Pete develops Spider-Man’s gadgets and weaponry.)

While running, it’s revealed that Max is wearing a force field that he still has in development and that OG Hobgoblin has a back-up plan in case Philgoblin tries to attack him–a batdrone loaded with C-4 and following Daily Bugle reporter Norah Winters.  The Goblin Key, which opens Norman Osborn’s main Green Goblin cache, begins to ping, alerting Peter and Max that they aren’t far from its location.  Ending up there, they lock themselves inside and try to develop a plan to save themselves from the two Hobgoblins.

This was another expertly crafted issue from Dan Slott and Christos Gage.  It had fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action and gave the feeling that there was legitimate danger for characters like Max and Norah, who Dan Slott has really given readers a reason to care about during his run on the series.  We also get to catch up with Harry Osborn, who hasn’t been seen in about 50 issues and is now laying low in Seattle with a totally different look, and Roderick Kingsley’s character is expanded upon in a way that totally makes sense.  The two writers also continue to pave the way for December’s Amazing Spider-Man #700 (which I’m really unhappy is the last issue in the series just so a new series with a new #1 can be launched), planting more seeds with the rogue Octobot last seen at the end of this year’s “Ends of the Earth” storyline and the awakening from coma of… Well, you’ll have to read the issue for that, because it’s a big spoiler that’s bound to play into that monumental anniversary issue.

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As for the art, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Co. remain on par with the first two parts of this story, delivering work that (and I’m not stretching the truth at all when I say this) reminds me at times of John Romita Sr.’s classic run on the book.  I’m not saying it’s the same, but the influence is very much noticeable and definitely a good thing.

Amazing Spider-Man #697 and the two issues before it are undeniably must-reads.

RATING:  EXCELSIOR!

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Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.