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Quote of the day | Tom Spurgeon on Norman Osborn

Norman Osborn

Norman Osborn

“The reason Norman Osborn doesn’t 100 percent work as a villain in the wider Marvel Universe is that a key and yet frequently under-appreciated aspect of the seminal Spider-Man comics revolves around the fact that Peter Parker frequently encounters adults. The vast majority of these adults are disappointments. Some are outright dicks. The Green Goblin is the ultimate dickish, disappointing adult, and thus Spider-Man’s arch-villain (or shares that honor with JJJ, if you’re inclined to read the comics that way). Here’s the thing: Norman Osborn popping into his Green Goblin costume is the key to his particular brand of dickishness. It’s like somebody’s dad showing up at the end of the beach movie to drag race against the new kid in town, or popping up in a football huddle so that he can tackle the struggling but ready to win quarterback. It’s a dick move, a total invasion into Peter Parker’s world by someone who should know better. But when Norman comes up against other costumed villains as he does in this new Marvel stuff, he’s an adult wearing an adult costume (that Iron Man thing) fighting other adults: a dick, but not a special one tied into some characters overarching theme. He’s Jasper Sitwell on a bad day.”

Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

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5 Comments

I thought he was Cyborg Donald Rumsfeld 4 years too late?

The only good argument I’ve seen as to why Osborne doesn’t work as THE villain of Marvel at the moment.
Everything else is just “Osborne is a street level character” or “DC did it before with President Lex Luthor and it sucked then!” which I just see as lame excuses from people just looking for a reason not to like it.

This stuff may be true about Silver/Bronze Age Norman Osborn. But we’re well past that. Norman Osborn is a villain who has killed multiple people and gotten away with it, and now has, by the virute of a lucky shot on the Skrull queen, been given enormous unchecked power by the American people.

Really, he’s Glenn Beck in a costume.

Mr. Cornwall has hit the nail on the head.

I think Norman has been working just fine as THE villain. He’s savvy, he’s crazy, he’s evil. All the qualities you want in a good villain. The critical point here is that Marvel never set this up as the end game for Osborn. I agree that Norman Osborn doesn’t work as the THE villain long term, but he’s very entertaining as a train wreck waiting to happen. That’s what we’re getting. If you think that Norman is just a street level character, then that’s what makes this sidebar with him as the man in charge fun. Everyone knows he can’t handle it, but what will happen when it spectacularly derails?

What’s been great with set up is that Marvel shows that Norman is, in fact, way over his head sometimes. Loki plays him like a fiddle. Doctor Doom knows Osborn is destined to fail and bides his time. Osborn’s deal with the Hood has already collapsed. Daken is working his own agenda right under Osborn’s nose. There’s no way Osborn can keep up with these guys. The fun is in seeing it all fall apart — as we all know it will. Just how crazy will Norman get? What will he do to hold onto power? What will happen to him when he sees he can’t? Who and what will he bring down with him?

My prediction at the end of Dark Reign, when Osborn’s house of cards has collapsed all around him, and his Dark Avengers have run off in all different directions, is that he will be the new host of the Venom Symbiote. Gargan will be dead, killed by one of his fellow team-mates, and without the protection of the Iron Patriot armour, the Symbiote will be looking for a new partner, and who better, with his mental guards down and aching for revenge against the larger super-hero community, than Norman Osborn.

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