Norman Osborn is a male comic supervillain that features in Marvel Comics.
He was the son of inventor and businessman Amberson Osborn who had a company of his own where he was earning money. After Norman was born, he was cheated of his fortune and had his inventions stolen. This caused him at one point to lash out at his wife and son but became repentant over his actions. This led to the young Norman determining that he had to earn his keep and that it was up to him to take back control over his life. This resulted in him killing the family's pet dog as it meant one less mouth to feed. (The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual v1 #14) As a boy, he was afraid of the dark with his father having no tolerance over what he believed to be a foolish fear over monsters. This resulted in the man locking the young Norman in the dark in the belief that this would get him over his fears. (Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin v1 #1)
Decades ago, he met a young woman by the name of Emily with the two entering into a romantic relationship and getting married. This led to her becoming known as Emily Osborn with him deeply in love with her when she gave birth to his son Harry Osborn. The birth led to her suffering from poor health and her condition going worse over time. (Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin v1 #1) When Harry was a young boy, Norman's wife was noted to had died with this death destroying him. This led to him immersing himself into his work where he ignored everything else in his life including his son. (The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual v1 #14) As he managed his business, he had to spend more time in the office and leaving his son Harry alone at home. The company was headed by both Norman and his business partner Professor Mendel Stromm who borrowed some money from their account which he intended to pay back. However, Osborn used this as an opportunity to oust Stromm from the company and called the police claiming that Mendell had conducted fraud leading to his arrest. This led to Osborn taking control of any experiments and research left behind where he began to work on a secret formula that Stromm had been working on. During his experiment, an explosion occurred as the solution reached violently leaving Norman badly wounded and being sent to the hospital for weeks. The best surgeons helped save his life though Osborn suffered a stark change in personality as he became even more crueller though his intellect had increased as well as a result of the accident. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #40)
At the height of the conflict, Osborn was responsible for landing the killing blow against the Skrull Queen Veranke thus helping end the invasion of the planet. This resulted in him being a hailed as a hero with the U.S. government placing him in charge of the security agency that was replacing S.H.I.E.L.D. Secretly, he also assembled a cabal of powerful and influential supervillains in the world so that they could begin their own plans. (Secret Invasion v1 #8)
In his new position, Director Osborn set about establishing a powerbase for himself and came to form the organization called H.A.M.M.E.R. to replace S.H.I.E.LD. He also recruited Victoria Hand to serve as his Deputy Director whilst he formed his Dark Avengers with Norman himself leading it as the Iron Patriot. (Dark Avengers v1 #1) He avoided a trap set by the fugitive New Avengers by sending information on the superheroes location to the Hood who attacked them. (New Avengers v1 #50) The Dark Avengers next learnt of an attack on the freed Doctor Doom who was returned to Latveria only for him to be ambushed by Morgan le Fay. With his team, Osborn attacked the Arthurian era sorceress with the Sentry seemingly killing her by ripping her head off. However, the nature of time travel allowed her to return to life and back to that point where she used her magic on the various Dark Avengers. (Dark Avengers v1 #2)
To break the status quo, Osborn then began to gather information on key targets that he wanted to eliminate that were threats to him with these being gathered in the List. (Dark Reign: The List - Avengers v1 #1)
He along with his Dark Avengers responded to an incident at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. where the Absorbing Man had escaped and intended to absorb the fragments of the Cosmic Cube. This forced Osborn to work alongside Hank Pym's Mighty Avengers to stop the supervillain who gained some measure of reality manipulation abilities. Both Osborn and Pym came to realise that Creel's wrecking ball had similarly taken on the properties of the Cube making it into an actual cosmic containment unit. The two then raced to claim its power with the Iron Patriot reaching it first but Hank tricked him into thinking he had already acquired the cube's power. Having lost the Cube, Osborn came to suffer a breakdown when he was approached by Loki who gave him an enchanted Asgardian sword that was a spellbreaker which he used against the Absorbing Man. With it, the Iron Patriot removed Creel's powers thus turning him back to normal and ending the crisis with Norman being hailed a hero by the media. He allowed the Mighty Avengers to depart but declared them an unsanctioned team that had interfered in an Avengers mission and stripped John Walker of his rank. (Mighty Avengers v1 #33)
As the Iron Patriot, he went to investigate the sighting of the New Avengers only to find the heroes to had been defeated by the Hood's gang of supervillains. They had intended to forge their own pact with Osborn which he had made with Robbin's but Norman refused. This led to Jonas Harrow directing his Power Drainer against the Iron Patriot and the Dark Avengers who were left as powerless as the New Avengers. (New Avengers v1 #56) With his armor hacked, Osborn made a deal with Harrow who restored his suits power and the abilities of the Dark Avengers where they tried to capture the New Avengers. However, Mockingbird managed to arrive in a jet and helped her comrades escape where they went to a nearby hospital for Luke Cage who was suffering from cardiac arrest. (New Avengers v1 #57)
For his actions, he was placed under arrest and placed on trial for his actions as H.A.M.M.E.R. was disbanded. (Siege v1 #4) This saw him being transported to the Raft as he was sent to prison. (Dark Avengers v1 #16) He was later secretly transferred to a supermax containment facility alongside some of the world's most dangerous criminals. (Osborn v1 #1) Whilst there, he was approached by Father Coulmier who was a priest sent to hear his confessions but in reality was part of an apocalyptic cult that worshipped the Green Goblin as a bringer of change to the world. He offered an opportunity for Osborn to kill the guard allowing him to open the cells of his fellow prisoners that included Ai Apaec, June Covington, Carny Rives, Kingmaker and Xirdal where they were to follow his orders until they escaped the underwater prison facility. (Osborn v1 #2)
He was set to be tried at an international criminal court but during the transfer his loyalists acted and freed him where he managed to escape the New Avengers. During the escape, he freed Superia and came to rendezvous with others that rallied under his leadership. (New Avengers v2 #16.1)
Osborn went to Monica Rappacini on what she could offer him to battle the heroes where the A.I.M. scientist helped empower him with the abilities of an Adaptoid. With this, he came to start absorbing abilities making him a threat to the Avengers where they overloaded him with their combined powers. This left Norman in a coma where he was arrested and placed into custody whilst his H.A.M.M.E.R. organization was dismantled. (Avengers v4 #24)
He later woke from his coma and departed the hospital holding him without the staff being aware of it. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #697)
Dressed as the Green Goblin, he targeted the Daily Bugle where he demanded to confront Spider-Man and allowed Peter Parker to depart to bring in the hero. He then placed the stolen Tritium with a bomb intending to blow up the building and fought Spider-Man who managed to contain the resultant explosion. Norman was caught in the blast and impaled in debris where he seemingly was dying only to reveal that it was a ruse as he revealed his new Red Goblin form along with his knowledge that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. He overpowered Spider-Man but stated that he had no interest in the man behind the mask and warned Parker that if he ever used his powers or wore the mask again then he would kill all his loved ones. Peter complied by burning his costume leading to Norman laughing as he believed he had attained his victory over Spider-Man. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #798) He then decided to reunite with the Osborn family where he sought to claim his grandson Normie. The boy and his brother Stanley were taken from their home by their babysitter against their parents wishes with Norman arriving at the scene just as they did so. It was then that Norman realised that their baby sitter was actually his wife Emma Lyman who had faked her death and put herself into the Osborn family as their babysitter to protect her grand children. Spider-Man and his allies arrived at the scene in an effort to stop the Red Goblin who easily defeated them. He then pursued his family before they could split where he took Normie from them and infected him with the Symbiote stating that he would become his new legacy. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #799) Norman intended to take control of Alchemax through his grandson Normie who was turned into the Goblin Childe. After seeing Spider-Man again, the Red Goblin decided to target Peter's loved ones where he attacked Mary Jane at Stark Industries whilst Normie was sent after his Aunt May. Both attempts were thwarted with Norman reuniting with his grandson who he took to Alchemax where he attempted to murder Harr and Liz with this turning Normie against him. They were saved by the intervention of Spider-Man who had bonded with the Venom Symbiote to make it a fair fight with Norman's plans to use his Symbiote matter to kill those infected by his attacks being thwarted by Flash Thompson's Anti-Venom powers. In a rage, Norman fatally wounded Thompson with Spider-Man knocking the Red Goblin into the centre of the city. There, Norman decided to randomly kill civilians in order to hurt Peter Parker with Spider-Man challenging Osborn by saying any victory he had was actually the result of Carnage rather than as the Green Goblin. This caused Norman to reject Carnage and fight Spider-Man without their respective Symbiotes with Peter managing to defeat him. In desperation, Osborn attempted to call upon the Symbiote to bond with him again but Spider-Man caused a car to explode thus destroying the creature. The shock of the brief bonding warped Norman's mind leaving him in a near catatonic state where he came to believe he was Cletus Kasady leading to him being arrested and placed at the Ravencroft Institute. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #800)
Whilst at the Institute, Spider-Man made arrangement so he and Venom could save him as Carnage was hunting down the former hosts of Symbiotes. Despite their efforts, Kasady managed to get Norman but infected him with a Symbiote to make him part of his army. (Absolute Carnage v1 #1) Osborn was sent to accompany a group of Symbiote-infected supervillains in capturing Deadpool as he was a former Symbiote host. (Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool v1 #2)
Personality and attributes
He felt that it was a long time since a woman made a fuss over him with the first time being with his wife Emily Osborn. Norman was deeply in love with her and was devastated at her death. Though he gained a son and heir, he lost his love with him feeling that this was not a fair exchange. (Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin v1 #1) For a long time, it was believed that his wife Emily Lyman was dead. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #799)
From his own father, he learnt not to be afraid of the dark with it capable of being his friend if he simply embraced it. He was shown to had been a cruel parent but Norman came to believe that his father showed him how to be a man. Norman came to consider that his father was wiser than he had never known. (Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin v1 #1)
Family remained to be an important aspect to Norman as he was fixated on the family legacy and believed that his grandson Normie could achieve this where his son Harry could not. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #799) He said that he had tried to be a good father to his son but had to leave Harry alone many times in his youth as he prioritised his business. Despite that, he felt that his son had no reason to complain as the time spent on the business allowed him to buy Harry many presents. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #40)
To Norman, he had felt that money was the most important thing of all as he believed that wealth was the key to power. As the head of his own business, he felt that he needed to be ruthless and allowed no one to stand in his way including his own business partner. He was held as being greedy ruthless businessman initially in his life. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #40)
During the Dark Reign, Osborn felt that the world had given him the respect and adoration that he deserved. As such, he became desperate in ensuring that his image as a hero of the world was maintained. (Dark Reign: Hawkeye v1 #1)
Osborn was ultimately deemed a psychopath who lived a fantasy world of his own making. This began as a result of the explosion during the experiment on the chemical formula that Professor Stromm had worked on with it making him worse. A result of the incident led to Norman feeling that he was stronger, smarter and tougher than anyone else. With the scores of scientific devices in his chemical company, he believed he could become the greatest costumed criminal with this idea developing into an obsession. It was this that resulted in him making a costume that he painted green after his favourite colour and led to him becoming the Green Goblin. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #40)
Powers and abilities
When he was a boy, he had five years of lessons in learning how to dance which he hated at the time. (Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin v1 #1)
For a time, he came to possess his own version of the Iron Man Armor when he operated as the leader of the Dark Avengers as the Iron Patriot. (Dark Avengers v1 #1)
From A.I.M., he was empowered with an Adaptoid physiology allowing him to manifest the superpowers of any superhuman being he touched. It was considered the perfect defensive bio-weaponization where his body adapted to an enemy's superpower. Thus, his body became a replicating neurocytoma transtomitor and thus bio-download abilities to give him powers. However, he had to be careful on how much power he adapted as too many could result in physiological changes and internal combustion as well as physical mutation. Though, with the right mix of abilities, he could keep on taking powers from others and become exponentially more powerful from the accumulated abilities. (Avengers v4 #24)
To attain power again, he acquired the Carnage Symbiote at one point leading to his transformation into the Red Goblin. In this state, he attained all the abilities of a Symbiote enhanced host including increased strength, endurance, resistance to pain, healing and an immunity from Spider-Man's Spider-Sense. The Red Goblin was also able to control the Symbiote matter allowing him to shape it into weapons such as Carnage-Bombs resembling the Green Goblin's Pumpkin Bombs that could home in one targets as well as laugh, speak and bite their targets before detonating. Such was his control was that he could feel a Spider-Tracer placed on his body and easily remove it. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #798) The Red Goblin could also shoot out Symbiote matter as sharp projectiles to wound people though he could achieve a more sinister purpose with them as once they entered into the body he could make them travel into the brain where he could cause them to kill the person infected with a simple command remotely. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #800) A combination of Goblim Serum with the Symbiote also made it immune to the creatures weaknesses of sound and fire. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #799)
Norman had created a device called the Goblin Key that was an access key to Osborn's most valued cache assets including his goblin tech and the secrets he amassed when Norman headed H.A.M.M.E.R. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #696)
He called the Osborn Manor his home which was located in Columbus Circle. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #569) The family estate was a vast mansion that was built by Norman's great-grandfather in the 1800's. (Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin v1 #1) Among these secret lairs was the Goblin's Workshop the contained Osborn's various equipment. It was equipped with a holographic recording of Norman himself that engaged verbally with people entering the site. Improper access activated a self-destruct sequence requiring the input of a password in 60 seconds to deactivate it. Typically, Norman was known to make use of he passcode STROMM that was named after his first business partner. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #697)
- Norman Osborn was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko where he made his first appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man v1 #14 (July, 1964).
- In Savage She-Hulk v2 #4 (2009), an alternate version of Norman Osborn was shown to had resided on a world designated as Earth-8009. On this Earth, Osborn used his position as Director of H.A.M.M.E.R. to harvest the genetic material of registered superheroes after which he sold them to the Origins Corporation upon being Chairman and majority shareholder of the company. The mass proliferation of superpowers led to the destruction of the world within a century. By the 23rd century, the world was a post-apocalyptic environment that was divided on gender lines with women forming the United Sisterhood Republic that was based in the city of Milago and were at war with the primitive Tribes of Men.
- In Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man v1 #304 (2018), an alternate version of Norman Osborn was shown to reside in a timeline that was inadvertently created in an attempt to stop the Vedomi invasion of Earth. After an early encounter with a future Spider-Man, Osborn abandoned the guise of the Green Goblin and did time in prison where he was eventually released. He then turned away from crime and sold his Goblin Formula as a health supplement thus earning him a fortune. Together with his son Harry, they made a move into politics where they were voted as President of the United States. Once there, he used his influence in attaining power and control over the nation where he targeted superheroes with many being killed, detained, in hiding or forced to work for him. Tony Stark attempted to stop him in a public attack on the President but was killed in the assault. He also had Doctor Doom captured and arrested following an invasion of Latveria once the dictator was declared a national security threat. Whilst in control, a resistance of surviving heroes formed who sought to topple the Osborn regime.
- In Edge of Spider-Geddon v1 #4 (2018), an alternate world was shown that inhabited the Multiverse where it was revealed that Oscorp ruled that particular Earth. On that world, Norman Osborn gained abilities similar to Spider-Man and gained multiple arms where he ruled the planet from the shadows and had been responsible for killing Peter Parker. At the head of his business empire, he managed to find a damaged Cosmic Cube though it could only observe worlds across realities in the Multiverse which he used to see parallel Earths. During this time, his son wore a goblin costume and took the name of the Kobold who broke into the Oscorp in order to destroy the Cube. The Cube then opened a tear in reality sending Norman Osborn into the Multiverse but he was taken by another Spider-Man who took him to join an army to fight a threat to the Omniverse.
- In Infinity Wars: Arachknight v1 #1 (2018), an alternate world was created when Gamora using the Infinity Stones used its powers to merge various individuals with one another leading to Norman Osborn along with Jacob Russell combined into a single entity that had their own unique backstory as Norman Russell. This version was once a billionaire who had a son named Harry and at some point was transformed into the Goblin who killed Peter Parkers aunt and uncle. No one except his son knew the truth about this and Norman's public life saw him becoming ill where he became a beloved philanthropist cared for by his son.
In other media
- In Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin appeared in the 1980s animated television series where he was voiced by actor Dennis Marks. This version suffered from a serious medical problem that resulted in his transformation into his goblin identity with physical changes impacting his body and mind. He was shown to had a niece named Mona Osborn who had no knowledge of her uncle's double identity.
- In Spider-Man, Norman Osborn appeared in the 1990s animated television series where he was voiced by actor Neil Ross. He was shown as a rich industrialist who headed Oscorp and was the father of Harry Osborn. During the rise of his business empire, he faced numerous debts that he had towards businessman Wilson Fisk thus forcing him to work for the man who was secretly the Kingpin of Crime.
- In the Spider-Man Trilogy, Norman Osborn made multiple appearances in the shared continuity setting.
- In Spider-Man, Norman Osborn made his first live-action film appearance where he was portrayed by actor William Dafoe. He was shown to be a rich businessman who owned a company called Oscorp and had a teenage son in Harry Osborn with the pair living in their estate that was cared for by their butler Bernard Houseman.
- In Spider-Man 2, Norman Osborn appeared as a vision in the live-action film sequel where he was once again portrayed by actor William Dafoe.
- In Spider-Man 3, Norman Osborn was referenced in the third live-action film instalment.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, Norman Osborn was referenced in the setting of the live-action film. He was the millionaire and business owner of Oscorp that was a leading body in genetics research who employed Dr. Richard Parker along with Dr. Curt Connors to develop Cross-Species experiments. The reason for this was because Osborn himself was dying and sought a cure in hybrid research with Rajit Ratha being charged in overseeing the management of employees on this project.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Norman Osborn briefly appeared in the live-action film where he was portrayed by actor Chris Cooper.
- In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, the Norman Osborn Green Goblin appeared as a playable character in the video game where he was voiced by actor Armin Shimerman.
- In Marvel Heroes, the Norman Osborn Green Goblin appeared in the story mode of the MMORPG and also was a playable character.
- In Marvel: Future Fight, the Norman Osborn Green Goblin appeared as a playable character in the mobile video game where both the normal and Ultimate Marvel version of him could be used by players.
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