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Quote1.png What... what happened? He knew... and I knew... and he couldn't... he just couldn't stand the thought of... the thought of... No. I can't tell you, Ben. That's just one question that's going to have to go unanswered. Quote2.png

Appearing in "Legacy of Evil"

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Synopsis for "Legacy of Evil"

Ben Urich is beginning research on a book about the Green Goblin and his legacy. His first place to start is the home of Liz Osborn, the late wife of Harry Osborn the second Green Goblin.[Continuity 1] As he arrives, Spider-Man comes crashing through the door after being attacked by three women clad in goblin costumes. Ben quickly becomes a hostage along with Liz, leaving Spider-Man powerless to stop the Goblinettes from kidnapping Liz's son, young Normie Osborn. When the wall-crawler tries to go after the three women, Liz stops him as she fears that Normie might get hurt. Spider-Man explains that he came here because he spotted the Goblinettes heading to Liz's apartment and followed after them. He wishes that one of them said something that would have given them a clue as to where they are taking Normie. However, Liz reveals that when one of they grabbed Normie, she heard a voice in her head telling her that they had come to take Normie to take receive his birthright, the Goblin Legacy. This leaves them all wondering what it could mean. Sitting down to compare notes, Spider-Man recounts how both Harry and Norman are dead, so they couldn't be personally involved.[Continuity 2] However, he has had encounters with plans that Harry put into motion after his death, and suspects that these three women might be involved in such a scheme.[Continuity 3] As they discuss this further, they convince Ben to help them investigate since, as a reporter, he doesn't have the emotional involvement of Spider-Man and Liz Osborn to cloud his judgment. Since it is dangerous, Liz puts in a call to make sure that Ben stays safe during his investigations.

Later, Ben is watching a documentary about the original Green Goblin. However, it was filmed before anyone knew that the Goblin was actually Norman Osborn and tells him nothing he doesn't already know. He thinks about how Norman Osborn and his company, how he forced his partner Mendel Stromm out of the company. Not long after that, Norman was caught in the chemical explosion that gave him his powers and led to his becoming the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn became a more cruel and ruthless individual, verbally abusing his son Harry, sowing the seeds that would eventually lead to Harry taking up his father's legacy.[Continuity 4] His viewing is interrupted by a visit from Mark Raxton -- aka the Molten Man -- who has been asked to act as bodyguard for Ben while he investigates the Green Goblin. The two begin working together on the case, getting the necessary police reports. Their first task is to confirm that Harry Osborn is dead and after getting the appropriate permissions, Harry's grave is exhumed and he is confirmed to be deceased.[Continuity 5] Meanwhile, Spider-Man begins roughing up individuals in the criminal underworld for answers.

Later, Ben meets with the personnel director at Osborn Chemicals, who tells Urich that there are not many employees left from Norman Osborn's day running the company.[Continuity 6] This led to more interviews with former employees, Norman's high-society friends, and Harry's friends from college. What they learn was that Norman Osborn was a very distant individual who ruthlessly got what he wanted, most people were afraid to cross him. Investigations go deeper as they interview the Green Goblin's former henchmen, a psychiatrist who had some personal experience with Norman, as well as police officers familiar with the case. The only person who has nothing bad to say about Norman Osborn is J. Jonah Jameson who blames Spider-Man for Norman's descent into madness. After some time alone to reflect on what he has learned so far, Ben decides to look into the career of the original Green Goblin. The first place he goes is the Avenue Dinner Club. Back in the day, this business was owned by Liz Osborn's father and it was the location of one of the Green Goblin's early battles with Spider-Man.[Continuity 7] He is met there by Spider-Man, who tells Ben that at that point, the Goblin's attack on Spider-Man wasn't personal, he would have picked a fight with any hero at the time, the Goblin didn't develop a vendetta against Spider-Man until much later.

The pair then returns to Liz Osborn's apartment to compare notes. There, Ben asks the wall-crawler to elaborate on what he meant about the Green Goblin not getting personal until later. Spider-Man explains that there two Goblins. One, Norman Osborn, wanted to become a powerful force in the criminal underworld like when the Goblin tried to take over Lucky Lobo's mob.[Continuity 8] The other, Harry, wanted to utterly destroy Spider-Man and usually tried to hurt the wall-crawler by trying to harm his loved ones.[Continuity 9] That's when Ben suggests that it might be someone else who adopted the Goblin mantle, suggesting that it might be Bart Hamilton. However, the wall-crawler doesn't believe so as Bart Hamilton is also dead.[Continuity 10] Ben then suggests that might be either the Hobgoblin or Demogoblin. However, Spider-Man shoots down these ideas as well. He points out that the original Hobgoblin's only connection to the Green Goblin was that he found a cache of Norman's weapons and would have no use for Normie.[Continuity 11] Moreover, the current Hobgoblin is just a crook, while Demogoblin isn't even human, and neither would have a use for Normie either.[Continuity 12] Spider-Man still thinks that this is the work of Harry from beyond the grave. The first thing they need to figure out is the identity of the women who kidnapped Normie. Hearing all this upsets Liz all over again, and she pleads with them to save her son.

Spider-Man, Urich, and the Molten Man then begin searching all of the Green Goblin's old hideouts. They start with the hideout that the Crime-Master had tried to take over the mobs until Green Goblin showed up with Spider-Man in order to stole his thunder[Continuity 13] Eventually, this leads to nowhere as a lot of these old hideouts have since been torn down. They then go to the Osborn townhouse, being here causes both Spider-Man and Raxton to become tense, but neither of them explains to Urich as to why.[Continuity 14] The next go to the warehouse where Norman Osborn died during his final battle with Spider-Man, but there are no clues there either. Spider-Man figures that they have reached a dead-end as the only other time he battled the Goblin was in Hollywood, and he doubts there will be any clues there either.[Continuity 15] Ben points out that there is one place that Spider-Man is hesitant to go, the place where Harry -- as the Green Goblin -- murdered Gwen Stacy. Spider-Man points out that it was Norman who killed Gwen Stacy, and that Harry did not become the Goblin until much later.[Continuity 16] This revelation starts putting things together in Ben Urich's mind.

That's when the Goblinette's ambush the three men, prompting the Molten Man to shield Ben while Spider-Man deals with their attackers. Ben explains to Mark that he was under the impression that Harry became the Green Goblin while he was in college and that explained why the Goblin went from hardened criminal to a psychopath. However, Raxton explains that something happened between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, something the wall-crawler doesn't talk about, that pushed Norman over the edge.[Continuity 17] By this point, Spider-Man destroys one of the Goblinettes, revealing them to be nothing more than humanoid robots. Raxton goes on to say that on the night Norman Osborn had died, Harry found his father's body and hid the Goblin costume in order to protect his reputation, and that is what put Harry over the edge as well.[Continuity 18] Raxton then goes on to say that Harry kept the lie alive so long that he began to believe them himself and started seeing his father as a hero and that was why he exposed himself to the Goblin Formula years later.[Continuity 19] This is the final piece of the puzzle that Ben Urich needed to finally put it all together.

By this time, Spider-Man has destroyed the last two Goblinettes, and Urich informs his friends that the "Goblin Legacy" is to expose an Osborn to the Goblin Formula. That's when Spider-Man deduces that there is only one person who could have orchestrated things for Harry. They then rush back to Liz's apartment and checking her scalp, he discovers marks where her mind had been probed by a brainwashing device. Using his spider-senses, the wall-crawler is able to zero in on where the device is hidden behind a wall. It suddenly springs to life, and when Spider-Man and the Molten Man are busy disabling the device's tentacle, Liz makes a run for it through a secret passageway. Following after her, Spider-Man, Urich, and Raxton discover a lab run by artificial intelligence. Although it displays the faces of the Green Goblin and Norman Osborn, it has the voice of Harry Osborn. While Spider-Man and Molten Man are busy fighting off the lab's defenses, Ben tries to snap Liz out of the trance she is in. As the battle rages, the artificial intelligence asks Normie if he wishes to accept his father's legacy. However, the frightened boy only wants his mother. Disgusted, the intelligence opens up the cage, sending the boy falling toward the vat of Goblin Formula.

Thankfully, Spider-Man has broken free and swings in and saves the Normie before he falls in. This kicks off a self-destruct sequence in the secret lab, prompting a hasty retreat. Once they have made it to safety, Liz comforts her son and is grateful for the help Spider-Man and Urich provided. Spider-Man is still shaking off the effects of the gas he was exposed to during the battle. Ben decides to take this opportunity to try and learn what Norman Osborn learned about Spider-Man that pushed him over the edge. Spider-Man thinks about how Norman Osborn discovered his secret identity and just couldn't stand how happy he was and became determined to ruin Spider-Man's life. He almost tells Ben all of this but stops himself at the last moment. He tells Ben that is the one thing about the Green Goblin can never tell and swings away. Later, Ben goes to work on writing his book. Originally deciding to title the book "Legacy of Evil", he changes the title to "Dynasty of Evil". When his nephew Phil comes over for a visit, Ben allows the young man read the first draft.[Continuity 20] Ben concludes his story that the Green Goblin legacy is no more as they managed to stop Normie Osborn from inheriting the family curse.


Continuity Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Spider-Man is referring to how Harry was involved in creating replicas of his parents as part of a revenge scheme. This ran from Amazing Spider-Man #363 to 388. Peter learned of Harry's involvement during the Pursuit story arc.
    Spider-Man #45 Spectacular Spider-Man #211 Web of Spider-Man #112 Amazing Spider-Man #389
    The other time Harry tried to get revenge against Spider-Man from beyond the grave was in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #14.
  4. Norman Osborn first explained how he became the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #40.
  5. This corpse, however, is actually a bio-replica created by Mysterio to maintain the illusion that Harry is dead. This was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #545.
  6. This director mentions a scientist named "Winkler". He is referring to Gerhard Winkler, who stole brainwashing equipment from Osborn after joining up with the Kingpin's criminal empire in Amazing Spider-Man #5961.
  7. The battle that took place at the Avenue Dinner Club happened in Amazing Spider-Man #17.
  8. Spider-Man got caught in the middle of a mob war between the Green Goblin and Lucky Lobo in Amazing Spider-Man #23.
  9. The memory that Spider-Man has when he says this is when Harry, as the Green Goblin, kidnapped Flash Thompson, Mary Jane, and Aunt May in Amazing Spider-Man #137.
  10. Hamilton's brief run of the Goblin ran from Amazing Spider-Man #176180, and ended with his death.
  11. The original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley discovered one of the Goblin's cache of weapons in Amazing Spider-Man #238. Although not implicitly stated here, everyone believes that Ned Leeds was the original Hobgoblin since Amazing Spider-Man #289 after he was murdered in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1. In reality, it was Kingsley, who brainwashed Leeds into thinking he was the Hobgoblin as revealed in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #13.
  12. The second Hobgoblin, Jason Macendale, took up the mantle after he had Ned Leeds murdered. The Demogoblin was a demon that was bonded to Macendale from Spectacular Spider-Man #147 until Web of Spider-Man #86.
  13. Crime-Master and Green Goblin tried to take over the New York underworld in Amazing Spider-Man #2627.
  14. Harry Osborn, during his career as the Goblin, once held his whole family hostage -- including Raxton -- in Spectacular Spider-Man #189.
  15. Spider-Man first battled the Green Goblin in California as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #13.
  16. Norman Osborn murdered Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121. Harry first became the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #137.
  17. This would have been when Norman Osborn uncovered Peter Parker's secret identity in Amazing Spider-Man #3940.
  18. Harry covered up the fact that his father was the Green Goblin from the general public in Amazing Spider-Man #123.
  19. Harry began to become unhinged again becoming the Green Goblin once more in Spectacular Spider-Man #180183. He later exposed himself to a new version of the Goblin Formula in Spectacular Spider-Man #188 which later led to his alleged death in Spectacular Spider-Man #200.
  20. As this is a story that take place before Green Goblin #1, this is alluding to the fact that Phil Urich later became the new heroic Green Goblin.

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