When Ghost-Spider is possessed by the sins of Norman Osborn, she recreates her own death, making her a twisted version of the Green Goblin.
Warning: Spoilers from The Amazing Spider-Man #52 by Nick Spencer, Patrick Gleason, Edgar Delgado and VC’s Joe Caramagna
The death of Gwen Stacy is an iconic comic book event: thrown from atop the George Washington Bridge by the Green Goblin with Spider-Man coming just moments shy of preventing her demise. Holding himself responsible, the event is burned into Peter Parker’s mind. But now, Gwen Stacy’s Ghost-Spider is reliving the event. Possessed by the sins of Spider-Man’s foes, she attempts to throw a hero off the bridge herself – providing a grim re-telling of Gwen Stacy’s death, one in which Gwen Stacy has become the Green Goblin, possessed by the sins of Norman Osborn.
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Ghost-Spider was not acting of her own free will, of course. Because of the recently-upgraded villain Sin-Eater, Ghost-Spider and the Web-Warriors have been possessed by the sins of various Marvel rogues that Sin-Eater has “purified.” The demonic Spider-People have been wreaking havoc around New York, with nothing but destruction in their wake. Leaving webbing and burning buildings across the city, and even taking out heroes like the New Warriors, the possessed Web-Warriors are hell-bent on murder and chaos.
One of the issue’s darkest scenes depicts Peter Parker helplessly looking on as a possessed Gwen Stacy stands atop the George Washington Bridge, holding a limp Miles Morales above her head. Removing her mask to reveal the face of a demonically possessed Gwen, she tosses Miles from the bridge to his death. Left with no choice, Peter ultimately agrees to sacrifice himself to the demon Kindred to save his friends. Kindred accepts his offer, removing the Web-Warriors from his possession, allowing Miles to wake up at the last moment to save himself. Just as quickly as they were possessed, the Spider-Heroes were saved. But were they all possessed by random sins of villains? Or was something far more dark at play?
Gwen’s possession causes her to repeat the sins that lead to her Universe-616 counterpart’s demise. But was this a simple coincidence to deliver shock and awe, or was this the deliberate intention of writer Nick Spencer? In Amazing Spider-Man #50, Sin-Eater absorbed the sins of Norman Osborn. Shortly after, Sin-Eater was overrun with the sins of those he cleansed, and was cast aside by Kindred, leaving him little hope to control all of those sins. The sins break out of him, at which point they possessed the Web-Warriors. Norman Osborne is obsessed with Gwen, so it makes sense his sins would be drawn to her.
This would mean that it was not by happenstance that Gwen was atop the bridge when she threw Miles off. It was because she was possessed specifically by the sins of Norman Osborn – pushing her to reenact one of his darkest moments. This can be further established by looking at the demonic appearance of Gwen’s face when she unmasks herself. The stylistic portrayal of a possessed Gwen has strikingly similar features to the Green Goblin. With a wide, menacing grin and crazed eyes, artist Patrick Gleason seemingly made intentional choices to liken the possessed Gwen to the Green Goblin. The resulting realization that Gwen Stacy was possessed by the sins of Norman Osborn adds an even darker layer to an already dark story.
The Amazing Spider-Man #52 is available now from your local comic book store, or direct from Marvel Comics.
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