REVIEW: ‘Red Goblin,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Red Goblin #2 - But Why Tho

Red Goblin #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Alex Paknadel, art by Jan Bazaldua, colors by David Curiel, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Normie Osborn, grandson of Norman Osborn, now possesses a symbiote but is not in control of it yet. But Norman has been captured by the Goblin nation, and Red Goblin must come to his rescue.

This issue drags the comic down to the sewers, turning the series even more toward a gruesome horror story. With a monstrous version of Phil Urich keeping Osborn captive, it is clear that the creepiness of the book will only intensify. There is a darkness to every aspect of the issue, even in the civilian areas. Even with their granddad missing, Stanley and Normie have to go to school and deal with the pressure there, which isn’t positive at all. Just the relatively normal concept of bullies and paparazzi is tough already, Normie goes to school with a symbiotic weapon in his bag. Then the story shifts to fully focus on going under New York. It’s again a violent, rough battle that never wants to lift in its intensity. The ending isn’t surprising but it is dramatic.

The character in Red Goblin #2 is fascinating. In other mediums, the normality of a person’s life is used to contrast with the wild activities in the costume. But for someone like Normie Osborn, he hasn’t had a normal life. He’s the grandson of a villain and a CEO. The son of a man who is always missing or caught up in trouble. His godfather is Spider-Man. There is no part of his life that grounds him. And Paknadel understands that in the script. The boy can be mouthy and snippy towards his mother, resentful of her status and constant upkeep of their brand and presentation.

I think there are parts of him that are good, but he has had an absolute hell of a life. And it is very important to remember his age in this comic. In one moment in particular, this is used in a painful yet incredibly powerful way. The dialogue and the captions can be excellent at times. The panic when things are going wrong or when Normie and Rascal create a mania often lead to them lashing out. He is trying to keep Rascal, his symbiote, on a leash. But when they’re thrown into a dangerous situation, there are times when that viciousness has to be used.

The art is fantastic. The Goblin Nature is gritty and freakish. They look undead, with soulless eyes and jagged teeth making them monstrous. But Bazaldua makes it effective whilst being simple, not overdoing the design. Urich and his cronies are always evolving, different at the end of the issue. There is a darkness to the look of the whole issue, even in the school. It’s unnerving at all corners, implying that nowhere is safe or comfortable. Combined with Rascal, Normie looks fantastic. He’s streamlined, fast and furious, slashing and slamming his way through foes. But he is still raw, making mistakes and inexperienced, and all of that comes across brilliantly through the arc.

The colors are terrific. The shade used for Rascal is gorgeously effective, covered in a deep, blood red. Curiel often picks just one or two prominent shades to stand out against a brown background. These colors can often be at odds with one other, the juxtaposition working superbly. The lettering is very easy to read.

Red Goblin #2 refuses to let readers settle. The concept of such a young protagonist is still very unnerving considering the subject matter and brutality of some moments. It is very surprising that the Osborns have their own small corner of the Marvel Universe at the moment, but both books are tapping into regions that haven’t been explored yet. They may be leftover pieces of a storyline but they are being transformed into a dynamic story that is filled with identity. And at the centre of this one is a figure who defies any expectation or regulation. Normie is something very different among the other leads of Marvel books due to the combination of his age and the genre of the book he headlines.

Red Goblin #2 is available where comics are sold.

Red Goblin #2


Red Goblin #2 refuses to let readers settle.

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