REVIEW: Amazing Spider-Man #798 – “Red Dawn”

Amazing Spider-Man #798
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Stuart Immonen
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 04/04/18
Rating: T

Amazing Spider-Man

Plot: The Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) attacks the Daily Bugle and Spider-Man swings into action. Unfortunately this isn’t the same song and dance. Norman reveals his new Red Goblin identity by dropping his fake id card and severely injures a surprised Spidey. Norman makes the wall-crawler an offer: stop being Spider-Man or he’ll kill everyone in Peter Parker’s life.

Story: The setup of the Red Goblin was impressive. The issue starts off with the Green Goblin arriving at the Daily Bugle, which most of the Bugle employees are used to by now. There’s even a moment when the employees evacuate the building and many of them comment on how frequently this happens. Plus this cliche setup makes the Red Goblin’s reveal more impactful for Spider-Man. Peter starts off thinking this is just another fight with his arch nemesis so when Norman reveals his new powers, Peter’s expression changes from confidence to fear. Also Norman’s transformation still retains some shock value even readers knew of his new identity.

Another positive quality of this issue is Dan Slott’s dialogue for the characters. The best example would be Peter’s caption boxes. At the start Peter is a little surprised Norman’s back as the Green Goblin, but when Norman goes red, the tone shifts to full blown fear. Also throughout his run, Slott always provided Spidey with fresh comebacks but in this instance Spider-Man is speechless. This helps sell the reader on how Norman Osborn is a new kind of threat.

The ending of this issue is interesting because it parallels the ending from Superior Spider-Man. At the end of that series, Norman Osborn loses his goblin powers and decides to fight Spider-Man as Norman Osborn in their next encounter. (Obviously that didn’t work out for Norman.) At the end even though Peter gives up his Spider-Man identity, he still vows to stop Norman as Peter Parker. In my opinion, this is what Dan Slott has been telling readers during his Amazing Spider-Man run, Peter Parker’s character is what makes Spider-Man a great hero. In a previous arc when Peter’s powers and equipment were disabled, he still managed to defeat Norman Osborn (see The Osborn Identity). As a longtime Spidey fan, I have no doubt Peter will stop the Red Goblin.

Art: This issue’s artwork is spectacular. Once again the facial expressions were on point and matched up with the characters’ emotions from their dialogue. One example is Spider-Man’s expression just after Norman transforms into the Red Goblin. Even though he’s wearing a full face mask, the reader can still see the fear in Spider-Man. Another great example is when J. Jonah Jameson tries to escape from Norman’s hideout. As Jonah struggles to cut his rope he thinks to himself who he’s lost a lot of people and he can’t let Peter suffer the same fate. While Jonah is usually drawn with a gruff and angry demeanor, this expression of determination and sympathy was a nice change of pace for the character.

Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia did an impressive job with the Red Goblin. The sequence of Norman changing was terrifying and exciting. Also that splash page of the Red Goblin’s full appearance is stunning and gives the reader a taste of the fear going through Spider-Man’s mind. Plus the Carnage themed pumpkin bombs were a nice tough. Also Immonen and Gracia deliver some impressive action scenes not just with the Red Goblin but in the beginning when it’s just Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin again.

Verdict: Spider-Man finally meets the Red Goblin and this issue does not disappoint. The combination of the villainous character of Norman Osborn and the power of Carnage provides the perfect threat for Dan Slott’s final Amazing Spider-Man story arc. This issue has great action and an entertaining story which every Spider-Man fan should be reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5