When people think about The Green Goblin, they typically think about Norman Osborn using his weaponry and super-serum formula to try and kill Spider-Man. But fewer people think about his son Harry Osborn, and the outcome of him following in his father’s footsteps. It turns out that the serum Harry took was not only superior in giving him more strength than that of his father’s formula, but also fatal as it made him sick with fever before leading inevitably to Harry Osborn’s death.
All the action happens in Spectacular Spider-Man issue 200. It starts off with Harry, as Green Goblin, grabbing Mary Jane, Spider-Man’s wife, off the street. He brings her to the same spot where Gwen Stacy died. Naturally she expects him to throw her off the bridge in the same way Harry’s father Norman did with Peter’s girlfriend. However instead Harry takes off his mask and says how much he loves her, and would do anything for her. He recalls the times when they were younger, and they used to drive around along with Peter and Gwen. Mary Jane tells Harry that if he will do anything for her, then he should take her home.
Meanwhile Spider-Man is looking for his wife, suspecting that Harry as the Green Goblin took her. He circles back to his apartment. Inside he finds Mary Jane sitting on the bed. Harry, in costume but with is mask off, is standing behind her. Peter gets possessive and punches Harry, telling him to stay away from his wife. Mary Jane tries to smooth things over by explaining that he just wants to talk. Harry then leaves to go home to his wife Liz and his toddler son Norman.
Meanwhile, with Peter and Mary Jane still in their apartment, they start to argue while trying to find a solution to stop Harry from harassing them. Peter says that he would like to throw him off a roof, perhaps foreshadowing Harry Osborn’s death. Mary Jane lights up a cigarette, and an ashtray full of cigarette butts shows that she has been stressed out and chain-smoking like a chimney. Peter loses his temper over her smoking and knocks over a table with photo albums on it. They look at each other and hug, while a picture of Peter and Harry as kids is in the foreground. This is a reminder how the two of them have been life long friends.
Harry returns home to his family and talks with his wife Liz. He is heavily sweating with a fever, and loses his temper with her, putting his hand around her neck. Liz is in denial about her husband, and throughout the comic issue Mary Jane tries to bring her to her senses. Harry as Green Goblin forces Jonah Jameson at The Daily Bugle to publicize a new charitable organization called The Norman Osborn Foundation. Peter is sitting in a Pizzeria, eating pizza that has a odd pink color to it. The Green Goblin finds him again outside, and as Spider-Man they get into another scuffle as he threatens to eventually kill him, or announce his secret identity. Spider-Man throws up his hands and yells out Harry’s name. This sort of frustration goes back and forth throughout the story.
Later Spider-Man and Green Goblin, again, get into another fight and Goblin stabs him with a needle that has a nasty chemical in it that shatters his equilibrium. Spider-Man can’t even stand up, so Green Goblin sets up a bomb. However he then realizes that Mary Jane and his son are in the building. Harry takes off his mask and uses his glider to fly them out of the building. Mary Jane pleads with him to not let her husband die in the building. Harry flies his glider out the front door holding Spider-Man moments before the building explodes.
Norman suddenly collapses and says that the experimental formula he took to give him powers must not have been much of a success. When Spider-Man asks why he came back to save him, Harry says that it’s because he is his best friend, and couldn’t have done anything else. Mary Jane is holding Harry’s son and they are both crying. Harry, still in his Green Goblin costume, is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with Spider-Man holding his hand. His eyes close before he makes it there, implying Harry Osborn’s death. The following pages are silent with no written dialog. Spider-Man tells Mary Jane that Harry is dead and Spider-Man covers his face. In the last panel it shows the picture from Peter’s photo album of the two of them together as kids.
So yeah, this giant-sized 200th issue of Spectacular Spider-Man is monumental for having Harry Osborn’s death. He had been a character since Amazing Spider-Man issue 31. It is rather a sad story, but his death was settled in a way that side-stepped it being anyone’s fault. Buy this issue and make it part of your collection. There is really no excuse to not pick it up, since its monetary value is at the level of toilet paper, and it’s easy to find.