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Amazing Spider-Man #23: Review

Apr 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The Goblin and the Gangsters

Review & Comments

5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #23 Review by (January 25, 2024)

Review: The Green Goblin returns once again, and to put it simply, this issue was fantastic! This issue had basically all the hallmarks of a great classic Spidey story! The action was frantic and exciting, the banter was fun, and there were tons of twists and turns! Even Steve Ditko’s art was on another level this issue, making everything that much more dynamic! Frederick Foswell returns in this issue as well, starting his tenure as a supporting character! There’s a particularly cute and clever moment in which Peter stops in the middle of a fight to call Aunt May, while also taking the opportunity to lay a trap for the pursuing goons! I also liked the parallels of Spidey and Goblin both running out of their respective weapons at pretty much the same time, showing how well-matched they are as foes, as well Goblin being the only villain so far to consistently get away in the end. Gobby’s really starting to establish himself as the archenemy we all know. The dramatic irony of Goblin’s plan working too well was another nice touch, there’s just so much in this issue that stands out!

The other big notable thing about this issue comes from two small panels on page 6. When Jameson is at his club, before he’s given Foswell’s message, there’s a guy in the background that looks an awful lot like Norman Osborn. I always thought that this was just a similar looking individual that Ditko happened to draw. However, Ditko confirmed in an article in 2009 that this is indeed an early bird cameo for Norman Osborn! Ditko admitted to sprinkling him into issues like this, so that there was a bit more precedence for him once the big reveal happens. So, while it’s just a minor background appearance, this does technically count as Norman Osborn’s first onscreen appearance as himself! And it works really well in context because he can be there to make sure Jameson gets the tax documents, to make sure his plan moves forward! How cool is that? Overall, this issue was probably my favorite yet, with top-notch action, fun banter, and basically everything I look for in an exciting Spidey story!

Comments: Frederick Foswell returns as a supporting character in this issue. First appearance of Norman Osborn as himself. There’s a notable mistake in which a goon that Spidey is fighting’s suit color changes between panels.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #23 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

This story begins right in the thick of it, with the Green Goblin paying a visit to notorious crime boss Lucky Lobo. The Green Goblin offers to take over leadership of Lucky’s gang, in order to take them to new heights. Lucky disapproves of this idea and tells his men to attack the Goblin. Gobby easily avoids the goons and leaves, promising things will be worse next time, as Goblin plans to take over all of the crime in New York! Meanwhile, Peter Parker is enjoying a lazy Saturday morning, and goes to check on his Spider-Man costume, which he’d washed the night before, but finds it still wet. Peter heads off, after promising Aunt May that he’ll call if he’s going to be out late. On his way to the library, Peter reads in the paper of the Goblin supposedly raiding a mob boss and wonders if the Goblin is now trying to be a hero.

Peter heads to the Daily Bugle and spots a letter on Betty Brant’s desk from Ned Leeds, confusing Peter, as he thought Betty and Ned were done. Just then, he spots J. Jonah Jameson talking with Frederick Foswell, the former Big Man, fresh out of prison. Foswell claims to have gone straight, as Jameson agrees to rehire Foswell as a reporter. Peter tries to ask out Betty, but she tells him that she has to work late, causing him to wonder why she didn’t mention Ned’s letter. Outside, Peter spots Foswell talking with a shady looking character, and goes to change to Spider-Man to follow him, suddenly remembering that he left his still-wet Spidey costume at home! Meanwhile, the Green Goblin meets with one of Lucky Lobo’s stooges, who gives the Goblin an entire list of Lucky’s illegitimate tax documents, much to the Goblin’s glee!

Later on, at the Midtown Business Executives Club, Jameson receives a message from Foswell that he was given the list of Lucky’s tax documents, which Jameson later takes to the police, while the Goblin watches from outside! With his suit now dry, Spidey goes out on patrol and happens upon the police raiding one of Lucky’s establishments. One car attempts to escape, but it’s stopped by the Green Goblin, causing Spidey to follow the Goblin, in order to see what’s up. Knowing he’s being followed, the Goblin flies right into Lucky’s hideout, creating a smokescreen from his glider, before flying back out. Spidey swings in through the window, just as the smokescreen clears, leaving him surrounded by Lucky and his men, as the Goblin watches from outside, hoping all his opposition will deal with each other.

Spidey easily takes out a bunch of Lucky’s guys, webbing them to the walls and floor, before dodging around the shots now being fired. Spidey then flips into another room, webbing the door shut behind him, locking the goons in the other room, which gives Peter the chance to use the phone to call Aunt May real quick. He tells her that he’ll be late getting home, much to her appreciation. After he hangs up, the goons bust through the door, only to get caught in a web net from the ceiling that Spidey had prepared. Spidey questions Lucky, who tells him that the Goblin is only involved because he wants to take over the mob himself! Spidey leaves all of them for the police and swings after the Goblin, quickly finding them and landing on his back, causing the two to fall through a skylight! The two start a climactic battle, with Spidey avoiding Goblin’s various weapons! After whipping away one of Goblin’s pumpkin bombs, Spidey attempts to web up the Goblin, who grabs the webs and attempts trap Spidey in his own webbing!

Both continue to avoid each other’s tricks, before the Goblin realizes that his bag of tricks is empty and he decides to make a strategic retreat! Spidey goes to follow, but discovers that his web-shooters are empty, causing him to have to chase the Goblin on foot! After missing the Goblin with a hopeful leap, Spidey saves himself by grabbing onto a flagpole and flipping himself back around to a nearby roof! The Green Goblin makes it back to his lair and discovers via the radio that Lucky’s entire gang was taken into custody. His plan was TOO successful, leaving nothing for him to take over! Peter heads to the Daily Bugle, and discovers it was Foswell’s info that ultimately led to Lucky’s gang being captured, causing Peter to wonder if there’s a connection between the Goblin and Foswell. Our issue ends with Peter heading home to check on Aunt May, with an unexplainable sense of foreboding for the future!

Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Green Goblin
Green Goblin

(Norman Osborn)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Frederick Foswell (Big Man).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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