With all the talk about the Green Goblin in Kirk G's thread here and the impressive new Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man, I thought that I would bring up my second major encounter with Spidey's Emerald Enemy. As we all should know, the first Green Goblin was Norman Osborn who had battled Spider-Man many times, culminating with the deaths of Gwen Stacy and himself in the groundbreaking Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) #121-122. Since I am dealing with the Bronze Age here, Norman is dead, period! End of story! But his demise shatters his son, Harry who falls into madness to attack Peter and his loved ones as the new Green Goblin in ASM #136-137. He is captured and sent to a mental institution.
Later Harry reappeared, much more mellower and going through therapy. He also fell in love with Peter's high school friend, Liz Allen. Seriously, you need a flowcart to understand the cross-relationships of Spidey's supporting cast across the decades. And that includes Doctor Octopus dating Aunt May!
Peter thought the Goblin was out of his life forever until a truly epic FIVE-parter in ASM #176-180 in 1978. With Aunt May in the hospital (yet again), he believed that Harry suffered another breakdown, did away with his psychiatrist, Doctor Bart Hamilton, became the Goblin again and nearly killed Flash Thompson. And that was just the beginning. The Goblin wanted to become the crimeboss of New York City, a longtime goal. Apparently the Kingpin wasn't around so he battled Silvermane. With his weaponry, glider-jet and insanity, he had both Spider-Man and the underworld stymied. On top of that, he had a hostage with whom he could rant and rave to!
After enduring several attacks, which occurred when Peter had to rush to the hospital to sign the release papers for Aunt May's surgery, and seeing Silvermane seriously injured, the hostage frees himself and is revealed to be.....Harry Osborne!! At the same time, the Pseudo-Pychopath is about to hurl Spidey down the same smokestack where he dumped the body of his clone in ASM #149. Bronze Age, remember!
Finally Spidey just wallops him down to discover that instead of his pal, Harry, he's been fighting.......................Dr. Bart Hamilton! The Sinister Shrink hypnotized Harry and learned all the secrets of the Green Goblin, execept for one, and Spider-Man's true identity as well! Suddenly both are shocked to by the arrival of another Green Goblin, Harry, of course. As the two Golbinites clash, Harry has his watershed moment when he rejects his Goblin heritage as twisted and evil. It was Harry's heroic win of his life! Thankfully, Doc Hamilton has the (in)decency to accidently blow himself up! Later, Harry is reunited with Liz and all is right in the world (at least until the 80s when the Hobgoblin shows up!). Harry suffered through a cruel father, bad hair, questionable fashion sense, dating Mary Jane, drug addiction and several breakdowns. This should have been his happy ending and it was for a while!
There are several reasons why it took Spidey so long to defeat the Goblin III, especially since he possessed no super-strength like the original had. One, the Wall-Crawler thought that he was fighting his deranged and unbalanced friend thus pulling his punches. Second, he had to deal with Silvermane and his mob. Third, he was rightfully worried about Aunt May. And finally, mad and delusional he may have been, Hamilton trained himself very well!
Lacking true powers, he mastered the goblin-flyer, even eliminating the barbs that killed Norman! He strengthened his goblin-sparks. He used an astonishing amount of weapons, not only pumpkin bombs but electro-bats, snake-bolo, polymer ghost-net, sonic toad and moon-erang! He became very dangerous in a short period of time and his demise, while (temporarily) ending the legacy of the Green Goblin, deprived Spidey of a truely effective opponent. With all the descendents of Norman Osborne that followed over the years and Ages, Bart Hamilton, the third Green Goblin, is largely forgotten but not by me. He was a fitting heir to the evil of Osbourne!
Throughout the 70s, the creators of Amazing Spider-Man debuted several new versions of classic Spider-foes as the originals may have been viewed as over-used and no longer vital. These include:
Not to mention that both Doctor Octopus and Hammerhead were both "killed off" in ASM #131 (Ap'74) where Doc Ock tried to MARRY Aunt May by a nuclear explosion only to show up alive and well in # 157-159 (Ju-Au'76) in two of the most unbelieveable ways possible, especially Ol' Flat-Top!
It's got to be that 'Hammerhead as a ghost' story that has directly 'inspired' the recent 'Superior Spider-Man' stuff - hasn't it??
Not sure if it "inspired" Superior Spider-Man but those issues did show Doctor Octopus in a different light. He seemed genuinely concerned about Aunt May and Ross Andru drew him less heavy and less repulsive.
I think Doc Ock has been really poorly served over the years as Spidey's '2nd-best-foe'.
Classic period I loved was circa the death of Captain Stacey (but then Gil Kane could do no wrong for me!) and before that - the amnesia suffering Spidey conned into working as Ock's partner!
Doc Ock has always been Spidey's #1 arch-enemy. The Green Goblin was a "Johnny-come-lately"... and when they got around to ASM #39-40, they even ripped off Ock's origin (while apparently forgetting that Ock had one).