Norman Osborn is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (cover dated July 1964) as the original and most well-known incarnation of the Green Goblin.
|First appearance||as Green Goblin:
The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964)
as Norman Osborn (unnamed):
The Amazing Spider-Man #23 (April 1965)
as Norman Osborn (named):
The Amazing Spider-Man #37 (June 1966)
as Iron Patriot:
Dark Avengers #1 (March 2009)
as Mason Banks:
Superior Spider-Man #17 (November 2013)
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Full name||Norman Virgil Osborn|
Commission on Superhuman Activities
|Notable aliases||Green Goblin, Iron Patriot, Goblin King, Mason Banks|
An amoral industrialist head of Oscorp, he took a formula which enhanced his physical abilities and intellect but also drove him to insanity. He is widely regarded as Spider-Man's archenemy, being responsible for numerous tragedies in Peter Parker's life (such as Gwen Stacy's death and the Clone Saga), and is the father of Peter Parker's best friend Harry Osborn. However (or as a result of), he has also come into conflict with other superheroes in the Marvel Universe, and was the focus of the company-wide Dark Reign storyline as the original iteration of Iron Patriot.
As the Goblin he adopted a Halloween-themed appearance, dressing in a goblin costume, riding on a bat-shaped "Goblin Glider", and using an arsenal of high-tech weapons, notably grenade-like "Pumpkin Bombs", to terrorize New York City. Although Osborn sometimes works with other supervillains such as Doctor Octopus and Mysterio, and groups like the Sinister Six and the Dark Avengers, these relationships often collapse due to his desire for unbridled chaos. Although his primary obsession is Spider-Man, Osborn has also fought many other heroes including Jessica Jones and the Punisher.
IGN ranked Norman Osborn as 13th on their Greatest Comic Book Villains of All Time list in 2009, 13th on their Top 25 Marvel Villains list in 2014, and 24th on their Top 100 Villains list in 2016. The character's popularity has seen him appear on a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectable items, inspire real-world structures (such as theme park attractions), and be referenced in a number of media. Osborn has been adapted to serve as Spider-Man's adversary in live-action, animated, and video game incarnations. The character has been portrayed in film by Willem Dafoe in the 2002 film Spider-Man and Chris Cooper in the 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Neil Ross, Steven Weber, and others have provided the character's voice.
According to Steve Ditko, "Stan's synopsis for the Green Goblin had a movie crew, on location, finding an Egyptian-like sarcophagus. Inside was an ancient, mythological demon, the Green Goblin. He naturally came to life. On my own, I changed Stan's mythological demon into a human villain."
The Green Goblin debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #14. At the end of the story, the Green Goblin is shown changing out of his costume (but with his face obscured), consoling himself that although he was unsuccessful in his scheme, his secret identity remains safe. However, the mystery of the Green Goblin's true identity was not played up until the fourth story arc featuring him, in The Amazing Spider-Man #26-27. According to both Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr., who replaced Ditko as the title's artist, Lee always wanted the Green Goblin to be someone Peter Parker knew, while Ditko wanted his civilian identity to be someone who hadn't yet been introduced. Lee elaborated: "At some point we had to tell the reader who The Green Goblin really was. And Steve wanted him to turn out to be just some character that we had never seen before. Because, he said, in real life, very often a villain turns out to be somebody that you never knew. And I felt that that would be wrong. I felt, in a sense, it would be like cheating the reader. ... if it's somebody you didn't know and had never seen, then what was the point of following all the clues? I think that frustrates the reader. So that was a big argument we had." However, Ditko's account contradicts Lee's: "So I had to have some definite ideas: who he was, his profession and how he fit into the Spider-Man story world. I was even going to use an earlier, planted character associated with J. Jonah Jameson: he [was to] be [revealed as] the Green Goblin. It was like a subplot working its way until it was ready to play an active role."
Ditko left the series with issue #38, before he could reveal Green Goblin's identity, and Lee unmasked him in the next issue as Norman Osborn, a character who had been introduced two issues earlier as Harry Osborn's father. John Romita, Sr., who replaced Ditko as the title's artist, recalled:
Stan wouldn't have been able to stand it if Ditko did the story and didn't reveal that the Green Goblin was Norman Osborn. I didn't know there was any doubt about Osborn being the Goblin. I didn't know that Ditko had just been setting Osborn up as a straw dog. I just accepted the fact that it was going to be Norman Osborn when we plotted it. I had been following the last couple of issues and didn't think there was really much mystery about it. Looking back, I doubt the Goblin's identity would have been revealed in Amazing #39 if Ditko had stayed on.
In 2009, Ditko made a statement in his essay, "The Ever Unwilling" he wrote for the March issue of The Comics:
Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be. I absolutely knew because I planted him in J. Jonah Jameson’s businessmans club, it was where JJJ and the GG could be seen together. I planted them together in other stories where the GG would not appear in costume, action."
"I wanted JJJ’s and the GG’s lives to mix for later story drama involving more than just the two characters"
"I planted the GG’s son (same distinctive hair style) in the college issues for more dramatic involvement and storyline consequences"
"So how could there be any doubt, dispute, about who the GG had to turn out to be when unmasked?"
In the landmark story "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" (The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122), the Green Goblin kills Gwen Stacy and later perishes in a fight against Spider-Man. Others, such as Harry Osborn, later adopted the Green Goblin identity, and writer Roger Stern later introduced the Hobgoblin to replace the Green Goblin as Spider-Man's archenemy. In addition, a retcon during the "Clone Saga" determined that Norman Osborn survived the events of The Amazing Spider-Man #122 and had been playing a behind-the-scenes role in Spider-Man's adventures since then.
During the Clone Saga storyline, the Spider-Man writers were met with a massive outcry from many readers after the decision to replace Peter Parker with his clone Ben Reilly as the true Spider-Man. Eventually, the writers decided to reveal that one of Spider-Man's arch-enemies had been manipulating events from behind the scenes. The initial plan was to use Mephisto, but they felt a more down-to-earth character was needed. It was then suggested that the semi-zombified cyborg known as "Gaunt" be revealed as Harry Osborn who was killed in The Spectacular Spider-Man #200. Gaunt was a late entry to the controversial storyline, created mainly as a plot device to return Harry to life; the plan for the character included Harry regaining his humanity, taking credit for tricking Peter into thinking he was a clone and resuming his father's Green Goblin identity full-time. However, the plotline was rejected by newly promoted editor in chief Bob Harras, and instead chose Norman to be the mastermind. Following the Clone Saga, Green Goblin reestablished himself as a supervillain and Spider-Man's nemesis, leading the Goblin to serve as the main antagonist of several Spider-Man stories thereafter.
Osborn returns in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #75 and is blown up at the end of the issue. It is shown in Spectacular Spider-Man #250 that he has recovered and returns to his life without the Green Goblin identity. The character instead would attack Spider-Man through minions and smear campaigns designed to make him seem to be a monster. However, he would still wear his Green Goblin costume in battle.
Following the "Civil War" story arc, Warren Ellis began writing Thunderbolts, and Osborn was brought into the title as the director of the team. He was one of several characters offered to Ellis, who picked him because, according to Thunderbolts editor Molly Lazer, "[t]here was something about Norman, his instability, and his fixation with Spider-Man that Warren liked, so he's in the book!" Ellis admitted not being very familiar with the character, saying, "all I remember of the Norman Osborn character was from the Spider-Man reprints my parents used to buy me when I was very young, and Norman Osborn was this guy with a weird rippled crewcut who was always sweating and his eyes were always bulging out of his head. That guy as a Donald Rumsfeld-like public governmental figure... [Joe Quesada] talked me into writing the book while I was still laughing." Lazer confirmed that the new team was answerable to the Commission on Superhuman Activities, giving him the opportunity to do what he wanted: "He's a free man with a lot of power .... And his agenda, well, it's not that secret. He wants to get Spider-Man."
Writer Christos Gage took over for the Secret Invasion tie-in stories, which end with Osborn taking credit for the defeat of the Skrulls, after he kills the Skrull queen Veranke. This allowed the character to be placed into an influential position in the aftermath Dark Reign. Although the dark turn at the end was always part of the plan for the storyline, Brian Michael Bendis, Secret Invasion's writer, says that Osborn was picked for the leading role because of the changes implemented by Ellis: "While I was putting it together, Warren [Ellis]'s Thunderbolts run made it very clear that if one would choose to do so, Norman was on track to head toward this kind of storyline, very organically, very in-character, and very much within the realm of what was going on." Bendis stated, "Norman's team is made up of people who are outstanding at what they do. These are bad-ass, hardcore get-it-done types. They'll close the door and take care of business, and he's dressing them up to make them something that the people want."
Meanwhile, Andy Diggle took over the writing of Thunderbolts. He introduced new characters to serve as Osborn's black ops team, explaining, "Norman selected agents with stealth, infiltration and assassination skills rather than overt flying-and-fighting type powers" and "now that he's reached a higher level, he's reconfiguring the Thunderbolts into something much more covert and much more lethal: his own personal hit squad." Diggle's Osborn is still mad: "To quote the movie Speed, he's 'crazy, not stupid.' He's clearly fiercely intelligent and a natural born leader, with the ego and competitive drive to succeed against all odds. He also just happens to be crazy as a shithouse rat." He describes his take on Osborn: "I think the secret to understanding Norman is that he doesn't realize he's the villain. He thinks he's the hero. He truly believes that he deserves public adulation, and it bugs the hell out of him that so-called 'superheroes' are getting it instead of him."
He appeared as a regular character in the Dark Avengers series from issue #1 (March 2009) through issue #16 (June 2010), as well as the mini-series "Siege", which saw Norman being arrested for the crimes committed by him following the events of Civil War storyline. At this point, the character was more involved with the Avengers and only made three minor appearances in Amazing Spider-Man. The first was "Brand New Ways To Die", which ran from Amazing Spider-Man #570-573 and featured Norman and the Thunderbolts versus Spider-Man and the original Venom. His second appearance was Amazing Spider-Man #580, which explained that, following Mephisto's alteration of Spider-Man's past, Norman's return was significantly altered. He had returned earlier than he had originally returned and that he had arranged for his son Harry's death to be faked with help from Mysterio, due to his concern for his son's mental well being after once again became the Green Goblin. His final appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #595-599: in this storyline, Norman attempts to convince his son to become a super-hero so that he can kill him off and exploit his demise. It also revealed that he was sleeping with the super-villain Menace (Harry's ex-girlfriend), with Norman believing that the villain's child she was carrying was his.
A five issue mini-series followed, written by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Emma Rios. The mini-series would lead into a dual storyline running in the pages of New Avengers #17–24 and Avengers #18–24, in which the character formed a new version of the Dark Avengers and ultimately garnered new powers, having turned himself into a Super-Adaptoid.
Fictional character biographyEdit
Norman was born in New Haven, Connecticut as the son of industrialist Amberson Osborn. Amberson, a brilliant student in the fields of science, became an alcoholic after losing control of his company and was physically abusive toward his family. Norman quickly came to despise his father, resolving to be a better breadwinner while developing early homicidal tendencies as a means of relieving the stress of his father's abuse.
In college, where he studied chemistry and electrical engineering, Norman meets and gets married to his college sweetheart and they eventually have their son Harold "Harry" Osborn. In his adulthood, he co-founds the major firm Oscorp Industries with his former professor Mendel Stromm with himself as owner and president. However, his wife becomes ill and dies when Harry is barely a year old. This tragedy pushes Norman to work harder, leading him to emotionally neglect Harry. Hoping to gain more control of Oscorp Industries, Osborn accuses Stromm of embezzlement and has his partner arrested. Norman then searches Stromm's possessions, discovering an experimental strength/intelligence enhancement formula. When Norman attempts to create the serum, it turns green and explodes in his face. The accident greatly increases his intelligence and physical abilities, but also drives him to destructive insanity.
The original Green GoblinEdit
Norman Osborn adopts the Green Goblin identity with the goal of becoming boss of the city's organized crime. He intends to cement his position with Spider-Man's defeat. Acting on his own as Green Goblin, or through his employment of other super-criminals such as the Headsman, he would bedevil Spider-Man many times but fail to achieve his goal. Mendal Stromm returns from prison and attempts revenge with an army of robots, but Osborn is saved by Spider-Man and Stromm apparently dies of a heart attack. In order to discover his nemesis's secret identity, Osborn exposes Spider-Man to a gas that nullifies the web-slinger's spider-sense. This allows Osborn to stalk Spider-Man until he learns that his nemesis is Peter Parker, a college student and his son's classmate. Surprising Spider-Man's civilian identity, he knocks Parker out with an asphyxiation grenade and takes his foe to his waterfront base. After he unmasks himself to his captive, Parker goads him into recounting how he became Green Goblin, having enough time to break free. In the ensuing battle, Spider-Man accidentally knocks Osborn into a mass of electrical wires, wiping out his memory. To avoid shame, Spider-Man destroys the Green Goblin costume in the resulting fire and tells the authorities that Osborn lost his memory while helping defeat Green Goblin.
Osborn is troubled by repressed memories of the Green Goblin and Spider-Man. After a presentation on supervillains by NYPD Captain George Stacy restores Osborn's memory, he experiences a brief return to his Green Goblin persona. While abducting Parker's friends and threatening Parker's elderly aunt, he is exposed to one of his own "psychedelic bombs", inducing another amnesia spell. Later Osborn stumbles upon an old Green Goblin hideout which again restores his memory. However, the shock of seeing Harry Osborn hospitalized, overdosed on drugs, causes Osborn's amnesia to return yet again.
After his memory returns yet again, the Green Goblin kidnaps and takes Gwen Stacy to a bridge. During Spider-Man's rescue attempt, Osborn knocks Gwen off the bridge, resulting in the girl's death. Spider-Man, obsessed with revenge, tracks Green Goblin to his hideout, and Osborn is impaled by his own goblin glider in the ensuing battle.
While Osborn lies in the morgue, it is revealed that the goblin formula gave him a previously-unknown healing factor, that restores him to life, sneaking out and killing someone with a similar physical type to himself to leave a fake body. No longer suffering from bouts of amnesia, Norman Osborn escapes to Europe, where he can move freely and unnoticed. During this time abroad when he's believed dead by the general public, he orchestrates several plots, including replacing Aunt May with a genetically altered actress, and faking his son Harry Osborn's death. Most significantly, however, he utilizes his fortune to build a vast network of criminals, spies, dupes and co-conspirators to help engineer what would be an almost impossibly complex and meticulously planned plot to destroy Spider-Man's life. To achieve this, he becomes the leader of the Scrier cabal consisting of Seward Trainer, Judas Traveller, the Jackal and the cyborg Gaunt (Mendel Stromm) as his pawns which he utilizes to carry out revenge against Peter Parker. It is this group of individuals who become crucial in duping Parker into believing that he is actually a clone of himself created by Jackal, while claiming that the clone – who comes to be known as Ben Reilly – is actually the original. Frustrated by Parker's perseverance despite everything that's been inflicted, Osborn publicly reveals that he's alive on Halloween. During the destructive battle that ensues, Osborn attempts to kill Parker by impaling his nemesis with his goblin glider. When Reilly sacrifices himself to save Parker (and degenerates upon death as all clones do), Parker learns the truth about him being the original. During this same time, Osborn may or may not have murdered or abducted Peter's newborn daughter, after one of his allies apparently prematurely induces Mary Jane's pregnancy and the stillbirth of the baby.
The returned Osborn regains control of his business and also buys out the Daily Bugle, humiliating former friend and societal peer J. Jonah Jameson as he no longer has control over the newspaper. He also torments Ben Urich and demands a retraction over Urich's expose of his time as Green Goblin, providing faked evidence that he was never the Green Goblin despite Urich's extensive research. However, he saves his most sadistic treatment for Peter, acting not only as a constant reminder of all the pain he's inflicted on his nemesis over the years, but a looming threat that could strike at any time. The pressure eventually makes Spider-Man snap by savagely beating a civilian and non-resistant Osborn in front of his CCTV, which, combined with Osborn convincing the Trapster to frame Spider-Man for murder, results in Spider-Man being wanted again. This results in Spider-Man adopting four new identities, using two of these identities to convince the Trapster to expose his own role in Osborn's scheme, and provide fake evidence that the Spider-Man that beat Osborn was an impostor. For a time, Osborn retires his costumed persona and uses a stand-in so as not to be suspected of being the Green Goblin. This fifth Green Goblin kidnaps Norman's grandson and clashes with a wanted and injured Spider-Man. He also crosses paths with Roderick Kingsley and initiates a hostile takeover of the latter's corporate empire in retaliation for raiding the Goblin arsenal and identity. Osborn joins a cult, hoping to receive great power from the 'Gathering of Five', which will grant the participants Power, Knowledge, Immortality, Madness or Death, but while he believes that he receives Power, he is instead driven further into madness, threatening the world with genetic bombs. It is during this time that Peter learns May Parker is alive and Osborn's actress died in her place. Osborn is so far gone as he hallucinates unmasking and killing Peter yet in reality Peter easily defeats him, but he is rescued from custody by his Scriers. A few months later, a highly unstable Osborn has partially regained his sanity with the help of anti-psychotic drugs. He comes to see Parker as the son he had always wanted and attempts to have Parker take on the Green Goblin mantle using physiological torture but ultimately fails. Osborn's next plan involves using a drunken Flash Thompson to drive a truck into Midtown High School, resulting in an accident that causes Thompson brain damage. This successfully enrages Parker into what Osborn anticipates will be a climactic battle. During this confrontation, an emotionally weary Parker tells Osborn of being tired of this roundelay, and declares a truce.
Osborn's Green Goblin identity is revealed to the public through an investigation by Jessica Jones after Osborn murders one of the reporters from the Daily Bugle. After a battle with Spider-Man and Luke Cage, Osborn is arrested and sent to prison for the first time. Things were far from over, however. From behind bars, Osborn once again masterminded a plan against Spider-Man. This time he had MacDonald "Mac" Gargan kidnap Aunt May. The plan was for Spider-Man to break Osborn out of prison in exchange for his aunt's life. Peter reluctantly agreed and with the help of the Black Cat proceeded to break Osborn out, only to have twelve of his greatest enemies waiting for him on the outside. Osborn had assembled a team, which included Gargan newly bonded with the Venom symbiote. However, Mary Jane had contacted SHIELD, and the villains were faced with the combined might of Captain America, Iron Man, Yellowjacket, Daredevil and the Fantastic Four. During the fracas, the Green Goblin had escaped to kidnap Mary Jane Watson and took her to the George Washington Bridge in order to replay his murder of Gwen Stacy. However, a drugged Doctor Octopus intervened, attacking the Green Goblin. Spider-Man was able to save Mary Jane after a bolt of lightning sent the two villains into the river. Following some verbal clues from the Green Goblin, Peter was also able to discover where he had hidden Aunt May and rescued her as well. It was revealed that Osborn sent Peter a letter before the fight, thanking Peter for giving his life meaning and purpose, but Peter never received the letter due to moving from his residence. Osborn escapes to Paris but is apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Years after Gwen Stacy's death, it is revealed that Osborn had a one-night stand with Gwen after being overwhelmed by his charisma which in turn leads to Gwen's pregnancy with the twin children Gabriel and Sarah. Osborn thus has three motives for killing Gwen; revenge against Spider-Man, to prevent Gwen talking of their affair and creating a scandal, and to take their children to raise by himself thus becoming his ideal heirs. Mary Jane Watson was the only person who knew of their liaison and their children's existence, despising Osborn for his immoral behaviors long before discovering he is the villainous Green Goblin. The children return to attack Peter, believing that he is their father and responsible for Gwen's death, but Peter is able to convince Sarah of Osborn's villainy, the truth of her paternity and circumstances of her mother's death, and stabilized her physiology with a blood transfusion. However, despite Gabriel himself is convinced of the truth of his relation to Osborn after watching a video message from him at one of the Green Goblin's lairs, he aligns with his father despite knowing he killed his mother and stabilizes his own condition using a variation of the Goblin formula at the cost of his sanity.
Rise and fallEdit
Norman Osborn attempts to distance himself from his Green Goblin persona after being prescribed medication. During the "Civil War" over the Superhuman Registration Act, Osborn is appointed director of the Thunderbolts superhero team, now tasked to apprehend anyone who resists registering. While in this capacity, he directs the Thunderbolts to apprehend or kill Spider-Man, but after Mephisto changed reality, Harry Osborn was alive once more and no one (including Norman) knew Spider-Man's secret identity. In the end, Spider-Man manages to evade this coordinated attack and escape. During the "Secret Invasion" by the shape-shifting Skrulls alien race, Osborn shoots and kills the Skrull queen Veranke. He leverages this widely publicized success, positioning himself as the new director of the S.H.I.E.L.D.-like paramilitary force H.A.M.M.E.R. to advance his agenda, while using his public image to start his own Dark Avengers; Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Bullseye as Hawkeye, Venom as Spider-Man, Daken as Wolverine and Noh-Varr as Captain Marvel, as well as manipulating Ares and the Sentry into helping further his cause. Osborn himself leads his Avengers as the Iron Patriot, a suit of armor fashioned by himself after Iron Man's armor with Captain America's American flag colors. Osborn simultaneously forms the Cabal alliance with Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Namor, Loki and the Hood, but this 'alliance' quickly falls apart when Namor and Frost betray the Cabal to aid the X-Men.
His attempts to exert his authority are increasingly jeopardized by various superheroes. Osborn is tricked into attacking a brain damaged Tony Stark in an original Iron Man suit, thus showing Osborn brutally assaulting a physically and mentally incapable Stark that was not even attempting to strike back.
Harry Osborn is approached by Norman with the offer of a job within his father's personal Avengers. Harry initially declines, but after a visit from Lily Hollister revealing that she is pregnant, he accepts. Norman welcomes him into Avengers Tower and wants to make Harry into the American Son. Harry is shown to have an ulterior motive, however, based on his need to protect Lily and his child. Disabling the camera in his room, Harry sneaks off. He finds a cure for Lilly's Green Goblin condition that will be safe for her and the baby but she pushes him away. Lily reveals that it is all a ruse to coerce Harry into becoming American Son, whom Norman would eventually have die in a tragedy to increase sympathy for Norman and his Avengers. She also reveals that the baby is not Harry's but in fact Norman's. In retaliation for this news, Harry dons his American Son armor and fights against his father using the Iron Patriot armor.
During the battle, Norman declares that Harry is no longer his son and that he has bred a better child to replace the failure of Harry. After further taunts from Norman, Harry lashes out and defeats his father, declaring "I was never your son!". When Harry has the option of killing Norman, Spider-Man tells him to decapitate Norman, since Norman's healing factor may repair a blow to the head. Spider-Man states that killing Norman will cause Harry to "become the son Norman always wanted". Harry backs down, and walks away from Norman forever. The New Avengers use a tracking device Osborn had planted in Luke Cage to trick Osborn into blowing up his own house. Osborn then creates a rationale to invade Asgard, claiming it poses a national security threat. During a pitched battle with several superheroes, Sentry causes Thor's world to fall to Earth. In the middle of Osborn's fight with Steve Rogers, Stark removes Osborn's armor remotely, revealing Osborn used green facepaint to create a goblin-like look. Osborn screams that they do not know what they have done, only for Spider-Man to knock him down. He tells them they are all dead as the Void is released. Osborn knocks out Rogers and tries to escape, but is captured by Volstagg. Incarcerated in The Raft penitentiary, he blames his Green Goblin alter-ego for ruining his chance to protect the world as Iron Patriot.
When transferred to a secret underwater government base, Osborn takes steps to ensure his release from prison. He uses a group of followers known as the 'Green Goblin Cult' to break out with the aid of corrupt senators, planning to turn himself in after killing his fellow escapees, setting him up as a 'champion' of the judicial system.
After the breakout he awaits his trial in a new prison, this one controlled by his cult members. Using his staged persona as a voice for the 'disenfranchised', Osborn plans to regain the Iron Patriot armor and creates a new team of Dark Avengers: June Covington as Scarlet Witch, Ai Apaec as Spider-Man, Barney Barton as Hawkeye, Skaar as Hulk, Superia as Ms. Marvel, Gorgon as Wolverine and an A.I.M. rebuilt Ragnarok as Thor. In the team's first fight with the New Avengers, Osborn reveals he has the Super-Adaptoid's powers and declares himself the head of world security and orders the Avengers arrested for war crimes. However, double agent Skaar betrays Osborn, allowing the Avengers to dogpile Osborn's body. This overloads him with superpowers, placing him in a coma. A.I.M. and HYDRA pick up Osborn's leftover resources and H.A.M.M.E.R. is disbanded.
Later after the Hobgoblin returns to New York, a nurse and doctor are called to Norman's hospital room only to find him gone.
The Goblin KingEdit
When the children that work for the Vulture are discussing what to do after Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius's mind in Spider-Man's body) had brutally defeated the Vulture, the Green Goblin approaches them and tells them that he will be the one that crushes Superior Spider-Man. Green Goblin is later shown having gathered a new gang of followers together in the sewers formed from discarded members of other villains' gangs like Vulture's gang, some Hand Ninjas, members of Owl's gang, and members of the third White Dragon's gang. These henchmen escaped as Superior Spider-Man is more focused on the larger threats where the original Spider-Man would focus on individuals. As he builds this army to attack Superior Spider-Man, Green Goblin takes up his new alias of the Goblin King. The Hand ninjas that evaded capture made it to the sewers and joined up with Goblin King's Goblin Underground. They are rejoiced by the news that thanks to Superior Spider-Man's assault, Goblin King now owns over the half of New York's organized crime claiming that he now owns New York City as the Goblin Kingpin of Crime.
With the help of Menace, the Goblin King later releases Phil Urich from a prison transport and upgrades Urich's Goblin armor and weapons. Goblin King asks only that Urich dedicate his only identity from here on as the Goblin Knight. Goblin King trains Goblin Knight anxious to confront Superior Spider-Man. Goblin King later poses as Hobgoblin and is sighted by some of the Spiderlings.
Upon Carlie Cooper being brought to the Goblin King's lair by Menace, he receives Carlie's journal from Menace which reveals to him that Otto's mind is in Spider-Man's body. Goblin King later douses Carlie with the Goblin formula, causing her to mutate into the new superhuman villain Monster. He demands to know Spider-Man's identity, but Monster first asks Goblin King to reveal his own identity. Goblin King assures her he is Norman Osborn, but refuses to remove his mask until she has proven herself a loyal follower, and dispatches Monster and Menace on a mission. Goblin King battles and kills the original Hobgoblin, although it is revealed to be a butler acting under the original Hobgoblin's orders with Roderick Kingsley still in hiding abroad.
Having staged a coup of New York after spreading his resources by exploiting Otto's reliance on technology, the Goblin King directly confronts Otto, angry that he was cheated out of the opportunity to defeat his enemy but offering Otto the chance to join him. Otto rejects the offer, but when he finds that he cannot win against Goblin King's resources, with his new allies having abandoned him, and with his faith in his own abilities gone, he sacrifices himself to restore the original Spider-Man's mind. When Spider-Man arrives for the final confrontation, Goblin King quickly realizes that the original is back in control when he responds to his nemesis' taunts with his own trademark wisecracks. In the duel that follows, Spider-Man unmasks Goblin King and learns that he has undergone plastic surgery and is now acting as the CEO of Alchemax, intending to re-establish himself as businessman Mason Banks now that Norman Osborn has become too publicly known as a supervillain. Spider-Man defeats and strips the villain of his powers with a serum devised by Otto, but manages to escape through Liz Allan's discreet aid. In hiding once again, he reflects that the various heroes will be unprepared for him when he returns with his new identity and approach as a businessman, no longer afflicted with the mental illness associated with the Green Goblin formula.
During the Secret Wars storyline, Norman Osborn is among the villains that attend the Kingpin's viewing party of the incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610. The Punisher walks in on the proceedings and killed the attendees.
All New, All Different MarvelEdit
Norman's position as the Goblin King was quickly taken by the Goblin Knight (Phil Urich). However, a mysterious man with a bandaged face is shown selling Goblin-based weaponry globally to attack Parker Industries. This man reveals himself to be Norman Osborn, alive again post-Secret Wars and still planning on getting revenge on Spider-Man. He has since been revealed to have played a part in the recent coup of Symkaria, having restored a semblance of his original features via a twisted form of plastic surgery, intending to release a modified version of the Goblin formula to turn the whole country into Goblin-powered soldiers programmed to be loyal to him.
Powers, abilities, and weaknessesEdit
Norman Osborn was turned into the Green Goblin by a chemical solution he had devised based upon a formula originally conceived by Professor Mendel Stromm. The process granted Osborn superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, and stamina as well as a low-level rapid healing factor.
In addition to these physical advantages, the serum also greatly enhanced Norman's already-above average intellect, making him a bona fide genius capable of making breakthroughs in advanced areas of genetics, robotics, engineering, physics and applied chemistry. The Goblin formula is also said to have driven Osborn insane; defects in his personality were strongly augmented by the serum, resulting in dangerous mood-swings and hallucinations.
Following his confrontation with the returned Spider-Man after his campaign against Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man's body, Norman Osborn has not only been 'cured' of the Goblin formula, but his body is now incapable of regaining his old powers. He has since claimed to have 'perfected' the Goblin serum so that it will grant the subjects powers while also reverting those he chooses to a more basic mentality where they will accept his orders.
Weapons of the Green GoblinEdit
Weapons as the Iron PatriotEdit
During the events of the "Dark Reign" storyline, Osborn created the identity of the Iron Patriot (an amalgam of Iron Man and Captain America) to cement his standing as a hero. As the Iron Patriot, he utilized an outdated version of Iron Man's armor painted in Captain America's colors. The armor featured superhuman strength, enhanced durability, flight, magnetic impact blasts, heat seeking missiles, miniaturized lasers, flamethrowers, and a communications system housed in his helmet which allowed him to interface with any U.S.-controlled satellite or computer network. While the original Iron Man armor utilized repulsor technology, Osborn's design does not; Stark destroyed all but one repulsor, and stated that "Oz is too stupid" to make his own repulsor-based weapons system. The star shaped Uni Beam projector on his chest, because of its shape, also has a less powerful output than that of the original Iron Man model.
Powers and weaknesses as the Super-AdaptoidEdit
Following his time in prison, A.I.M scientists converted Osborn into a Super-Adaptoid, capable of absorbing the abilities of any mutant, mutate, alien, android or other such super powered being by touching them. In this form he possessed considerably increased strength and durability; where he was once approximately as strong as Spider-Man, he now possessed sufficient strength to overpower and throw Luke Cage a significant distance away from him. He could also levitate, and he was able to defeat the Vision in an aerial conflict between the two.
He is known to have absorbed the abilities of Luke Cage, Vision, Red Hulk and Protector, and it is suggested that he also absorbed the abilities of his current Dark Avengers. In his final form, his body grew to the Hulk's size, and like Hulk he was capable of creating shockwaves by hitting the ground or smashing his hands together. His durability was sufficient to withstand the combined attacks of all the Avengers, and he demonstrated remarkable healing abilities, recovering in seconds after Daisy Johnson used her powers to make his heart explode. He could also turn intangible by manipulating his density, as the Vision does.
However, Osborn had no control over his Super-Adaptoid abilities; he would automatically absorb the powers of any superhuman he touched, even if he did not consciously want to. He was also limited in how many powers his body could hold, as the A.I.M. scientists warned him that absorbing too many powers at once could overload his systems. In the end, he inadvertently absorbed the abilities of all the Avengers and New Avengers when they all touched him at once, and the unstable combination of their multiple different powers caused significant damage to his body chemistry, resulting in him becoming comatose. After he regained consciousness, these powers were apparently burnt out, returning him to his Goblin-level strength instead.[volume & issue needed]
Mental illness and other weaknessesEdit
Norman Osborn has consistently been depicted with several unusual weaknesses related to his psychosis and to his personality. He suffers from manic depression, has a pronounced narcissistic personality disorder co-morbid with severe anti-social psychopathic traits, and in some depictions, a multiple-personality disorder. For some of his early appearances he and the Goblin were separate personalities; his Goblin side disdaining his human weaknesses, while his Norman Osborn persona was primarily motivated by his concern for Harry. Although his anger over his son's failing health as 'Norman' helped to provoke his transformation back into the Goblin, this supposedly separate and more compassionate side of him never reappeared after he was believed dead. Norman is also highly sadistic, showing a complete lack of empathy for the lives of innocent people who stand between him and his objectives. These weaknesses have often been referenced in stories featuring him and exploited by his enemies.
Norman Osborn is shown to be severely manic depressive. This has been referenced several times in a myriad of Spider-Man stories. When he is not under the direction of a psychiatrist and taking medication, he has dangerous mood swings. At the apex of his mania, he is paranoid, delusional, and suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations, including hearing the voice of his Green Goblin persona and seeing its face in the mirror rather than his own. Previously, Osborn's arrogance caused him to refuse to submit to psychiatric treatment unless forced to; he viewed mental illness as an imperfection and therefore would not admit that he is mentally ill. In later conversations with the Sentry, Osborn revealed that he had come to accept his own mental illness.
Superhuman psychologist Leonard Samson says of Osborn: "In clinical terms, the words psychotic and psychopathic are far from synonymous... but in Norman Osborn's case, both apply. I'd characterise him as a bipolar psychotic with concurrent aspects of psychopathic megalomania and malignant narcissism. In layman's terms, a lethal cocktail of intersecting personality disorders that makes him one of the most dangerous human beings on the planet."
There are many examples of Osborn's pronounced superiority complex, to the point that he will rarely, if ever, admit that he has made mistakes, transferring blame for his shortcomings to others or claiming that he was better than he was; even before his accident, he spent more time providing Harry with gifts or outings rather than actually being there for his son or trying to listen to his problems, and nevertheless claims that he was still a good father. Having become the Goblin, he generally views other people as dim-witted pests, lacking in creative vision, unworthy to be graced by his presence. He goes out of his way to remind others of their personal failures and shortcomings and to remind those in close relationships with him, such as his son, that they are incapable of measuring up to his achievements. When he first learned Spider-Man's identity, he claimed that when Spider-Man had defeated him in their previous battles, none of those victories counted because Spider-Man had only beaten his lackeys or been rescued by the intervention of other super powered beings such as the Human Torch, despite the fact that he always departed the battles after Spider-Man's victories rather than trying to defeat his foe himself. He also missed the opportunity to lead the original Sinister Six because he felt that joining the group would mean admitting he needed the help of others to rid himself of Spider-Man. Although he later formed the 'Sinister Twelve' when Spider-Man sent him to prison, he expressed anger at Mac Gargan for acquiring the Venom symbiote rather than using the new Scorpion suit provided for him simply because Gargan was not doing what he wanted despite Venom being more powerful than the Scorpion. When he participated in the mystical ritual known as the Gathering of Five, he appeared convinced that he would automatically receive the gift of power from the ritual – which would bestow upon the participants power, immortality, knowledge, madness and death, respectively – only to receive the gift of madness instead, subsequently requiring an elaborate cocktail of drugs to restore himself to a semblance of sanity. During his time in charge of H.A.M.M.E.R. he was provoked into attacking Asgard by his Goblin side because his ego couldn't allow himself to consider the possibility that the Asgardians wouldn't threaten his power. Later events revealed that Loki at least slightly influenced Osborn's decision to further Loki's own goals. During his attempted takeover of Earth's superhuman security defenses, he was shown reflecting that humans are all barbarians who require the strong like him to control them, dismissing the Avengers as no better than him despite the obvious distinction between Osborn's demands for power and the straightforward respect that the general public have for the Avengers.[volume & issue needed]
It has been shown that since having suppressed the rampaging Green Goblin personality and becoming the more dominant personality, Osborn has proven to be just as (if not more) evil and cruel. Osborn has demonstrated a high degree of sadism. While he was in prison, a guard once asked him for his advice in helping his critically ill wife; Osborn's advice led her to a quicker and more agonizing death. As director of the Avengers, he allowed Bullseye to continue to function as an Avenger, even after Bullseye allowed over thirty innocent bystanders to be killed during a skirmish with a supervillain. As director of H.A.M.M.E.R., he directed his officers to shoot down an airplane full of innocent people just to see whether his enemy Pepper Potts was powerful enough to rescue the passengers with her Rescue armor. Because these actions threatened the hero persona he had carefully crafted some in the media began to see him for what he really was, and many of his highly credible former enemies spoke out against him. His Goblin persona vied for control of his body, as depicted in the January 2010 issue of Dark Avengers, where he is shown writhing on the floor and imploring, apparently to himself, "Why won't this face come off...?", and finally took over when Osborn's Iron Patriot armor was defeated by Captain America and Iron Man at the end of the "Siege" arc.
Since being cured of the Goblin formula, Osborn claims that his sanity has also been restored. However, the veracity of this claim is questionable, as he now intends to use a modified version of the formula to essentially 'infect' the entire country of Symkaria to become goblin-level soldiers without the intellectual capacity to defy him.
This article describes the Norman Osborn of Earth-616, which is considered the primary version of the Marvel Universe. However, there exists parallel Norman Osborns in alternative timelines and dimensions. In most of them, he still embodies the role of a ruthless antagonist and foil for his respective alternate Spider-Man.
In other mediaEdit
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