Red Goblin: It Runs In The Family
Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Color Artist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Inhyuk Lee
Assistant Editor: Lindsey Cohick
Associate Editor: Tom Groneman
Editor: Devin Lewis
I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to latest happenings in Spider-Man related cast and rogues. That, thankfully, isn’t a problem when it comes to enjoying this volume of Red Goblin. As it is collecting the first five issues of the series, it quickly gets the reader up to speed to the essentials. After a couple of pages, we’re into the world of this new hero, the Red Goblin!
Normie and his symbiote, Rascal (appropriate name for him!), are both grappling with legacy and trying to understand where they fit within their respective legacies. Both come from families that are some of the toughest enemies Spider-Man ever faced. Do they continue with the path their families paved before them? Or do they find their own path to travel? These are things that this first volume attempts to grapple with.
The form of Red Goblin is interesting in how Rascal takes a shape closer in shape to a Spider-Man suit when Normie is steering the ship. But when Rascal is given free rein, that shape dramatically changes to a cross between Venom and Green Goblin. This works great as a visual shorthand for the mood of Red Goblin.
I went into this series with no knowledge of Normie as a character, it was a pleasant surprise to see the character being so young. Younger than Parker when he became Spider-Man. Add to that, being the son and grandson of the two Green Goblins while also having a piece of Venom as their own symbiote! That’s a lot of history to explore from the perspective of a young kid. Just by existing, Red Goblin is already positioned in the heart of Spider-Man’s gallery of villains.
The art conveys the range of challenges of young Normie’s life wonderfully. Whether it’s dealing with school bullies or fighting off hordes of the Goblin King’s hordes, it all looks great on the page. The action scenes have a great energy to them while conveying the desire of Normie to be an equal to Spider-Man when it comes to fighting off the villains. The colours equally set the mood, be it the sewers of the city, the school or a battle in the air above the city. It all looks great on the page.
The lettering also manages to catch which of the two minds is controlling Red Goblin by having very distinct designs of word balloons for each. It also helps quickly identify when Rascal is altering Normie’s voice so that the people Normie is talking to don’t realise it’s him.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It’s a new character that’s finding their feet with their new abilities. You add in the connections to Green Goblin and Venom, and you have lots of avenues to explore. I enjoyed reading Normie try to work out who they want to be now that they have all this potential that Rascal has given them. He is so conflicted when it comes to deciding to be a hero or a villain.
I really want to see where this series takes Normie and Rascal. I will be keeping an eye out for the next volume when it’s released.