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Norman Osborn Is Changed More Than Ever in Amazing Spider-Man #800

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #800 by Dan Slott, Nick Bradshaw, Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stuart Immonen, Marcos Martin, Victor Olazaba, Cam Smith, Wade von Grawbadger, Edgar Delgado, Java Tartaglia, Marte Gracia, Muntsa Vicente and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.

After a gripping build up, the 80-page Amazing Spider-Man #800 brought the escalating conflict between the hellish Red Goblin and Spider-Man to a climactic conclusion. For a moment, it seemed as though Osborn would win. He possessed none of his old physical weaknesses and he had Spider-Man in his grasp, literally. Still, Spidey escaped by turning Osborn against the Carnage symbiote, persuading him that whatever victory Norman might manage to attain wouldn't be his. The glory of that victory would belong to the symbiote.

That was enough to persuade Norman to abandon the Red Goblin persona and go toe to toe with long time adversary, Green Goblin versus Spider-Man. As Goblin neared defeat, his symbiote leapt back into the fray. Just as the two made contact, Spidey ignited a gas tank and caused an explosion that destroyed the Carnage symbiote. It was finally gone (for the most part) -- but not before it seemingly twisted Norman's mind, causing him to believe that he was the Carnage symbiote's former host, Cletus Kasaday. Norman has lost his identity and his ego, both of which were arguably the reasons he was able to remain such a persistently powerful villain for so many years.

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Since his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #14 (written by Stan Lee, artwork by Steve Ditko), the Green Goblin has killed, traumatized and injured almost everyone around him; a fact Amazing Spider-Man #800 reminds us of quite a few times. The Goblin kidnapped and murdered Gwen Stacy just to hurt Peter, he made Mary Jane believe she miscarried, he recently infected his own grandson with the Carnage symbiote and, of course, he traumatized his son, Harry, in more ways than one.

Where we're pretty much left guessing at how other characters are able to cope with their experiences concerning the Green Goblin, Harry's life seems to be driven solely by his coping process. In other words, Harry's life as shown to us throughout his many appearances, seems to reflect the ways in which each character would have tried to come to terms with their hurt, from addictions to distancing to denial. He may have forgotten ever being the Green Goblin after the events of "One More Day," but that doesn't mean he has ever been free from it.

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