Norman's early aspirations as the Green Goblin involved uniting the criminal underworld under his sole command. As his preoccupation with Spider-Man grew, he placed less focus on his rule over a vast criminal empire. But Norman's involvement with the society's illegitimate members never ceased, despite his newfound "clean" image. When the Kingpin returned to New York City, Osborn is viewed as an obstacle to Fisk's resurgence to the Kingpin of crime.
In the one-shot Spider-Man: Made Men, Norman is featured as a key player amongst New York City's criminal elite. The story is narrated by investigative reporter Ben Urich who is outlining the current state of affairs amongst the various heads of local mobs in his latest report aptly titled Made Men. Urich's report is prompted by the recent return of Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, who has returned to take back his criminal holdings. The story itself centers around two childhood friends who lives take them down very different paths. The first, Paul Falcone, heads into law enforcement, while the other, Tommy Kavanagh, pursues a life of crime. This story also features Hammerhead, Fortunato, Silvermane, and the Rose as contenders for the role of crime boss in New York. There is also a brief mention of Joey Z, the thug Spider-Man was framed for murdering back in Peter Parker Spider-Man #88. It is stated that Joey Z was a driver for the boss Fortunato and that he was a weasel who is “no longer with us.”
Osborn has only a small role in this story, but his actions are in no part minor. Norman is staunchly against Kingpin's return, and in an effort to muddy the waters for the mob bosses, Norman secretly attacks the group. During a truce meeting between Silvermane, Hammerhead, and the Rose held by Fortunato on his yacht, Osborn uses a rocket launcher to sink the boat. As the boat is sinking, Norman mysteriously claims “the end results [he] desires will be attained”. No doubt this was done to serve his own interests, but the exact nature of Norman's plan is not revealed. The story ends with the Kingpin and Norman in an uneasy truce, but as we shall soon see, their cease fire does not last long.
The Kingpin soon takes a retaliatory shot at Osborn in Peter Parker Spider-Man #95. The Kingpin sends the assassin Nitro to kill Norman at the Daily Bugle building. Unfortunately Norman isn't the only person who feels the wrath of Nitro's assassination attempt; Peter, Betty Brant and Normie Osborn are in the vicinity when Nitro "explodes".
After Nitro Detonates himself, Norman, Peter, Normie, and Betty Brant become trapped in the destroyed elevator remains. After a some pyschological provoking by Norman, Peter decides to save Betty and Normie at the risk of revealing his identity to the public by displaying superhuman strength. After saving Betty and Normie, Peter goes back and saves Norman in the nick of time. A decision Peter may have wished not to make, for Norman would soon return to the role of the Green Goblin to terrorize Peter and those close to him. The Kingpin continues to take shots at various other mob bosses including Fortunato, Silvermane, and Hammerhead as he pursues his goal as the Kingpin of crime.
Osborn sinks Fortunato's yacht, which was filled with numerous mob bosses as seen in Spider-Man: Made Men
Peter Parker Spider-Man #95
Norman and Peter get trapped in the elevator wreckage and exchange pleasantries, as seen in Peter Parker Spider-Man #95