Ultimate Spider-Man #73 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Hobgoblin: Part 2

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilled by: Mark Bagley
Inked by: Scott Hanna
Colored by: J.D. Smith
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics/ Ultimate Marvel

Fans of the way Bendis structures his stories will appreciate this issue. Those that do not, however, will most likely find themselves frustrated yet again.

Last issue, Harry returned to high school and his previous life in Forest Hills. He quickly revealed to Peter that a.) he did remember Peter’s other identity and b.) he was none to thrilled at Peter “stealing” his girlfriend Mary Jane. This issue, however, does not pick up there. Instead, we revisit the previous week in Harry’s life to see how he ended up back in Forest Hills and where was up until now.

It is an interesting sequence of events that take Harry from an out of the way mountain villa under SHIELD protection to his hometown, his high school, the boardrooms on his father’s company, and, ultimately (ugh…pun not intended), to another piece of Daddy’s property and the restoration of his memory.

I like the update that Bendis gives to Harry’s memory block. Back in the Marvel U. proper, Harry experienced amnesia and, eventually, just kind of remembered everything again. Here, Harry’s memory is sublimated by some sort of SHIELD procedure (I assume. It is never expressly said. It could just have easily been a reaction to the stress of seeing his Dad, as an eight foot tall green thing, beat up his best friend dressed as Spider-Man) and returned by a sort of failsafe that Osborn Sr. implanted way back when during Harry’s therapy seasons. Not that different, yet different enough for my tastes. In service of this loss of memory, I also appreciated Bagley, Hanna, and Smith’s depiction of the suppressed memories attempting to bubble up, through the red fog in Harry’s mind.

This issue worked for me. I appreciate the manner in which Bendis sometimes forsakes linear storytelling to go back and illuminate something that was missed. However, I also recognize that there are people out there who do not. For those, you may look at this issue and come away feeling as though “nothing happened” because we are ending up in the same spot as we did last issue. I disagree, but I do want to make you aware of that possibility.

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