Last Remains


Around the time The Unwanted laid siege on Ravencroft, the Sin Eater (aka Stanley Carter) emerged on the scene and began cleansing those who require purity in their lives.  In most cases, this meant cleansing super villains.  The Sin Eater performed this cleansing by shooting his targeted victim with a sawed-off shotgun.  After being cleansed the villain would end up in Ravencroft and behave as though they were a model citizen, repentant and full of contrition.  In exchange for their newly found purity, Carter can absorb whatever super powers that person once had.

To make matters worse, the Sin Eater broadcasts his manifesto using Norah Winters' Threats & Menaces platform.  This results in his ability to build a cult-like following out of ordinary citizens.  These followers are willing to do whatever the Sin Eater desires, including terrorizing the citizens of New York.

When Norah Winters arrives at Ravencroft to report on this cleansing phenomenon in Amazing Spider-Man #847 (Vol. 6 #46), she's greeted by Norman Osborn who, of course, takes credit for the behavioral changes of the Ravencroft inmates.  Norman and Norah share a past, so there is no love lost between the two and their icy tension is palpable when Norah confronts Osborn.  Nevertheless, Osborn grants her full access to the facilities for her reporting.

Norah then interviews Count Nefaria, one of the 'reformed' inmates who had been shot (and thus cleansed) by the Sin Eater.  Nefaria is surprisingly penitent, screaming that he's not worthy of the level of mercy he has been given.  He wants to remain in prison for the guilt he feels.  Norah is shocked.  

After Spider-Man confronts and battles the mystically powered Sin Eater in Amazing Spider-Man #848 (Vol. 6 #47), the web-slinger becomes aware of the Sin Eater's next target...Norman Osborn!  Meanwhile back at Ravencroft, the inmates start creating chaos and chanting violently, "He's coming, He's coming!"  Osborn appears to be on-guard when the inmates call him out specifically and say, "He comes for you Norman Osborn!"

Charged by their leader, the Sin Eater, a green-mask-wearing group of rabble rousers begins terrorizing New York City in Amazing Spider-Man #849 (Vol. 6 #48).  Peter and Miles do their best to fend off the mob, but Peter soon realizes that this attack is merely serving as a distraction for their actual target…Norman Osborn. 

A portion of the Sin Eater’s flock makes their way to Ravencroft Institute and gathers around the gates of the building, preparing to attack.  The security guards at Ravencroft tell Norman that he must evacuate the premises because it is no longer safe, however, Osborn refuses to retreat.  He claims that “Ravencroft is [his]” and that they have “plenty of weapons at [their] disposal.” 

Meanwhile, Spider-Man finds himself in a philosophical bind.  Had the Sin Eater simply wanted to kill Norman Osborn, Spidey’s choice would be simple…stop him.  However, since the Sin Eater wants to cleanse Osborn, the question becomes significantly less clear cut.  Cleansing Norman Osborn could actually end up saving lives, yet Spider-Man knows that there is something inherently amoral about what Stanley Carter is doing.  After a series of discussions with his fellow Spider-people (Miles Morales, Julia Carpenter, Gwen Stacy, and the others that comprise The Order of the Web), Peter realizes what he must do…save Norman Osborn from the Sin Eater.

For what it's worth, Peter’s Spider-allies did not think he should save Norman Osborn and soon after they resolve to stop him from doing so…

Back at Ravencroft, the Sin Eater and his unruly followers breach the walls, forcing Norman to find an escape route out of the facility.  Just when Osborn appears hopelessly cornered by the mob, the web-slinger crashes through the window and saves his archenemy. 

The action continues in the one-shot Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn, which reveals a shared dream by all of Peter’s Spider-allies…a dream in which Peter is dying!  This motivates them to find a way to stop Peter from saving Norman Osborn, a decision that plays directly into the Sin Eater’s hands. 

Meanwhile, Peter helps Norman navigate through the Sin Eater’s siege on Ravencroft, even though Osborn does not make this rescue attempt easy for him.  At every turn it appears as though Osborn is trying to give Spider-Man the slip.  Fed up with Norman’s undermining of their escape as well as his constant insults, Spider-Man corners Osborn and demands that he come clean with what he’s trying to do.  

Osborn concedes and takes Spider-Man to the lower levels of Ravencroft, specifically to Osborn’s old cell in the facility.

But things are not always what they seem and Osborn soon reveals that his old cell contains a secret lair directly adjacent to it.  Spider-Man asks Osborn to explain some of the maps he has involving Empire State University, but Norman quickly dismisses Peter's suspicions and tells him to focus on Ravencroft and the Sin Eater.  Fortunately,  Norman has a plan to stop Carter.  He wants to use one of the Ravencroft inmates to defeat the Sin Eater and his horde.  The inmate Osborn wants to use is Juggernaut…

However, when Norman goes to free Juggernaut from his cell he discovers that someone has already beaten him to the punch.  That someone, of course, is the Sin Eater who was able to manipulate Doctor Kafka (by laying his hands on her and essentially possessing her) into freeing the Juggernaut.  As the Juggernaut emerges from his cell, Carter blasts him with his shotgun…causing the massive mutant's powers to now belong to the Sin Eater!

Meanwhile, Spider-Man is furious at Osborn for even considering such a drastic move, believing that releasing the Juggernaut would cause more problems than it will solve.  But Norman counters with an ominous warning, stating that the Sin Eater is not the one manipulating events, but rather Kindred.  Spider-Man, who has come in contact with Kindred, demands that Osborn share what he knows about the mysterious villain.  Osborn explains that Kindred wants both of them dead and he’ll stop at nothing to do so.  Peter soon realizes an uncomfortable truth…that he and Norman are now in this together, forced into being allies.  One of the secret compartments inside Osborn’s hideout then opens, revealing his Goblin arsenal.

As a brief aside, it is worth noting that Kindred had paid Osborn a visit at his Ravencroft cell during the events of Absolute Carnage.  Despite believing himself to be Cletus Kassaday at that time, Norman's true persona emerged during his brief encounter with Kindred due to his recognition of Kindred’s voice.  Clearly at this point, Norman knows more about Kindred than he is letting on to Spider-Man.  To make matters more interesting, Kindred placed one of his centipedes into Osborn’s ear as the mysterious villain alluded to events that were to come.  Moreover, it was clear from Kindred's internal monologue in Amazing Spider-Man #838 (Vol. 6 #37) that this conversation with Norman rattled him.  In fact, Norman laughing at Kindred during Absolute Carnage is one of the events that led Kindred into kicking this plot against Spider-Man into high gear.  Clearly, the Norman, Kindred, Spider-Man triangle is integral in this attack from the Sin Eater and his master.

Returning back to the Sin Eater's attack on Peter and Norman...

While Osborn takes a dose of the Goblin Formula (more on that later) and dons his Goblin attire, Spider-Man takes the fight to the Sin Eater’s horde in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49).  

Soon after, the Green Goblin joins Spider-Man in the battle against the Sin Eater’s followers and he wastes no time in doling out some gruesome attacks.  Spidey tries to stop Norman from killing, telling his old foe that if they are going to work together, they are going to do it on his terms, which means no killing.  Before Peter can even utter those words from his mouth, Osborn let’s a pumpkin bomb loose into a crowd of the attackers.  A shocked Spider-Man witnesses the members of Sin Eater’s crew re-growing limbs!  It appears Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are battling the undead, the web-slinger realizes that this is not going to be a typical clash.

The Goblin and Spider-Man fight an endless attack from the raging Sin Eater followers and it appears they’re going to succumb to this mob, however, their attack suddenly ceases.  Norman and Peter soon find themselves face-to-face with Stanley Carter himself, massive in size as he’s taken the powers of the Juggernaut.  Norman attacks first, after insulting Peter’s bleeding heart, but is disposed of relatively quickly by the Sin Eater.  Spider-Man’s efforts to stop the Juggernaut are futile as well, so the two develop a new plan…make an escape.

Osborn tells Peter that there’s a dock and an underground waterway in the subbasement level of Ravencroft, and that they should be able to make their escape to the river from there.  After the Green Goblin sends one last batch of missiles toward the Juggernaut, the two make their run.  Unfortunately, they are not fast enough to escape the Juggernaut-Sin Eater, who eventually catches up to them and delivers a thorough beating.  Part of the reason for their struggle against the Sin Eater derives from the fact that they are not accustomed to fighting as allies, and their constant bickering does not help matters either.

When the Sin Eater has Osborn pinned to the ground and prepares to fire his shotgun point blank, Spider-Man uses his webbing to pull down the support structures, causing the entire subbasement to collapse on itself.  Thus preventing Carter from cleansing Osborn.

As Spider-Man lay buried in the rubble he hears a voice calling to him…it's the voice of the Green Goblin.  Norman reminds Peter of the first time they ‘met’ (a reference to the events of Amazing Spider-Man #39 and Amazing Spider-Man #40).  He tells Peter he always hated him because he rejected him back then, Osborn was seeking out a kindred spirit (in his “own twisted way”) since they both wore a mask and “played the joker while [they] danced in the night sky.”   Peter’s rejection back then hurt Osborn, but what also caused him pain was the fact that Peter then saved his life.  Osborn hated the fact that he lived in Peter’s debt for so long and in that moment, he lifts Spider-Man from the rubble and tells him to “consider that debt paid.”  Peter and Norman begin to make their way toward the underground waterway.  Once they reach the transport, Peter discovers more potentially disastrous plans from Osborn, this one involving a massive EMP pulse, but, once again, Peter focuses on the present…and escaping the Sin Eater. 

Unfortunately, the Sin Eater is once again able to catch up to the two of them, so Peter and Norman are left with no other choice but to battle him head on.  After their attempt to subdue the Juggernaut fails once again, Peter and Norman put their brains together and come up with a new plan.  To use Osborn’s EMP compression generator to liquify the ground below them.

Peter then confronts the Sin Eater and tries to reason with him, telling the Sin Eater that it was he who failed him.  And that Carter should cleanse him, not Norman.  The Sin Eater refuses, citing that it is not his will to be done, but someone else’s (the person he’s referring to is, of course, Kindred).  Spidey then tells Norman to initiate the compressor, he then tries to hold off the Sin Eater to give the compressor time to liquify the cement beneath them.  The plan works, almost too well, as Spider-Man and the Sin Eater both fall into the liquified cement. 

As Spidey struggles to free himself from the cement, he finds Osborn above him, aboard his Goblin Glider.  Spider-Man asks him for help, but Norman responds only with a creepy look.  Osborn then tells him that his debt has been paid as he prepares to leave Peter there to die.  Norman then goes on to say that although he’s massively disappointed that his killing of Spider-Man was not a public spectacle, he’ll find a way to live with that disappointment.  He then proceeds to push Peter’s head below the surface of the liquified cement.

Suddenly, the Ghost Spider (aka Gwen Stacy from an alternate dimension) swoops in and attacks Osborn.  Before Spider-Man knows it, the entire Order of the Web is there to bail him out against his turncoat ally, Norman Osborn.  They tell him that they arrived to save him from Osborn and that they were strongly considering the option of simply handing Osborn over to the Sin Eater.  With the Sin Eater neutralized for the time being, the group is left with the question of what to do with Osborn. 

Since the structural integrity of the subbasement was in question, the group decides to simply leave the facility and deal with Osborn later.  Inside the transport vessel, Osborn does his best to get under the skin of every Spider-person onboard.  He begins by approaching Gwen Stacy, commenting on how it is “intoxicating” to be in her presence.  After alluding to the fact that he would love to catch up with her, Osborn then tells Spider-Man that if he’s going to kill her, he’ll make sure that it is quick and painless.

Gwen is not intimidated at all by Osborn’s remarks, but his comments were clearly getting under Peter’s skin.  All the recent events begin to flash through Peter’s mind, for instance, all the secret plans that Osborn had buried deep beneath Ravencroft.  Peter is worried that by saving Osborn, he’ll end up harboring more guilt for whatever crimes he commits afterward.  Peter prepares to knock Norman's lights out after the Green Goblin's continual goading.  However, cooler heads prevail as he looks toward his Spider-allies.  Peter then opens the door of their transport and simply tosses Osborn out, leaving him to fend for himself.  Spider-Man and his friends then make their way to the river.

Back at Ravencroft, the Sin Eater emerges from his cement-prison whilst Kindred prepares to push his plan into high gear.

After Spider-Man and his Spider-allies speed off, Norman finds himself alone and knee deep in water at the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man #851 (Vol. 6 #50).  Unfortunately for the original Green Goblin, he does not remain alone for long…the Sin Eater catches up to him.  Now, without the aid of Spider-Man and his friends, Norman is vulnerable.  Osborn attempts to outrun the Sin Eater but that proves useless, he then resorts to insulting the Sin Eater’s master, Kindred.  Osborn alludes to an intimate connection with Kindred, much in line with what occurred in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #31

As one final resort, Osborn tries to form an alliance with the Sin Eater as he explains that he does not want to be rid of his Goblin persona but rather to overcome it.  On his knees with his hands folded and pleading for Carter’s mercy, Osborn struggles to keep the farce going as he suddenly breaks out into laughter.  A hysterically laughing Norman then confesses that Carter “got [him]” and he then goads the Sin Eater into killing the Goblin.  Carter obliges, pulling the trigger on his sawed-off shotgun, leaving Osborn lifeless on the ground with a massive bullet hole in his chest.

The Sin Eater then calls to his master, Kindred, telling him that he’s completed his mission.  Unfortunately for Stanley Carter, things do not play out as he had anticipated.  The Sin Eater suddenly finds himself in the presence of Kindred who, now that Carter has played his part in his master plan, unleashes all the sins from those whom he had cleansed upon him in the form of vaporous demons.  A frightened and confused Stanley Carter then disappears from Kindred’s sight as he falls into an eternal abyss engulfed by these demons.

Soon after, Norman suddenly wakes, knee-deep in the water below Ravencroft where Stanley Carter had left him.  Doctor Kafka and the rest of the security staff at Ravencroft converge on Osborn, they had been looking for him since the attack by the Sin Eater and his mob.  However, the Osborn they come across is not the same one they lost.  Osborn, like all the others cleansed by the Sin Eater, is contrite and penitent as he encourages Kafka and the others to save themselves because he does not deserve their help.  Kafka can’t disagree after discovering all the secret machinations that Osborn had been building underneath Ravencroft.

After Kafka tells Osborn that the Sin Eater has disappeared, leaving his followers behind, Norman swells with terror.  He pleads with Kafka to help him find the Sin Eater because the man behind him, Kindred, is far worse.  Osborn even takes it a step further claiming responsibility for Kindred as he unveils the villain’s secret identity to Kafka…Kindred is his son, Harry Osborn!

In Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #50.LR, Doctor Kafka digs deeper into Osborn’s claims back in her offices at Ravencroft.  Overwhelmed by guilt, Norman takes the blame for everything that has happened to this point.  A skeptical Kafka does not believe Norman at first, as she debates whether or not she should report Osborn’s underground operations to the authorities.  However, she’s concerned about Osborn’s claims that many lives are at risks, so she proceeds to hear him out.  Norman reasserts that it is Harry behind the mask of Kindred and that Norman’s abuse and betrayal of his son over the years is what has led Harry to take on this maniacal persona. 

Norman adds that he is certain about what his son plans to do and that he would give his own life to stop it from happening.  However, since Harry hates his father so much, Norman’s life would not be enough to stop him.  An oddly nostalgic and guilt-ridden Norman then claims that he just wants to “…hold him again.  I just want my little boy…but he’s so far gone now…”

After hearing Norman’s dilemma, Kafka makes a suggestion.  Since Harry will not listen to his own father, perhaps Norman could identify an intermediary, whom Harry trusts, that could help “negotiate” through all the “history and hurt.”  Kafka asks Norman if there is anyone out there that Harry trusts and that he may listen to.  The story then shifts to an arrival at an airport, Mary Jane Watson is back in town…

MJ takes a taxi from the airport after returning to New York City on a promotional tour for the movie she’d been filming in Hollywood in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #51.LR.  The cab ride is brief however, when a car is tossed toward her cab leading to a gruesome head-on collision.  All the ruckus in Manhattan was caused by Kindred’s unleashing of the Sin Eater’s collective sins upon Spider-Man’s allies.  This resulted in Silk, Ghost Spider and the other members of the Order of the Web becoming demonic versions of themselves who are now dead-set on destroying New York City.

As MJ returns to consciousness, trapped underneath the over-turned cab, she finds help being offered to her from the most unexpected place…Norman Osborn!  Norman reaches out his hand to save her from the wreckage and the shocked MJ is too weak to resist, she eventually passes out. 

MJ suddenly awakes inside Doctor Ashley Kafka’s offices at Ravencroft where see finds herself face-to-face with Norman Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #52.LR.  Osborn assures her that she is in safe hands now, but, as expected, MJ doesn’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth.  She grabs the closest thing she could find, a lamp, and attacks him with it.  As she attempts to dart off, Norman tells her that Peter is in grave danger because of Harry.  MJ doesn't believe him and accuses Osborn of lying.  However, Dr. Kafka confirms Osborn’s assertations that he’s been cleansed by the Sin Eater.  MJ remains skeptical and reluctantly listens to Osborn and Kafka’s pleas to save Peter from Harry.  Norman appeals to the eerie sense of danger that she (and Peter) had been experiencing for some time now and that this lingering threat seems more dangerous than usual.  Osborn goes on to say that MJ is the only person who can save Peter at this point.

Peter becomes painfully aware of Kindred’s secret identity in Amazing Spider-Man #854 (Vol. 6 #53), as Harry unmasks in front of his long-time friend.  However, in Amazing Spider-Man #855 (Vol. 6 #54), Harry’s plan remains a bit of a mystery as he tells Peter that he wants to teach him about the nature of sin.  He does make one thing clear to Peter though, that MJ is in danger…

Mary Jane eventually agrees to work with Norman to stop Harry’s attack on Peter.  In Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #54.LR, she rides alongside Norman to the cemetery where he claims she’ll find Kindred.  According to Norman, this cemetery is where the Osborn family has been buried over the years.  MJ makes it clear to Norman that she’s doing this for Harry and Peter and that she most certainly does not forgive Norman for anything, despite his apparent change in behavior.  She knows the Goblin is his true nature, Osborn says nothing and simply absorbs her remarks.  He then equips MJ with a two-way earpiece and sends her into the cemetery.  Kindred and Spider-Man watch as MJ makes her way through the cemetery.  Harry tells Peter how happy they will all be when they are all together again, it is as if Kindred’s plan is working perfectly.

Soon after, however, a wrinkle begins to present itself.  It appears as though Norman had been feigning his contrite and repentant demeanor.  As Osborn stays behind in his limousine, he’s soon joined by the Kingpin.  Norman begins to act in his typical maniacal fashion as he reveals to Fisk that he’s using MJ as a trap to ensnare his son.  After expressing little care as to what happens to MJ once she’s confronted by Kindred, he tells Fisk that he gets Harry first.  Fisk complies, but only on the condition that he gets to finish Harry off…

By the time MJ makes it inside the mausoleum in Amazing Spider-Man #856 (Vol. 6 #55), Kindred has gathered together (and restrained) Spider-Man as well as the entire Order of the Web.

Peter tries to warn MJ to stay away, he even breaks through his restraints and attacks Kindred in an effort to stop him.  But his effort is futile, as Kindred quickly subdues Peter once again.  Having seen enough, MJ agrees to participate in Harry's "dinner party."  Meanwhile, Norman, using the two-way earpiece, tells Fisk that MJ is inside the mausoleum.  

Eventually MJ, Peter, Kindred and the others are gathered around a dinner table as Harry reminisces about his shared history with Peter.  In his own roundabout way, Harry blames Peter for MJ leaving him when they were in college and for his father's continual relapses into the Green Goblin.  Through a fascinating bit of logic, Harry dumps the blame onto Peter since he helped keep Norman's alter ego a secret in those early days (the events Harry and Peter discuss are covered here, here and here).  A secret that only Peter knew (because of Norman's amnesia between Goblin episodes).  Harry claims that they may have been able to get Norman help if Peter had not withheld that information from him.  

Harry's rationale starts to get to Peter as he struggles to explain his actions all those years ago to his now villainous friend.  Meanwhile, after listening in to the discussion from the cemetery grounds, Norman Osborn, garbed in his Green Goblin attire, decides it is time to enter the mausoleum.  

As Kindred starts to attack the Order of the Web in an effort to "end this, " Peter calls out Harry for the nonsensical nature of his attack.  Peter claims that the Harry he knew "moved past all this [history]."  Peter then demands that Harry tell him what he really wants Peter to confess to.  Harry then loses control and blames Peter for turning him into Kindred, he then attacks Peter.  MJ intervenes and reminds Harry about the time he told her that he would never hurt her (back in Spectacular Spider-Man #200).   This appears to calm Harry down.  

MJ then takes it a step further as she encourages Harry to kill her instead, stating that nothing would teach Peter a lesson quite like losing her.  Kindred grabs MJ by the neck and, albeit reluctantly, and prepares to kill her.  

MJ makes Harry promise that the death and suffering will end with her and that Harry should spare the others because of her sacrifice.  Just at that moment, Norman enters the room and he tells MJ that Harry can't end this because "it's not his choice to make."  He then tells Harry, "that's enough fun for now. boy."  Norman then proceeds to insult his son calling him a coward and a product of too much coddling.

A confused Harry Osborn resists his father wondering why Norman would intervene on behalf of a group of people that he hates.  Norman's response is simple, "I care because...they're mine!!!"  Norman then tosses a pumpkin bomb at MJ, leading to an explosion that sends MJ flying through the air nearly killing her.  

Furious at his father for ruining his diabolical plan, Kindred squares off in battle against the Green Goblin.  Meanwhile, Peter rushes to help MJ, who tells him that "it's gonna be me."  Whilst fighting his son, Norman radios back to the Kingpin and tells him to begin his attack.  Suddenly, the walls of the mausoleum begin to collapse upon everyone inside, as bodies fly in every direction amdist the chaos.  Kindred then mutters to himself, "The darkness..."  

Two flashback sequences in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56) provide some much-needed context for the events at Kindred’s mausoleum lair.  The first flashback is set around the time of Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #54.LR, after MJ had agreed to help Norman.  At Ravencroft, Osborn provides Fisk his mutually beneficial plan, one which leads to the capture of Kindred.  Osborn rationalizes that, with Kindred as their captive, the Kingpin would be able to force the mystical villain into accommodating his requests.  In return, Norman would be able to settle his score with Kindred, as Osborn explains that he has a “history” with the masked villain.  Unfortunately for Norman he does not have the resources necessary to accomplish this goal, which is why he’s turned to Fisk. 

The Kingpin of crime was inspired by Hydra’s tactics in which they trapped the island of Manhattan inside the Darkforce Dimension (ie, during the Secret Empire storyline).  By harnessing the villain Spot with a device which amplifies and extracts his connection to the Darkforce, Fisk is able to wield an incredible amount of power.  Fisk envisions using that power for incarceration, and thus a deal is struck between Fisk and Osborn to use this device (and Spot!) to imprison Kindred.  

There’s one condition to the deal, Norman gets first crack at Kindred.  That series of events explains the alliance between Osborn and Fisk at the conclusion of Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #54.LR.  It also explains the ‘darkness’ that Kindred references at the conclusion of Amazing Spider-Man #856 (Vol. 6 #55)

A second flashback sequence featured in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56) explores the moments just before and immediately following the conclusion of Amazing Spider-Man #856 (Vol. 6 #55).  The flashback sequence reveals that the pumpkin bomb that the Green Goblin had hurled at MJ was simply a flash grenade and was meant only as a decoy.  MJ was not harmed at all and it appeared to be part of her plan with Norman.  When Peter approaches MJ she tells him, “It’s okay tiger…now play along.”  Whilst the Green Goblin and Kindred continue to battle it out, MJ helps the Order of the Web escape the mausoleum safely.  Spider-Man then turns his attention to the two battling Osborns.

As the Darkforce Dimension begins to wrap around Kindred, he shares his final thoughts with Peter and Norman.  With the three of them alone, Kindred tells them both that he needed them to suffer.  Kindred then calls out Peter specifically and says that he didn’t want to create a situation in which Spider-Man would have the chance to once again play hero.  Instead, he wanted Peter’s friends and family to realize that he (Peter) is the cause of all this suffering. 

Kindred then turns to his father, the Green Goblin.  He tells Norman that since the Goblin would never let him (Norman) feel pain, he used the Sin Eater to remove that barrier from his father. Chronologically speaking, this is the first instance when we realize that Norman was reformed by the Sin Eater, thus his contrite demeanor.  So at this point, any maniacal or evil disposition displayed by Norman is simply a ruse.

Kindred believed that these attacks on Peter and Norman would cause them to have some sort of revelation or epiphany regarding Kindred’s history (and origin).  Unfortunately, Kindred realizes it did not work, neither Norman nor Peter understand how they’ve wronged him.   

As the Darkforce begins to fully envelope Kindred, he tells Peter and Norman that they are left to “unravel all of this.”  In his final words Kindred says, “I--I loved you both so much…Why did you do this to me?”   With Kindred sealed in his Darkforce tomb, Norman tells Peter to put on his mask, because the Kingpin’s men were charging inside the mausoleum.  Spider-Man then leaves, as Osborn and Fisk prepare to take the imprisoned Kindred back to Ravencroft.  There is a brief flashback in Amazing Spider-Man #858 (Vol. 6 #57) that depicts Kindred being hauled away from the mausoleum as Osborn and Fisk grin with malicious delight.

The contemporary portion of Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56) is set at Ravencroft, as Norman Osborn looks up on his son, frozen in his Darkforce cage.  After Norman receives data from one of the scientists at Ravencroft, confirming that Kindred can both hear and be heard from within his prison, the Kingpin arrives on the scene. 

Fisk demands access to Kindred, but Osborn reminds him that they had a deal, and thus he gets first shot on the demon.  Using his vintage sinister tone, Norman reminds Fisk that no one can hurt Kindred the way he (Osborn) can, adding that he’ll “have [his] fun” with Kindred and that will leave him a broken mess for Kingpin to do what he pleases.  Fisk is reluctant at first but then complies, he then exits the laboratory.  Norman then orders all the other scientists to leave the room as well, leaving him alone with Kindred.  Norman’s maniacal and evil demeanor gives way to a humble and scared father.  As alluded to in the flashback sequence earlier, it appears as though the Sin Eater’s “cleansing” was effective against Osborn after all (that plot point had been ping-ponging back and forth with each issue).

Norman then pleads with his son to forgive him for the ruse that he had to create (ie, his attack as the Green Goblin and his alliance with the Kingpin).  He tells Kindred that this was the only way and that he “couldn’t let them hurt [him].”  Norman explains further that he knew Kindred wanted him, so he used himself as bait and he reiterates that everything he’s done, he’s done to save Kindred.  He did not want the death of the innocent people on Harry’s conscience.  Norman says that he knows from personal experience how these acts of evil can prevent one from being able to look at themselves in the mirror, he wanted to spare Harry that fate.  Norman resolves to free Harry from this sickness, since he is the one who created it in the first place for his son.  He then thanks Kindred for freeing him from his own devils and that he now has the ability to look upon his son a loving father.  All of this thanks to the Sin Eater’s “cleansing.” 

Even more interesting is the fact all the sins that were freed by the Sin Eater’s purge eventually returned to their original host.  However, Norman’s did not, he remained free from his sins, thus, he concludes, he’s meant for a greater purpose.  Norman tells Harry that they can now be the family they were always meant to be and that they can both use their talents for good, not evil.  Osborn then pleas for Kindred to simply talk to him, but the mystical demon remains stoic.  Norman then confesses that there is so much he doesn’t understand about what happened to Kindred but that he knows it is all his fault from the “many terrible things” he’d done over the years.  Norman vows to get to the bottom of all this and reach the “truth” Kindred had alluded to.  Just then Spider-Man comes bursting through a window into Ravencroft as he screams at Norman, “You and I need to talk.”

Spider-Man and Norman Osborn’s conversation is featured as the contemporary portion of Amazing Spider-Man #858 (Vol. 6 #57), and the web-slinger is not buying Norman’s “reformed” demeanor.  As Norman apologizes for the events at the mausoleum, Peter lashes out, taking a swing at Norman (and missing) and commanding that Osborn not say MJ’s name.  Despite his pleas for forgiveness not sinking in, Osborn continues to tell Spider-Man that he wishes things could be different and that he understands why Peter would not trust him.  But Osborn insists they must do something to save his son.  They both look at Kindred behind the Darkforce barrier and Osborn laments that he does not know what binds the three of them together (other than Norman’s torment), but that they should work to figure that out.

But the conversation suddenly pivots, as Spider-Man claims that he will not help him and that he prefers that Kindred rot away in his Darkforce cell.  Peter goes on to say that he’s done dealing with “The Osborns,” because the cycle of evil and addressing past wrongs is never-ending and that they always blame him for things that go wrong in their lives.  He suggests that they take responsibility for their own lives as he begins to exit Ravencroft.  Norman then pleads for Peter to stay and suggests that he and MJ could still help Harry, he then grabs Peter by the arm.  Infuriated with Norman’s persistence and the fact that he once again mentions MJ, Peter turns around and pummels Osborn.   He continues to whale on Osborn until the original Green Goblin in bloodied in the face.  Peter then comes to his senses, departs Ravencroft through the window leaving a beaten and frightened Norman Osborn on the floor. 

Soon after, Carlie Cooper, who is following up upon the excavated bodies that Kindred had used as “dinner party guests” back at the mausoleum, makes a stunning realization.  She is looking into the dead bodies on MJ’s request, but she suddenly sees something that is not quite right.  She calls MJ on her cell phone, but she doesn’t pick up.  Before she knows it, Carlie is being wrapped up by one of Kindred’s centipedes!

Soon after, with the knowledge that Harry Osborn is Kindred, Peter decides to pay a visit to Liz Allan at her home in Amazing Spider-Man #859 (Vol. 6 #58).  Interestingly, according to Liz everything is going quite swimmingly between her and Harry, who she claims is out of town on business at the moment.  After inquiring around some specifics of Harry’s whereabouts, Peter goes on to tell Liz everything he knows about Harry and Kindred.  Liz does not take the news very well and insists that he’s lying.  Liz also claims that she’s been watching out to see if Harry’s behavior changes at all, but, according to her, it has not. 

Normie Osborn overhears the conversation and, after accusing everyone of constantly lying to him as well, he volunteers his own input.  Normie takes Peter and Liz to a secret closet stash of Green Goblin weaponry.  

At first glance it appears as though Harry was caught red-handed, but Peter is confused because Harry’s reversion was to Kindred, not the Green Goblin.  So his Goblin arsenal “at the ready” doesn’t really explain his behavior.  Nevertheless, Peter suggests Liz and Normie move out of the home for the time being.

Just then, there’s a knock at the door…and it’s Norman Osborn!  He claims to have constant surveillance on the home and arrived so that he could talk with Peter.  Norman does not get a warm greeting from Peter or Liz, who both demand that he leave immediately.  After realizing that Peter had told Liz about Harry’s role as Kindred, Norman asks Peter if they can speak privately.  Norman tells Peter that he overheard a conversation by Wilson Fisk discussing an impending attack…at the F.E.A.S.T. Center where Aunt May works!  Taking Norman at his word, Peter races away from Liz’s home to go save Aunt May.  Soon after, Spider-Man finds himself battling a horde of the Inner Demons as they attack Martin Li and Aunt May!

While Spidey battles the Inner Demons, Norman Osborn stands outside Liz's bedroom door, pleading with her in Amazing Spider-Man #860 (Vol. 6 #59).  Norman is not pleading for her forgiveness, he knows he has no  chance of attaining that, instead he asks for her and Normie to see Harry at the Ravencroft facility.  Harry, of course, is encased in a Darkforce cell and is garbed as Kindred.  Norman tells Liz that he thought they might want to see Harry.  Eventually Liz accepts Norman's offer and she and Normie head out to Ravencroft with Norman.  

The mere sight of Harry as Kindred, encased in his Darkforce tomb, brings Liz to her knees in tears, as she's overwhelmed with pain seeing him in this condition.  

Witnessing his mother in such tremendous anguish causes Normie to run, as he attempts to escape the building.  Soon after, Norman tracks his grandson down, the young boy made it to the Ravencroft rooftop.  As Norman approaches, Normie screams at him to "stay back."  Normie then expresses to his grandfather his severe distrust of the adults in his life.  In an attempt to help calm Normie, Norman hands him a picture from this jacket pocket.  It's a picture of he and Harry, back when Harry was a boy and they went to Coney Island together.   After Normie asks about his father, Norman dispenses some timely sage advice for the young Osborn.  

Norman tells his grandson that he's getting old enough to see the flaws in the adults around him, but that Normie should not forget that those adults do want to be something better than they are.  The two then bond over the picture and their memories of Harry.  Norman even promises to take Normie with him to Coney Island if he comes inside and off the roof of the building.  Norman and Normie then walk inside as Spider-Man, perched on a nearby rooftop, watches over them.  It is clear that Spider-Man does not trust Norman, despite his 'reformed' demeanor.  

Even though Spider-Man was having his doubts about this exceedingly kind Norman Osborn, Maria Hill was not.  Around this time, Hill was investigating something called the Rubicon Trigger.  And in the Taskmaster mini series, she fakes her death and then manipulates Tony Masters (aka the Taskmaster) into doing some of the investigation's requisite dirty work.   In Taskmaster #5, Hill explains the rationale for her tactics and the Rubicon Trigger itself to Nick Fury, Black Widow and the Taskmaster.

According to Hill, the Rubicon Trigger was a project that Norman had initiated while he was running H.A.M.M.E.R.  The project was a global-self-destruct weapon of sorts, put in place by Osborn to destroy the world if we was no longer running it.  Hill describes the weapon as consisting of, "stealth death-spore satellites--a necklace of death hung around the world."

Fortunately, after the Siege on Asgard, Osborn was detained by the Avengers and never able to activate his Rubicon Trigger.   Nevertheless, the weapon still existed and posed a threat to global security, which is why Hill was out to shut it down.

Interestingly, in order to terminate the Rubicon Trigger, Maria Hill capitalizes on Norman's new, generous disposition.  She asks Osborn to hand over the kill codes for the weapon, and Osborn complies.  Norman's help allowed Hill to eliminate the threat of the Rubicon Trigger...or so she thought.  The Taskmaster, annoyed by how he was manipulated by Hill, activates the device at the conclusion of the mini series.  Presumably, Hill, Fury and the Black Widow were able to shut it down (it is not shown on panel), nevertheless the Taskmaster got a bit of revenge in on Hill.

This interaction with Maria Hill makes it very clear that if Osborn is not genuinely 'reformed,' at the very least he's doing a tremendous job of faking it....



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After recalling his last conversation with Norman Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man #831 -832 (Vol. 6 #30-31), Kindred decides to kick his plot against Spider-Man into high gear, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #838 (Vol. 6 #37)

After a veiled threat is issued to Norah Winters, Norman grants her access to the Ravencroft facility for her reporting, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #847 (Vol. 6 #46)

Norman Osborn refuses to evacuate Ravencroft despite his security guards recommendation, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #849 (Vol. 6 #48)

Just as Osborn was about to succumb to the Sin Eater's mob of followers, Spider-Man swoops in to save his long-time enemy, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #849 (Vol. 6 #48)

Osborn resents Spider-Man's help and claims that Ravencroft could withstand the Sin Eater's attack, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn

From his secret hideout beneath Ravencroft, Osborn attempts to unleash the Juggernaut...unfortunately, the Sin Eater was one step ahead of him, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn

Spider-Man and the Green Goblin suddenly find themselves confronted by the Sin Eater with the powers of the Juggernaut, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Left with no other options, Peter saves the Green Goblin then causes the entire subbasement to collapse on the Sin Eater, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Whilst pulling the rubble off of Spider-Man, Norman explains that he has always hated him because after one of their early encounters, Peter saved his life after he defeated him, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Norman repays his 'debt' to Peter and carries him to safety whilst the Sin Eater remains in pursuit, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Spider-Man finds all kinds of schemes and devices within Osborn's secret hideout below Ravencroft, unfortunately he's forced to worry about the task at hand, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Spider-Man's alliance with the Green Goblin dissolves as quickly as it formed, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

The Ghost Spider swoops in just as Osborn was about to drown Spider-Man in the liquified cement, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Osborn spots the Ghost Spider, knowing that she is a 'Gwen Stacy' from another universe, and attempts to intimidate her, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #850 (Vol. 6 #49)

Norman goads the Sin Eater into "cleansing" him, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #851 (Vol. 6 #50)

The Sin Eater blasts Norman Osborn with his sawed-off shotgun...cleansing him in the process, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #851 (Vol. 6 #50)

Dr. Ashley Kafka recommends that Norman find an intermediary to help him reason with his son Harry (aka Kindred), as seen in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #50.LR

After MJ is in a car accident (caused by the demonic versions of the Order of the Web), Norman Osborn is there to save her, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #51.LR

Unable to believe Norman could be there to help, MJ attacks him and tries to escape, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #52.LR

In the car ride over to the cemetery, MJ gives Osborn an earful about how she feels about him, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #54.LR

Wilson Fisk and Norman Osborn confirm their alliance and their plan of attack against Harry Osborn, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #54.LR

As Harry plot against Peter and MJ unfolds, Norman makes his way into the mausoleum to disrupt his son's plan, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #856 (Vol. 6) #55

 Norman confronts Harry and after tossing a few insults his way, Norman tosses a pumpkin bomb at MJ, nearly killing her, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #856 (Vol. 6) #55

Norman's move against MJ was not a part of Harry's plan, so the furious Kindred turns his ire toward his interloping father Norman, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #856 (Vol. 6) #55

Some time around Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #54.LR, Norman approaches Wilson Fisk with a proposal to capture Kindred, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56)

As MJ helps the Order of the Web escape safely, Peter turns back to the confrontation between Kindred and the Green Goblin, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56)

A scientist at Ravencroft informs Norman that Kindred's prison is functioning properly, the mysterious demon can hear and be heard by Osborn, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56)

As the Ravencroft staff clears the room, Norman shifts his demeanor from maniacal to regretful, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56)

Kindred (aka Harry Osborn) has no response for his father as Norman pleads with him to understand that his ruse as the Green Goblin was meant to save his son, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56)

As the Darkforce prison closes upon Kindred, he tells Peter and Norman that he loved them both so much as he begins to cry, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #857 (Vol. 6 #56)

Peter tells Norman that he is through helping the Osborns out of the trouble they create for themselves, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #858 (Vol. 6 #57)

After punching the daylights out of Norman, Peter pauses then quickly leaves Ravencroft, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #858 (Vol. 6 #57)

After Peter tells Liz about Harry becoming Kindred, she refuses to believe him at first, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #859 (Vol. 6 #58)

Norman informs Peter about an imminent attack on the F.E.A.S.T. Center and that he fears for the safety of Peter's Aunt May, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #859 (Vol. 6 #58)

Norman leads Liz and Normie through Ravencroft to Kindred (aka Harry Osborn) as Spider-Man battles the Inner Demons, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #860 (Vol. 6 #59)

Atop the Ravencroft facility, Norman shares a picture of young Harry Osborn with Normie in an attempt to help calm him down, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #860 (Vol. 6 #59)

Spider-Man watches, untrustingly, as Norman leads Normie back in to the Ravencroft facility, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #860 (Vol. 6 #59)

Maria Hill describes the trouble with destroying the Rubicon Trigger to Nick Fury, Taskmaster and the Black Widow, as seen in Taskmaster #5

Maria Hill explains how Norman's "change of heart" led to him handing over the kill codes for the Rubicon Trigger, as seen in Taskmaster #5