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Flashback: Review of Amazing Spider-Man 284 (January 1987) September 2, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, Flashback.
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Picture this: a six-part Spider-Man saga, involving a Green-Goblin inspired villain, whose identity remains a mystery, a group of villains led by a mastermind, a close friend of Peter acting mysteriously, two rivals vying for one of the most powerful positions in NYC, throw in some troubles that Peter is having with a new publisher at the Bugle and add in the fact that Peter is currently not married to Mary Jane, and what do you get? Well, it’s certainly not the current “New Ways to Die” storyline, if that’s what you’re thinking. No, this describes 1987’s lesser known (unfortunately) “Gang War.”

In this instance, the goblin villain is the original Hobgoblin, his identity was just as much a mystery as the original Green Goblin’s was, and as much as the current Menace’s is. (One of these days, they’ve gotta create a new Goblin and tell us who he or she is right off the bat.) The funny thing is, all three of the major contenders for this role (included who it actually turned out to be) appear in this issue, all acting suspiciously (namely, Ned Leeds, Flash Thompson, and Roderick Kingsley – and if you don’t know who it turned out to be, you better do some research, because it is actually a fairly complicated story.)

As for the power fight, it is not a mayoral election, rather a war between gang-lords to fill the recently vacated seat of the Kingpin. While Hammerhead and Silvermane make a play for it, the two biggest contenders are the Arranger (who was left in charge by the Kingpin at his departure) and the Rose (whose identity remained a secret at this time, but when revealed, not only fit the story perfectly, but showed that he had as much a claim to the Kingpin’s “throne” as the Arranger did).

The entire saga relayed the power struggles of the various groups, the resulting violence in NYC, and the reactions of Spider-Man and other heroes to this power-grab. I don’t know if this was ever released in TPB (I doubt it), but despite not being legendary, it was an extremely great read. ASM 284 is the first part, and it runs through 289. If you ever get the chance to read these issues, I highly recommend it. I my eyes, this is one of the best “unremembered” Spider-Sagas.

Next week: Fantastic Four 157