Red Goblin #5 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Alex Paknadel, art by Jan Bazaldua, colors by David Curiel, and letters by Joe Caramagna. This is part of the Carnage Reigns crossover. Normie and Rascal are dragged into the fight against Carnage, with whom Rascal has a history.
This issue overlaps with the end of Carnage, starting in the Osborn home before branching out into New York on a larger level. The effects of Carnage uploading himself into Stark Unlimited’s digital network are seen in a terrifying glimpse. The opening is ominous, showing what Kasady’s newer powers can do to someone extremely vulnerable. Then to facilitate Normie traveling from his home to the city, the scene cuts over to Carnage and Scorpion inside the Stark Unlimited. Through this, there is an extremely cool connection to the ongoing storyline in Invincible Iron Man and X-Men. Not only that, but a time bomb starts ticking. This is the first time the Red Goblin is put up against a villain of real magnitude and the first time he encounters another hero. The second half of this comic is an awesome team-up filled with energy and intensity. But while reading it, you realize this is a small battle amid a much larger conflict.
The writing of this series has always been fascinating, and Red Goblin #5 is another example of this. Normie knows the superhero world due to his family and living in New York, but he is still very new at being a hero. So when he sees someone important, that reaction feels fresher and more raw. There are moments when the narration feels too mature and adult for the main character’s age, but there are some brilliant pieces of writing by Paknadel when Normie meets some big names. It gives respect to characters that may not have had that yet, due to how young they are themselves. But there is a lot of scary and haunting dialogue, especially considering the inclusion of Carnage. Cletus does not care who he speaks to, so seeing how he speaks to someone like Normie is rather disturbing. But almost every line in this comic is golden and dripping with attitude and power.
The art is awesome, excelling in dealing with superhumans and Symbiotes. This is the first view we get of Carnage’s city, and it is an ominous, dark cauldron of chaos. Inside Stark Unlimited, Carnage is now a hulking mass, not dissimilar to the Jagrafess from Doctor Who. I did love seeing Red Goblin within this carnage, and he oddly fits in. Combined with Rascal, his sleek style has always been terrific, but alongside others, he belongs there. The hero he teams up with can be contrasted well with him as they are similar in stature. Then there is a villain brought in who has an incredible design. It’s another example of the techno-horror that this crossover has utilized through various artists. It should be noted that there are cameos from other costumed characters, and Bazaldua makes every single one look amazing.
The colors are terrific. The relationship between dark and light is fantastic. There is frequently something glowing within a panel, generating a light that radiates into the rest of the area. Curiel and Bazaldua work together to arrange the balance and contrasts across the pages. For example, The green of Scorpion is in the center of a page, surrounded by the red and purple of Carnage. It’s a fantastic instance of an artistic partnership. The lettering is easy to read for the majority of the issue. One small gripe is that Carnage and Red Goblin have the same custom word balloon, which might sometimes be confusing.
Red Goblin #5 keeps the character central while also advancing the crossover. Normie is the issue’s focus, but the tendrils being told on a grander scale also flow through this book. A larger situation is unfolding not just with Carnage but in multiple books. The synergy across the comics has been superb, especially this week. But Paknadel ensures that it doesn’t disrupt the flow of Red Goblin’s momentum. Normie’s slow integration into the wider superhero community is not being done on his terms, but he shows he’s not entirely out of place. This issue has a lot of energy, and we are starting to recognize the sheer majesty of Carnage’s new potential.
Red Goblin #5
Red Goblin #5 keeps the character central while also advancing the crossover. Normie is the issue’s focus, but the tendrils being told on a grander scale also flow through this book.