There’s still a huge chunk of “recent” Marvel history that I need to catch up on. I’m familiar with the idea of the Civil War event and its overarching concepts, but I had yet to read anything that took place during those events or in the immediate aftermath. When I heard about the Thunderbolts it was hard to not want to read more. A team of government sanctioned villains whose job was to be sent out and capture non registered super heroes very publicly and to top it off, it was run by Norman Osborn. Seriously, what’s not to like here?
Happy Father’s Day Evil Geeks! Dad’s come in all shapes and sizes. Geek culture is certainly in no short supply of classic father figures, whether good, bad or ugly, we got ’em all. It’s been awhile since we’ve done a Top 5 list so we thought what better time to do one than Father’s day? Consider this our tribute to all the nerd father’s out there.
5.) Norman Osborn
Genius, world class dick, criminally insane and a super villain, it would be difficult to keep Norman Osborn off this list. Well, Normy was never anyone’s notion of an ideal dad but he did pass his ridiculously strange hairline to his son Harry. Yes, Norman should have been a “better” dad, but in a very Hemingway-esque moment his wife died giving birth. That’s enough to resent your kid and lash out against him, right? It’s not, but I find Norman’s story to be an interesting one. If anything you can trace it back to his father, Ambrose the brilliant alcoholic who lost their family’s company and was down right abusive to them. Norman’s staying power within the Marvel U is no surprise, as he’s one of the most misunderstood, derided, twisted and fascinating characters. We just can’t seem to get enough of him.
If banging your son’s friend and spawning children, only to try kill her in a very public way (with Spidey inadvertently delivering the death blow) to cover up your secret and also traumatize your arch nemesis doesn’t scream dad of the year than I don’t know what does.
In Part 1 of this review, I bored you to death with my personal history with Iron Man and went over the first story arc of the recently concluded “Invincible Iron Man”. We left off with Stark Enterprises torn asunder by Ezekiel Stane’s bastardized Stark tech. Also, Pepper Potts was gravely wounded and her life saved only by having a repulsor of her own installed. This was followed immediately by an interlude guest starring Spider-Man where, in addition to doing the usual superhero stuff together, Fraction explored the leftover drama from Civil War, where Stark essentially put a hit out on Spider-Man. It was a nice break from the fast-paced action of the first storyline. And the next story actually dealt with the fallout of another Marvel event: Secret Invasion. Norman Osborn had turned the tide against the Skrull invasion and in doing so earned himself a key position in the United Nations… unfortunately, it was the position occupied by Tony Stark.
So, Norman rebranded S.H.I.E.L.D. as H.A.M.M.E.R. and Tony Stark cleared out his cubicle and hit the bricks, but like most disgruntled employees he did some damage on his way out, although in this case it was an act of altruism. Instead of stealing a few reams of copier paper, Tony destroyed the registry of superhero secret identities so that Norman “The Green Goblin” Osborn couldn’t use it for evil. That always looks good in the eyes of future employers.
Now, when most people get fired they play video games in their underwear for a week or two, but Tony didn’t have that luxury. You see, the only backup of the information was stored in Tony’s noggin and it certainly wasn’t beneath Norman Osborn to get that information by any means necessary. A while back, Tony had injected himself with a weaponized nanite system called Extremis, essentially a 21st century Super Soldier Serum. Because of this, he could interface directly with his armor and in doing so become one with his armor. However, it also left him with his memory and personality stored as computer data. So in order to protect the superhero community he had put at risk, he realized he needed to wipe the ol’ hard drive upstairs even if it meant making himself a vegetable.
As you might imagine, Norman Osborn scrambled to get his hands on whatever was left of that sweet, sweet brain and get a little revenge in the process. So Tony is in an ugly situation. He has progressive brain damage, he’s got H.A.M.M.E.R.’s every resource going after his ass, and the costumed vigilante community at large is still none-too-pleased with him after that nasty business of the superhero civil war. He calls in some old favors, and some familiar faces come out of the woodwork. Black Widow, Maria Hill, and Pepper Potts (in her own suit of non-combat armor called Rescue) have a fun little Marvel Team-Up style “initially at odds” adventure. Bucky Barnes (at that time Captain America) helped out where he could. And eventually, when Stormin’ Norman finally gets his hands on what’s left of Stark and beats him mercilessly on live television, Tony’s estranged friend and Avenger’s co-founder Donald Blake shows up to take custody of the comatose Iron Man, having been granted power of attorney as part of Stark’s master plan.
See you in a few, geeks.
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