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|“||Take a look, Parker--a good, long look--it's the last face Spider-Man will ever see--it's the real face of the Green Goblin--the face of Norman Osborn!||„|
|~ The Green Goblin revealing his true identity of Norman Osborn to Peter Parker.|
|“||HA HA HA! You're outmatched, Parker! Outsmarted, outgunned, and s--t out of luck! And look at you. Still holding back. Afraid of the full power that suit could give you! That's your problem. There's no killer in you! Now, me? I have that edge! Which is why this shall be my greatest moment of triumph! Finally, the day has come! Behold... Norman Osborn! Victorious!||„|
|~ Norman Osborn, as the Red Goblin, to Spider-Man.|
Norman Osborn, best known as the Green Goblin, and also as Iron Patriot, Red Goblin and various other aliases, is one of the main antagonists of the Marvel Comics universe and the archenemy of Spider-Man. He can be considered as the overall main antagonist of the Spider-Man franchise.
He is the (former) head of the multinational corporation Oscorp and father of Harry Osborn, who became the first and most well known incarnation of the Green Goblin after ingesting a serum that increased his physical abilities yet in the process drove him to insanity. He is widely recognized as one of Spider-Man's greatest and most persistent enemies, having been responsible for more hardship and grief in the hero's life than any of his other villains (most notably the murder of Gwen Stacy; the first woman he ever truly loved).
Despite his status as Spider-Man's archenemy, Norman has also made various appearances antagonizing other heroes such as the Avengers as well, even serving as the protagonist villain of the company-wide Dark Reign storyline.
Norman Osborn was created by the late Stan Lee and the late Steve Ditko.
Norman Virgil Osborn was born as the son of Amberson Osborn, an inventor, who was a grandson to Alton Osborn, a magnate who created the Osborn family fortune. However, Amberson's inventions were stolen, his manufacturing company was shut down, and his family went nearly bankrupt. Young Norman was subjected to abuse by his father, who became a drunk to cope with his losses. Stressed by the state of his family, he murdered their dog, claiming it was "one less mouth to feed", as well as developing a desire to reclaim his family's lost wealth. At some point, Amberson had decided to lock Norman in the basement of one of their old houses to cure his fear of the dark. However, Norman saw a greenish-monster lurking in the basement, scaring him so much that he wished for the dark to never go away. This would inspire him for later years.
Norman attended the Empire State University in New York, getting a degree in chemistry and electrical engineering. As such, he also took a course in business administration. There, he met Emily, who provided some balance in the money-obsessed man. They would marry and have a son named Harry. Norman and Emily were very much in love, and Norman was extremely devastated when Emily passed away. This made him neglectful of Harry.
Later on, Norman would found OsCorp Industries with his old teacher, Professor Mendel Stromm. The company would emerge as a successful chemical-engineering corporation, and Norman had finally achieved his goal of reclaiming his family fortune (Stromm also profited from the corporation's success too). Despite his success, Norman wanted full control over his business. He discovered Stromm embezzling Oscorp funds, and he had him arrested, becoming full owner and CEO. He later tested one of Stromm's formulas. Because it was not finished, it exploded in Osborn's face.
When he woke up in the hospital, he realized that his intelligence increased like it was supposed to. However, the formula had an untested side affect, which slowly drove Norman into self-destructive insanity. As such, the Green Goblin was born.
Using his newfound power, Osborn plotted to become a powerful crime lord by uniting all of the smaller crime rings together. Wanting to get Spider-Man out of the way, he sent two supervillains, Headsman and Scorcher, after the web-slinger, but they were defeated. Then Osborn decided to take matters into his own hands.
Enlisting the help of the Enforcers, who had fought Spider-Man before, he went to Spider-Man and tricked him into acting in a movie with him about the web-head. At the set in New Mexico, the Goblin and the Enforcers battled Spidey, forcing him to flee to a nearby cave, which, unbeknown to any of them, was occupied by the Hulk. While Spider-Man was busy fending off the Jade Giant, the Goblin made his escape. Green Goblin later reappeared several times in attempts to deface Spider-Man and boost his reputation, despite always being connected to the crime ring. After all of these defeats, the Goblin became obsessed with destroying Spider-Man, and Osborn put all of his time into focusing on conquering the web-slinger.
The Green Goblin unmasked?
A turning point came when Green Goblin figured out a way to find out Spider-Man's identity. He made a special gas that nullified Spidey's spider-sense, and followed him without detection back to Peter Parker's house. He then easily captured Spider-Man and brought him to his lair, where he revealed himself as Norman Osborn. After making the mistake of untying Spider-Man so as to gloat and prove his superiority, Spidey fought and beat him by sending him into some electric wires that were covered in chemicals. Osborn lost all of his memory of the Goblin, and Spider-Man, satisfied with that, burned the Green Goblin costume.
"Death" of the Green Goblin
Norman's memories eventually returned somehow, and as the Green Goblin he kidnapped Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker's love interest, and forced Spider-Man to battle him on a bridge. The Goblin then threw Gwen off the bridge, and Spider-Man, desperate to save her, shot his webbing down and grabbed her, but it was too late. The force of the webbing snapped Gwen's neck, and Peter brutally attacked the Goblin, nearly killing him. But Osborn had one last play to make, and he remote-controlled his glider to come up behind Spider-Man and attempted to impale him from behind. But Spidey's spider-sense warned him and he dodged out of the way. The glider blade instead was driven into the middle of Green Goblin's chest, and he was seemingly killed.
"After his "death", several other people took on his identity, including his son Harry, who become the Green Goblin II. Another goblin-themed villain, the Hobgoblin, was born after Roderick Kingsley stumbled upon one of Osborn's hidden Goblin lairs and took his basic weapon set, using a different costume and name.
Norman Osborn's return
He returned alive in the Clone Saga, after his resurrection due to a chemical in his goblin formula which regenerates fatal injuries he murdered a man who looked enough like him and placed him in his coffin, he then formulates a plan to get revenge on Peter Parker, he causes a series of problems for Spider-Man including hiring assassins to try and kill him, he hires a woman to poison Mary Jane who was pregnant at the time forcing her into labor and seemingly giving birth to a stillborn baby whom is later revealed to be alive, he also has Peter convinced that his clone Ben Reilly is the real Peter Parker, he also drugged Flash Thompson and caused him to get into an automobile accident giving him brain damage. After a series of events he eventually reveals himself to Spider-Man who is shocked that he's alive, they have a battle and like before he attempts to kill him once again with his goblin glider, Ben Reilly dives in front of him taking the hit and dying, in response. Spider-Man hurls a web full of pumpkin bombs at him, seemingly killing him again.
The Thunderbolts, the Dark Avengers, and the Dark X-Men
Norman Osborn created several teams to take out several other superheroes. Some examples are the Thunderbolts, the Dark Avengers and the Dark X-Men. At one point he joined and became the leader of the Sinister Twelve. When he was the leader of the Dark Avengers, Osborn changed his costume and became an evil Iron Man/Captain America combination known as the Iron Patriot.
After the events of Dark Reign Norman Osborn eventually returned to his Green Goblin persona albeit calling himself the Goblin King.
After the events of Superior Spider-Man and Secret Wars Norman returns as an arms dealer and goes to get revenge on Spider-Man, but ultimately fails due to his lack of powers. Since then Norman had been trying to get back his powers by any means necessary.
In an attempt to regain his powers Norman uses the Carnage symbiote and later combines his Goblin formula to remove Peter's cure on him becoming Red Goblin. Norman also remembers that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
Osborn initially started off as an amoral, uncaring, manipulative, egotistical, and ruthless businessman, willingly sacrificing others for the sake of his goals. He was an ambitious and deeply selfish person who chose work over his own son Harry Osborn. Even though he was callous toward him, he did show that he cared about him to a degree. He also liked Peter Parker, alias Spider-Man, as he saw him as the son he never had.
When he became the Goblin, he became obsessive, power-hungry, unpredictable, and deranged, with his ambition turned into hatred and an undying desire for revenge on those who wronged him. He also wanted to prove himself as the most powerful individual in the world, by defeating Spider-Man. That desire turned into obsession, as he attempted time and again to defeat him, but the thing that makes him unique from the other villains Spidey faced is that he is ruthless, yet also maniacal in his pursuits, especially after learning that Spidey is really Parker. He set many goals to tear his nemesis apart from the inside out, by orchestrating the Clone Saga, killing his friend/clone, Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider just to spite his nemesis, and most infamously, killing his girlfriend Gwen Stacy by throwing her over a bridge, which subsequently led to his own death. When his healing factor brought him back to life upon death, any of Osborn's redeeming qualities were completely destroyed, as he became a sadistic, monstrous, arrogant, narcissistic, unsympathetic, heartless, deceitful, vengeful, temperamental, and completely wicked madman with an even more inflated sense of ambition, and the ego to go along with that, as well as a complete lack of empathy for anyone, even his own son and Parker.
He became outright obsessed with absolute power and dominance over everything and everyone, all at the expense of others if it was so necessary. Also, he has dissociative identity disorder, split between him and his Goblin persona, which is the more aggressive persona, and has been "telling him to do bad things". He is willing to force his minions and other villains into working for him, using threats, charisma, blackmail, extortion, bargaining, and torture to do so. His own megalomania became so apparent that he even fused with the chaotic Carnage symbiote as a means of getting absolute power. His only two weaknesses are his own complete arrogance and ego, which has clouded his judgement and progressed with insanity frequently. He believed that he is so powerful and above everybody else, that it makes him underestimate his enemies, and believe that "not even death can defeat him", which oftentimes can be exploited and leads to his defeat. Also, his own megalomania can be a major weakness, as his desire to become powerful can be exploited against him. This was evident in his change into the Red Goblin, from his fusion with Carnage.
Powers and Abilities
A marvelous businessman, corporate monger and a brilliant scientist by trade. After taking the OsCorp serum, his body was capable of quickly regenerating fatal wounds, enhanced muscle power and greater mobility, as well as advanced intellect and insanity. He also has a high-tech glider, high-tech Iron Patriot armor and high-tech weaponry. He has all of OsCorp's nigh-limitless funds and advanced technologies at his disposal.
- Goblin Formula: Thanks to the chemical composition of the Goblin Formula, Osborn gained the following abilities:
- Superhuman Strength: Osborn can easily overpower humans by lifting them up with one hand or by hurling them around. He and can also lift extremely heavy objects, crush and break through wood panels and templates, bend metal, and can punch through glass without gaining injury. As shown on many occasions, Osborn could match Spider-Man even before bonding with the Carnage symbiote.
- Superhuman Speed: Osborn can run and operate at superhuman speeds.
- Superhuman Stamina: Osborn can operate or maintain his movements for up to a day without exhausting himself.
- Superhuman Durability: The formula also fortified all of Osborn's bodily tissues, making them far tougher and more resistant to injury than normal humans. While Osborn can be injured by something along the lines of a knife or small conventional bullets composed of conventional material, he is very resistant to great impact forces and blunt trauma. He can withstand powerful impacts, such as falling from several stories or being repeatedly struck by a superhuman enemy, that would severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no injury to himself.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: If Osborn does sustain injury, his body's increased metabolism allows him to heal damaged tissue much faster and more extensively than a normal human is capable of. While not nearly as efficient as the healing powers possessed by Wolverine, he can heal from injuries that would prove lethal to an ordinary human. For example, Osborn survived being impaled by his Goblin Glider and made a full recovery with only a scar left on his chest. He also recovered from having over a dozen of his bombs explode while webbed to his chest.
- Superhuman Agility: Osborn's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: His reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those of the finest human athlete.
|“||Did you expect the Green Goblin to let Spider-Man live?||„|
|~ The Green Goblin to Spider-Man|
|“||I'm glad I never washed this costume. It smells like death, blondes, and victory.||„|
|~ Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin reflecting on his murder of Gwen Stacy.|
|“||How did someone like me ever have a snivelling weakling of a son like you?!!||„|
|~ Norman Osborn disowning his son, Harry.|
|“||They have Osborn blood, and Osborn blood... is SPECIAL blood.||„|
|~ Norman Osborn|
|“||Fool! Your power is nothing compared to mine! Your strength is nothing, your intellect is NOTHING!||„|
|~ The Green Goblin to Spider-Man|
|“||Secret Subway line, Underground Kingdom... so theatrical. And pointless. What was I thinking? The strength and healing powers of the Goblin Serum are gone from my system... but for the first time in ages, so too is the madness. I won. I got exactly what I wanted. Alchemax has been secured for my heir and my legacy. And next time? I'll return with a new plan... and a new face. All these years, Spider-Man and his kind have dealt with a giggling lunatic. A madman. You've never faced the real Norman Osborn, a man with all his wits about him. Poor fools. Next time you'll never see me coming.||„|
|~ Norman Osborn, following the collapse of the Goblin Nation and his return to sanity.|
|“||Far from it. Nothing keeps me down, Kingsley. Not death. Betrayal. Even the entire world against me! Every time I rise back up! Stronger than before! Every time!||„|
|~ Norman Osborn, revealing his identity after his battle with Hobgoblin.|
|“||I made Harry... and I can do any damn thing to him I want.||„|
|~ Norman Osborn on Harry.|
|“||Hah! I've had it wrong for years. I didn't have to go after that Stacy girl back then... or the Thompson boy just now. Because you care, you honestly care about all of these idiots. Every single one of these innocent lives. All this time, all I had to do to hurt you was to just start killing... EVERYONE!||„|
|~ Red Goblin|
|“||For every life you save... there's a million new ways to die.||„|
|~ Norman Osborn|
|“||Ha! The tide turns, spider! The natural order is restored, and all is as it should be. Bless you, Peter. You were right. This is better. Taking your life with my own hands. And, by God, this won't end like the last time. All your friends are down. Or dead. Thanks to me! No one's coming to save you. That's the difference between the two of us. I've always been the stronger man! Needing no one else! And willing to do whatever it takes to win!||„|
|~ Green Goblin to Spider-Man in their final battle.|
Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "Of all the costumed villains who've plagued Spider-Man over the years, the most flat-out unhinged and terrifying of them all is the Green Goblin." Norman Osborn was ranked #13 on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Villains" list and #19 on Wizard Magazine's "Top 100 Villains" list. WatchMojo ranked him at #1 on their "Top 10 Spider-Man Villains" list. IGN also ranked him as twenty fourth on their top 100 villains list in 2016 being the third highest Marvel Comics supervillain on the list after Magneto and Doctor Doom and the fifth highest comic book supervillain with DC Comics supervillains Joker and Lex Luthor being the only other higher ranked.
- Norman Osborn's identity as the Green Goblin was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #39.
- Norman Osborn's killing of Gwen Stacy is highly significant and shocked the American comic book community.
- Previously, it had been unthinkable to kill off such an important character — the girlfriend of a protagonist with a large fanbase. Generally, a superhero did not fail this disastrously unless it was part of his or her origin story.
- This story arc has been proposed as a marker of the end of the Silver Age of Comic Books, and the beginning of the darker, grittier Bronze Age.
- The Green Goblin was originally rumoured to be a mythological monster that escaped from an Egyptian tomb before he was revealed to be Norman Osborn.