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Amazing Spicer-Man #797

Review by Paul Bowler

The Green Goblin is back in Marvel Comics Amazing-Spiderman #797, and this time he’s more frightening than ever! It seems Dan Slott has arguably saved one of his most powerful storylines till last as Go Down Swinging Part 1, together with Stuart Immonen’s fantastic artwork, ensnares Spidey’s life in the chilling first chapter of an Amazing-Spider-Man story that’s been ten years in the making. Norman Osbourn is back, crazier than ever, and his latest malevolent plan will soon spell big trouble for Peter Parker and everyone close to him!

Peter’s new job at the Daily Bugle as Science Editor – after the collapse of Parker Industries left him penniless – led to Spider-Man’s recent run-in with the Goblin King, but with the help of Anti-Venom (Flash Thompson) Spidey was able to fend off Goblin King’s attack. This led to Peter reconnecting with former lover and Stark CEO, Mary Jane Watson, but that old Parker luck strikes again in Amazing Spider-Man #797 and their reconciliation doesn’t exactly turn out the way either of them expect.

Along with the ramifications of the Goblin King’s latest actions being keenly felt at the Daily Bugle, Slott deftly punctuates the narrative throughout the rest of the issue with some friendly neighbourhood Spidey action, Peter getting another hilariously ranting phone call from JJJ (now a trail-blazing blogger extraordinaire), there’s further insight into events going in Liz’s and Harry’s lives, and the Goblin King gets more than he bargains for in a particularly brutal showdown, but the main focal point of this issue is Norman Osborn – or more specifically the identity of the person he has kidnapped to learn more about Spider-Man.

It is here that Dan Slott’s writing really excels as we witness just how extreme Osborn has become now that he’s got his crazy back, and it leads to some genuinely unnerving scenes that illustrate just how frightening Norman Osborn can be. You see, ever since Spidey robbed Osborn of his abilities, he’s done everything in his power to become the Green Goblin again. In a last ditch attempt to reclaim his lost power Norman joined with the Carnage Symbiote, and their dark unholy alliance was formed to destroy Spider-Man! Trouble is, Osbourn still hasn’t got all his memories back – including the knowledge that Peter Parker is really Spider-Man – and his terrified captive must now endure Norman’s maniacal; bloodthirsty interrogation or give up their knowledge of Spider-Man and his friends.

As you’d expect Stuart Immonen’s artwork looks as impressive as ever. Every page is awash with vivid detail and finely constructed panel layouts that seamlessly relays the story as we shift between a myriad of different locales and events going on in Parker’s life. The scenes between Peter and MJ are especially moving and emotional. Yet it is Norman Osborn’s dark spiralling plunge into his Carnage Symbiote fuelled mania where Immonen’s art superbly conveys every, creepy, heart-stopping moment – especially when it comes to Norman’s special brand of pest control – and the inks by Wade Von Grawbadger and colors by Marte Gracia also accentuates the scary atmosphere to the max! Add to that the haunting cover by Alex Ross, and this is one issue that positively screams read me!

This issue of Amazing Spider-Man builds to a thrilling climax, one that both reveals the identity of Norman’s hapless captive and sparks a shocking revelation. One thing’s for sure, Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are on a collision course now like no other before or since. Go Down Swinging certainly looks set to be an exciting swansong for Dan Slott’s tenure writing Spider-Man. I’ve only been reading Slott’s work since Superior Spider-Man, but I’ve enjoyed his run from what I’ve read of it for the most part. Amazing Spider-Man #797 is a dark, scary issue, Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen are clearly pulling out all the stops for their final arc, and I can wait to see the inevitable showdown between Spider-Man and Osborn’s Carnage Symbiote infused Goblin!

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Dan Slott / Artist: Stuart Immonen

Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger / Color Artist: Marte Gracia

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga / Cover Artist: Alex Ross.