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Peter Parker, the Amazing Spiderman, has faced many deadly foes over the years. Among the greatest of them was Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. In Nov. 2019, Marvel released a collected trade of the Red Goblin story arc. It’s one of the best Spider-man adventures that I personally have read in a long, long time. There are no politics or no “slow burn” to its plot. It’s all out Marvel action from start to finish.

Norman Osborn not only returns to attack Spider-man again but this time he has joined with the Carnage symbiote. With both Osborn’s powers and madness boosted by it, Spider-man faces a battle he can’t win alone. In his first encounter with the new Red Goblin, Spider-man is badly injured. To make matters worse, Osborn reveals he knows who Spider-man is beneath his mask and threatens to come after Peter’s family if he doesn’t stay out of his way.

Peter assembles a team of other heroes to battle the Red Goblin. They are easily defeated but the Red Goblin knows that Peter sent them and thus goes after Peter’s friends and family. Venom enters the fray, protecting Mary Jane. He and Peter take on the Red Goblin together but not even that is enough to stop the insane Osborn in his new incarnation. Finally, the Venom symbiote leaves its host and joins with Peter. In the final battle however, even that proves not enough. Peter realizes the only way to stop the Red Goblin is to out think him.

During the Red Goblin arc, a long time character of Spider-man comics meets his end. His death is both tragic and heroic. The end of the Red Goblin trade deals with this loss and that character’s funeral.

Red Goblin is a must read for Spider-man fans and an enjoyable read for even those that aren’t. This trade paperback is a nice addition to the overall storylines of the Marvel Universe and its history. Marvel really needs to focus on more stories like this one because it’s really the kind of fun that comics are meant to be.

Eric S. Brown, of Canton, is the author of numerous books, including the “Bigfoot War” series that is being made into a movie, and “Wars of the Worlds Plus, Blood, Guts and Zombies.” He is a lifelong comic collector and fan.

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