The Amazing Spider-Man #800 is the penultimate issue before writer Dan Slott departs the series, but the 800th issue of any comic is definitely a special milestone. The issue is accompanied by a terrifyingly beautiful front cover from Alex Ross and art contributions throughout the issue from a sprawling ensemble of creatives that whole heartedly deserve praise; Nick Bradshaw, Joe Caramanga, Edgar Delgado, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Java Tartaglia, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente – Fantastic work.
But let’s face it – who else is Spider-Man going to face on such an occasion? Norman Osborn of course. The issue is the finale of the ‘Going Down Swinging’ storyline, and by god, does it live up to the title. Quick recap, Norman Osborn is now going by the ‘Red Goblin’ as he’s bonded with Carnage to become monstrous combination of the Green Goblin and the symbiote. It’s reinvigorated the villain with a sense of purpose. pushed forward by years of built-up rage and hatred towards Spider-Man.
The issue is filled with references to the long standing history between the Spider and the Goblin, many of which call back to that iconic moment on the Brooklyn Bridge in “The Night Gwen Stacy Died“. And with Peter’s role as a CEO of a million-dollar company stripped away from him, he’s now strapped for cash and working at the Daily Bugle once again. It’s clear that Dan Slott wanted his time on the series to come full circle in terms of Spidey’s status as a working-class, street level hero. And honestly, it’s a welcome return. This is Spider-Man at his very best. He’s balancing work, his superheroic career, his relationships and of course, protecting his loved ones all whilst fending off the Goblin.
The bumper sized issue also manages to bring in various members of the Spider-Family, with Miles, Silk, Venom, Anti-Venom and even Otto Octavius all bringing the fight to Osborn. But it wouldn’t be a dramatic Spider-Man finale if there wasn’t an emotional death, and there certainly is one. Although it’s not quite who we predicted, it’s one that feels right for the series in the nicest way possible. But aside from that, The Amazing Spider-Man #800 uses Norman Osborn as the ‘Red Goblin’ in a way that doesn’t convolute his villain status, but simply puts his villainous evolution through its paces, and pushes him to his limits. But ultimately, the best part of the fight comes when the symbiote is done away with, and it’s back to the Green Goblin vs. Spider-Man.
The resolution of this story ties up a few dwindling plot threads, and even tees up the return of a Spidey-based character that caused a storm amongst fans a few years ago. We’re not saying that everything about the issue is perfect, it struggles with focusing on a whole ensemble of characters whilst trying to give Peter his time in the well-deserved limelight. Plus, there’s plenty of fuel for the argument that symbiotes are becoming too convoluted, with Anti-Venom being used as something of a deus ex machina throughout the issue. But for the most part, The Amazing Spider-Man #800 is a fantastic ending to the Red Goblin saga, and even if Dan Slott’s run finishes with #801, this actually feels like a satisfying ending to his time with Pete. If this is Spider-Man at his best, what’s next for the Webhead?
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A true celebration of Spider-Man that honours everything that's come before this, whilst also setting him up for the future.
- Norman v Peter
- Character Development