Appearing in "Cycles & Circles"
- Liz Osborn
- Normie Osborn
- Amberson Osborn (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Norman Osborn's unnamed mother (First appearance)
- Sammy (child) (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Cycles & Circles"
Spider-Man finds himself hanging outside the apartment owned by Liz Osborn, wondering why he has come here. As it happens, Liz is calling the Parkers to try and talk to Peter. She is upset that he doesn't answer his phone because she needs to talk. She figures it is because Peter Parker was friends with her late husband, Harry Osborn, and not her, his widow.[Continuity 1] When she gets off the phone, she scolds her son Normie for wrecking roses that were delivered to them. Outside Spider-Man wants to talk to Liz, but he cannot bring himself to forgive his husband for creating artificial constructs based on his parents.[Continuity 2] In order to start putting this all behind him, the wall-crawler decides to swing away. While inside, Liz Osborn pours herself a drink and thinks. That's when her son asks when she is going to leave him as his father did. She assures her son that she loves him and that she will always be there for him.
Elsewhere in the city, Spider-Man happens upon a fued between a mobster and some drug dealer over the purchase of drugs. Spider-Man quickly wraps them up, frightening one of the drug dealers so well so he agrees to go straight. As he leaves, Spider-Man is shocked to discover that he is near an Osborn Industries building that has long since been condemned. Deciding this is no coincidence, the wall-crawler decides to go inside. Walking through the dilapidated building, Spider-Man goes into Harry's office where he quickly finds the switch that opens a secret doorway. Naturally, it is stocked with Green Goblin equipment covered in cobwebs. Looking around, Spider-Man is surprised to find a folder titled "Norman Osborn - A Life" written by Harry. Looking in the file, he finds a disc and decides to put it in the nearby computer to see what it contains.[Continuity 3] What starts is a recording by Harry who informs the viewer that this is a digital family tree of the Osborn family.[Continuity 4] The footage makes Spider-Man feel dizzy and he realizes too late that he is being hypnotized. Suddenly, cybernetic devices spring out of the projector and attach themselves to the wall-crawler's temple. The recording explains that the story of his family are being transferred into his mind so that he can live these memories. As the device begins to transfer these memories into his mind, Spider-Man begins to black out.
The first memory Spider-Man gets to live is one from the childhood of Norman Osborn. It is of his abusive upbringing at the hands of his father, Amberson Osborn. The man was an angry drunk who took out his frustrations on his wife and son, Norman. In this particular memory, Amberson begs his wife for forgiveness after striking his wife and child. Taking his father's violent lessons about earning one's keep and taking control, young Norman Osborn one day went outside and beat a dog to death. Spider-Man is both horrified and sympathetic toward the young child. Pulling the cybernetic devices off his temple. He is angry after seeing this, wondering when the cycle of abuse in the Osborn family will end. He then smashes all the equipment, not wanting to see anymore. He tries to focus on the good memories he has of Harry, like when they went to Empire State University together. However, he cannot bring himself to forgive Harry after the cruel deception he orchestrated. As he storms out of the building deciding that he wants nothing to do with the Osborns ever again, including Liz and Normie. As he leaves, he is unaware that the damage he caused has caused an electrical surge in the building toward a natural gas main. On the roof, Spider-Man's spider-sense begins to go off, causing him to pause for a moment. Before he can determine what the cause of the alarm is, the Osborn building suddenly explodes.
Spider-Man tries to leap to safety, but he is caught in the ensuing blast. The force of the explosion makes Spider-Man black out again. He is shown a memory of young Harry Osborn visiting his mother's grave with his father, Norman.[Continuity 5] This moves ahead to later on, as Harry's father began neglecting him. In this particular memory, Harry is hungry and asks his father where his mother keeps things to eat. Norman angrily tells the boy that his mother is dead and strikes him. That's when Spider-Man snaps out of it and soon notices that there are people trapped in an apartment building across the way that has caught fire from the explosion. Spider-Man helps the people get off the roof by creating a net with his webbing. He then spots a young boy hanging from a window ledge and swings in to rescue him. He suddenly is struck by another memory from Harry Osborn's youth. In it, Norman comforts his son, telling him that he is sorry for lashing out. Suddenly, Norman grows cold and shoves his son away, telling the boy to stop being weak. Shaking off this memory, Spider-Man tries to fight the sympathy he is starting to feel toward Harry, not wanting to give it to him. After helping the boy down, one of the firefighters on the scene asks Spider-Man to help get people trapped on the eighth floor of the building.
Spider-Man swings into the building, and assists those trapped up onto the roof. There he creates a web bridge for them to cross to another building safely. One of the women in the group tells the web-head that her son is missing. Spider-Man vows to find the child and rushes back into the burning building. As he navigates through the smoke, he sees another memory from Harry Osborn's life. This one is on the very day of the accident that turned Norman Osborn into the original Green Goblin. In this memory, Harry came into his father's lab to remind him that it is parent's night at school. Norman was angered by the interruption and told his son to leave. He began mixing the volatile chemicals of the Goblin Formula when it exploded in his face.[Continuity 6] After the explosion, Harry pulled his father out of the rubble, blaming himself for what happened. Spider-Man suddenly hears the boy calling out for help and finds him trapped under rubble. He is once more flooded with memories of the years of abuse that Harry suffered at the hands of his father and how this ultimately led to abuse against Harry's own son, Normie. Spider-Man fights off these memories, unable to handle them anymore and saves the boy and his dog from the fire. With the boy safe, Spider-Man helps the firefighters with the blaze.
With the fire under control, Spider-Man returns home to tell his wife, Mary Jane, everything he experienced.[Continuity 7] That's when she plays back the voice mail from Liz Osborn, and hearing the sorrow in her voice, Peter decides that in order to try and stop the "Osborn Legacy" is to be a part of Liz and Normie's life. Later, Peter pays a visit to Liz and Normie, much to her delight. Normie is stand-offish toward Peter until he gives him a plastic dinosaur to play with. The two begin to hit it off as Peter begins to teach him about dinosaurs.
Appearing in "Back to Basics"
- Justin Hammer
- Hammer Industries
- 1400 Club (Mentioned)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Main story and recap)
- Warzone (Main story and recap)
- Battlescar (Main story and recap)
- Tomas DeFalcone (Only appearance; dies)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
Synopsis for "Back to Basics"
Crawling through a ventilation system, the master assassin known as the Foreigner can't help but think of the irony of breaking into his organization in order to save it. He thinks about how he was betrayed by members of his organization. During his clash with them, he was unable to stop these usurpers from destroying the satellite that provides him with his powers.[Continuity2 1] After his brief stay in prison, he discovered that his natural abilities had atrophied due to his reliance on the satellite.
Breaking into his former home, the Foreigner breaks into the facility and fights through his own trained assassins and traps to get to his main computer systems. There he discovers that Justin Hammer was responsible for the coup of his organization. Hammer, alerted of the intrusion, appears on the computer screen. Justin explains that he took down the Foreigner's satellite and took over his organization for the technology the Foreigner stole from him after a failed attempt to assassinate Tony Stark.[Continuity 8]
In order to eliminate the Foreigner once and for all, Hammer activates the self-destruct system on the mansion. Before he can escape, the Foreigner is attacked by three of his trained assassins. The Foreigner manages to defeat his attackers and escape just before the mansion explodes. As a parting gift, the Foreigner wired a counter-measure into the computer that causes the machines at Justin Hammer's facility to explode. Furious at this, Justin Hammer vows to get revenge against the Foreigner.
Later, the master assassin has taken on a new job, relying on his natural skills to eliminate his target. Now that he has to start all over again, the Foreigner looks forward to regaining his position again, vowing that he will not allow himself to be defeated a second time.
Appearing in "Shadows That Lead Home"
- Justin Meagher (Only appearance)
- Quincy Coleridge (Only in flashback)
- Julia Coleridge (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- New York City
Synopsis for "Shadows That Lead Home"
Maximillian Coleridge has come to pay a visit to the gravesite of his parents. It causes him to recount how his parents were murdered and how he faked his own death and became the Shroud in order to avenge them.[Continuity3 1] His vigil is interrupted by Justin Meagher, an old family friend. When he asks Max what his relationship is with the Coldridge family, Max reveals lets slip who he really is. Justin is shocked to discover that Max is still alive, but the blind hero flees the scene before he can explain himself, apologizing to Meagher as he flees.
He returns to his temporary home, at an abandoned asylum at Roosevelt Island where he broods in his study. His assistants, Cat and Mouse, are concerned over the Shroud's current mood. Mouse goes to check on their leader out of control. He tells her to leave him alone as he puts on his costume. The Shroud then goes out into the city, and ambushes a pair of thieves who just committed a robbery, subjecting them to the darkness. Returning home, the Shroud thinks back to the day that his parents were killed and how he the death of his parents have affected his life. After some thinking, the Shroud informs Cat and Mouse that they are moving, not back to Los Angeles, by Manhattan. Max then pays a visit to Justin, to re-hire his services at the Coleridge estate, as he is returning home.
Cycles & Cycles
- At the time of this story, everyone thinks that Harry Osborn is dead following the events of Spectacular Spider-Man #200. However, unknown to everyone at the time, Harry survived as explained in Amazing Spider-Man #581. He will resurface again in Amazing Spider-Man #545.
- A couple appeared claiming to be Peter's parents in Amazing Spider-Man #365, they were revealed to be impostors in Amazing Spider-Man #388. Spider-Man discovered that Harry Osborn was responsible during the Pursuit story arc.
Pursuit Spider-Man #45 Spectacular Spider-Man #211 Web of Spider-Man #112 Amazing Spider-Man #389
The real Richard and Mary Parker were killed in action twenty years earlier as explained in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
- The disc is referred to as a CD-Rom. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- At the time of this story, everyone believes that Norman Osborn is dead following a battle against Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #122. His survival is explained in Osborne Journals #1. He will resurface again in Amazing Spider-Man #412.
- Emily Osborn is yet another member of the Osborn family who faked her death. Her "death" was first mentioned in Amazing Spider-Man #40. It was later revealed that she faked her death in order to get away from her husband. She resurfaces again in Amazing Spider-Man #789.
- The origins of the original Green Goblin were first depicted in Amazing Spider-Man #40.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- This assassination attempt on Tony Stark is, as yet, unchronicled.
Back to Basics
Shadows at Lead Home
- The Shroud's origins were first told in Super-Villain Team-Up #7. The plaque on Maximillian's tombstone states he died in 1974. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Since the Shroud first appeared in 1976, modern readers should interpret this to mean that the Shroud faked his death three years prior to his first appearance.
A flashback in the story Cycles & Cycles affect the chronology of the following characters:
- Flashback: Page 14-16, Panel 1 - Norman Osborn's troubled upbringing.
- Flashback: Page 20, Panel 2 - Norman visits his wife's grave.
- Flashback: Page 20, Panel 3-Page 23, Panel 7-8 - Norman abuses his son Harry.
- Flashback: Page 25, Panel 1-6 - Norman is involved in the accident that gave him his Goblin powers.
- Flashback: Page 25, Panel 7 - Norman is pulled out of the rubble by Harry.
- Flashback: Page 20, Panel 2-Page 23, Panel 7-8 - Harry and Norman visit his mother's grave. Norman abuses his son Harry.
- Flashback: Page 25, Panel 1-6 - Harry bothers his father before Norman's accident. Norman is pulled out of the rubble by Harry.
- Video Recording: Page 11-12 - Harry's recording about his family life.
Likewise, flashbacks in Shadows That Lead Home also affect the chronology of the following characters:
- Page 10, Panel 1 - Max's childhood.
- Page 10, Panel 3-4 - Max discovers both of his parents murdered.
- Page 11, Panel 1 - Max decides to travel the world.