DeConnick brings Osborn to a depressingly lesser conclusion. She needed another issue. She fast forwards a few weeks and everything’s resolved. It provides a nice narrative device (a Congressional hearing) but it’s not satisfying at all. Worse is the decision to narrate from Norah the reporter.
Norah is, as Norman points out, not special. She’s ordinary in an extraordinary world and if DeConnick had any particular insight into her, I’d have loved to see a Marvels revamp by DeConnick and Rios. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have any special insight because Norah’s a lame character. Instead of Veronica Mars, she’s barely Carrie from “Sex in the City.” Strange how gender works in the funny pages.
As for the art… Becky Cloonan isn’t on Rios’s level. I couldn’t identify Cloonan but a lot of the issue looked wrong.
It’s well-written and often beautifully illustrated, but it should’ve (and could’ve) been even better.
So, yes, it turns out—unfortunately—I was right. Norman Osborn is a megalomaniac who needs an audience, so he keeps Norah the reporter alive. However, his sidekicks are very bad people who would not. But still they hang out with her. In fact, I wish Osborn was an issue longer because DeConnick has such a great time writing Norah with the supervillains.
By pairing Norah with Norman here, Rios gets to combine her two styles on the series and it’s no surprise the relatively calmer Norah art is moved aside for the frantic Norman art everywhere. The result is a visual feast—definitely the best art so far in the series.
DeConnick’s script continues to be really smart as well as engaging—setting Norman up against the Senator, turning her into the antagonist and toning Norman down to be a suitable protagonist finally… it all works.
It’s quite good.
There’s a lot of great stuff in this issue of Osborn—my favorite is the way DeConnick mostly spends the non-Norman time with the senator, making it very different than what I expected. So after the utterly realistic scene where the Democrat senator realizes she’s getting blamed for sending Norman to a secret prison (shockingly, her Republican “friend” betrays her), DeConnick throws reality out the window.
Norah Winters has been present at Norman’s taking over the prison, up in an observation booth. He discovers her and brings her down to witness his return. Now, realistically, he’d have her torn into pieces or tortured or whatever. But he’s a supervillain, so he’s going to Bond villain her and bring her along. He hasn’t yet, but leaving her alive for a second makes it foreseeable.
And DeConnick’s otherwise thoughtful comic book becomes absurd.
It’s still good and the Rios art’s beautiful.