There are only three issues left in Dan Slott's run of Amazing Spider-Man, and at least one big reveal remains right around the corner. Amazing Spider-Man #798, coming to comic book stores on April 4th, will feature the official debut of the Red Goblin. The villain has been built up for the past several issues with silhouettes and screams behind closed doors. No reader has seen this iteration of Spider-Man's deadliest foe yet though.
While the Red Goblin is not technically a brand-new villain, he is a terrifying combination of two classic Spider-Man foes: Norman Osborn and Carnage. This combination has been slowly revealed over the last few issues of the series. Norman, deprived of the serum that makes him Green Goblin, obtained the Carnage symbiote in #794 and bonded with it in #795. Their combined appearance has yet to be seen though. In Amazing Spider-Man #797, the Red Goblin explained his plan and memory of Spider-Man's true identity to a captured J. Jonah Jameson, but stuck to the shadows when merged. Early images crafted by interior artist Stuart Immonen and cover artist Alex Ross have made the Red Goblin seem like a truly terrifying combination though.
All of the pieces are in place now, and the story is prepared to kick into high gear next month The Red Goblin will finally reveal himself to Peter Parker, New York City, and Spidey readers on the edge of their seats across the world. This revelation has fans more excited about the series than any other recent issue. Retailers from across North America and Europe have confirmed that hype over the Red Goblin has reached a fever pitch.
Bruno of Big Bang Comics in Dublin, Ireland told ComicBook.com of a massive spike in sales:
"Buzz on this has been incredible! We raised our orders on this issue nearly 400% (which is QUITE a lot as Amazing Spider-Man is our best-selling Marvel title) as the issues in this storyline keep selling out! Regular Amazing Spider-Man customers are really into this, and we are also picking up tons of new readers on this one that wouldn't normally read Slott's Amazing Spider-Man but have heard good things about this story and want to see how Dan pulls it off."
Ryan Higgins of Comics Conspiracy in California expressed similarly optimistic projections about the first appearance of the Red Goblin:
"When we heard that Amazing Spider-Man #798 was the official first appearance of Red Goblin, we ordered roughly 10 times our normal numbers of Amazing Spider-Man."
Larry Doherty of Larry's Comics in Massachusetts views the current arc as a return for quality in the Dan Slott run:
"Dan Slott has been making damn well sure that his historic run on Amazing Spider-Man ends on a positive note. The title has been bogged down with mediocre arcs for a few years, but Slott proved early on that he's an incredible talented A list writer that is capable of legendary arcs. Superior Spider-Man is in my top ten super-hero storylines of all time."
Dennis Barger of WonderWorld Comics in the Detroit area affirms Larry's perspective as readership for Amazing Spider-Man has grown in recent months:
"New readers have been stagnant for awhile on this book but in the last 3 months we've doubled demand and tripled customers from other stores looking for back stock from over the last year, so this is definitely the shot in the arm Amazing Spider-Man has been needing for awhile."
"Marvel has been building a ton of momentum all through the winter with hits like Thanos, Avengers: No Surrender, and most recently the big Osborn meets Carnage aka the Red Goblin! Fans have been eager to snag the debut of the Red Goblin, and we've made sure to have plenty in stock…"
Patrick Zambrano of Z's Comics Lair in Tennessee sees his store's spike in sales as a testament to the quality of Slott's Amazing Spider-Man:3comments
"It's exciting to see what Dan Slott is doing with his final run in Spider-Man. Ten amazing years of writing and this could be his best!"
It's clear that Dan Slott's final contribution to the Spider-Man rogues gallery has struck a chord. Fans are incredibly excited to get their hands on the first appearance of the Red Goblin and see how Spider-Man "Goes Down Swinging". However events play out in April, it's bound to be the talk of every comic book shop for that month and likely beyond.