Unpicking the retcon of Amazing Spider-Man #72

Spoilers ahead!

Amazing Spider-Man #72 throws something big into the mix when it comes to Harry and Norman. And guess who’s involved? Yeah, for once it actually is Mephisto!

Turns out Norman sold Harry to the devil in exchange for wealth and power, power he later used to become the Green Goblin. I’ve heard a few people grumbling about this particular part of the retcon but honestly… it makes sense to me. Perfectly in character with the Norman we’ve known for decades now. And hey, if the past couple years have proved anything, it’s that rich people will happily sacrifice their children for money!

Anyway…

So we finally have an explanation of sorts for Kindred, even though it’s… Kinda complicated to say the least once you bring One More Day into it. We’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to get the answer for that one I guess. But this all begs the question, does this retcon mean Harry was always doomed to become a supervillain and die? Did he ever have any agency in life or was it all Mephisto’s influence?

And I personally think… this retcon actually makes surprisingly little difference. Whether or not Mephisto had a stake in Harry’s soul (and it was sort of unclear whether or not he meant to claim it after Harry’s death or during his life) Harry’s choices are still intact: he still chose to befriend Peter, chose try and kill him, and also chose to save him. Likewise, Mephisto just gave Norman power and he could have used that power to do anything, even improve the world, but instead decided to dress up in a silly outfit and throw bombs around.

So my hope is that this whole drawn-out Kindred story ends with Harry – the “real” Harry, however that may work – getting to make another choice, and making the right one. Just as he’s done so often in the past, damned soul though he may be.

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