SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man #794 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Marte Garcia and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man is coming to an end after a decade of dedicated service to Marvel’s most recognizable character. As Slott, Stuart Immonon and the title's readers barrel towards Issue #801, everything is building up to one more massive clash between Peter Parker and his most deadly enemy, Norman Osborn.
But before we get there, Spider-Man has to deal with the return of Scorpio. To make matters worse, waiting in the wings is the mysterious threat of The Red Goblin, whom we learn the identity of this week, and it’s someone very, very familiar.
Sign of the Times
A year ago — in Marvel time, of course — Spider-Man and Mockingbird fought Scorpio and his new Zodiac. Armed with the knowledge of everything that would happen over the next year, Scorpio planned to use everything he’d learned to set himself up as a god among men, but Spider-Man was able to trap the villain within the Zodiac dimension and stop his plans. Since then, Spidey has known that Zodiac would emerge exactly one year from that moment. With all that time to prepare for this certainty, and without the Zodiac Key in his possession, Scorpio would be powerless so everything should go swimmingly -- right?
Deep in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean lies The Lockbox, the most secure location for the most dangerous artifacts in the Marvel Universe, which has been infiltrated by agents of Norman Osborn who are after a very specific item. Unfortunately, in their attack the Zodiac Key is freed from its quantum prison and speeds right back to Scorpio just as he returns. With just under an hour before his knowledge of the future runs out, Scorpio rushes to Big Ben in a last-ditch attempt to grab as much power as he can, and while Spider-Man is able to stop him, Norman Osborn has got his hands on one of the most dangerous items in the Marvel Universe… the Carnage symbiote.
In many ways, it’s not surprising that Dan Slott’s final story will involve Carnage, as it’s pretty much the only major Spider-Man villain that he hasn’t had the chance to tell a story with. At the time Slott took over Spider-Man, Carnage had been ripped apart and thrown into the sun by The Sentry. The symbiote later returned in a number of miniseries where he was passed around from government agency to government agency, journeyed to the Microverse, briefly became an Avenger during the AXIS inversion, and attempted to summon the elder god Cthon in a bid for godlike power. In other words, Carnage has been a very busy symbiote, with little time to come face to maniacally grinning face with Spider-Man.
With Norman Osborn now in possession of the Carnage symbiote, it’s not hard to put two-and-two together to figure out that The Red Goblin is an amalgamation of Osborn and the Carnage symbiote, something that was recently hinted at in an Amazon listing for a future collected edition of The Amazing Spider-Man. Now, however, it’s been confirmed, and Spider-Man has no idea the level of danger that he’s in.
More worryingly, neither does Norman Osborn. The man behind the Green Goblin mask may have an indomitable will, but the Carnage symbiote is not something to take lightly. If Norman isn't very careful, it may subsume him completely, bringing all of his worst impulses and traits to the forefront to create the most deadly enemy Spider-Man has ever encountered.