Awhile back, the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, thought dead for about twenty-five years, showed up in the Spider-Man titles alive. Apparently, his Green Goblin powers gave him a super-strong heart and/or healing ability, allowing him to survive a punctured heart. Since his return, in an almost comical manner, writers have been using Osborn to explain away various things that happened in his absence as having been secretly set into motion by Osborn. “Remember that time in the fourth grade that you stubbed your toe, Peter? It was I who moved the bed so your toe would hit it!” It’s to the point now where you really wouldn’t be THAT surprised to learn that the robber who killed Uncle Ben was secretly working for Osborn. Anyhow, these are the top five things Norman Osborn retroactively did. Enjoy!
5. Took over the Scriers
Perhaps even more so than the Clone Saga in general, Scrier was probably the biggest case of “Too many cooks” syndrome that you will ever see. I don’t know if ANY Spider-Man writer really knew what Scrier’s origins/motivations/etc. were when he was first introduced right around the same time of the Clone Saga.
And then when we found out that Scrier wasn’t a PERSON, but a GROUP of people? Lordy.
It was just “someone come up with SOME explanation for this!” And ultimately, it was revealed that it was this ancient order, and that Norman Osborn, in the time he was away after his “death” joined and then slowly worked his way up the ranks before taking it over.
So, retroactively, all the Scrier stuff was being controlled by Norman Osborn.
4. Bankrolled most of Spider-Man’s villains.
This came up in Mark Millar’s Marvel Knights:Spider-Man run, and was amusing, as Brian Michael Bendis almost simultaneously came up with the same basic idea in the mini-series, Secret War.
Both men decided to address the whole “How do supervillains PAY for all this stuff?” question. Bendis went one route, Millar went with the revelation that Norman Osborn has secretly been bankrolling supervillains for years.
3. Impregnated Gwen Stacy.
I would like to leave “Sins Past” in the past, but what the heck! In this storyline, Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy had a moment of passion and she got pregnant. Norman helped her hide the children from Peter. Gwen was going to go to Peter and confess, hoping he would marry her and they would raise the children together.
Sadly, this made Norman snap – leading to Gwen’s death.
2. Masterminded the Clone Saga.
I don’t know if it came up since Sins Past, but since Norman was with Gwen, then wouldn’t that partially explain why he would take an interest in Miles Warren’s work? Miles Warren cloned Gwen Stacy, but maybe Norman Osborn liked that idea, too!
In any event, the big Clone Saga, where Peter Parker is “revealed” to be a clone of the “real” Peter Parker, who went by the name Ben Reilly.
Ben took over for Spider-Man after Peter gave it up to go move away with Mary Jane.
It was retroactively revealed (because the writers needed SOME ending to the Clone storyline) that Norman Osborn was behind it all, just in an attempt to mess with Peter’s head. When he saw that all his plans were for naught, and that Peter didn’t even really care that much that he was supposedly a clone, Norman decided to finally make his return.
In his return, he killed off Ben Reilly, revealing him to be the clone. It was sad – poor Ben deserved better.
1. Faked Aunt May’s death.
Nothing, though, could top this retroactive nonsense.
So, Aunt May dies. Before she dies, she reveals she’s known Peter was Spider-Man for a long time, and she is proud of him, etc.
Later on, though, after Osborn returns, Spider-Man (whose wife had just miscarried a baby they were going to name May) learned that Osborn had “May.”
So Spider-Man went through a lot of travails to find May, only to discover that it was AUNT May who Osborn had, not the baby!! The baby was, in fact, dead (and never to be referred to again, under penalty of law!).
As it turns out, Osborn, in yet another retroactive attempt to mess with Peter’s head, paid an actress to impersonate Aunt May. After some surgery, she was basically May’s twin. He then “faked” the actress’ death (but killed her for real, unbenown to her) just to screw with Peter.
I totally get that storytellers Howard Mackie and John Byrne wanted Aunt May back, and that they figured, heck, whatever silly explanation we come up with is fine, so long as she comes back – the fans will forget about it later, anyways. And, ya know what, fans basically HAVE forgotten about how she came back. And it WAS good to have her back, even if it invalidated a great death issue by JM DeMatteis.
That all being said…wow…what a lame way to bring her back.
And it was all due to Norman Osborn! Nothing can top THAT for retroactive actions!
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!