By Jim Beard
With a single shot, Norman Osborn finally took over the world-as a hero.
A blast to the brain of the Skrull Queen while the Secret Invasion raged, remade the former Green Goblin into a man to be trusted and worthy of the keys to the entire kingdom. Not too bad for a guy who once rained death and destruction from the skies as Spider-Man's worst enemy.
As "American Son" dawns in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #595, out May 27, Norman steps back from the bigger picture and sets his eye on a very personal matter: his son and heir, Harry Osborn. Dark Reign comes home to roost and the Osborn family will never be the same again.
"Like with any other ongoing Marvel Universe title, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN exists and
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operates against the backdrop of Dark Reign and Norman's rise to power," notes Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. "There's a more direct correlation, of course, in that Norman was a Spidey villain first, and his son Harry is still a part of the AMAZING cast.
"But while we've been hinting in this direction in the 'Character Assassination' and '24/7' storylines, 'American Son' is where Spidey will be dealing with the landscape of Dark Reign directly, head on."
The Reign began to fall immediately as the Secret Invasion closed and Norman Osborn's lightning-swift ascension to power spelled doom for familiar faces of authority. Tony Stark, Iron Man, found himself ousted as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and on the run for supposed crimes. Osborn tossed S.H.I.E.L.D. aside and forged H.A.M.M.E.R. in its stead: a new "peacekeeping" organization at his formidable beck-and-call.
Then, the Cabal. Called together in an unholy alliance, the world's most devious minds gathered at Osborn's summons and the new world order parceled out. Consisting of Doctor Doom, Namor, Loki, the Hood, Emma Frost and Osborn himself, this sinister Cabal's reach extends globally-and beyond.
Even the mighty and honorable name of the Avengers fell under the auspices of the former criminal mastermind and crooked businessman. Forming what can only be labeled the Dark Avengers, Osborn built a
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team of heinous villains into the newest version of Earth's Mightiest Heroes and set them up as saviors, including himself as the armored Iron Patriot.
Opposition now comes from many sides, thankfully, including the so-called New Avengers, long sought for their disregard of the Super Hero Registration Act. With Spider-Man in their ranks and an eye for mischief and mayhem on Osborn's forces, this Avengers hold up the tradition of the name.
But when Norman seeks to bring Harry into H.A.M.M.E.R. and the world seems to go a bit more insane, what can one poor, lowly Spider-Man do? How do you bring the Norman Osborn, the Iron Patriot
, back down to his old nemesis' level for a much-deserved punch in the nose?
"You don't; you force Spider-Man to find some way to rise to his level," offers Brevoort. "Norman's new power base and status in the world makes him more dangerous and more untouchable than ever, and that's something that Spidey is going to have to grapple with. But unless Spidey gets a lucky shot in somewhere, I don't know that he can hope to stem its tide single-handedly; this is a situation that's greater than any one hero, and it'll take more than that to bring it to a close."
Though once a Green Goblin himself, Harry Osborn represents a true wild card in the tale of "American Son" and its impact on the cast of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. It's a story of two Osborns, to be sure, but one of them perhaps not the type of Osborn Norman expects-or needs.
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"Harry is very different from his father, almost by design," Brevoort says. "And yet, he's got the same sort of drive and ambition almost hard-wired into his DNA as a result of his lineage and his upbringing. In 'American Son', we'll see exactly how far Harry is willing to go in order to get what he wants."
The time for talking's through and "American Son" plays out-for better or for worse-beginning this May 27 in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #595 and culminates in issue #599 this July!
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