Marvel has made a major change to Norman Osborn - and it's one of the last things that Spider-Man fans would expect from the maniacal villain! In the climax of "Return of the Green Goblin" Peter Parker was faced with the devil's choice to finally end the threat of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, once and for all. Instead of doing that dark deed himself, Spider-Man let Norman behind, effectively "delegating" Norman's execution to another person: Sin-Eater. Well, in Amazing Spider-Man #50 Sin-Eater finally does catch up with Norman Osborn, and the resulting confrontation leaves Norman changed in a fundamental way!
Warning: Amazing Spider-Man #50 SPOILERS Follow!
Peter Parker left Norman Osborn in the facility where they were trying to escape from Sin-Eater, who was hunting them down on order from the mysterious villain Kindred. As stated, Sin-Eater indeed catches up with Norman, has him dead to rights at gunpoint. Norman goes through a range of strange/mad emotions: first he bargains for Sin-Eater's loyalty against Kindred (whose identity is a game-changing secret Norman already knows); next, Norman goes into a classic egomaniac rage at a B-level villain like Sin-Eater challenging him; next, a more calm and sane Norman pleads for mercy; but ultimately, it's the Goblin's persona which surfaces as the lead voice, telling Sin-Eater to pull the trigger and end Norman, as the Goblin no longer has any use for him. Sin-Eater grants the Goblins wish, and guns Norman Osborn down.
This third iteration of Sin-Eater has a the strange power of killing his victims and drawing all their sins out as energy. That's exactly the process that Kindred wants Sin-Eater to carry out on Norman; after so many years of different kinds of corruption in his soul (the Goblin formula, Carnage) the sinful energy that comes out of him is everything Kindred needs to complete his design. Kindred betrays his henchman by drawing out the combined souls of "monsters and murderers" that Sin-Eater has collected, and transforming it into some kind of demonic energy, which has now corrupted Spider-Man and his allies, and ways yet to be fully revealed.
The big twist in Amazing Spider-Man #50 is the reveal of who Kindred truly is, and why he's been gunning for Spider-Man and Green Goblin. However, before we get that we get another twist: Norman Osborn survives Sin-Eater's execution, and is a changed man for it. When he wakes up, Norman is unusually alturistic and nice, pledging to help Spider-Man and redeem Kindred. It appears as though Norman Osborn may finally be cured of his evil ways. What that could mean for Norman's role in the Marvel Universe is intriguing - though Peter Parker will have a hard time accepting that change, if he and Norman even survive their fight with Kindred!