Responding to my first request, I’m going to speak today about Norman Osborn‘s primary identity in the comics, the Green Goblin. We already spoke of Norman in the Iron Patriot page, but we didn’t mention his green alter ego. He’s been portrayed in the original Sam Raimi‘s trilogy by Willem Dafoe, appearing as the main antagonist in the first film, and in visions and allucinations in the following movies. He also briefly appeared on a 3D poster in the last The Amazing Spider-Man: so, let’s see who is the nemesis of Spider-Man in the comics…
Norman was the son of Amberson Osborn, a business inventor who got swindled and lost his fortune and job when his son was just a child: Norman started to despise his own father, and decided that he could only rely upon himself for finantial issues, starting to work after school and saving everything he earned. Wanting to avoid his father’s path of failure, he grew up a determined and focused boy, and arrived to pay for his studies himself with the money he saved from the days of his childhood. He studied chemistry, electrical engineering, and business administration, becoming a scientific genius and developing a financier’s mind. While at college, he became friends with one of his teachers, Mendel Stromm, and the two, together, founded the Oscorp, a chemical company. Norman also married his college girlfriend, Emily, and the two had a son, Harry. Their marriage was a happy one, until the day Emily fell hill and died: as a reaction, Norman buried himself into work, leaving Harry to grow up on his own, and appearing in his life just the time needed to tell him he was a disappointment. More and more attached to his wealth and power, Osborn had Stromm arrested, framing him for embezzlment, thus becoming the only owner of Oscorp. As the CEO of his company, Norman became the man he always wanted to be, but power is something you’re never satisfied of: reading Stromm’s notes, he found out that his partner was working on a new formula, a special serum that, mimicking Abraham Erskine‘s version of the Super Soldier Serum, granted human beings superhuman powers. Eager to become more than a mortal man, Norman developed the serum, but, unkowingly to him, Harry switched the chemicals of the serum (in his mind it was an innocent joke to punish his father for his absenteeism). The result was quite explosive, literally: when Norman started working on the formula, the serum turned green and exploded in his face, sending him into a coma.
Norman woke up at the hospital a short time later, and found out that he was able to think more clearly than ever before; he was also stronger, faster and more durable, with his body being powered up as his mind. Seeking for even more power, Osborn decided he would have conquered the entire New York City, becoming the most powerful mob boss ever. As a demonstration of power, he decided to take on one of the newest superheroes in town, Spider-Man, and he hired the Headsman and the Scorcher to take him down; when the two were utterly defeated, Norman decided it was time to put his new abilities to a test. Remembering a monster that used to scare him as a child, a big green goblin that lived under his bed in his childhood fantasies, he created a horrifying costume, using his engineer skills to build a glider (at first shapen like a flying broom, later assuming his trademark bat appearance) and a real arsenal for himself, made of Pumpkin Bombs, Flying Razor Bats, and a lot of other Halloween-themed weapons that he kept in his Bag of Tricks. During his first battle against Spider-Man, the Green Goblin fought along with the Enforcers, but the fight was interrupted the moment the combatants inadvertently drew the attention of the Hulk, who was hiding nearby. Goblin escaped from another, much more powerful green monster, and even Spider-Man barely made it out alive. In the following years, Norman developed a true obsession with Spider-Man, and after every defeat, which he saw as many steps bringing him closer to his father’s destiny, he became more and more determined to destroy the hero. This wasn’t all Osborn’s fault: without him realizing it, the Goblin Formula was making him more and more insane, encreasing his intelligence, but undermining his mental health. When, eventually, Goblin found out Spider-Man’s true identity, he was able to destroy him in both his lives, as the web-slinger hero, and as the meek Peter Parker. He probably reached the apex of his nemesis career the night he killed Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, right in front of him: from that moment, the war between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin became a personal matter.
Norman Osborn is an extremely intelligent person, a scientific genius and a skilled manager; under a personal point of view, he lives in the fear of becoming a failed man as his father was, and gives himself completely to his job (whatever it could be: CEO of Oscorp, king of the underground, director of H.A.M.M.E.R., leader of the Avengers and so on). He gladly sacrifices the relationship with his son to his “destiny”, firmly believing that being without a father-figure can fortify Harry, just as it did with himself. As the Green Goblin, he is one of the most dangerous and unpredictable foes for Spider-Man and the superhero community. To his powers (superhuman physical attributes and a useful healing factor) and a wide array of lethal gadgets, Goblin adds a cunning intelligence, only augmented by his madness: his determination and patience have made him able to wait even for years for his plans to have effect, but everytime they do, it’s hell on earth for whoever is involved.