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Spider-Gwen's Multiverse Adventure Turns the Green Goblin into the Hulk

CBR logo CBR 6/15/2022 Brandon Zachary
© Provided by CBR

The following contains spoilers for Spider-Gwen: Gwen-Verse #3, now on sale from Marvel Comics

The Marvel Multiverse serves a great number of storytelling purposes, but one of the most useful is the opportunity to craft new variants of classic concepts -- allowing major characters to be transformed into new figures. This even extends to fusing unlikely powers to new faces -- or re-imagining classic heroes and villains with new attributes or abilities.

During the multiversal adventures in Spider-Gwen: Gwen-Verse #3 (by Tim Seeley, Jodi Nishijima, Juan Fernandez, and VC's Ariana Maher), Ghost-Spider and her counterparts encounter a version of the Green Goblin who has found a way to essentially become a magical Hulk -- and it doesn't go well for him.

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Ghost-Spider was traveling across the multiverse, encountering versions of herself who embody different aspects of her personality and are all empowered with different abilities instead of being imbued with just spider powers. Their adventures have had some unintended consequences, with one resulting in Wolver-Gwen accidentally wounding the young Norman Osborn. This comes back to haunt the multiverse-hopping Gwens, who find themselves in the same timelines decades later. In this world, Howard Stark and Norman Osborn remained close friends and scientific partners -- eventually even recruiting a third member to their group, Toni Stacy.

An inventor who dons the Guardian Ware EXO Network (a variant of the Iron Man armor), Toni finds herself working with her variants to contend with dark versions of Green Goblin and Black Cat who work for Finale (the villain of the series). In the process, Wolver-Gwen's appearance causes Norman to freak out and turn into his universe's Green Goblin. In this reality, Norman gained this upgrade through magic instead of science -- bargaining with a mysterious goblin until he consumed all his power. This transformation, caused by stress, turns Norman's body massive and green, more or less making him a hybrid of Hulk and Green Goblin.

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However, this isn't the first time that Green Goblin's transformation has been re-imagined like this. While many versions of Norman Osborn, such as the Earth-616 incarnation, take the Goblin Serum and physically remain human, this new Norman is more like the Ultimate Green Goblin. After consuming Oz (the substance that gave Spider-Man his powers in this universe), Norman gained the ability to transform into a massive, hulking figure, capable of generating fireballs with his hands. The magical Green Goblin encountered by the variants of Gwen doesn't gain that perk, but he's no less dangerous -- and unfortunately, his unstable rage bolsters his assault.

Enraged by Wolver-Gwen, Norman's lethal assault prompts him to lash out and almost murder Toni -- forcing her to unleash a powerful blast in self-defense that kills Norman. Norman's death in this universe might be tragic and brutal, but it also shows how dangerous something akin to the Hulk can be. His rage at Toni suggests that he was always intending on attacking her, making his demise somewhat undeniable. The uncontrollable rage of the original Hulk is normally directed towards villains, but similar outbursts of super-strength can be lethal when afforded to someone like Norman Osborn. Sometimes, the power of Marvel icons ends up in the wrong hands, and when that happens it's likely that death will follow.

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