Marvel Action Universe
Marvel Comics (January, 1989)
originally published as Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends (December, 1981)“The Triumph Of the Green Goblin” SCREENPLAY: Dennis Marks ADAPTATION: Tom DeFalco PENCILER: Dan Spiegle INKER: Vincent Colletta COLORIST: Bob Sharen LETTERER: Jim Novak ORIGINAL EDITOR: Tom DeFalco REPRINT EDITOR: Gregory Wright
I should explain something before we get to the review. Marvel Action Universe was a syndicated programming block co-produced by Marvel and Sunbow. It featured three shows–repeats of NBC’s Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends (with Stan Lee’s narration removed and the occasional time edit), and two licensed shows, Dino-Riders and RoboCop, with one episode of the latter replaced with the failed X-Men pilot “Pryde Of The X-Men”. The name was used for a relaunch of Marvel Action Hour. The original version of this comic was launched to promote the NBC show and I’m guessing this was to promote the new programming block. Only one issue of each was produced.
Norman Osborn thought he was cured of being the Green Goblin when he left the sanitarium. But jumping from an airplane because Norman was too excited to return home to not fly home on a stormy night, causes him to land hard, and the Green Goblin takes over again. His plan is to turn everyone in New York into green goblins like him and he kidnaps his niece, Norma, to get the formula from her. She just happens to be Bobby Drake’s (Iceman) date for the Halloween party at ESU along with Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Angelica Jones (Firestar). While Spider-Man rescues Norma and distracts the Goblin, Iceman and Firestar take care of getting the formula out of the water. Hitting power lines reawakens Norman, who decides to return to the sanitarium to make sure he’s cured for good.
What they got right: With the occasional event compression it’s a close adaptation. Most of the dialog even comes from the episode. The art was rather good. It didn’t try to emulate the show but it closer to the show than the comics at that time.
What they got wrong: Did DeFalco have an early draft of the script? Like I said, it’s close but there are changes. For one thing we hear Ms. Lion’s thoughts, which now I can only hear as a male thanks to Pet Avengers and yes that still bothers me. SHE didn’t have audible thought on the show. (That would have been really odd for this show.) Also, I watched the episode prior to this review and I’m pretty sure Norman’s niece is called Nora, not Norma. Then there are the continuity errors that are the show’s fault. I could be wrong because I’m not a heavy Spider-Man reader, but I don’t recall Norman Osborn having a nice named Nora or Norma. Also, in the show he actually transforms to and from the Green Goblin, while the adaptation kept to the traditional costume, which makes Goblin’s plan to turn everyone into Goblins like him, already an odd plan for Gobby, even dumber, which even Spider-Man in the adaptation comments on.
Recommendation: I wouldn’t call this a must-have but it’s still a decent adaptation and last I heard they still aren’t planning to release this one on home video. I guess it depends on how badly you want it.