28 October 2006

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Hobgoblin

Just in time for Halloween, its Hobby, the Hobgoblin.

During Spidermams' history there has been no shortage of goblins. Among his goblin foes have been several incarnations of the Hobgoblin, who is himself, a variant on the Green Goblin. The following comes mostly from wikipedia:

The first Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, started out as a millionaire fashion designer. He had criminal underworld connections and had acquired his wealth through unethical means. An associate of his discovered the secret lair of Norman Osborn. and reported his discovery to Kingsley in hopes of earning a reward. Kingsley rewarded Hill by killing him to make sure that no one else got wind of the discovery.

Kingsley decided to adopt the legacy of the Green Goblin dubbing himself the Hobgoblin. His activities included using some of Norman Osborn's files on prominent figures to blackmail them, and attempting to buy Osborn's old corporation and merge it with his own. These schemes inevitably brought him into conflict with Spider-Man. Kingsley perceived Spider-Man as a nuisance and sought to eliminate him almost as an afterthought, rather than a principal goal. Kingsley lacked only Norman Osborns strength-enhancing formula, and could not match Spiderman physically.

Kingsley eventually recovered the strength-enhancing potion he sought. Being aware that the formula had driven Osborn insane, Kingsley first tested it on someone else. He tricked a small-time hood in his employ, Lefty Donovan, into administering the formula and then used mind control to force Donovan to fight Spider-Man in the Hobgoblin costume. From a distance, Kingsley carefully monitored Donovan's vital signs and behavior. When Spider-Man overwhelmed and unmasked Donovan, and his brainwashing begin to fail, Kingsley acted quickly to protect his identity by programming Donovan's glider to crash, instantly killing him. Though Donovan's tenure as a Hobgoblin was brief, he is considered the second Hobgoblin. Judging that the experiment was a success, Kingsley then immersed himself in his completed derivative of the Goblin formula and gained slightly greater strength than even the original Green Goblin had.

Now that he had become a physical match for Spider-Man, the Hobgoblin became more ambitious in his villainy. Despite his increased abilities, he was still narrowly defeated by Spider-Man. Worse still, he seemed to have attracted the attention of powerful criminal interests who perceived him as a threat, among these the infamous Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. After a bitter encounter with Spider-Man, Kingsley discovered he had been followed by Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds, who had discovered his lair. Kingsley carefully brainwashed Ned Leeds with hypnosis and hallucinogenics into becoming the third Hobgoblin, who acted in concert with Kingsley. Though Leeds lacked superhuman strength, he was effective in his role due to his investigative skills. Kingsley also discovered that Leeds had been working with the Kingpin's son, Richard Fisk, on a plan to bring down the Kingpin and his empire. Richard Fisk had now adopted the identity of the Rose and posed as a crimelord. Kingsley used Leeds to handle some of the negotiations, fooling many into believing that Leeds was the Hobgoblin. He hoped to use the Kingpin's downfall as an opportunity to advance his own interests.

However, as time progressed, the Rose and Hobgoblin's plan got out of hand. Kingsley wanted to escape from his identity, looked for a way out, and decided to target Flash Thompson, a vocal advocate of Spider-Man who had insulted the Hobgoblin on national television, incurring Kingsley's wrath. Kingsley attempted to frame Thompson as the Hobgoblin, so that his criminal enemies might target him instead. The plan was foiled through intervention of Jason Philip Macendale Jr., who subsequently broke Thompson out of jail. Jason Philip Macendale Jr. was a mercenary who had been trained by the CIA and various para-military organizations, and was known in his costumed identity as Jack O'Lantern. When Macendale discovered that Thompson was not the Hobgoblin, he grew furious; he had planned to operate "under the radar" while Thompson was in custody. Thompson was ultimately exonerated and released.

Macendale paid the supervillain known as the Foreigner to take Leeds out. On an overseas assignment with Peter Parker, Leeds was murdered in his hotel room. As Spider-Man, Peter was later told by the Kingpin that Leeds had been the Hobgoblin and shown a series of photos of the assassination. Although known in parts of the underworld, this information did not become public until many years later when Macendale revealed it at the end of his trial. For many years Leeds was considered to be the original Hobgoblin. Kingsley's plan had worked: his enemies thought they had killed the Hobgoblin and now he could take his ill-gotten gains and retire to Belize. This paved the way for Macendale to take up the role, an unforeseen development that would eventually force Kingsley out of retirement to protect his secret identity (Macendale had enough information to possibly lead the authorities to discover the true identity of the Hobgoblin).

After a retirement of several years, Kingsley returned to New York. He killed Macendale in his jail cell, declaring that he alone deserved the mantle of the Hobgoblin. However, this act was probably more motivated to protect his own identity. Had he then dropped the identity again, it is likely he never would have been caught. But being the Hobgoblin again proved to be too intoxicating. Kingsley kidnapped Betty Brant and set a trap for Spider-Man. In the final fracas, Daniel Kingsley was captured and the Hobgoblin was unmasked, clearing Ned Leeds' name. Roderick Kingsley was taken to prison.

Not long after Kingsley's arrest, he took up the mantle of the Hobgoblin once more. Furious at the now returned Norman Osborn's denial of being the Green Goblin, Kingsley decided to spread rumours that there existed a secret journal of Osborn's that proved beyond a doubt that he was the Green Goblin. He offered to barter for his freedom with this information with the District Attorney, guessing that Norman Osborn would try to get to him first. As he anticipated, Osborn, deciding to make a deal with Kingsley, broke him out of prison. Kingsley was then confronted by both Osborn and the mysterious fifth Green Goblin. Osborn provided Kingsley with new Hobgoblin equipment, and both Goblins swooped in to collect Daniel Kingsley, now in protective custody, who, Roderick claimed, knew the location of the final journal. Spider-Man tried to defend Daniel, but was drugged, and both men were taken back to Norman Osborn.

It was then that Osborn revealed the truth. He explained that he knew that Kingsley was lying about the journal and that he had completely bought Kingsley's company out from underneath him. Furious, Kingsley attacked, and a titanic battle between the two followed, Osborn as the Green Goblin, and Kingsley as the Hobgoblin. The building began to burn down as a result, and Spider-Man was barely able to safely escape with Daniel Kingsley. All three of the villains managed to escape as well, but Norman Osborn appeared to emerge victorious from the ordeal. Yet, Kingsley still had several million dollars hidden away in foreign bank accounts, and quietly moved to a small island in the Caribbean to enjoy his retirement. Although he did wonder to himself, while sipping a martini, whether someday the Hobgoblin would return...

Thus ends the tale of the Hobgoblin, for now.

Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
the Chameleon
Doctor Octopus
the Green Goblin

Spider-Man 3 debuts in 188 days!


j said...

So my question is, in the Spider-man game on Atari who was throwing bombs? The Green Goblin? The Hobgoblin? Or some other goblin?

Chip Chief said...

well, my friend, a simple google search reveals that said culprit was the green goblin.