Norman Osborn has a vision for the Marvel Universe. He went to great lengths to implement that vision – surviving impalement and imprisonment. He overcame his reputation as the dangerous and psychotic Super Villain, the Green Goblin. He even helped the heroes of the Marvel U foil an interstellar invasion of Earth by killing the queen of the Skrull Empire. Doing all these things won Norman the public’s trust and he was put in a powerful government position where he could make the world into what he felt is should be.
But there were two things that Norman had yet to overcome: mental illness and obsession. These flaws lead to his downfall and imprisonment in last year’s “Siege” crossover. And Osborn’s not about to let a little thing like being thrown in top secret government prison get in the way his goals…especially now that he’s discovered a growing force of followers ready to believes his vision for the world is right. That’s the premise of “Osborn” a five-issue mini-series by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Emma Rios. With the third issue of the series in stores this week, CBR News spoke with DeConnick about the story to date, and her plans for the rest of the series.
“What’s not to love about Norman Osborn? He’s got that controlled menace and that cool intellect. Plus I think he’s funny. I can’t help it,” DeConnick laughed of her multi-part story for Marvel. “In issue #1 Norman was facing a setback. He’d gone from all of his dreams quite nearly being realized back to square one, or below square one. Rather than take that as a sign that maybe he should reconsider some of his life choices, Norman chose to view it as a test, like a… like a hero’s trial. He wasn’t being punished for having made a mistake. I don’t know if Norman believes he makes mistakes. I’m not sure that he’s wired for that. But he does understand being denied.”
DeConnick and Rios also created a fifth inmate for the SCC: Carl “Carny” Rives, a man who used his power to phase through substances to stalk and murder the family members of some US Senators. “I had to change the story a bit and Carny was removed from his cell. So he was mentioned in the first issue but not seen. Maybe there’s something significant about that, maybe not,” DeConnick teased.
Each issue of “Osborn” has its own distinct theme. So the plot and themes of the remaining issue of the series will all be intrinsically linked. “As I mentioned before the theme of the first issue was patience and theme of the second was action,” DeConnick said. “Issue #3 is leadership. Issue #4 is faith. Then issue #5 is courage and back to patience.”
The action in the remaining issues of “Osborn” will be much more claustrophobic and complicated. That’s because in issue #2 it was revealed that the SCC is actually an underwater prison. “Unlike most prisons you can’t just go over a wall. You actually have to take a submarine to get there,” DeConnick stated. “Emma has an architecture background, which I think is really evident in her design. The backgrounds and the locations are so specific, so nicely done, and so ornate too, which I love. We had talked about how if you have this prison at the bottom of an ocean that it would be dank. It would be wet, and things would be sealed off. We used some aspects of submarine design for the doors.”
For DeConnick, collaborating with Rios has been another highly enjoyable aspect of “Osborn”. “She and I have talked about doing something else together and batted around ideas. She sent me an article on Sergio Leone and it was like, ‘Okay! I love you!’ She’s totally my kind of girl. She’s into Meiko Kaji, Japanese Pinky violence films, and spaghetti westerns. And really I just don’t think it gets any better,” DeConnick said. “There is some stuff in issue #3 of ‘Osborn’ that I wasn’t sure Emma and I were going to be able to get away with. I saw it in pencils and I saw it in inks though. So I guess it’s going to happen. I don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing there’s going to be a prison fight. You’ve got to have one of those. So there’s a fight in there and it’s–gross and awesome!”
“Osborn” is part of the newly launched “Big Time” era of “Amazing Spider-Man,” and so the finale of the series will impact both that book and several other Marvel titles as well. “The repercussions of the story will all be spelled out in issue #5,” DeConnick said. “The prison portion of the story ends with issue #4, and issue #5 is where everyone pays the piper.”
“Osborn” #3 is on sale this Wednesday from Marvel Comics. For more news on Spider-Man’s world, check out CBR’s Spider-Man Hub.