SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #797 by Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
The final showdown between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin begins in “Go Down Swinging.” However, Norman Osborn has thrown a new curveball into their decades-long feud by bonding with the Carnage symbiote, the first step in turning himself into the Red Goblin.
With his his original face back and his body purged of the nanites that were created to prevent him from turning into the Green Goblin, Osborn has set out to strike back at Spider-Man, by any means necessary. In this issue, he uses the familiar tactic of targeting those closest to Spider-Man, but this time he uncovers something previously buried in their mutual past.
It’s All One, Big Web
The first part of “Go Down Swinging” starts with Osborn already having kidnapped someone close to Spider-Man. The mystery individual is kept off-screen during the interrogation, so we’re left with a guessing game as to who it could be. A few supporting characters in Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s life are presented throughout the issue — Mary Jane Watson, the Daily Bugle staff, J. Jonah Jameson, Liz Allan, Flash Thompson and Osborn’s own son, Harry — as the story jumps back and forth from the present to a few hours in the past, teasing someone’s eventual abduction.
Even though Osborn is completely out of his mind, he’s still able to process who all has a connection to the web-slinger, and even lines up suspects on a wall, similar to what you’d find on a police procedural TV show.
As Osborn notes, he’ll crack this Spidey riddle, with his hostage’s help of course. Once the Green Goblin suit comes out, however, the hostage gets a little too cocky as they begin to trash talk Osborn, reminding him of the fact that Spider-Man has beaten him each and every time they’ve fought.
This person takes things a step further by also bringing up events that only Spider-Man and the Green Goblin should be privy to, which results in jogging Osborn’s memory, but not in a good way for Spider-Man.
What Have I Done?
As our off-panel-guest continues to belittle Osborn, they reveal a piece of crucial information from one of Spider-Man and Green Goblin’s many battles. “You put him through the worst night of his life!” the figure said. “Threw his girl off a bridge! And he still fought his way back!”
Osborn’s murdered many people in his day, but he’s only thrown one girl off a bridge to her death while fighting Spider-Man, and that was Peter’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. This rant is enough to jog Osborn’s memory to finally remember that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
Of course, Osborn has discovered Spider-Man’s secret identity a few times over the years, but thanks to the events of the 2007 story arc “One More Day,” that knowledge was lost to Osborn(along with the rest of the world). So who was the poor soul that tipped Osborn off? It was none other than Spider-Man’s one-time adversary, J. Jonah Jameson.
Jonah and Peter are on pretty good terms nowadays, a relationship shift that occurred after Peter revealed his secret to Jonah in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #6. Since then, Jonah has tried to help Spider-Man with his crimefighting in a support role, much to Peter’s chagrin. But now that Osborn remembers that Peter and Spider-Man are one and the same, it allows him to target Peter’s loved ones directly, which is how Gwen ended up a casualty of their endless war.
Things aren’t looking good for Spider-Man; his archrival Norman Osborn already has an advantage over him when you add in the Carnage symbiote and the secret identity reveal. But when things look their worst, that’s usually when Peter Parker steps up and proves why he’s one of the most resilient heroes in the Marvel Universe. He’ll need that resiliency too, because Dan Slott plans for “Go Down Swinging” to be the capstone of his 10-year run as writer of Amazing Spider-Man. The only question is who will — and who won’t — still be alive once the dust clears.
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