The Many Deaths of Harry Osborn, Ranked

Poor Harry. Ever since the early 90s death has pursued him relentlessly through multiple universes and usually it catches up with him in all the most tragic ways possible. What’s a fan to do? Rank the death scenes, obviously. From worst to best!

8. Amazing Spider-Man #74 (2021)

Written by Nick Spencer, illustrated by Patrick Gleason

So! Here the Harry we’ve known since 2009, referred to as a clone but showing no signs of being a traditional one, dies to save the abusive father who sold his soul to the devil and gets his soul freed from Hell. Possibly not in that order, oh jesus christ I don’t even know anymore. I still have questions.

Anyway. You have the hand-holding and the page of silence just like the original death scene (see #1, where else was it gonna be) but all that does for me is serve as a reminder how inferior this one is. Also it strikes me while writing this list that this death also borrows a fair amount from Harry’s death in Life Story (see a few entries below) and that’s fair and all, except for y’know a few important details like who he chooses to take a fatal blow for.

Ugh. Still, almost everything in comics gets retconned eventually right? For better or for worse. I reckon we’re due a “better” at some point.

7. Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher #2 (2010)

Written by Jonathan Maberry, illustrated by Goran Parlov

Okay this is BY FAR the most obscure Harry Death, I’m guessing. In this story the Marvel Universe becomes infected by what is essentially a zombie virus and everyone turns into cannibals, leaving the Punisher and other survivors to take them out. In a very brief flashback we see an infected Harry and Norman try to attack MJ and May before a priest takes them out.

Annnnd I still couldn’t bring myself to label it the “worst” one.

6. Marvel Zombies Return #9 (2009)

Written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Nick Dragotta

Harry doesn’t get spared in zombie stories. In this one Harry (and his mustache) get unceremoniously eaten by Sinister Six zombies, along with Gwen and MJ and various others, causing much anguish for Peter. It’s not pretty.

5. Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2 (2018)

Written by Seanan McGuire, illustrated by Rosi Kämpe

In this little corner of the multiverse Harry becomes Spider-Man! Hooray! And then he dies. Boo! We don’t really see his actual death but we do see how the other characters react to it. It has a huge impact on them. Also, isn’t “he would probably be the only one to day it was all worth it even though he’s the one who died” such a good line for describing so many of these scenes/Harry in general?

That little pumpkin on the grave (it’s Gwen’s in this universe) plus the epitaph is weirdly heartwarming.

4. Ultimate Spider-Man #117 (2008)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Stuart Immonen

Oh this one’s so sad, since Harry is still a child here rather than a grown adult. And it’s Norman who kills him, so quickly and so violently he doesn’t even get a chance to speak. And while screaming abuse at him and telling him how ungrateful he is. I forgot how depressing this all was actually.

Peter’s later speech about Harry is very touching, and bonus points for getting Liz into that scene, but yeah, depressing. For me at least.

3. Spider-Man: Life Story (2019)

Written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Mark Bagley

In this one, Harry takes a fatal blow for Peter and dies while (almost) saying the “you’re my best friend” line. No hand-holding, but see what I mean about it being very similar to the ASM#74 death? Right down to the shirt!

And the being stabbed through the torso by a tentacle.

2. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Directed by Sam Raimi

Oh wait, this is probably where all the “Harry takes a stab wound for someone” deaths technically originate from, isn’t it? This was a pretty unpopular movie when it first came out, as you probably know, but I think even then people thought the death scene was done right. And it was! Lots of great choices here: the framing, the SUNRISE (I love a good cinematic sunrise), Peter’s ugly crying, WONDERFUL.

1. Spectacular Spider-Man #200 (1993)

Written by J.M. DeMatteis, illustrated by Sal Buscema

The OG. Is there anything to say about Spectacular Spider-Man #200 that hasn’t already been said? (DeMatteis himself said lots of good things about how the death scene came together. Go read!) Decades on and it’s still one of the most iconic Spider-Man moments ever. Reading #200 as a teenager blew me away and now, well, here we are.

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