Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Illustrated by Emma Rios
SPIDER-MAN: BIG TIME! Peter Parker and Norah Winters dig into the truth behind Norman Osborn’s imprisonment…while Osborn fights to get out! Is the world safe with Norman Osborn in a top-secret supermax institution? Or has he just met the allies who’ll make him deadlier than ever?
The first issue of this title made fellow MC writer David do a backflip of excitement, but with yours truly taking a gander at the second issue, how does it play out? Is Osborn as good in my eyes as it was in his? Find out after the cut.
An Osborn mini after Dark Reign is a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a relatively new talent in the Marvel U. While DeConnick has been responsible for some fantastic one-shots (see: Sif and Rescue), the task of writing a character that’s been under the pen of every major Marvel writer at the moment must seem entirely daunting. How does one fully portray the wicked nature of a character who sees his evil as a perverse and twisted version of good? Two issues in, and while DeConnick might not be trying to justify Norman’s actions as head of HAMMER, she certainly is giving the Goblin a wicked tongue and tone that makes Osborn a worthwhile mini that’s just waiting to have a tremendous effect on the Spider-Man status quo.
In writing Norman Osborn, the trick is to remind everyone that he is an absolute genius sitting in a devil’s suit. While Norman’s attire might be that of an orange jumpsuit, the issue reminds us the influence the man has on the world in that it took less that two issues for Norman to begin his prison breakout – and he didn’t even lift a finger. DeConnick even reminds us of the clever nature of Osborn with a rather great sequence of Norman swatting at a fly, which in turn calls back to the previous issue and provides a great pay-off later. DeConnick clearly did her Warren Ellis homework, because while this rendition of Norman is certainly different than the Norman-In-Power we saw in Thunderbolts (let alone Dark Avengers, etc), he still has that vibe to him that just pulls you into the s tory, earnestly following his madness. It’s that sort of pull that really speaks to DeConnick’s talent as a writer, as she has now shown herself capable of fitting herself well into the mind of the characters she’s writing (as proven by this combined with the one-shots). DeConnick is slowly creating a fitting mystery for the character, with the Cult of the Goblin making their first real move in this issue and allowing us to discover along with Nora Winters as she investigates Norman (again). Allowing us to follow both Nora and Osborn allows DeConnick both to play with the sinister side of the story while offer a smooth path for the reader to follow as chaos erupts all around the story. With Osborn and his new cabal of villains, it’s definitely a story worth following.
Emma Rios also provides very interesting and dark art for the thematic premise. This is a story about a villain, one who has been portrayed with a definitive amount of flash for the past couple years and having been drawn by talent like Mike Deodato and Olivier Coipel. However, now that he’s reduced to squalor as a prison inmate (albeit an influential one), the art reflects this. Not to say that Rios is any less of a talent than the others, but her style of art definitely brings out the prison feel here, absolutely removing power from Osborn as a character. In an odd fashion, she actually makes him look quite old. Artists had been focusing on making Norman look so terrifying, but Rios brings his age as a real factor into it, and this is definitely a different side of Osborn that we haven’t visually seen in quite some time: an old man fighting against a system and era that refuses to accept him as a relevant genius. While some of her scenes aren’t quite clear (the red alarm, the drowning), the madness does translate well enough for the sequences to still be understandable.Continued below
Osborn is easily one of the most entertaining and sadistic comic reads you’ll get on stands this week. DeConnick has everything capable of making it big among fans of Marvel comics, and with Rios at her side the two create a powerful comic book attack with Osborn #2 that is sure to find a proper home in your collection. Given the name Osborn has held in comics for the past two years, it’d be kind of silly for you to not get this comic, now wouldn’t it?
Final Verdict: 8.8 – Buy