WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Red Goblin: Red Death #1 by Rob Fee, Pete Woods, Sean Ryan, Patrick Gleason, Ray-Anthony Height, Marc Deering, Dono Sánchez-Almara, ProtoBunker and VC's Joe Sabino, on sale Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Norman Osborn is one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies. As the Green Goblin, Norman was responsible for Gwen Stacy's death, which is one of the most tragic moments in the wall-crawler's life. Spider-Man and the Green Goblin have fought time and time again, often to a stalemate. No matter how many times Spider-Man defeats Norman, the villain finds a way to creep back more powerful and deadly than ever.
The most recent example of Norman's conniving ways involved the alien symbiote known as Carnage. After being depowered by Spider-Man, Norman turned to the Carnage symbiote to grant him a power boost. This is when the Red Goblin was born. Norman's insanity mixed with Carnage produced a lethal combination, terrorizing Peter Parker in the lead-up to Amazing Spider-Man #800.
Of course, Spider-Man was able to defeat the Red Goblin, with Norman purged of the Carnage symbiote and sent to the Ravencroft Institute. A negative side effect of his time as the symbiote host is Norman now believing he is Cletus Kasady, Carnage's mass-murdering original host. Norman and Carnage have reunited again in the Absolute Carnage event series, but a preview of Red Goblin: Red Death #1 reveals an untold tale between Norman and Carnage from when they first bonded.
We're shown Norman in his office late at night, holding a conversation with Carnage in his head. Norman appears to be against the senseless killing that Carnage craves, and tries to find some middle ground where they both can get what they desire. "This goes beyond collateral damage, Carnage," Norman says. "This is senseless murder." Of course, Carnage is all about committing a murder, whether it makes sense or not. The symbiote goes on to recite Spider-Man's mantra of great power and responsibility, with the slight twist of, "If you want my power, then my appetite is your responsibility."
This is when Norman uses his boardroom negotiation tactics to come up with an alternative that pleases them both: whenever Carnage's cravings for blood are too strong, the pair will go out hunting for a suitable victim or victims. The only requirement is they have to be someone who can't be traced back to Norman. With the agreement made, they head to the New York streets to prowl.
One unfortunate man that recognizes Norman from their days at Empire State University is perfectly set up as the Red Goblin's target. Though the preview doesn't reveal what Norman and Carnage do to the gentleman, it's safe to assume it isn't' pleasant. Red Goblin: Red Death #1 contains three short stories by three creative teams, and it will be interesting to see what the other two touch upon.