Friday, 20 May 2016

Spider-man #6 (January 1991)

J-Max was challenged to review 30 issues of Ghost Rider in (roughly) 30 days. Should J-Max succeed he shall earn his freedom (probably not). However should he fail in this task then he shall be subjected to an attack by Bees... DEADLY BEES.

So let's join him for his review of...Spider-man #6?

Featuring Ghost Rider!

Credits: Todd Mcfarlane (writer), Todd Mcfarlane (artist), Gregory Wright (colourist)

Overview: Hobgoblin and Spider-man do battle in New York

Review: Today, a parkage arrived in the mail. I was excited to see what was inside until I picked it up and saw the sender’s tag – Abe – dangling beneath. I carefully broke the seal and peered into the darkness. It seemed like a random assortment of items, all of them none Ghost Rider related. And, like a child, I excitedly began sifting through them in the hope that the man who had thrown down the gauntlet had himself been driven mad by these edgy 90s comics. From the looks of what was inside, I can only assume he had.

It appeared to be a care package. Instead, I was thrilled to find a copy of the movie Beatlejuice, a Spider-man comic, a DVD of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, a CD of The Hives album Tyrannosaurus Hives, complimentary hotel honey, an old VHS of Beatles About...wait; this has to be more than a coinsidence. I could hear the laughter of my tormenter echoing throughout my head. No sooner had I picked up the Spider-man comic, a note fell from within its pages. Unfolding it, I saw; written in boldfaced red pen, the devilish handwriting “Fifteen days remaining, keep BEAsy – Abe.” 

I tossed the package across the room in a fit of rage. I began to realise how like Dan I was becoming, always throwing things around and feeling utterly hopeless. When emotions has subsided, I realised I was hungry, and have to admit to going back for the honey, and enjoying it. I suppose I could at least be thankful for that. And, it would be interesting to read something different. Something light, and breezy, and positive for a change. Then, I noticed the writer - Todd McFarlane and realised, once again, I would be descending into the darkest of nineties…did I really just pun that badly? Jeez, maybe these comics ARE driving me insane. I don’t even like honey.

The villain this issue is a warped zealot version of The Hobgoblin – the 4th rendition of the character – who is kidnapping street people to teach them the vow of silence along with the true meaning of Christmas - I guess - and going berserk at the slightest hint of criticism against his faith. His punishments are just. “I could kill you all in a second, yet I chose to forgive you.” He states as he walks among the cocooned and wounded people in his lair enrapt in his madness. 

In less than three pages, this character has hit the note for every stereotype that defines a cultist. He refuses to listen to criticism, he takes literal possession of his followers and prevents them from socialising with the outside world (kind of hard to do when you're gunked to the ceiling), has messianic delusions and, of course, eventually murders anyone who he deems a threat when madness overflows in his small deluded, self-righteous head.
Don’t ask for human elements in this comic there aren’t any. Even the fleeting glimpse we get of Peter Parking holding his wife in bed is paralleled with The Hobgoblin cuddling the petrified child of one of his murder victims and exists only to enhance the character's psychotic and deranged idea of love, family and the world.

The only other human page is of Peter Parker leaving his supermodel wife to get down to “some serious super-heroing” a statement that is made all the harder to believe when, four pages later, he is seen torturing a crack addict. Meanwhile, Ghost Ride is beating the living snot out of a man involved in arms trafficking. How either of these criminals are connected to Hobgoblin is entirely unexplained yet both thugs know where he is and thus the stage is set for a gigantic (panel) showdown.

 The Hobgoblin, who is still smothering that child and warping his mind, sees Spider-man and, of course, declares him to be working for Satan before carpet bombing the place with his hand glider. Spider-man fights back only for the kid to defend Hobgoblin; it turns out his young face has been ceremoniously scarred. To be continued. 

That’s the main story. Confused at how I had so quickly reached the end of the issue I decided to count panels, because I was bored and there was nothing constructive to do. There were seventy five in total. I picked up and flicked through the last issue of Ghost Rider one hundred and twenty six. The majority of this issue had been splash pages.

The issue is a two parter. It will be difficult to fully judge it until I read the next instalment. I did miss out some areas such as Ghost Rider dangling a paedophile priest over a skyscraper and The Hobgoblin blowing up his followers because the voices in his head said told him so - but there was really very little to say. The comic is obviously a run of the mill criticism of religion and we have some very nasty religious characters doing very nasty things to children and women. It covers all bases of what you would expect from a 90s comic and nothing more. I can’t say I enjoyed it but it at least is successful in hitting its mark. 

Well, on to issue two I guess.

Quote of the issue: That Mary Jane, such a sport, some day I’m going to have to divorce her just so I can marry her all over again. - Spider-man

Editor Note: Hey Guys hope you're enjoyed J-Max's review, Why not drop him an encouraging message below (he REALLY doesn't like bees), Please check out the rest of the reviews HERE or if you're feeling brave why not join in his adventure HERE.

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