Who Is The Goblin King In Superior Spider-Man? Tom Huxley Lays Down The Odds

Tom Huxley writes for Bleeding Cool,

For the past year, a Green Goblin has stalked the Superior Spider-Man in the form of the Goblin King. His identity is one that writer Dan Slott has kept close to his chest throughout the run, leaving fans guessing.

In the midst of Goblin Nation, with the end of the series and inevitable unmasking seemingly imminent, I attempt to lift the rubber on who exactly this nightmare in jade might really be. A list of suspects follows, but be warned – in the process of researching the evidence I have changed my mind about the Goblin's identity several times over…



Why he might be the Goblin King:

Hiding in plain sight? The obvious candidate, he is the original and by far the most successful of the Goblins. Much of the cast is working under the assumption that the Goblin King is Norman Osborn, a claim that the Goblin has gladly made himself – at one point showing off the chest scar he received from the goblin glider that infamously "killed" him in the 1970s.


Rule one: the Goblin lies. In recent times Norman seemed to have moved beyond being a goblin. When we last saw him, he was comatose with a deformed body. And despite his declarations this guy still hasn't unmasked. Even if there were another entity controlling his body (he apparently awoke from his coma on the same day that Doc Ock implanted his memories into Spider-Man with the gold octobot, so that wouldn't be out of the question), why would he keep his mask on all the time unless there was another person's face underneath it?

Odds: 3-1



Why he might be the Goblin King:

The second, and indeed second most prolific, Green Goblin. As Norman's eldest son, Harry took up the legacy and took the fight to Spider-Man, on and off, for several years during his father's supposed 'death'. And he does appear to be the featured Goblin in the impending Amazing Spider-Man 2 film…


He is far beyond his time as a bad guy, and the last time he put the mask on, it was in order to take his father down. He was last seen on the road across America bringing up his baby son Stanley, perfectly content and with a Walter White infused makeover. He was never as competent a goblin as any of the others – his heart was never really in it – whereas this Goblin has got most of New York's organised crime under his thumb.

Odds: 7-1



Why he might be the Goblin King:

He'd be continuing the Osborn heritage, and has recently begun to display signs of animosity toward Spider-Man. As a child might, this Goblin liberally uses theatrical language and gestures, such as identifying his underlings in the model of a mediaeval court; his first recruits are children too. Furthermore he's identified some relationship with Normie's father, Harry. In the world of 'Spider-Girl' Normie is shown to have a period as the Green Goblin in his sorta-future…


He's a kid! Even if he didn't lack the maturity or psychosis to develop something as big and sprawling as the Goblin Nation (he's never been shown to be anything much more than ordinary), he's too small to play the Goblin King.

Odds: 10-1



Why he might be the Goblin King:

Norman Osborn's lesser-known son with Peter Parker's deceased girlfriend Gwen Stacy, grown to adult size thanks to goblin formula-infused DNA, he has sufficient strength to kill a Hobgoblin, and has been known to don goblin costumes before. Could building the Goblin Nation be his way of dealing with his many family issues?


Shouldn't Sins Past be left forgotten?

Odds: 7-1



Why he might be the Goblin King:

He's ruthless, ambitious, and exactly the sort of technical wizard who could reconfigure the spider-bots to filter out all footage of goblin activity. He is now the senior researcher at Alchemax, the company formed out of the merged holdings of Horizon Labs, Allan Chemical and Oscorp, headed up by Normie Osborn's mother Liz Allan. At the time the Goblin set up his new empire, Tiberius had been forced underground after falling foul of not only the employer he'd sabotaged, Horizon, but also his links to the criminal underworld, chiefly the Kingpin and the Hobgoblin.


Ever the kingmaker, never the king. Tiberius had a "to do" list, and while "get rid of Hobgoblin" and "ruin Horizon" were on it, "build an underground empire of organised crime" didn't appear to be on it. Plus he's got an alibi – we saw the Goblin King gliding around down in a Hobgoblin outfit while Ty was webbed to a wall by his grandson, the 2099 Spider-Man.

Odds: 22-1


 GOBLIN 2099

Why he/she might be the Goblin King:

A foe of Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099 who has lately made his home in 2014. With the Age of Ultron breaking the Marvel timestream, perhaps the Goblin of that era could have also made the trip. And thanks to the magic of time travel this trickster could have left 2099 after Miguel and arrived before him.


A crime cartel isn't really part of that Goblin's M.O. – being more of an 'Occupy Wall Street' type than "burn down Wall Street".

Odds: 20.99-1



Why he might be the Goblin King:

It could be the ultimate apt twist – in a possible homage to the ending of 'The Prisoner' – Spider-Man, face to face with his own worst enemy: himself! The original Spider-Man has previously been brainwashed into acting as the Green Goblin, with the aid of Osborn's hallucinogenic toothpaste (in Roger Stern's "Return of the Green Goblin" mini-series). He's infamously a cloning subject. And there must be a reason why Menace was overlooking the exhumed gravesite of "Otto Octavius" – could the goblins have somehow extracted Peter's mindwaves from his body?


He's dead! And the brainwashed Peter Parker wasn't exactly verbose. He might have terrorised his friends, but would he really have bombed MJ's?

Odds: 7-1



Why she might be the Goblin King:

The former Spider-Woman, Arachne, and most recently Madame Web was last seen awakening from her coma at the time of Peter Parker's death, declaring that "all the spiders will die". With Norman Osborn disappearing from the same hospital shortly before this, could she be the victim of a psychic rescue gone horribly wrong?


Not entirely clear why she would have had a double mastectomy. Though it would explain the chest scar.

Odds: 33-1



Why he might be the Goblin King:

He's got the know-how to develop the 'goblin protocols' software that has enabled the goblins to elude Spider-Man's spy network, plus he's shown himself capable of running a large organisation in the shape of Horizon Labs.


If he's invented a way for a large man to appear skinny on a whim then why doesn't he use it all the time?

Odds: 50-1



Why he/she might be the Goblin King:

It's the Ditko way!


It makes for a dissatisfying outcome. And, in spite of the popular myth, it's not what Steve Ditko ever had in mind for the Green Goblin – he was always intended to be Norman.

Odds: 11-1



Why he/she might be the Goblin King:

After two full decades, the identity of this murderous super-villain is FINALLY revealed – and he's unmasked as ANOTHER masked supervillain! Nobody would see THAT coming!



Odds: 700-1

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About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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