This week’s main Marvel Rundown review covers Red Goblin #1, and its something of a SPOILER-fest itself.

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Red Goblin #1
Red Goblin #1 main cover.

Red Goblin #1

Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Color Artist: David Curiel
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Main Cover Artist: InHyuk Lee

In the debut issue of Red Goblin #1, young Normie Osborn must reckon with the legacy of his family… with a symbiote twist! Concurrently, his grandfather Norman attempts to memorialize his late son by opening the Harold Osborn Addiction Treatment Center. An intriguing premise and execution combined with art that emphasizes the action sequences and Goblin imagery makes this issue an exciting opening for the series.

The Goblin Childe

Norman “Normie” Harold Osborn is the child of Harry Osborn and Liz Allen. His first (unnamed) appearance was in 1985’s Amazing Spider-Man #263 by Tom DeFalcoRon FrenzBrett BreedingJohn BeattyBob Sharen, and Joe Rosen. In 2018’s Amazing Spider-Man #799 by Dan SlottStuart ImmonenWade von GawbadgerMarte Garcia, and Joe Caramagna, Normie’s grandfather (a re-Goblin’d Norman Osborn) used the Carnage symbiote and Goblin formula to make Normie the Goblin Childe.

More recently, and covered in expositional dialogue in Red Goblin #1, Dylan Brock gave Normie a new symbiote, in January’s Venom #15 by Ram VBryan HitchAndrew CurrieScott HannaAlex Sinclair, and Clayton Cowles, allowing him to become the Red Goblin.

However, without being personally familiar with the specifics of the history of Normie, I nevertheless found Red Goblin #1 to be an engaging and promising start to a new series.

Goblin Mode

One of the most interesting things about Red Goblin #1 is the intergenerational nature of the story. Harry may currently be resting in peace (death being such a maleable concept on Earth-616), but that just means Normie and Norman must navigate their relationship without the man in the metaphorical middle.

This is particularly interesting when it leans into the addiction elements of the story. While it is ultimately interrupted by an attack from the Goblin Nation, Norman is attempting to open an addiction recovery center memorializing his late son.

During the speech, Norman recounts that Normie asked him “not to turn dark again.” However, Norman says he “couldn’t because that’s not how addiction works.” Whatever your opinion on Norman before reading this issue, it’s hard to deny that he’s speaking truth here. Casting the Goblin family heritage in this thematic light is an intriguing concept, and one that possess loads of potential for further exploration.

All of this helps to explain the Red Goblin’s connection to the symbiotes, which have sometimes been used to explore addiction through Peter Parker. But while Parker may be living by the axiom “with great power comes great responsibility,” delivered to him through his late Uncle, that isn’t the kind of advice that’s being thrown around in the Osborn family. While Spider-Man doesn’t directly appear in this issue, Normie nevertheless seems to serve as a dark foil for the hero. 

Red Goblin #1

Red Goblin

While Red Goblin #1 does feature a fair amount of set-up, it also includes several dynamic action sequences, including the book’s crime-fighting debut of the creepy-looking Red Goblin, and a sequence in which the symbiote attempts to persuade Normie to bring him along to an engagement.

It’s currently unclear where this series may be heading, but with many disperate elements ready to combine and react with one another, this formula laid forth by this issue should invariable lead to an interesting reaction. 

Verdict: Gobby it up.

Next week: Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1Fantastic Four #4, and Murderworld: Moon Knight #1 arrive!