#11. Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin
Spider-Man, as a character, is known for his humor, but his history is filled with tragedy. In his very first appearance, his beloved Uncle Ben is killed by a burglar that Peter Parker encountered earlier in the day, but didn't bother stopping because it wasn't his job. It was there that Spider-Man learned his life-long credo, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." None of his past woes, though, could prepare him for the tragedy he suffered in “Amazing Spider-Man” #121, written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Gil Kane.
The Green Goblin was a thorn in Spider-Man's side for a few years before he discovered that the Goblin was actually Norman Osborn, father of Peter's best friend, Harry! Norman discovered Peter's identity, but due to amnesia forgot both Peter's identity and all his actions as the Goblin, and he seemed to be acting normal. However, stress due to Harry's drug problems brought all the memories rushing back, and Norman decided to take his revenge on Peter Parker by kidnapping Peter's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.
The Goblin left Peter a note telling him he had Gwen and Peter tracks them to the George Washington Bridge, where the Goblin has an unconscious Gwen at the top of one of the bridge towers. After a pitched battle, Peter races to rescue Gwen, but Norman reaches her first and throws her off of the bridge! Peter valiantly tries to save her with his webbing, but it is too late – she's dead.
As the Goblin begins to gloat about how Peter's death will be even easier, Peter shouts, "Wrong, Goblin! You're the creep who's going to pay! You killed the woman I love, and for that, you're going to die!"
In “Amazing Spider-Man” #122, after a furious battle at the Bridge, the Goblin escapes. Eventually, Peter tracks him down to an abandoned warehouse where the Goblin hears him, and decides to wait by the entrance, to surprise him when he enters. Peter figured he'd be there, though, so he surprises the Goblin from a side entrance, taking the Goblin's glider out of commission.
The two fight from a distance for awhile with pumpkin bombs and webbing flying back and forth at each other before eventually getting in closer to trade blows. Spider-Man ultimately gets him against a wall and begins to batter him into submission in a blind rage. Eventually, though, his conscience gets to him – he cannot lower himself to the level of the Goblin – he cannot kill him! He drops the battered Goblin to the floor and tells him he's going to jail. The Goblin uses this opportunity to use a remote control to send his barely operating glider flying at Spider-Man, its sharpened point ready to impale him! At the last moment, though, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense alerts him to the danger and he leaps out of the way, sending the glider directly into the Goblin, impaling him against the wall, killing him.
Gwen's killer was dead, but Spider-Man certainly does not feel any better about justice perhaps being served.