I've seen a few people lately saying "I hate this Norman Osborn in charge" storyline. And when I ask why, they say "He killed Gwen Stacy. He's a scumbag. No way should he be considered a hero, and no way should he be given authority.
"And why not?" Ask I, innocently.
The response to this is either... "It's unfair!" or "It's unrealistic!" or both.
To which I say "BOLLOCKS" on both counts.
Firstly, it's unfair. Well, who said life is fair. Tell me where is that written. Furthermore, it's almost impossible to write a story without some form of conflict. And conflict is nearly always based on some "unfairness".
Marvel knows just what it's doing here. They're pushing your buttons, and they're getting a reaction. Damn right it's unfair. That's the whole point of the story!
As for "it's unrealistic". Are you saying it's completely infeasible that a scumbug with a dodgy criminal past might some how worm his way into a position of power within a government administration - either by back-room skullduggery, power-broking, or even on a short-sighted wave of populist sentiment?
Or are you saying that it's entirely feasible in many parts of the world, but it could never happen in America?
Bottom line... I think Marvel is being clever here. They've raised an issue which is getting an instinctive, gut reaction from fans. But for those of you who are prepared to consider it a little more deeply, perhaps you might agree that (a) the story isn't quite so unreasonable, and (b) it has some disturbing parallels to reality.
They did the same sort of thing with Civil War and the Super-Hero Registration Act. In that case, they invited us to examine the dichotomy of our conflicting desires for security and control, and yet our desire for excitement, freedom and the occasional vigilante moment. How do we balance the right of the people to bear arms (or super-powers) against the need to "protect society from itself" for "the greater good".
Civil War made for some good stories, but even more, it invited people to think a little. Our poll shows that Civil War was rated pretty high by most people. I think that's no accident. Civil War polarised super heroes. It polarised readers. And it left many readers also struggling within themselves. I think that for those who cared to look and debate it, Civil War had a lot going on beneath the surface. I think it's mainstream doing good comics. Yeah, Marvel milked it for way too many variant covers. But hey, it was a sound concept.
So now it's Norman Osborn - and once more, I think Marvel knows exactly what they're doing. They poking you to provoke a reaction. And it's working. And it's smart. Scumbags with criminal pasts can and do rise to power. In fact, it's mostly the scumbags that DO rise to power.
Look, I'm not going to point you at youtube to watch Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with a mass murderer. I'm not even gonna mention that in 1998 alone, 84 members of the U.S. house of congress were stopped for drunk driving, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity. I won't mention Haliburton, Blackwater, missing billions in Iraq, or any of the other sad lies that bleating liberal moaners perpetually try and recycle in their left-wing media beat-ups.
I just want to say that Norman Osborn is a good man who has suffered great tragedy, and has had to face some cruel and unfair accusations. As a successful businessman, he has naturally become the target of orchestrated slander campaigns. The death of Gwen Stacy was a tragedy. But to those who would try and link Mr Osborn to the events of that night, I would say "shame!" There are countless witnesses and subsequent evidence which clearly show him blameless. So why continue to raise the scurrilous rumors? Is it simply envy, or is it yet another liberal conspiracy to undermine the truly great figures of our generation?
Norman Osborn has shown himself to be a true patriot, and a man of action. He is the kind of man we need now most of all, as America dedicates itself to recovering from the brutal Skrull invasion. We will rebuild, as we have always rebuilt. We will arise stronger, and more determined than ever. And it is thanks in no small part to Norman Osborn - our leader, our savior, our hero...