Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Who would win: Green Goblin or Hobgoblin?

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green goblin vs hobgoblin

From One Goblin to Another

Spider-Man has a goblin problem. There’s no denying that. However, specifying just what kind of goblin problem is easier said than done. There are many different kinds of goblins from the demonic Demogoblin to goblins of all colors from Red to Grey. The two that stand out among all else are the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin.

There are many differences between the two, though. Even within each respective Goblin, many people have donned the identities and used it for their own purposes. It can become so confusing that it’s often helpful to take a step back and compare these iconic Spider-Man foes for both what they have in common and what makes them unique.

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Origins of the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin

Although Green Goblin first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #14, Norman Osborn wouldn’t make his appearance until years later in The Amazing Spider-Man #37. He was a brilliant scientist and businessman that co-founded Oscorp alongside his professor Mendel Stromm.

The partnership would fizzle over the years, and the stress of running the business caused Norman to try and create an experimental serum from Stromm’s notes. Of course, something went horribly wrong, and the serum turned him into the maniacal Green Goblin. From there, Norman used the Goblin identity to try and become a leader of organized crime in New York City. Unfortunately, Spider-Man foiled his plan, which began his lifelong obsession with the wall crawler.

Norman’s origin and place as the Green Goblin is inherently tied to the Hobgoblin as this new Goblin wouldn’t exist without his predecessor. The first Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, first appeared in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #43, long before the Hobgoblin was on the scene in The Amazing Spider-Man #238. He was already a ruthless criminal billionaire when someone told him that they had stumbled upon one of the Green Goblin’s hideouts.

To keep the secret for himself, Kingsley killed the man and sought two use the Goblin identity to further his criminal empire. Recognizing that the Green Goblin mantle drove people insane, he decided to tinker with the Goblin persona and created the Hobgoblin instead. He then used Osborn’s blackmail files and equipment to create a vast conspiracy that would befuddle Spider-Man for years.

RELATED: 49 Spider-Man quotes from every Spider-Man Film

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Meet The Goblins

Like most older comic characters, many individuals have held the titles of Green Goblin and Hobgoblin over the years. There have been so many of them it helps sometimes to remember some of the most prominent.

Norman Osborn

Norman Osborn is without a doubt the man that kickstarted the Goblin craze. Although some stories might tell of a protogoblin that existed first, Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin remains the benchmark. Along with his partner at Oscorp, Norman developed the Goblin serum and was the first to use it as he began a criminal enterprise under a new identity.

Harry Osborn

Although he might not be as brilliant as his father, Harry Osborn certainly has the same tendency for mental instability. He had a drug addiction and cracked under the pressure and stress of living under his father’s shadow. He eventually tried to make his father’s legacy proud by adopting the Green Goblin moniker. It had become such a part of his psyche that it eventually led to his death.

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Bart Hamilton

Although Harry and Norman were the most prominent Green Goblins, there have certainly been imitators. Bart Hamilton was Harry’s psychiatrist who tried to use his close relationship with his patient as cover to become a criminal. He’s not widely known, though, as a true Goblin and Spider-Man made quick work of him.

Roderick Kingsley

The Hobgoblin’s history is far murkier than the Green Goblin’s, which is already pretty crazy to begin with. Roderick Kingsley is the true mastermind behind the Hobgoblin’s reign. He has even gone out of his way to frame multiple individuals as the Hobgoblin to keep his criminal enterprise going. He is conniving, ruthless, and uses the Goblin’s reputation as a tool to further his endeavors.

Ned Leeds

Ned Leeds’s place in Hobgoblin history further complicates matters. He was a reporter and abusive husband to Betty Brant that was revealed to be the Hobgoblin. However, years later it was discovered that he was in fact brainwashed by Roderick Kingsley to take the fall. Ned has been struggling to get his life on track ever since.

Jason Macendale

Jason Macendale was originally a super villain by the name of Jack-O-Lantern. Like a Goblin, he flew on a glider and had a flaming pumpkin head. However, at some point in time he upgraded to becoming the newest version of the Hobgoblin. It wasn’t meant to last. In more recent appearances, Macendale has reverted back to his Jack persona.

Phil Urich

Phil Urich is the nephew of famous Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. Originally, he stumbled upon a secret Green Goblin hideout and used the identity to become a superhero. He even continued his heroic endeavors in the alternate future timeline alongside Spider-Girl. However, when Dr. Octopus took over Peter Parker’s body as the Superior Spider-Man, Urich became a very deadly and criminal version of the Hobgoblin instead. He was quite good at it too, but unfortunately for him, he was no match for the Superior Spider-Man.

Themes of the Hobgoblin and Green Goblin

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Although the Hobgoblin may look like a rip off or variation of the Green Goblin, they are actually quite different thematically. Even though he started off his career as a crime boss, it wasn’t long before Green Goblin grew an unhealthy obsession with Spider-Man.

Then, once he discovered that Spider-Man was Peter Parker, that obsession doubled. Whenever a Green Goblin is featured in a story, whether it be Norman Osborn or someone else, it usually means that story is going to take a personal toll on Peter Parker as the Goblin targets Spider-Man as an individual.

Likewise, Hobgoblin never moved past his aspirations for a criminal enterprise. Whenever the Hobgoblin is featured in the story, he’s primarily a criminal first rather than a foe with a personal vendetta against Spider-Man. While it’s certainly possible that the Hobgoblin does focus on Spider-Man from time to time, their clashes are usually never personal in the same way that they are with the Green Goblin. Whenever the Hobgoblin target Spider-Man it was merely as a business decision. Logic implies that if Spider-Man threatens the Hobgoblin’s criminal activities then taking him out is just business.

Skill Set and Costumes

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Discerning the differences in skill set and weaponry from the Hobgoblin and the Green Goblin is difficult. This is in large part due to the fact that the Hobgoblin’s arsenal was born directly from the Green Goblin’s cache of weapons. In terms of costume, the appearance is obvious. The Green Goblin obviously has a green and purple color scheme while the Hobgoblin’s centers more along orange. Also, the Green Goblin’s mask doesn’t have the same menacing features that the Hobgoblin’s does, focusing more on silliness than horror.

As far as weaponry goes, the Green Goblin tends to focus on using pumpkin bombs while the Hobgoblin’s tool of choice is typically razor bats. Though it’s important to note, that both Goblins do utilize both weapons from time to time and even some new ones as their arsenal expands. This includes an ultrasonic screen / laugh that Phil Urich has utilized in both his heroic Green Goblin form as well as his villainous Hobgoblin one, where he used a flaming sword and wings, as well.

Current Events

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

Incidentally, the Green Goblin (or a variation of him) has recently clashed with the Hobgoblin in the current state of affairs in Marvel Comics. No longer a Goblin, Harry Osborn has become the demonic character known as Kindred. He orchestrated Sin Eater to take away his father’s sins, leaving him with remorse for his actions as the Green Goblin. He’s tried to change his ways and has even been working with Peter Parker to become a new heroic figure called the Gold Goblin.

During this time, the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, was released from prison and sought revenge against Norman for taking over his company. When the two were about to make a deal, they were attacked by mysterious Hobgoblin. When Spider-Man got involved to investigate, it turns out that Ned Leeds and Roderick Kingsley were both acting as the Hobgoblin, having been manipulated by a third character named the Queen Goblin.

Norman had to intervene as the Gold Goblin in order to save Peter. The fight pretty much ended in a stalemate, but it shows that Goblins of all kinds continuously evolve and will never stray far from being important figures in the Spider-Man mythos.

Who Would Win: Green Goblin or Hobgoblin?

Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin: Who would win in an All Out Goblin War?

If one were to look for evidence on who would win a fight between the Green Goblin and the hobgoblin, they can obviously be directed to The Amazing Spider-Man #312, where the two foes actually faced off in battle. In this story, the Hobgoblin was searching for more Goblin formula and kidnapped Harry Osborn’s son in order to coax Harry into giving it to him. Harry donned his Green Goblin identity in order to battle Hobgoblin and rescue his boy.

Although there wasn’t any clear winner, it seemed as if Hobgoblin had the edge. This was mainly because Harry was out of practice as the Goblin and he is not the main Green Goblin to begin.

However, it’s unclear whether or not the outcome would have been any different if Norman were riding the glider. While Norman is certainly brilliant and a masterful villain, his obsession with Spider-Man is a clear weakness when battling other foes. Meanwhile, the Hobgoblin has a ruthless determination to kill anyone that crosses his path.

While the Green Goblin is certainly capable of devious acts, as apparent when he forced recovering alcoholic Flash Thompson to get drunk and crash a tanker, his ruthlessness has a purpose outside of victory. He tortures for the sake of torturing. This is in comparison to the Hobgoblin, who is all business and does not toy with his enemies before dispatching them.

Winner: Hobgoblin 

Which Goblin would reign supreme in an ultimate showdown: Green Goblin or Hobgoblin?

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