Hobgoblin vs. Goblin King (Phil Urich) from Axis: Hobgoblin #2
by Kevin Shinick, thejaviercaster, Alvaro Lopez & Munsta Vicente

The Backstory Behind... AXIS: Hobgoblin

AXIS has really gone overboard on the tie-ins, but unlike most, these are… actually pretty good. Chief among them is AXIS: Hobgoblin, which follows the adventures of supervillain/fashion mogul Roderick Kingsley after the Inversion. I really enjoyed the first issue, although those unfamiliar with the title character may not. And so I, Background Information Man, throw on my cape and hit Wikipedia. Now, sit back and enjoy the achievements and failings of the most fabulous villain to grace the pages of Spider-Man. 

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I’ve been thinking recently about how if I had absolute autonomy I’d reorganize the various Spider-Man titles and to a lesser extent the Marvel Universe titles as a whole. Thought I might as well share.

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Spider Women?

An idea struck me today. Okay, this wouldn’t necessarily be feasible right now since we have three female led Spider books on the shelves right now but given the up and down long term success of distaff Spider characters with Marvel…what if we Voltron them together.

What if we basically do the Marvel equivalent of the early Birds of Prey series with Spider ladies?

We take Jessica Drew as Spider Woman, Julia Carpenter as Arachne, Cindy Moon as Silk, Anya Corazon as Arana and Mattie Franklin as…er…well we’ll think of a cool identity for her later.

And Cassandra Webb as Madame Web as their version of Oracle/Zordon who’d send them out on missions and help co-ordinate them around and stuff, actually making her, you know…relevant to something which is rarely the case.

The advantage of this approach is that all the characters have fandoms of some degree and hopefully they’d kind of merge together into this book, and from that these characters, most of whom have struggled to maintain long term success, would help prop one another up.

They also offer some potentially unique dynamics. Jess is the most experienced by far so it’d make sense she act as leader.

Julia is notably a single mother so she could kind of be a part time member/the parent of the team. This would be really appropriate given how Cindy, Mattie and Anya are either people lacking parents, are young enough to where they’d need a parental influence.

Cindy would be the kind of Captain America in so far as being time displaced, but she’d also be the inexperienced one who’s learning the ropes.

It’d be something she’d share with Anya but annoyingly Anya despite being younger is actually much more experienced than her at, potentially leading to a bit of a sibling relationship/rivalry.

Mattie meanwhile could be like a dark reflection of Anya and Cindy. Like Cindy she has a fondness for Spider-Man and like both Cindy and Anya she’s had some kind of mentor relationship with Jessica. She is also a young hero, actually in between Cindy and Anya’s ages and she began as a wide eyed often happy-go-lucky Spider superheroine with a fair amount of fangirl tendencies too. But Mattie has canonically experienced some seriously dark shit in her time, and gone through stuff no one her age really should have. I guess you could kind of draw comparisons to her and Jason Todd or Cassandra Caine. So she’s kind of what Anya or Cindy could’ve been if they went through really, really, really bad stuff. So she’d be someone trying to regain her bright optimism despite the cynicism she’s developed due to her experiences.

Which would actually be part of how I’d start off the book. Mattie and Cassandra are dead due to the events of Grim Hunt in 2010 and Julia is Madame Web. We should fix that.

In the late 1990s and in Spider-Girl (the Mayday Parker one) there was a villainous crime lord called the Black Tarantula. His backstory was kind of vague and mysterious though his base of operations was in Argentina and he had ties with Japanese criminals including an offshoot of the ninja clan, the Hand. In fact these ninjas were responsible for resurrecting Doc Ock after Kaine killed him in the Clone Saga; they used a similar method to what the Hand could do in Frank Miller’s Daredevil run.

Black Tarantula’s backstory in the MC2 universe was tied in a bit with the Ezekiel Spider-Totem stuff, which itself was tied into Anya who is also of Spanish decent like the Black Tarantula was hinted as being.

My idea is that Black Tarantula and his ninja friends want to do something with the same Spider-Totem forces which made Anya a Hunter and to do that they need to resurrect Madame Web and Mattie Franklin. Upon resurrecting Cassandra, the Madame Web powers of foresight and telepathy and stuff pass back to her from Julia Carpenter, who also gets her old powers back.

This would be enough to get Julia to ask for Jessica Drew’s help as when she lost her powers she got a vision of Mattie Franklin and Cassandra. Remember Mattie was Jessica’s protégé for a little while and Jessica and Cassandra also interacted a lot during that time. Jessica Drew has to my knowledge given zero shits about Mattie’s death since it happened so this could both address that and give her adequate motivation to try and help Mattie.

Problem is they’ve got no way of finding Mattie but they know Madame Web’s powers have something to do with the mystical cosmic web spider-totem mumbo jumbo. So they contact Silk and Anya whom both have strong connections with that stuff. With their help they are able to locate Cassandra and Mattie, rescue them and thwart Black Tarantula’s plans for now.

Not knowing what precisely Black Tarantula had planned with Mattie or Cassandra, but knowing it had something to do with the cosmic web somethingsomething, Mattie, Cassandra, Julia, Cindy and Anya opt to work together to stop him. Jessica feeling responsibility for most of them decides she’ll stick around too since she knows what she’s doing better than any of them.

And that’s our team.

From there you could do all sorts of stuff with them fighting Black Tarantula, tying him in more directly to Anya, bringing in Jessica’s HYDRA history, having them confront the evil Spider Woman Doc Ock created (who was also Madame Web’s granddaughter), having them fight Madame Web’s old nemesis the Juggernaut, having Mattie confront Phil Urich who like her has gone through some bad stuff.

P.S. Now that I think about it there is another connection between Cindy and Mattie. Jameson looked after Mattie and he’s now Cindy’s boss. Maybe Mattie could work with Cindy at the FACT channel.

• TRAPPED in an alien hospital with a bunch of other moms-to-be, Jessica Drew has suddenly found herself in over her head!
• It’s anything but business as usual as Jess realizes she’s the only person who can save the day – but only if she can keep herself and her baby safe in the process!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99