Ben Reilly continued to struggle against his conditioning, although he knew that it was only a matter of time before the Goblin persona took over his mind again. With an anguished cry that split the night, he began to laugh, his personality once more submerged. Ben Reilly was gone, the Green Goblin had returned. The Goblin crouched low on his glider, an evil grin splitting his masked face. He looked around for the thief that had taken the Devil’s Heart. Activating the glider’s boosters again, he shot off up above the rooftops, searching for his quarry.

Back at the museum, in the ruined lobby, all was silent; the security guards were still unconscious, as were the two costumed mercenaries that had caused the devastation. The dust that had settled from the collapsed staircase began to whirl, as if in the grip of the wind. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and a faint odour of ozone permeated the air. The scientist known formerly as Nathaniel Essex surveyed the destruction around him, his thin lips formed a cruel, humourless smile. Ah, Remy, Remy, you always did have a flair for the dramatic, and such a destructive nature. In the distance, sirens began to wail, as police and rescue services converged on the museum. The man known as Sinister made his way out into the street, noting the incapacitated van and three strangely clothed men. Scriers? He thought curiously, it has been many years since I encountered the Scrier and their … master. Gambit has made an interesting enemy tonight. He looked up and down the deserted street, the question is, where is he now? Sinister shape-shifted into civilian clothes, choosing a single breasted navy suit, and walked down the street calmly, side-stepping effortlessly into an alley as the first of the police cars raced towards the damaged building. He waited until they had passed and then he resumed his gentle walking pace, seeking out Remy LeBeau.

Remy, for his part, was still running. He had the good sense to stick to the shadows and the alleyways at ground level, listening intently for the drone of his assailant’s glider. He ran down another alley and flung himself at a chain link fence at the end, leaping to the top in one bound, and vaulting over the fence easily. He landed in a crouch and immediately pressed himself against the alley wall. Safely ensconced in the shadows, he paused to catch his breath. Never was one ta run from a fight, but wit’ dis jewel in my pocket, can’t afford Greeny to get his hands on it. He forced himself to be calm. Gotta force a confrontation, but not wit’ him flying around, need ta bring him down ta earth.

Gambit then remembered a construction site he had passed on his way to his client’s apartment earlier in the day. He slowly walked to the end of the alley and looked out, the coast was clear, people were walking around, minding their own business. I wonder why it was so quiet back at the museum? He thought wistfully. No cars, people or anyt’ing. Remy slipped into the crowd and began to walk across town, towards the construction site, the arena where he would face down the Green Goblin.

The Green Goblin was making slow progress across the city, as his alter ego, Ben Reilly, continued to fight his conditioning. The Goblin persona was still dominant but Reilly was growing stronger. During the time that Ben Reilly had taken the mantle of Spider-man from Peter Parker, Osborn had put his plans in motion, namely to destroy Parker’s life. It was Osborn that convinced Parker that he was the clone, and Reilly the original. However, this information was false. Norman wanted revenge against Parker for the death of his son, Harry, whom he held Spider-man responsible for. To that end, his associate Mendel Stromm attacked both Parker and Reilly, while Parker’s wife, Mary Jane, had gone into labour with Peter’s first child. Reilly defeated Stromm but was subdued by Osborn himself. Norman was a respected and skilled chemist and had previously created various gases that specifically affected the blood chemistry of Parker. However, since Ben was a clone, the chemicals reacted in a different way, putting him in a coma, from which he would not emerge for two years.

Following Norman Osborn’s last defeat at the hands of Spider-man, he decided to administer the goblin formula to Reilly’s comatose form, in the hope of finally reviving him. The goblin formula had been developed by Mendel Stromm and Osborn, designed to imbue the user with enhanced strength and endurance. However, the formula had an interesting side effect, boosting the body’s immune system and endowing the user with a powerful healing factor. Osborn himself had been impaled through the heart and yet managed to recover from his mortal injuries. His theory worked and Reilly awoke, to be remade as Osborn’s new protégé. Unfortunately, Reilly’s own healing factor, derived from the Goblin formula, was slowly purging the chemical conditioning that the Scrier technicians had given him, meaning that every minute that passed, Ben’s personality grew stronger and grew more able to resist the Goblin.

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