From high school bully to CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Liz (Allan) Osborn has been a steady presence in the life of Peter Parker. We don’t know much about Liz’s background but she seems to come from a wealthy family. After Flash created the Forest Hills chapter of the Spider-Man fan club, he bought an ad in the newspaper saying that Spider-Man would attend the first meeting. It took place at the Avenue Dinner Club, which Liz proudly said her father owned. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #17). (After taking over Horizon Industries, she told the staff that she was the owner of Allan Chemical. (Superior Spider-Man (vol. 1) #17) I assume she inherited it from her father. It’s strange that Harry and Liz, kids from very wealthy families, both went to public high schools.)
She went to school at Midtown High, was the girlfriend of Eugene “Flash” Thompson and was a bully of Peter. At times she tried to tell Flash to go easy on Peter and other times mocked and belittled him. After Flash dressed as Spider-Man and was kidnapped by Dr. Doom, Liz said she wouldn’t blame Peter for being jealous of a real man like Flash. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #5) However, she had developed a crush on Spider-Man after he saved her from a pair of jewelry thieves at a natural history museum. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #6 Surprisingly, she formed a crush on Peter after he was unmasked by Doctor Octopus, who had kidnapped Betty Brant. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #12) Peter had moved on from his interest in Liz when he started to date Betty. After graduation, Liz left the group saying that she was tired of just being some “dizzy blonde.” (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #28)
She came back years later, telling Peter that she had become a nurse to help her stepbrother, Mark Raxton. Mark had become the Molten Man and she had dedicated herself to helping him find a cure for fiery condition. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #133) Liz was arrested for stealing drugs from her hospital and using them to help Mark. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #172)Liz barely escaped the burning building that she was trapped inside of as Spider-Man and Molten Man fought it out. She ran away in panic as the building collapsed. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #173)
She soon met Harry Osborn, who tried to stop her purse from being grabbed by a thief at the wedding of Betty Brant and Ned Leeds. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #156) They got married and had their only child, Normie Osborn. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #263) Their marriage was happy despite dealing with the legacy of Harry’s father. However, Harry couldn’t outrun that legacy forever and his mind deteriorated until he relapsed into the Green Goblin identity. (Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #188) Harry kidnapped Liz, Normie and Mark, telling them that they were all family and would rule New York. He was stopped by Spider-Man. (Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #189) Liz went to visit Harry in prison and promised him her love and support, despite his attempt to strangle her. (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #369)
After Harry passed away, Liz took being a widow hard. She briefly began to drink but poured the bottle out when Normie asked if she was going to leave him, just like his father had. (Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) Annual #14) She seemed to slip into the role of C.E.O. of OsCorp pretty comfortably after Harry’s death. She even wanted to run a more responsible company than her father in law had directed. She was soon out of her position after Norman turned out to be alive and he took over his old company. Liz was initially intimidated by him but stood up to him before Normie was kidnapped by a surrogate Green Goblin. She was more concerned about her son being exposed to his grandfather’s temper than an obscure outside threat. (Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #255)
Norman was eventually exposed as the original Green Goblin and taken to prison, leaving Liz to retake control of OsCorp. It was under her supervision that Horizon Labs, OsCorp, Allan Chemical and the remnants of Parker Industries was consolidated into Alchemax. (Superior Spider-Man (vol. 1) #19) As is to be expected, Alchemax was the scene of many superhuman incidents. It was robbed by the Goblin King (Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #796) and dealt with Venom several times (Venom: First Host #1-#3) (Venom #155) (Venom (vol. 3) #6)
Liz is a corporate raider but still a mother first. She has compromised her principles several times when forced to protect Normie and her stepson, Stanley Osborn. After Peter unmasked himself as Spider-Man on TV, his enemies threatened the Osborn family. (Sensational Spider-Man (vol. 2) #29-31) After Norman formed the “Goblin Nation,” Liz was coerced into telling Normie that all of the death and destruction was for him, because he was special. (Superior Spider-Man (vol. 1) #31) Finally, Normie has bonded to a portion of the Carnage symbiote, becoming the new Red Goblin. After he disappeared from school to find his missing grandfather, Liz threatened the school principal. She informed him that her company has committed many atrocities and the public is unaware of them because of Alchemax’s lawyers. Her lawyers terrify her but she will release them on him and the school if her son isn’t found. (Red Goblin #3)
Liz’s determination to protect her family will cause her to cross the line, and bond with a symbiote, called Misery. (Cult of Carnage: Misery #1)
What stands out about Liz is her strength, to the point of being unpleasant. While Mary Jane, Betty Brant and Felicia Hardy are strong, Liz has an arrogance. She mocked Peter in high school after he came to class with his arm in a sling and chewed out Flash when she dumped him for Peter. Strength is something that is very important to her, which is why she dated the football star, then the brave and intelligent nerd. She fell for Harry when he tried to stop a thief from grabbing her purse.
Protecting her family is one of her main priorities and she’s had plenty of opportunity to do so. She took the risk of becoming her stepbrother’s personal nurse, despite his dangerous condition. She stole drugs to help his treatment despite knowing the risk of jail time. She’s put herself between her son and danger multiple times. Despite telling Normie “your grandpa is a deeply terrifying individual” (Red Goblin #1) she still wouldn’t back down from him. She was intensely loyal to Harry, even blaming Spider-Man and the Parkers for her family’s troubles instead of her husband. (Spectacular Spider-Man #200)
Ruthless Corporate Leader
That said, she doesn’t apply her protective instincts to everyone. After Spider-Man defeated the imposter Green Goblin, he went to check on Liz. She told him to stay away from her. Everyone that gets close to Peter gets hurt. (Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) #18) Liz was even colder when a group of criminals threatened her family and demanded that Spider-Man come for them. When Peter arrived at Liz’s home, she chewed him out for lying to her for years and for endangering her family by being connected to them. She did warn him that Scarecrow and Will O the Wisp were waiting for him as he fought the Molten Man (Sensational Spider-Man (vol. 2) #31), so much of her anger could be justified by the situation. Some would say that her actions against Dylan Brock were less justifiable. Dylan had a corrosive effect on symbiotes, something that Alchemax wanted to know more about. The experiments pushed Dylan to his limit and Liz wanted the scientists to minimize his pain. Still, she approved the unethical experimentation on an unwilling teenager. (Venom (vol. 3) #4)
Liz’s marriage to Harry was a codependent relationship. He needed her and she needed to be needed. In a healthy relationship, both people benefit and support each other. In a codependent relationship, one person is a caretaker and the other person continues to be destructive or irresponsible. Harry had taken his family hostage but she assured him that everything would be okay after he went to prison. The same can be said of her relationship with Mark.
While the codependent partner intends to be caring and nurturing, they may be acting on their low self esteem or low interpersonal boundaries. They may feel responsible for the other person’s problems. Emotional distance needs to be created between the partners, so that the “taker” experiences the consequences of their actions.
The Goblin Widow
It appeared to be a brief moment, but Liz did seem to start drinking after Harry’s death. In a 2008 study of Swedish widows, one third of the women reported drinking to ease the feeling of grief, as well as a lack of social support. A perceived negative outlook on the future made alcohol consumption more likely.
While it is unclear how much education Liz has in business administration, she must be competent if she has pulled off several corporate mega-mergers. Granted, the legal and business details are probably handled by other employees but she still needs to be the right person for the job. While Liz can be temperamental, which can affect the company, she does have many beneficial traits. (Norman was far more than temperamental, yet the company prospered. Perhaps OsCorp and later Alchemax accepted the hostile environment.) She is likely an ESFJ personality, or an Executive. She certainly isn’t introverted, as she was very social in high school and is unbothered by giving press conferences regarding the state of her business. She is observant, meaning she is most in touch with what is happening in the present. In high school she went from hating the “unmanly” Peter to crushing on him after he risked his life for Betty. As for her nature, Liz is a feeler more than a thinker. When her stepbrother needed medical help, she became a nurse. When Peter’s aunt was in the hospital, she came to visit (and forced Flash to come with.) Liz is absolutely a judging personality. This has been necessary for her to guide Alchemax during it’s frequent tumult. A judging person likes plans instead of going with the flow. Despite her empathy for Dylan Brock’s suffering, she allowed the experiments to continue.
Liz Allan may have seen herself as a “dizzy blonde” in high school but her life challenges have strengthened her. Maturity may have taken away some of her cruel habits that she had as a teenager but she is still able to disconnect her compassion if a goal needs to be achieved. Still, she’s been willing to risk her life to help Mark, Harry, Normie and even Peter. She took the sudden death of her husband hard but her love for her son pulled her through. Becoming CEO of Alchemax has tested her but she has held it together despite supervillain attacks and competing corporations.
Axis V: 90-Minimal symptoms, good functioning in all areas. Socially effective and generally satisfied in life.