Comic Vine News54 Comments
Off My Mind: What Made Norman Osborn Evil
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
Norman has proven to be one of the most vile villains in the Marvel Universe but what made him so bad?
The identity of Green Goblin wasn't known at the beginning, nor were his motivations. He was simply a mysterious villain with a laboratory that designed a flying broomstick and wore a Goblin costume. When he first met with the Enforcers, he quickly took control of them and made plans to help them get revenge against Spider-Man.
Readers didn't discover Green Goblin's identity until 25 issues later in Amazing Spider-Man #39 but Norman made his first appearance as the father of Peter Parker's friend, Harry, in issue #37. Even from his first appearance as Harry's father, you could tell what sort of man he was.
== TEASER ==
As both Norman Osborn and Green Goblin, he's done some bad things such as steal from and frame his business partner, had an affair with and later killed Peter's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, he was responsible for the Clone Saga, took over S.H.I.E.L.D. and replaced it with HAMMER along with several other dastardly deeds.
Similar to Joker, it could be said that the involvement of chemicals could be responsible for Norman's wicked ways. In using a formula to enhance his strength, intelligence, healing factor and stamina, he also became mentally insane.
The way he ran his business and what he did to Mendel Stromm shows that he had some bad inclinations before taking the serum. Norman grew up in a wealthy and powerful family. When his father lost most of the family fortune, he became abusive towards Norman. This could have been the beginning of Norman's dark transformation.
Norman actually got the idea of the Green Goblin from a childhood fear. In trying to teach him to over come a fear of darkness. His father locked him in their old house during a stormy night. Young Norman felt he could hear the spirits of those that had died there surrounding him. Each time lightning struck and the thunder rumbled, he thought he could hear the "unearthly chittering of a green, goblin-like creature." Each time lightning would strike, he would expect the goblin to attack him. This made him long for the darkness and hate the light.
The lesson Norman learned that night was to accept his fate. The Goblin was a part of him. He decided you had to accept the unknown or be devoured by it.
Was this the moment Norman snapped? One could only imagine what other "lessons" his father tried teaching him over the years (such as making him kill the family dog, stating it was an unnecessary extra mouth to feed).
Norman wasn't completely evil as he did manage to fall in love in college. This could have been his way to allow some light back into his life. When Emily died shortly after the birth of Harry, Norman turned his back on everything except for his business. It became his new obsession.
Somewhere along the way, he decided ruling the business world wasn't enough. Inspired by that lesson his father taught him and the recollection of the "Goblin" that was a part of him, he created the Green Goblin persona to rule the criminal underworld.
What makes Norman so evil? His revelation as a child told him the Goblin was a part of him. It's possible that he always had potential for evil inside him. The actions of Norman's father suggest he could have suffered from some mental illness and Norman could have inherited some of it. The abuse he suffered as a child and the loss of his one true love only compounded the darkness inside. The eventual ingestion of the Goblin formula was enough to push him over the edge.
Did Norman choose to be evil? Was embracing the darkness an easier way for him to deal with everything? The combination of his insanity, intelligence and evil ways is what makes him such a deadly villain. With Norman currently locked up and the seeds of his next plan slowly being revealed, we should all expect something bad to happen very soon.