Appearing in "Shame"
- 🢐 Dr. Ashley Kafka 🢒 (Main story and flashback)
- Emily Osborn (Photo) (First appearance)
- Gwen Stacy (Photo)
- Ben Parker (Photo)
- New York City
Synopsis for "Shame"
Having fled into the sewers, the Vermin thinks back to his sessions with Ashley Kafka. She was continuing to learn more about the Vermin's true identity, Edward and the abuse he suffered as a child. When she asks him about what happened when he goes to sleep, Vermin starts to become violent and is about to attack her, but Kafka manages to talk him down. With his recollection over, Vermin floats in the putrid waters of the sewers. He calls out to Doctor Kafka for help. He then pictures the young child he found in the sewers earlier. Suddenly, the child appears on his chest. The pair then begins to cry out for help in unison.
The Vermin is not the only one hallucinating this night. Going through his family photos, Harry Osborn is being haunted by the specters of an unmasked Spider-Man and his father, Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin.[Continuity 1] Harry discovered Peter's double-identity and briefly became the Green Goblin himself over the course of Amazing Spider-Man #123–137. Harry's memories of Peter's double identity were suppressed through therapy until he started becoming the Green Goblin again, remembering Peter is Spider-Man in Web of Spider-Man #67.</ref> He goes over his family photo album, coming upon photos of Harry growing up with his mother. When he claims that it he grow up in a normal family, the Spider-Man hallucination scoffs at this.[Continuity 2] The next set of photos are of Harry and his father as he grew up without his mother. The specter of Norman questions why his son wants to dig up unpleasant memories. Harry can't take it anymore and tells them both to leave him alone. However, the ghosts still won't keep silent. Eventually, he has enough of Peter's criticisms and lunges at the apparition. Norman cheers his son on, but Harry stops himself when the hallucination of Peter Parker reminds him that his father murdered Gwen.[Continuity 3] When Harry confronts Norman with this truth, the apparition becomes indignant and grabs Harry by the throat. Norman cannot believe his son would side with the man who killed him. Upon saying this, the apparition begins bleeding through his chest and drops dead. That's when the hallucination of Spider-Man admits that Norman is right, that Harry is a whiner. Becoming more unhinged than ever before, the separation disappears and Harry angrily rips his family album apart.
Meanwhile, the real Spider-Man, has returned to the cemetary where his Uncle Ben and parents have been buried.[Continuity 4] He soon leaves, wondering why he went to visit the graves alone as they bring up so many memories of guilt. With Vermin still on the loose, Spider-Man can't get the reassurances he needed from the dead so he pays a visit to Aunt May's home in Queens. As Aunt May sleeps, the wall-crawler lands on the roof and just being in near proximity of his aunt is all it takes to set his mind at ease enough so he can decide what to do. While back below the sewers, the Vermin is reading the story of Hansel and Grettle to the young boy. As he tells the story, the Vermin is suddenly accausted by visions of the young boy about to be molested in his bedroom by an adult. Suddenly, the fear washes upon him again. At that same moment, Ashley Kafka is watching another recorded session she had with Vermin. In it, Vermin wonders why a woman won't hear his screams. Ashley told Vermin that she hears his cries. At first, the creature thinks that this woman is his mother. However, he is quickly reminded who she is and she vows that she will make sure he remains safe forever. Watching herself on video, Ashley wonders where she went wrong in trying to treat Edward. She is suddenly frightened when she spots a mouse in her office, thinking it is one of Vermin's rats coming to attack her again. Realizing what she is actually looking at, she is relieved.
At that same moment, Harry Osborn walks into his son Normie's room. After running his fingers throught the boy's hair, he then goes to the room he shares with his wife Liz. There, he kisses her as she sleeps before leaving. By this point, Spider-Man arrives on the rooftop, about to return to the apartment he rents above the Osborns. Before he can enter the skylight, his spider-sense begins going off. He turns around to see Harry Osborn -- dressed in the Green Goblin costume -- rushing at him. Spider-Man dodges the Goblin's opening salvo. At first, Spider-Man thinks that Harry is tried his hand at being a super-hero again, but is quickly corrected when Osborn explains that he has come to avenge the death of his father.[Continuity 5] The Green Goblin then decides to change the scene of the battle and flies off. When Spider-Man catches up, he tries to convince Harry to that he is having another breakdown, just as he did when he became the Green Goblin the first time. At first, it appears that Peter is getting through to his friend, but this is only a distraction so the Goblin can get close enough to attack. He manages to toss a pumpkin bomb filled with knock out gas that eventually takes down Spider-Man. The Goblin decides that when he wakes up it will no longer be a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. Removing both their masks, Harry intends this to be a battle between Parker and Osborn.
- At the time of this story, everyone believes that Norman Osborn is dead following his battle with Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #122. Norman survived as explained in Osborne Journals #1. He will resurface again in Amazing Spider-Man #412.
- It is implied here that Harry's mother had died. This is not the case, as she faked her death a few years after Harry was born. This was not revealed until years later in Amazing Spider-Man #700.
- Norman Osborn, as the Green Goblin, murdered Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
- Richard and Mary Parker were CIA agents who were killed serving their country, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. His Uncle Ben was fatally shot by a burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- Harry tried being a costumed hero in Web of Spider-Man #66–67.
A video played in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Page 15, Panels 3-4 🢒 - Edward is molested by his father.
- 🢐 Page 1 and 16 🢒 - Vermin's recorded therapy sessions.