SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #795, by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, Marte Gracia and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
The "Parker Luck" is beginning to kick into overdrive for Peter Parker in Marvel Comics' Amazing Spider-Man. Parker Industries is no more, leaving Peter penniless and crashing on Mockingbird's couch -- until the new couple broke things off in between issues, that is. As if that wasn't upsetting enough, one of his greatest enemies, Norman Osborn, is formulating a plan to take down Spider-Man once and for all. But instead of relying on his former Green Goblin persona, his Iron Patriot armor, or even the mystic arts, Osborn has instead turned to an even more insidious weapon to accomplish his goals.
Amazing Spider-Man #794 saw Osborn hire two mercenaries to retrieve an item from the underwater Lockbox facility, a move which also resulted in the release of the Zodiac key. Readers didn't learn what the item was until the issue's final pages, when it was revealed that Osborn was now in possession of the Carnage symbiote. Of course, this seemingly confirmed that the mysterious Red Goblin teased for writer Dan Slott's final Amazing Spider-Man story arc “Go Down Swinging” was an amalgamation of Osborn and the Carnage symbiote.
However, we still hadn't seen Osborn and Carnage actually merge together. Thankfully, we only had to wait for one more issue to see it with our own eyes -- Osborn and Carnage are now one, and that spells bad, bad news for Spider-Man.
The issue ends with a real kick, though; even though both villains want to inflict pain on Spider-Man, Osborn quickly discovers the symbiote has even more twisted goals than his own. Whereas Osborn wants a world to rule, Carnage wants to rip apart the world. Thus, two conflicting objectives are in play. Even though Osborn is out of his mind crazy, he's not a psychopathic maniac. Carnage, on the other hand, is a maniac times a thousand. In the past, there has been no controlling the alien symbiote. You're either on board with its mass-murdering tendencies, or it'll forcibly get you on board, whether you like it or not.
At this point, since Osborn has finally bonded with the Carnage symbiote, he may have no choice but to continue down the blood-red entity's dark path. If they succeed, then he'll have finally defeated Spider-Man -- but that will come at a great cost to what little is remaining of his humanity. Of course, it's important to keep in mind that Osborn is not simply Carnage; he will soon evolve into the Red Goblin. When that inevitable transformation finally clicks fully into place, who knows what other terrors will come from the deadly union.
Amazing Spider-Man #796, the third chapter of Dan Slott and Mike Hawthorne's "Threat Level Red" story arc, arrives in stores Wednesday, Feb. 21.