Providing a veritable fright-fest with its exploration of the truly dark side to Norman Osborn’s disconcertingly homicidal personality, Dan Slott’s opening instalment to “Go Down Swinging” may not have provided the wall-crawling action many of this comic’s voracious 128,189 followers were potentially anticipating due to the absence of this book’s titular character, except in flashback. However, such an omission in no way means that the Berkeley-born writer’s tale depicting the arms dealer sadistically torturing his unseen captive is any less engrossing an experience due to the sheer menace with which the Eisner Award-winner somehow manages to get Harry’s father to exude throughout his twenty-page periodical.
Indeed, due to the cold-blooded butcher repeatedly staring straight out of each panel directly into the eyes of the reader, and his submerged symbiotic relationship with the utterly murderous Carnage, this riveting read genuinely provides the former Green Goblin with a truly palpable presence which makes the American author’s “The Loose Thread” unputdownable, especially when it becomes clear the megalomaniac isn’t opposed to taking his time killing his predominantly silent prisoner by making “a game out of it”, or horrifically biting the head off of a hapless rat..!
Enjoyably, despite the lack of ‘screen time’ for Peter Parker’s alter-ego, Issue Seven Hundred And Ninety Seven of “The Amazing Spider-Man” still manages to provide a modicum of pulse-pounding action in the shape of Norman Osborn’s confrontation with Phillip Ben Urich. The evident discomfort the leader of the Goblin Nation demonstrates when initially faced with the man who “took you under my wing” so as to make “you my goblin knight” shows just how terrifying a supposedly powerless Norman “nobody” Osborn still is even to a super-powered villain who has recently bested Web-head, and as a result the costumed criminal’s utter shock at having his still-beating heart torn out from his chest is all the more impactive; “Osborn? I – – I’m not scared of you. You’re a nobody, Norman. A Nothing. Normal Osborn.”
However, perhaps this publication’s biggest draw is Mary Jane Watson’s potential re-emergence as Parker’s romantic partner having invited him into her apartment for a canoodle on the couch. Disappointingly, this flirtation doesn’t appear to amount to too much, but is subsequently superbly ‘twisted’ by Slott to wrong-foot his audience into believing that “Red Sonja” is distressingly Norman’s unseen victim. A worrying theory which is only resolved once this comic reaches its truly sense-shattering cliff-hanger…