Peter Parker Spider-Man #44-47/142-145 (2002): A Death in the Family

This issue starts with Peter having nightmares and struggling to deal with Mary Jane having dumped him. We then move to Norman Osborn…

“You were always a disappointment to us,” Norman says to his dead son. The “us” being Norman and his alter ego, Green Goblin.

So this will be a story about disappointment and reconciliation. It’s a good set of opening, tone-setting pages.

From there comes a series of Spider-Man/Green Goblin fights, spurred on when Norman releases a video of Gwen Stacy’s death-fall to the media. It shows, clearly, that Spider-Man’s attempt to save her is what actually killed her–when he webbed her to break her fall, the sudden stop snapped her neck. This is the story that made this retcon–so it’s a pretty important chapter in Spider-Man history.

Larry King appears with commentary. Osborn then beats the crap out of Flash Thompson as Flash is leaving an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and forces him to drink liquor. Next, when confronted by Spidey, Norman calls his grandson a “useless glob,” which finally pushes Peter over the edge.

But after a grand big fight, the two characters are at a stalemate and simply sit and talk. Peter talks about Gwen and personal loss and finally comes to the realization that he doesn’t want to kill Norman Osborn…

And that’s basically the ending.

There’s a lot of similarity here between some recent Batman/Joker stories. At one point, Norman even tells Peter a bad joke, and Peter laughs hysterically–a clear pull from the amazing Killing Joke graphic novel.

But on the whole, this is a very good Green Goblin story, and certainly the best Norman Osborn appearance in over a decade.

2 thoughts on “Peter Parker Spider-Man #44-47/142-145 (2002): A Death in the Family”

  1. I love that the reason Norman pushes so hard in this story is that he’s trying to get Spider-Man to kill him. Not to prove a point but because Norman can’t do it himself. Suicide by cop. Jenkins is smart to hold that reveal till the end. Its a shame that idea isn’t carried forward.


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