REVIEW: ‘Red Goblin,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Red Goblin #3 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Alex Paknadel, art by Jan Bazaldua, colours by David Curiel, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Normie is down in the sewers, fighting the Goblin Nation as his grandfather bleeds out. In order to save him, Normie might have to let Rascal loose.

Largely centered around this one battle, this comic is fast-paced and structured like an elastic band. The plot feels like it is constantly about to release its tension, building up to that expulsion, before simmering down slightly. You know that explosion is coming as Normie is being torn apart by the goblins. It’s just a matter of when. Paknadel superbly toys with us, dipping into a mind space or showing a conversation between Urich and Osborn. The violence is rapid and impulsive, purposefully lacking coherence at one stage. But Red Goblin #3 takes time to focus on the story too by the end of the issue, with a really touching scene giving the book some heart as well. The balance between plot and action is well poised. 

I found the character development to be more subtle than in previous issues but even more effective. There is a flashback in the opening that brilliantly highlights something that I began to realise when reading Red Goblin #2. The reason why Normie is able to be so surprisingly mature for his young age is that he comes from a peculiar family. He was never going to be able to be a normal boy when your grandfather was the embodiment of evil. He’s got a symbiote covering him, but that chance of a regular childhood was never in the cards due to being a pretty tragic nepotism baby. I think this issue brilliantly captured his youthfulness and used it to an extremely powerful effect, especially in the last issue. It’s silent but doesn’t need words at all to convey the heartbreaking message. But even in the narration, his excitement and occasional immaturity are further examples that he doesn’t have the lived experience of other super characters.

The art is awesome and again toes the line between capturing the youth of Normie and unleashing the violent potential of Rascal. Rascal is shown in multiple forms in this issue, whether in Normie’s mind or in the real world as a Symbiote. This actually makes it more like a horror character, with Bazaldua resorting to some disturbing imagery. The sheer speed and savagery of Rascal are terrifying, having a much more surgically precise attack than other Symbiotes. He’s not all teeth and bites like Venom, more claws and slicing. I genuinely believe that this is a comic where the story could have been understood perfectly if there wasn’t any dialogue, the storytelling by Bazaldua is that good.

The colours are terrific. It’s a book that has a dark and gloomy palette except for its characters, Red Goblin in particular. The green on a brief glimpse at the Green Goblin mask is much more vibrant than it is elsewhere, and that red for Rascal is vivid and intense. There are occasionally brighter shades used in the background for dramatic effect, often in times of horror to increase a character’s dramatic presence in the panel. The lettering is used well and is always easy to read.

Red Goblin #3 is both epic and tragic. It’s epic due to the fight scene included, which has been building and is such a shocking affair to read. Rascal really is a force of nature sometimes, and its regular increase in power and disabilities is frightening. But it is also sad when you realise a small boy has no innocence left due to who his family happens to be. The nature vs nurture argument is tampered with heavily when you are an Osborn, as it steers family members towards goblins and danger.

Red Goblin #3 is available where comics are sold

Red Goblin #3


Red Goblin #3 is both epic and tragic.

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