A breakup with Mary Jane Watson sends the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’s closest friend Harry Osborn on a downward spiral of no return.
Possessing his own shared apartment with secret superhero Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man, a fancy car, and a cold yet lenient father who could obtain anything his son desires and more, what could ever trouble an individual as privileged as Harry Osborn? Spider-Man’s understandable concentration on a dangerous returning villain from the past unfortunately allowed the hero to overlook Harry’s equally dangerous newfound hobby.
Chosen at a difficult moment in his life, a college-aged Harry is approached by a skeevy street peddler who quickly takes advantage of Harry’s decaying relationship with Mary Jane Watson. Not skipping a beat, the peddler offers the young naive Osborn a way out of his situation in the form of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) pills, though not explicitly named. Harry’s association with pills quickly develops from a sheer coping mechanism, following his split with Mary Jane, to a full-on dependence on the drugs.
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Coinciding with Harry’s turn to drugs, Harry’s father Norman Osborn must face his own demons when the Green Goblin persona, presumed to be dead, resurfaces within the calculated businessman. As expected, the Green Goblin immediately sets out to eliminate his costumed nemesis, Spider-Man, and nearly succeeds until his son ultimately overdoses after consuming an additional dose of pills. In order to condense his fight with Green Goblin and reach Norman’s humanity, Spidey expertly guides the gliding madman in front of the hospital where Harry is being kept. Norman witnessing his comatose son, fate to be determined, lying still in the hospital is more than enough for the businessman to retake control of his sanity.
Given the comic’s mature subject matter, the much-disputed comic book overseer The Comics Code Authority, a form of regulation formerly used to impose its influence on comics in the U.S., refused to give the drug-centric story-line their consent. The Amazing Spider-Man #96-98 were a landmark set of issues in that they would become the few early Marvel books without the Comics Code’s seal of approval. If the Comics Code Authority were to become involved, the story-line and character moments featured would have likely seen a massive overhaul as a result of the code’s influence to make the comic accessible to every reader.
A major storyline revolving around drug addiction is not a story well suited for Tom Holland’s more light-hearted high school-aged Spider-Man series. Not even to take into account that Harry Osborn has not even been introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as it currently exists, with Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds filling in the best friend role for Holland’s version of Peter. However, as MCU Spider-Man continues to mature and grow, it would not be out of the ordinary to see the series handle more adult themes.
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