Review: Amazing Spider-Man #797


*Warning Spoilers Below*

Well here we are, and the clock is on for the first part of “Go Down Swinging.” After ten years Spidey scribe extraordinaire, Dan Slott‘s time is wrapping up on the ol’ web head. I was so pumped to read this issue as the solicits billed this as “The last battle between Spidey and The Green Goblin”. Now as a long time reader, I know this is likely untrue but still there is nothing in that sentence that I don’t like. The Green Goblin happens to be my all time favorite Spider-Man villain and is in top contention for my favorite comic book villain of all time. I have thoroughly enjoyed the many incarnations of Norman Osborn, from Green Goblin, to Iron Patriot, Director Osborn of H.A.M.M.E.R, The Goblin King and now the latest greatest moniker: The Red Goblin.

Opening this book from the cover gave me that feeling I was about to read something of tremendous magnitude. It’s the same feeling I got when I have read every great Spidey/Goblin encounter from Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #39 & #40 and Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) 121 & 122 and Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75 and countless others. Nothing says big fight feel more than a clash between Peter Parker and Norman Osborn. To say I was excited is an understatement. (It might also helped that I received my Mezco Spider-Man quite recently, so my Spidey-Sense is at an all time high) Right away I noticed the opening panel of Stormin’ Norman (remember when Spidey called him that?) appearing to be in a hideaway of sorts in an all too familiar position of bragging about his conquest over his hapless foe. (Jeez I am full of retro speak today) Now at the beginning of the issue we don’t actually see who Ol’ Normie is talking to, but if you pay close attention to the dialogue before the end of the issue you will have figured it out. He does make his intentions crystal clear though. He is going to end Spider-Man once and for all.

From the opening scene we then transition to the apartment of comics most famous redhead: Mary Jane Watson where she is um, busy with Mr. Lucky himself: Peter Parker. In between the physical they reminisce of old times and then the mood gets a bit more sullen where once again MJ realizes she cannot be committed to Peter as he will always be Spider-Man. More so she would never want him to stop being Spider-Man as the guilt would destroy him if something happens because of his focus on her instead of the lives he saves. She tells him she will always love him but she wants more. So instead she opts that they stay friends and then tells him to leave out the window as it is easier to explain since she is Tony Starks’ right hand woman now if Spidey dropped by instead of Peter. (Talk about ouch!) Peter of course obliges and then he is on his merry way. Now normally this kind of scene wouldn’t make me bat an eye, but the emphasis and emotion they presented it in makes me think Peter might have been saying goodbye for the last time. I hope that I am wrong but we all know how much writers like offing Spidey’s woman pals.

I want to take the time to illustrate a point here about the illustrator’s wonderful work on this scene. I have been a big fan of Stuart Immonen ever since he drew Superman in the mid 90’s. I also have his entire run on Ultimate Spider-Man (After Mark Bagley) all bias aside I feel like we are getting his best work here. Mary Jane and Peter look absolutely fantastic and the magnificent colors by Marte Gracia just make this pop off the page. Amazing work all around. There have been countless artists who have worked on Spider-Man over the years (John Romita Sr., John Romita Jr. Mark Bagley, Sal Buscema, just a few of my faves) but I think Stuart Immonen draws one of the best contemporary Spider-Man’s around. His lines and panels have such life in them. I absolutely love his rendition of Norman Osborn as it is top notch stuff. I feel like he put so much “A game” in this issue that by the end of the arc we are going to view a classic.

Enough gushing about the pretty pictures I can also blab on about the words, where after a few lackluster issues the past couple months, Dan Slott is back in rare form. The menace he puts in Norman’s dialogue really drives it home. Norman is smarmy, confident, and ruthless. Finally we have the full Norman back! To me one of the highlights of the issue was where Norman’s captive was taunting him saying “You physically can’t turn into the Green Goblin now. You’re a nobody. A Nothing. “Normal Osborn.”  It was here I figured out who the ID of the captive was. This was clever dialogue and the type of classic remark this character would make in defiance. Unbeknownst to the captor though, the Carnage Symbiote which has now bonded to Norman, removed the blocks that didn’t allow him to access his Goblin persona and Normie is now more dangerous than ever. Moments like this show why Dan Slott is my favorite writer on Spider-Man and I will sorely miss him. There are other moments that stand out like the showdown between Phil Urich, the would be “Goblin King” and Norman but I won’t ruin that here. Also for those wondering, yes Norman does indeed Goblin-Suit Up.

Bottom line, the issue was a delectable appetizer for what will no doubt be a delicious main course. To bring back the echoes of comic editors of yesteryear, “If you only read one Spidey – Story this year, this is it!” It has everything you can want in a big time Spider-Man tale. (Dan Slott also wrote Big Time Spider-Man just fyi) This comic has already been flying off the shelves and pre-orders and it is very easy to see why. I loved it and it will only get better. The only bad thing is the wait till the next issue arrives. My final thought, screw getting a Marty McFly hover board some day, I want my damn Goblin Glider!

Catch you next time True Readers!

PS: That Alex Ross cover art thwips!

Story: Dan Slott Art: Stuart Immonen Ink: Wade Von Grawbadger
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: VC’s Joe Carmagna
Story: 9  Art: 9.5  Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Must Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review