Harry Osborn in Insomniac's Spider-Man 2

Ahead of ‘Spider-Man 2,’ Get To Know Peter Parker’s Best Friend, Harry Osborn

There are only two weeks to go until Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 game drops, and I am so excited I can barely contain myself. The game promises many wonderful and exciting things, but if I’m honest, I’m most excited about seeing Harry Osborn come into the story. He’s my all-time favorite character in any media, you see. My blorbo since before the word “blorbo” even existed. I’m very protective of him! So let me be your guide to everything you need to know about Harry before Spider-Man 2 releases.

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Who is Harry Osborn?

You may know the basics of Harry’s character from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. He’s the son of Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s greatest enemy. That’s a little awkward since Spider-Man’s alter-ego Peter Parker happens to be Harry’s best friend.

To really get to the meat of Harry’s character, though, you have to read the comics—though not the modern-day ones. You’ll thank me for that, believe me. The younger Osborn first came to life as a crony of Flash Thompson and a friend of Gwen Stacy’s, only befriending Peter after Peter had already uncovered that industrialist Norman Osborn and the Goblin were one and the same.

Harry may have had Peter as a friend, but he also had one of the worst fathers in comics. Harry became addicted to drugs while Norman was off supervillain-ing and relapsed just before Norman murdered Gwen Stacy and was subsequently killed by his own glider. Poor Harry had to deal with a drug overdose, a diagnosis of schizophrenia, the death of one of his dearest friends, and the death of his father all in one day. Needless to say, he was never the same again. Eventually, this turmoil led him to put on his father’s mask, become the second Green Goblin, and seek revenge on Peter Parker.

Things might not happen quite the same way in the game. For a start, Norman is yet to embrace his Goblin side, and Gwen Stacy doesn’t seem to exist.

What can we expect from Harry in Spider-Man 2?

Thanks to the story trailer and the post-credits scenes from Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, we know the basics of what will happen to Harry in the game. He’s been floating about in a tank getting treatment for his terminal illness—something he doesn’t have in the comics—and the thing in the tank with him appears to be the Venom symbiote.

Yep, Harry is apparently the new host of the monster called Venom! Norman introduced Harry to the symbiote to save his life (Insomniac’s Spider-Man gives us the rare Norman who genuinely cares about Harry), but that act is going to have major consequences.

None of this is to say that Eddie Brock, the traditional Venom, won’t ever show up in the Insomniac Spider-Man games. But Harry becoming Venom opens a huge vein of emotional turmoil, and that’s just what I want from Spider-Man 2. Peter will almost certainly have to deal with his best friend turning, probably against his will, into one of Spider-Man’s most destructive enemies.

Will Harry Osborn be in any future Insomniac Spider-Man games?

Norm and Harry Osborn with a symbiote in the background in Insomniac's 'Spider-Man 2' game
(Insomniac Games)

Sadly, it seems likely (but it is in no way confirmed!) that Harry won’t survive to the end of Spider-Man 2. Why? Let’s dive into the comics again. The story arc where Harry descends into darkness—inspired, of course, by Norman—and then passes away after saving Peter’s life is rightly considered one of the best Spider-Man stories of all time (it was written by the legendary J.M. DeMatteis and illustrated by the equally legendary Sal Buscema and is not currently collected in full for fans to buy). And, remember, Harry also dies in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The poor kid is fated to die in most universes, it seems.

Remember I mentioned how this version of Norman wasn’t actually the Green Goblin yet? What could push him over the edge more than the death of his only child?

What are the best Harry Osborn comic stories?

Be quick, you only have two weeks to read them!

To understand the story of how Harry and Peter became friends, ideally, you want to read Amazing Spider-Man #31 up to #40. The shattering tale of Gwen Stacy’s murder and the impact it had on Spider-Man’s world is told in #121–122, and Harry’s first stint as the Green Goblin after Norman’s death is depicted in #135-137.

After that, you need to switch to Spectacular Spider-Man. Harry’s tragic downfall happens in the story arc called “The Child Within,” issues #177-184, and his heartwrenching death happens in #200. (Harry did actually return for several years after the infamous comic event known as “One More Day,” but you know what, I’m not getting into that.)

I’ll see you on October 20th for what promises to be, one way or another, my personal pick for most emotionally devastating game of the year!

(featured image: Insomniac Games)

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.