Norman Osborn. Where do I even start with this asshole?
My first encounter with Norman was in Way’s run on Deadpool, when he jacked the information Wade spent so much time trying to get for Nick Fury. At the time I didn’t think much of him, nor did I even think he was important, funnily enough. Two years later and Norman has become one of my favorite characters in anything ever, which is ironic when you consider he’s everything I actually hate in a person.
We all know Norman’s sordid history and his penchant for theatrics and girl tossing. Something I feel we don’t know however is Norman himself. We know Norman Osborn the mega billionaire and CEO. We know Norman Osborn the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn the poor sap that ended up being cannon fodder for Tony Stark during the Civil War. Norman Osborn, leader of the Thunderbolts. Killer of the Skrull Queen. Norman Osborn the Iron Patriot, protector of the United States of goddamn America.
But who is Norman at the end of the day? This is a man that prides himself on what costume he can wear on what day of the week, what mask he can don to manipulate which person. This is the man that spent months living in Tony Stark’s house with Tony Stark’s job and toys and if you think about it, essentially wearing Tony Stark’s clothes.
We all know though that Norman is no Tony Stark. So again, who is Norman Osborn?
I think the thing with Norman is that he doesn’t know. He’s spent the last few years with so many different people in his head, I don’t think he has any sense of self. I’m not sure if he ever did to begin with. His father destroyed him as a child and the only thing he clung too was being better than that. (Is he?) I don’t think Norman ever took the time to figure what he really wanted in life. He got caught with a drive to be better than those before him and he stuck with it.
Look at how all throughout the Thunderbolts and Dark Reign he continually reminded people he was Norman Osborn, even in situations where literally everyone knew his name. At first it can be taken as a silly thing or Norman being an egotistical blowhard. But I don’t think it is. I think he’s reminding himself, or possibly trying to convince himself he is who he says he is.
Norman Osborn never had that age where he discovered who he was, so he spends every waking moment trying to hide that fact from people. He spends all his time insisting he is whoever he says he is because it’s easier than waking up in the morning and looking himself in the mirror and dealing with the truth that he’s still just a broken child playing dress up in other people’s clothes.