Comics : Osborn #1

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This review was first published on: Nov 2010.

Background...

So much back-story, so little time...

Hopefully we're all at least slightly familiar with the pain and turmoil Norman Osborn (aka The Green Goblin aka The Iron Patriot) has inflicted on his usual prey, Mr. Peter Parker, so I'm not going to rehash all of that. Suffice it to say their relationship has a lot of baggage.

Fast-forwarding to more recent times...

After the Skrull's secret invasion of Earth, Norman became a nationwide symbol of strength when he killed the Skrull Queen Veranke (thus ending the invasion) while the whole world sat and watched. This 'heroic' act landed Norman in charge of the Avengers, leaving the usual good guys (ie, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, etc) in a constant state of angst. Norman pushed his power a little too far when he attempted to take down Asgard, this act led to his eventual downfall and the true Avengers reuniting.

Norman was removed from the comfortable confines of the Avenger's tower to a lonely cell at the Raft, a high-security prison. And it is there that he waits...

In Detail...

Osborn #1
Jan 2011 : SM Guest
Summary: Norman Osborn is transferred from the Raft (Peter Parker Appears)
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Editor In Chief:  Joe Quesada
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Alejandro Arbona
Writer:  Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist:  Emma Rios
Cover Art:  Ben Oliver
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Sneak Peeks (November 2010)
Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Winters, Norah

The story begins with Norman Osborn in his cell at the Raft, admiring the work of his cell mate, a small spider. As he watches the spider trap her prey, Norman finds a new appreciation for the tactic of waiting and allowing one's enemy to 'ensnare' themself.

At the offices of the Front Line newspaper, a distraught Norah Winters invites Peter Parker to a lunch date claiming that she has something important to tell him. She tells Peter that she always thought she had 'guts' as a reporter. But now she feels as though she traded in her journalistic integrity because she allowed herself to get bullied off of her story (regarding Norman's corrupt American Son experiments) by Osborn. Peter encourages her to write the story now since Norman is safely away in prison, Norah obliges.

During a private meeting in Washington D.C., Colonel Copeland briefs three senators (Morrison, Kohut, Muffoletto) as to the current status of Norman Osborn. The colonel explains that Norman is currently being held without charges because the powers-that-be do not want anything done in haste. The fear is that if Osborn's trial is not executed flawlessly, he'll be able to beat the charges using an insanity plea. As a temporary measure, Senator Morrison suggests moving Osborn to a 'privately operated facility', the mere suggestion of that prison causes Senator Muffoletto to fret.

The story then transitions to this 'privately operated facility' aka the Special Containment Center (SCC), where a priest is making one of his routine visits. Father Coulmier is admitted by a security guard who questions the priest's motives for these visits, citing he gets no pay or 'bonuses' for doing so. The mild-mannered priest simply states, "God has a plan for all of us". As Father Coulmier enter the prison we see the current 5 inmates that inhabit the Special Containment Center.

1. Pryor Cashman aka Kingmaker, a demon entity

2. Xirdal, from a reptilian alien race

3. Carl Rives, aka 'Carny' Rives, a phasable entity, he had recently been removed from the SCC

4. June Covington, aka The Toxic Doxie, a gifted chemical biologist and geneticist

5. Ai Apaec, aka The Decapitator, a South American chimera god with the body of a spider (an interesting potential cell mate for Norman, keep an eye on him!)

Back at Norman's cell at the Raft, Senators Morrison and Muffoletto inform Osborn that he is to be transferred. After Norman gets under their skin, they leave in a huff and he prepares for his transfer.

Shortly after, Father Coulmier receives a call from Senator Morrison informing him that "It's done." (referring to Norman's transfer to the SCC). Coulmier returns to his quarters, sheds his priestly garb and looks at himself in the mirror. As he stares with a devilish smirk into the mirror, he reveals the tatoo on the back of his neck...a tatoo of the Green Goblin!

Meanwhile, back at the offices of the Front Line, Norah gets wind from one of her informants that Osborn has been removed from the Raft, but no one knows where to. This freaks Norah out and she immediately suspects he's been placed into the witness protection program and that he's gonna kill her if she goes public with her story. The search for Norman's whereabouts begins. The story concludes with Norman being ushered into his new digs at the SCC.

In General...

Honestly, I'm intrigued, I think this story has a lot of potential so I'm hooked. Of course, it could also fall flat on its face but only time will tell. As always, with any story I read, I have to put forth some critiques of the storytelling, so here goes.

I'm a little disappointed that we're revisiting the Norah Winters/Norman Osborn dynamic once again. It's becoming a little tired if you ask me. This is the third attempt (Dark Reign The List: The Amazing Spider-Man and the American Son mini are the first two) to address Norah's involvement with Norman and quite frankly, it's unnecessary. She seemed to be completely content in regards to the Osborns at the conclusion of the American Son mini when she helped get Harry Osborn's story out to the public. I really thought that chapter in her life was done (especially with Norman in jail!) and it seems a little forced here as she was essentially freaking out for the duration of this story. It's pretty obvious to me that she is going to be the one to present that 'airtight' evidence that prevents Norman from using an insanity plea in regards to the charges against him. I guess we'll see what DeConnick does with her.

Also, I found it a little odd that these two senators have the power to move Norman from the Raft without consulting SHIELD or Captain America or Tony Stark, you'd think a super-hero would have a word or two as to Norman's locale...

Norman is once again being portrayed as Hannibal Lecter, a smooth-talking inmate who has the uncanny ability to get under the skin of his visitors. Again you say Keith?!? Remember back in Civil War Frontline #9, Norman was about as Hannibal-ized as you can get. Don't remember? Check out in the image to the left.

How about the list of inmates in the SCC, interesting huh? Interesting because I haven't heard of any of them before, and I don't think anyone else has either. It seems to me like DeConnick created this new list of baddies to show how obscure this prison is. It's so obscure that no one has ever heard of any of the inmates, that's how dangerous they are! I can actually buy that, and its a great tactic employed by DeConnick, nice job!

I'll reserve judgement on all these Green Goblin tattoos (including the one on Norman on the cover) until we find out just what the hell they stand for and where they originated from.

A small nitpick at the art, I'm fine with using wavy hair for Norman instead of his traditional cornrows, but please Emma (and the rest of the art team) pick an eye color for Norman! I'm not joking, in this one issue Norman is shown with three different eye colors green, brown, and blue. Somebody dropped the ball on the coloring here...

One last thing, the last page of this book features a note from editor Alejandro Arbona and it got me a little peeved considering he's an editor for darn sake! He writes, "After so many years of his villainy, Norman Osborn is finally in prison and its time to pay the piper". Mr. Arbona must've forgotten Millar's run in Marvel Knights Spider-Man in which Spidey freed the incarcerated Norman Osborn from his prison cell. C'mon Arbona, everyone knows this is Norman's second go-round in prison, get it straight! Haha!

Overall Rating...

3 Webs, middle of the road rating, we'll see where this one goes.