In 2002 Marvel Comics brought us ‘Peter Parker, Spider-Man: Return of the Goblin,’ a graphic novel of collected issues written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by Humberto Ramos. It was later republished without the “Peter Parker” identifier.
Norman Osborn is back in New York City and he is coming for Peter Parker, but first, he wants to break him. As Peter is plagued by a mysterious dream, he yearns for Mary Jane but knows she probably will not return. He does not have long to think about it when he is attacked by Green Goblin, who has it in for the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The two engage in a few encounters before having an emotional climactic battle that forces both to confront the past, even as Spider-Man comes to a realization about himself.
The art in this story arc is really bizarre. Ramos drew the characters with incredible square features, making their hands seem more like hammers. This also affected their expressions, while not difficult to read, the emotions in their faces felt more forced.
As for the story, this is when Marvel Comics was unafraid to tell smart stories that are meant to deliver on an emotional level. They did not appeal to the lowest common denominator but made the reader feel the emotions without long, boring stories about their feelings. I appreciated that part of comic books and seeing an adult Spider-Man dealing with adult problems. It is merely a memory of what comics used to be.
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