Superstar Artist Greg Smallwood has been raising the bar for every title he touches. Ever since his stellar run on Moon Knight with Jeff Lemire ended, he’s been a floating feature artist on a number of titles. This time, he teams up with Dan Slott and Jordie Bellaire for an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man.
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
Peter Parker isn’t the only character moving on from the Parker Industries era of ASM. Following a brief stint as an international terrorist, Norman Osborn is desperate to get back into the Goblin business. To restore that madness in his brain, he must seek the help of a secret order of monks to flush out the nanites that Spider-Man infected him with.
Amazing Spider-Man #32 is a cleverly crafted script, brilliantly illustrated, and vibrantly colored. Readers go on this journey of mystic findings with Norman as he sees what could have been if the monks had taught him the way of sorcery. Revealing that he never passed the first test, but now knows the madness is still inside him, is a satisfying misdirection.
Dan Slott gives us a breather, spending some intimate time with our favorite Goblin was a wise choice as we enter the Legacy era. Osborn is one of the best villains in Marvel Comics history. Slott successfully showcases a lost and broken man finding his way back to misguided hope and insanity. It’s been a while since Norman’s priorities and personalities were that of pumpkin bombs and gliders. Seeing him come full circle gets my blood pumping, I can’t wait to see where he goes next.
Smallwood’s artistic approach isn’t limited to characters with mental issues, but he sure has a knack for them. The final act of this issue is a liquid insanity swirling around the drain of reality. The grainy and sand paper looking visual style adds a layer of mystery and suspense. It almost seems like a dream sequence, which is all the more fitting once you reach the big reveal.
This was a fun snippet of what Norman would look like if he were to find a path to mysticism. With Peter Parker returning to a more humble financial state, seeing that Norman is also reverting to his former ways is exciting enough to make your spider-sense tingle.
With Marvel Legacy just around the corner, the world of Amazing Spider-Man is one to pay close attention to. This era of Spidey comics might not have been for everyone, but the fallout and graduation from it will no doubt be stimulating. Having Norman desperately back on the path to being the Green Goblin again promises future fun for our favorite web slinger.