Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen press on with “Go Down Swinging” in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798. The Green Goblin is finally back on the scene, but this time around, he’s got one new extremely dangerous trick up his sleeve. Get ready for the terrifying intro of the Red Goblin.

Peter Parker’s life has finally started to calm back down. With the debacle of Parker Industries seemingly behind him, he’s found a new, comfortable niche back at the Daily Bugle. But, in typical Peter Parker fashion, good things generally don’t last very long. Case in point, the return of Norman Osborn (with the Carnage symbiote) is already turning out to be as disastrous for Pete as you might imagine.

Not only is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 a big step forward for the “Go Down Swinging” arc, but it’s also a big step forward for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in general. Though this issue is not without its flaws, the potential consequences of “Go Down Swinging” are beginning to come to light. This arc promised to touch every corner of Peter Parker’s world, and it’s looking to make good on that promise.

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The Goblin Cometh in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798

Of course, the biggest plot point of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 is the return of the Green Goblin. As the Daily Bugle science team is looking to track down that stolen tritium from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #796, in comes the Goblin. From the moment he appears on the page, you know this issue means business.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

What makes this threat even worse is that Pete had no idea it was coming; it didn’t set off his Spider-Sense. This is obviously because of the symbiote that’s currently fused with Osborn, but at the moment of his intro, Pete doesn’t understand the full scope of the situation.

Dan Slott set up this whole encounter in a very nice way. It’s energetic, surprising, and feels very much like a classic Spidey vs. Goblin battle. And with Pete in the dark on so many levels, the pressure is further elevated. He doesn’t know how Osborn is back to being the Goblin, that Osborn knows his identity, and that Osborn has the Carnage symbiote. All of these factors help you feel Peter’s anxiety in the moment.

Then, of course, there’s also the threat of a tritium bomb timed to blow up the Bugle in about ten minutes. If you wanted a throwback to the good old days of Spider-Man, you needn’t look far. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 has got you covered.

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Meet the Red Goblin

Spidey and the Goblin duke it out for a few pages, until Pete puts the fight on pause to deal with the bomb. After it detonates, the upper floors of the Bugle are blown to bits, but Peter manages to make it out alive, if a bit cut up and bruised.

The Goblin, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky. As it seems he is going down for the count, Goblin and Spidey share a brief, almost touching moment. You know, the kind where the hero and villain try to connect in their final moments together. It’s also where Osborn reveals that he knows Spidey’s identity.

Unfortunately, the Goblin’s not as dead as he’d have you believe.

It’s in this moment the horrific union of the Green Goblin and Carnage comes to fruition. The big reveal of the Red Goblin is daunting. The surprise of the moment doesn’t come from the moment itself (you can see it coming a mile away). The impact comes from how menacing the Goblin looks, and Pete’s initial reaction to the reveal.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 page 17. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I Still Want More

The encounter between these two is too limited, though. Pete’s first instinct is to run, which makes sense, but other than his initial reaction, his response to the situation feels off. There isn’t enough shock to it. We don’t see enough emotion from him to really understand how bad this is. Granted, it’s easy to grasp the consequences of the situation, but other than his internal thoughts, we don’t get much from Pete in the way of a reaction. He just runs, and that’s about it.

This moment might have been improved had Pete taken off his mask when talking to Osborn. Then, you could really see his emotions as things come to light. As he starts running, he could easily slip the mask back on. Small changes like that could have helped give this moment a bigger impact for the readers.

As a whole, though, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 does deliver an exciting reveal. Watching Peter taken completely off guard and taken down in a matter of moments does certainly help get across the point of how doomed the situation feels. I just would have liked to see more emotion from Pete, and more of an actual fight between Spider-Man and the Red Goblin. Hopefully, this is something we’ll see more of in subsequent issues.

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Art That’ll Leave You Gleeful Like a Goblin

It comes as no surprise that the team of Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, and Marte Gracia continues to deliver impeccable pages. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 may actually feature some of the team’s best pages yet.

All of the characters look as crisp and clean as ever. The first appearance of the Green Goblin is particularly enjoyable to see, as he smashes through the window of the Bugle with an especially menacing look on his face. The Goblin (both Green and Red) looks amazing in this issue. The first appearance of the Red Goblin is sure to go down in history as one of Stuart Immonen’s greatest pages. Of course, Grawbadger’s inks really help the shadowing here, and Gracia’s choice of reds really make Osborn pop out of the page.

The action sequences of this issue are particularly fun to witness. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Spider-Man and the Goblin throw down. Immonen really makes these moments shine; as Spidey bursts in to save the day, he jumps right onto the Goblin and starts throwing punches. You can tell there’s no hesitation in what’s Spidey’s doing, despite how taken aback he is by the situation.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 page 9. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Also, I don’t know what it is, but I really love the way Immonen draws the new Anti-Venom. The smoothness of his mask is really nice, and Gracia’s colors only help to improve the character’s look. It’s like looking at Future Foundation Spider-Man again, but with more of a military flair to him, which is definitely a good thing.

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The Stakes Have Been Raised

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 sets the bar high for the challenge ahead of Peter Parker. Nothing about this is going to be easy or funny. This isn’t your usual Spider-Man fight. Though Norman Osborn has returned, the Red Goblin brings with him a whole new kind of ball game. This isn’t a recycling of the classic rivalry, it’s a reimagining of it.

Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen have done a great job so far with “Go Down Swinging.” Though the story is not without its speed bumps, it’s shaping up to be a very memorable Spider-Man event story.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 leaves Peter Parker in a beaten position. I’m excited to see how he brings himself back from this initial defeat, and how he ultimately takes down one of his greatest adversaries yet.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 by Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, and Marte Gracia
Though some of the thrill of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798 is lost behind the hero's mask, the horror of the Red Goblin is ever-present. There's no telling where this story will go next, and that's definitely a good thing.
86 %
Absolute Carnage

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