Consultant at Ravencroft

At the conclusion of Absolute Carnage, Dylan Brock vaporized the Carnage symbiote and, seemingly, Norman Osborn along with it. But everyone knows Norman is not going out like that, being killed by some twelve year old kid, so his return was imminent. Sure enough, the original Green Goblin resurfaced shortly after with a new lease on life. In fact, his new role involved the restoration of a facility that he had a hand in destroying...the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. 

For years Ravencroft Institute served as a rehabilitation facility for some of Earth’s most dastardly villains. However, during the events of Absolute Carnage the institute was destroyed to rubble. Fortunately Ravencroft was rebuilt quickly, and is now a fully functioning state of the art facility, ready to serve society by reintegrating its worst members.

Misty Knight and John Jameson were assigned lead roles in the coordination of the activities carried out Ravencroft.  Jameson had approached Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin aka the mayor of New York City) and asked for a position in the new facility.  Fisk rewarded Jameson by making him the head of security at Ravencroft, giving the former astronaut a shot at redemption. When the doors to Ravencroft opened and the likes of Doppelganger, Hyde and others began filing in, Misty and John realized that they were going to need some help.  A limousine then pulls up and out comes Norman Osborn...

Osborn makes a rather triumphant return at the conclusion of the one-shot Ruins of Ravencroft: Dracula. He snarkily informs Misty and John that he’s been given a “clean bill of health”, claiming that he was under mind control during the Absolute Carnage fiasco. 

According to Osborn, he was given a role as a consultant at the institute because of his history with Ravencroft and his work with the “those less fortunate.”  Most likely he’s referring to his time as the Director of the Thunderbolts, but that’s not very clear.  Suffice to say Misty and John were not happy to see Norman but that did not stop the original Green Goblin from strolling on in to Ravencroft....

Osborn’s role at Ravencroft Institute is further explored in Ravencroft #1, where the icy relationship between he and Misty Knight showed no sign of getting warmer.  As part of the rehabilitation process for the Ravencroft inmates, Misty holds round table discussions allowing them to openly discuss their struggles.  John Jameson even participates in these discussions, since he’s working to redeem and resolve some of the problems he caused as the mind-controlled Man-Wolf during Absolute Carnage. When Misty encourages John to share some of his thoughts, he struggles to answer and tries to defer. Osborn interrupts the discussion to defend Jameson and encourages him to talk only when he feels comfortable.

Jameson doesn’t appreciate Osborn’s help and he tells his father’s former friend that the only thing that makes him uncomfortable is Osborn putting his “grubby hands” on him.  Misty could sense the discussion devolving so she immediately ends the meeting. As the inmates walk off, she corners Osborn and tells him not to show his face around Ravencroft anymore.   Norman politely refuses and reminds her that the courts have cleared him of any wrongdoing and that Fisk had personally brought him in as consultant. Translation, Osborn is not going anywhere any time soon.  Unfazed, Misty says she doesn’t care what the court says because she knows the truth about who he is and what he’s done.  Osborn has the last laugh though, reminding her that there’s nothing she can do about any of it and that he’ll return tomorrow...with doughnuts.

Despite the fact that Ravencroft Institute has officially reopened, Wilson Fisk has kept many aspects of the facility private and away from the general public.  At a media event when Fisk is pressed for information regarding the staff at Ravencroft, the mayor claims that he doesn’t want to compromise the safety of the staff by revealing their identity.  However, he does introduce one staff member to the media...John Jameson. 

It is important to note that the secrecy around the staff even affects Misty Knight and John Jameson, who to this point have not met any other staff members other than Norman Osborn.  But that all changed at the conclusion of Ravencroft #1 as Osborn gathers Misty and John and ushers them to a conference room to meet their fellow staff members. 

With Kingpin sitting at the head of the table he introduces the remainder of the staff which includes: Tony Masters (aka the Taskmaster), Mac Gargan (aka the Scorpion), Dr. Karla Sofen (aka Moonstone) and Roderick Kingslely (aka the Hobgoblin). No wonder he was keeping this crew under wraps!

At the beginning of Ravencroft #2, the Kingpin is forced to negotiate with The Unwanted, a deformed group of vampires locked away in the basement of Ravencroft.  He’s the perfect mark for The Unwanted because years ago, while he was building his criminal empire, he used them to ‘dispose’ of various dead bodies. They’re blackmailing him now because of that past and to make matters worse they appear to be able to put Fisk under their mind control.  The Unwanted use that mind control to force Fisk to free them from their underground cell. 

Fisk continues to fight battles on multiple fronts.  After returning to his office he’s confronted by John Jameson who demands answers as to why the Ravencoft staff is chock full of criminals. The Kingpin brushes off Jameson’s complaints citing that it is part of his program to ‘give back’ and offer a second chance to folks with a criminal past.  Fisk has leverage on Jameson, reminding the security guard that there’s footage of him terrorizing Ravencroft as the Man-Wolf (from Absolute Carnage). This forces Jameson to retreat. 

Soon after, Osborn tracks down Kingpin and tells him about an urgent matter that he must tend to, Fisk reluctantly follows. The two are greeted by a ghost of sorts...standing before them is the presumed dead former director of Ravencroft...Dr. Ashley Kafka!

The sudden and unexpected return of Dr. Kafka prompted an immediate investigation into the legitimacy of her claim. Norman spearheaded that process in Ravencroft #3 as he employed the services of yet another shady character operating out of the newly re-opened facility, Dr. Karl Malus.  All of the exams performed by Malus suggested one thing, that this is indeed the one true Ashley Kafka!

Malus’ results were not surprising to Kafka, however she was surprised by the fact that everyone seemed dumbfounded that she was alive.  John Jameson explained to her that she was killed by the villain Massacre (back in Superior Spider-Man #4), but Kafka had no memory of that incident.  Osborn does not buy her naivete nor does he concur with Malus’ data, he is convinced that she is pulling off some sort of trick on the staff in order to infiltrate Ravencroft. Jameson then slams Osborn up against the wall and tells the original Green Goblin that even though he doesn’t understand what’s going on either, the fact that Norman doesn’t trust her is the best possible endorsement she could have.

The situation diffuses and the parties go their separate ways arriving no closer to answer as to how and why Ashley Kafka has seemingly ‘returned’ from the dead. 

As an interesting aside, Norman had Quasimoto perform background analyses on a number of nefarious characters at the onset of his Dark Reign. These analyses were collected in the one-shot, Dark Reign Files and Dr. Malus was one of the people investigated.  Quasimoto suggested that Malus would be useful for Osborn by augmenting or creating ‘heroes’ for his usage. However, there was no evidence that Malus ever accomplished any of that for Osborn during his time running S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Returning to Ravencroft #3, Wilson Fisk and his staff (namely Scorpion, Moonstone, Hobgoblin and Taskmaster) make their way to the lair of The Unwanted in order to eliminate the hoard.  Things get a bit out of control whilst Fisk and his staff occupied.  A mysterious individual slips Hyde a screwdriver which enables him to escape his prison cell.  Hyde, obsessed with getting revenge on John Jameson, attacks him.  John manages to fend off the attack, as well as his reversion to the Man-Wolf.  Unfortunately, Dennis "Demolition Man" Dunphy (another staff member at Ravencroft) takes Hyde's screwdriver to the chest.  This nearly kills Dunphy.  

Meanwhile, Fisk and his crew are (unknowingly) out-maneuvered by the monsters who use an illusion in order to distract the Kingpin and his cronies. Whilst Fisk’s team is occupied fighting air (they think they’re fighting a swarm of monsters), the real Unwanted legion is making their way to the main halls of Ravencroft!

At the onset of Ravencroft #4, The Unwanted had already seized control of the entire facility.  They forced the staff, including Norman Osborn, into the various detainment units.  Meanwhile, the leader of The Unwanted (a monstrous green deformed vampire named Bud Adams) tortures John Jameson in an effort to attain Dr. Jonas Ravencroft's journal.  They want to expose Ravencroft for all the atrocities he'd committed as the director of the facility.  If Jameson doesn't hand it over, they'll detonate the Ravencroft self-destruct protocol!

Back in the detainment units, Osborn tries to make nice with his captors by informing them that if they want Jameson to give up the goods, they're torturing the wrong person.  He recommends that they torture Misty Knight, who's also in a detainment cell, because John's feelings for her would prevent that torture from lasting long (thus he'd give up the journal).  Misty, appalled by Osborn's move, eviscerates him for selling her out.  As The Unwanted begin to bring Misty and Norman to their leader, Norman attacks Misty.  But this attack is not what it seems...

Norman's handing over of Misty was simply a ruse to get them out of the cell.  He tells Misty to throw him at their captors and run.  Misty, dumbfounded by Osborn's seemingly altruistic move, complies.  She then launches Osborn at the monsters and runs to help Jameson.  When she's attacked along the way, Misty is saved by a Ravencroft inmate...Frank Castle (aka the Punisher)!

Norman Osborn once again finds himself a prisoner of The Unwanted at the beginning of Ravencroft #5.  He finds himself alongside John Jameson, who is still be tortured for information on the whereabouts of Ravencroft's journal.  John explains that he does not know where it has gone, all he knows is that it disappeared.  This makes The Unwanted leader incredibly angry, he's convinced Jameson is lying.  

Bud is called away however, when the Kingpin and his team works with Misty Knight and the Punisher to fight off the vampiric hoards that had overrun Ravencroft.  Osborn uses this opportunity to goad Jameson into reverting back to the Man-Wolf.  Norman calls him a "coward" and a "daddy's boy," he even spits on Jameson.  Having all he can handle, Jameson converts into the Man-Wolf, rips himself free from the shackles and shuts down Ravencroft's self-destruct protocol.  Jameson then punches Osborn in the face and walks off without freeing him.

A week later, many of the secrets behind the recent events at Ravencroft come to light.  As it turns out, Osborn was acting as an operative for the criminal enterprise known as J.A.N.U.S.  In fact, it was J.A.N.U.S. that he helped Norman receive leniency from the courts in the aftermath of the Absolute Carnage fiasco.   

During a secretive meeting with the heads of J.A.N.U.S., Osborn explains how he had manipulated the events at Ravencroft.  First, he was the one who snuck the screwdriver into Hyde's cell, which allowed him to attack Jameson (in Ravencroft #3).  Osborn did that in order to provoke Jameson's reversion to the Man-Wolf.  Then, while Jameson struggled with Hyde, Osborn stole the highly-sought-after Ravencroft Journal.  Osborn then handed that journal over to J.A.N.U.S.  Last but not least, it was Norman behind the mysterious return of Dr. Ashley Kafka.  After discovering Kafka's clone ("leftover from the New U Technologies fiasco") in the old lab of Miles Warren, Osborn decided to bring her to Ravencroft knowing that John Jameson always had a weakness for her.  Kafka, the chief scientist at Ravencroft, is now at the disposal of J.A.N.U.S.  as well!

In fact, the only thing that didn't work out well for Norman was that he got shot in the arm when Frank Castle escaped Ravencroft (all of that occurred off-panel).  

The story concludes with the leaders of J.A.N.U.S. expressing their satisfaction with Osborn's work at Ravencroft.  The mysterious operatives behind J.A.N.U.S. are then revealed and they include:  G.W. Bridge, Malcolm Colcord, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, James Macdonald Hudson, Monica Rappaccini and Madame Viper.

It should be noted that Osborn had a fairly significant collaboration with both Rappaccini and Madame Viper during his second Dark Reign.  As with many things Osborn-related, that didn't end well.  Only time will tell if this new J.A.N.U.S. affiliation serves Osborn better... 

Not long after The Unwanted's siege on Ravencroft, Norman's fate took an odd twist.  A resurrected Sin Eater returned to New York and was under the control of a mysterious villain named Kindred.  The Sin Eater "cleansed" Norman Osborn of his sins, turning the original Green Goblin into a contrite, guilt-ridden man dead-set on making up for his past crimes.  As it turns out, Kindred is actually Norman's son Harry, and this "cleansing" was all a part of his grand plan against his father and Peter Parker (see here for more details).

Despite this massive change to Norman's psychology, he remained on the staff at Ravencroft.  In fact, he spent time there during Knull's global attack in the King in Black storyline.  In the Thunderbolts: King in Black mini series, Wilson Fisk constructs a new Thunderbolts team to help combat Knull's attack on New York.  The main players in Fisk's Thunderbolts were Taskmaster, Mister Fear, Batroc the Leaper and Star (there were others but they were either killed or quit not long after joining).  

Fisk sends his Thunderbolts to go find Norman Osborn because he believes Osborn will provide them with a plan to defeat Knull.  At the conclusion of Thunderbolts: King in Black #1, Taskmaster and the others arrive at Ravencroft and are shocked to be greeted by such a congenial Norman Osborn.  In fact, they're outright unnerved by it as Mister Fear comments, "we're all dead."

In Thunderbolts: King in Black #2, Osborn welcomes Fisk's team into Ravencroft but is underwhelmed by their prowess.  Soon after, Osborn, Taskmaster and Fisk discuss Norman's plan for defeating Knull.  The meeting is cut short however, because Ravencroft is attacked by a horde of Knull's symbiotic monsters.  The Thunderbolts unite to fend off the symbiotes and then decide to flee Ravencroft.

Taskmaster then shares Osborn's grand plan with his teammates...use Star to track the Sentry's energy signal and then use the Sentry as a bomb to destroy Knull.  It is important to note that the Sentry was killed by Knull in King in Black #1.  The Sentry attempted to kill Knull using the same technique he used to kill Carnage...taking him to outer space and tearing him to shreds (that happened way back in New Avengers #2).  That plan didn't work the second time on Knull, as the villain managed to rip the Sentry in half instead.

The Thunderbolts are reluctant to trust a plan derived from the original Green Goblin, especially one who now appears very docile.  Ultimately they decide to carry out the plan, mostly because they have no other options.

Soon after, Star is able to track Sentry's energy signature which leads the Thunderbolts to Jones Beach.  However, the group is surprised to find only half of the Sentry, specifically his lower half.  

Star fishes the top half of the Sentry out of the water in Thunderbolts: King in Black #3.  Using duct tape the team connects both halves of the Sentry's body together and they head off to attack Knull.  

Wilson Fisk and the rest of New York City then witness the Thunderbolts seemingly sacrifice themselves to destroy Knull by following Osborn's plan.  However, they did no such thing.  Instead they used one of the Ravencroft inmates, Figment, who created a massive illusion which depicts Knull's stronghold detonated by the Sentry.  Kingpin then holds a press conference describing the brave feat accomplished by his team.  Meanwhile, the team was safe and sound.

The Thunderbolts return to Fisk and essentially blackmail him into paying them for creating the illusion that he (Fisk) executed a brilliant plan to defeat Knull.  Fisk ultimately pays up.  

Previous Section             Next Section

Norman Osborn emerges from his limousine upon arrival at Ravencroft Institute and agrees with Misty Knight and John Jameson that there is much work to be done, as seen in Ruins of Ravencroft: Dracula

John Jameson cringes at Osborn's attempt to help him, as seen in Ravencroft #1

Misty Knight pushes back at Osborn, claiming she knows 'what' he is, as seen in Ravencroft #1

Fisk and Osborn race to the front gate to see what's causing all the commotion, as seen in Ravencroft #2

Dr. Ashley Kafka greets the staff at Ravencroft...she was believed to be dead, as seen in Ravencroft #2

Osborn's frustration with his inability to explain Kafka's return boils over, as seen in Ravencroft #3

Jameson stands up for Kafka, using Osborn's aggression as an excuse to attack him, as seen in Ravencroft #3

Kingpin and his security team are fooled by the Unwanted as they fight an illusion whilst the Unwanted make their way to main floor, as seen in Ravencroft #3

Norman Osborn suggests that the Unwanted torture Misty Knight instead of John Jameson in order to get Ravencroft's journal, as seen in Ravencroft #4

Osborn intentionally goads Jameson into the Man-Wolf in order to help both of them escape The Unwanted's custody, as seen in Ravencroft #5

As the Man-Wolf, John Jameson easily defeats The Unwanted leader (Bud Adams) and prevents the destruction of Ravencroft, as seen in Ravencroft #5

During a meeting with the leaders of J.A.N.U.S., Norman Osborn describes how he secretly manipulating the people and events at Ravencroft upon his arrival, as seen in Ravencroft #5

The panel of  J.A.N.U.S. leaders expresses their approval of Osborn's work, as seen in Ravencroft #5

Wilson Fisk's new Thunderbolts team is surprised to be greeted by such a congenial Norman Osborn, as seen in Thunderbolts: King in Black #1

The Taskmaster questions Norman's demeanor, as seen in Thunderbolts: King in Black #2

Osborn is not impressed with the team's makeup as Mister Fear insults his new boss Wilson Fisk, as seen in Thunderbolts: King in Black #2

The Thunderbolts discuss Osborn's plan to use the Sentry as a bomb to destroy Knull, as seen in Thunderbolts: King in Black #3

While combatting the symbiote horde, the Thunderbolts debate whether or not Norman Osborn is someone worth following orders, as seen in Thunderbolts: King in Black #3

Wilson Fisk believes he sees his Thunderbolts team destroy Knull's lair, however it was simply a massive illusion created by Figment, as seen in Thunderbolts: King in Black #3