In this issue of Superior Spider-Man Team-Up, writer Ken Shinick explored the relationship between Norman Osborn (aka The Green Goblin) and Doctor Otto Octavius (aka Doctor Octopus). The story is a flashback that takes place sometime years back when the world believed Norman to be deceased; however, he had apparently been quietly scheming from the shadows, and it seems as though only Octavius knew of his existence.
Shinick took the readers on a journey into the secret alliance formed between Octavius and Osborn while he was in hiding. This combination of insanity and brilliance led to the creation and development of many weapons and inventions that the two would plan to use to aid in the complete obliteration of Spider-Man. The ultimate goal of the duo was to set a trap for Spider-Man and finish him together, something that predecessors such as the Sinister Six, the Spider Slayers, and the symbiotes known as Venom and Carnage could not accomplish.
While there was a mutual respect between the two, there was still somewhat a lack of trust stemming from both Osborn and Octavius, mainly because Osborn is crazy and the Goblin formula causes him to sporadically act like a madman. Him being able to flip a switch like that at any given time was what kept Octavius on edge throughout their entire partnership, which seemed to have lasted more than a few years.
Osborn admitted that other than his late wife, Octavius is the only one who he would consider to have been his friend (although this may not mean much coming from a complete psycho juiced up on Goblin formula). This allowed him to establish a link between himself and Octavius, one that would cause him to open up to Osborn and expose a precious secret that would give him something to keep in his back pocket for future use to inevitably manipulate Otto. Years ago, Otto was in love with a young woman named Mary Alice, who he had been engaged to but forced to break up with due to the disapproval of his mother; however, his mother ironically fell in love herself and quickly forgot about her son, leaving him to wallow in a sea of depression, even to this current time period. Otto admitted that this unfortunate event was one of the major events of his past that partly led to the inception of his Doctor Octopus persona.
In the end, the deadly duo created the Octo-Goblin, a goblin suit operated by Norman Osborn complete with armor, weapons, and arms similar to that of Doctor Octopus, and they planned to use it to exact their vengeance on Spider-Man. However, in the end it seems as though Osborn had developing plans of his own. He quickly called off the plan they had spent so much time developing and tricked Otto into visiting the hospital only to see his long lost Mary Alice hospitalized. Osborn went found her and ran her car off the road, and proceeded to poison her blood while she lay helpless and unconscious in her bed! He claimed that Otto must learn what loss truly feels like, and this would be his first true experience of the loss of a true friend. Apparently, he believed this would aid in strengthening Otto’s resolve to destroy Spider-Man and to see things Osborn’s way (which is clearly that of a madman).
Shinick did an excellent job in this issue with character development of both Osborn and Octavius. Connecting the dots of the past is not an easy thing to do, and to go back so far into the timeline to create a believable and accurate story took great precision. Delving into the sinister mind of Norman Osborn is a challenging task for anyone, but Shinick did an amazing job on this issue, and artists Marco Checchetto, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, and Rachelle Rosenberg did a spectacular job in capturing the dark, sinister features of the Green Goblin throughout the story.