Red Goblin #1 is a new series published by Marvel Comics, written by Alex Paknadel, art by Jan Bazaldua, colors by David Curiel, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Normie Osborn has been given a raw and young symbiote of his own by Dylan Brock, as both of their fathers have disappeared. And as the Goblin Nation returns, he may be forced to use it.
This series has a fascinating genre and plot setup. It is a violent and quite frightening horror, extremely dark from the first page. There is a lot of history behind it, years in fact, with a complicated family tree and many people missing due to actions in other books. Some previous knowledge of Spider-Man comics would be helpful going into the comic. Paknadel brilliantly sets up the extremely unstable family chemistry of the Osborns, laced with Goblins. The beginning fight is shocking and brutal, which is replicated throughout the issue. It’s a hardcore issue with little in the way of love yet. Then demons start coming back to haunt Norman and Normie. The middle of the issue bogs down in its pace slightly, but the action returns towards the end with an extreme surprise.
The lead character in this issue is a unique one. It is rare for the protagonist of a Marvel comic to be an actual child, and that is even more of the case with a horror comic. But Normie comes from a lineage of trouble and drama, and it makes sense for him to be dragged into the goblin family tree at some point. It’s not clear how old Normie is, but he’s likely not even a teenager yet. But he has a darkness within him now, with the bravery to bite back against those speaking against him. Although that usually is suffixed with an apology and regret. He has been paired up with a raw and petulant symbiote, not unlike the boy himself. He has the bloodlust of Carnage, but it is more like a puppy than the fully grown attack dog of older creatures.
Also important to the story is Normie’s grandfather, Norman. He has been robbed of his homicidal tendencies and is something of a hero now. But that does not mean he’s nice. The tension within all generations of this family is sometimes difficult to read as it is snappy and very harsh at points. But it could be the start of something to build on and improve. It is quite sad to see Norman turn a corner to being a hero while Normie slips into the dark world himself. The dialogue is fun but strange as Normie often speaks with more maturity than his age would suggest, but that is a tragic side effect of what has happened to him in his lifetime.
The art is fantastic. The general designs of the pages are excellent but are magnified with the introduction of a symbiote. Titled Rascal, he has a much thicker inking than anything else in the comic, like a treacle that passes over a monstrous, goblin-like body. The shape and the angles are fantastic for him, making him look quick and ferocious. Bazaldua’s innovation of the Goblin Nation’s followers is just enough to make them sinister. The fight scenes are fantastic, the force of Rascal’s attacks coming across beautifully. The artist also keeps Normie looking small in the issue, which makes everything else around him in the book so much more surprising.
The colors are also incredible. Much of it is dark and gritty, fitting into the horror elements of the comic. Rascal is blood red, not too vibrant to be out of place in the rest of the issue. That is a similar trend for other characters, especially the Goblin Nation and their green faces. It’s a sickly green, not a bright and welcoming shade. The lettering is very good and always easy to read.
Red Goblin #1 is something very different. A new take on a character that is so out of place in the genre is what makes the comic so intriguing to jump into. It’s led by a child, surrounded by extremely gruesome and scary people. It is interesting to see Norman Osborn get a little corner of the Marvel Universe of his own, the second Goblin book on the market. But I have found myself enjoying this first issue much more than Gold Goblin #1. The design of the main character is more dynamic and full of character, and there is a family dynamic so chaotic that it draws you in to find out more.
Red Goblin #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Red Goblin #1
Red Goblin #1 is something very different. A new take on a character that is so out of place in the genre is what makes the comic so intriguing to jump into.
William is a screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”