Red Goblin #10
A HIVE DIVIDED! As Normie Osborn loses himself to his symbiote and his family’s legacy, his only friend, Dylan Brock, A.K.A. VENOM, stands as the last line of defense between what’s left of Normie Osborn and the monstrosity called the RED GOBLIN!
Red Goblin has stood out as one of Marvel’s best, albeit completely underserved, comics of the year. Its earnest approach to exploring the nature of heroism within even the most broken individuals, through the use of traditional teen superhero tropes, has been nothing short of thematic and emotionally resonant. Now that Red Goblin #10 has hit the stands and the series has concluded, I can’t help but feel conflicted about whether the journey was worth the finale. On one hand, Paknadel and Campana provided the character with a perfect origin story, and the open-ended nature of this issue promises Normie’s future in the Marvel Universe to be a bright one. On the other hand, the lack of a definitive ending to this story leaves the issue feeling less like a finale and more like the end of a small arc. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the issue; the creative team did their best to wrap up a series that wasn’t quite ready to end, and because of that, you still end up with an overall great comic book.
This issue wraps up the battle between Normie and Dylan, their symbiote forms clashing throughout New York as desperation and destruction are left in their wake. With Normie forced to accept the darkest parts of himself and fully trust his bond with Rascal, the Red Goblin springs into action without confusion, resolving a major bridge crisis that changes everything for Normie as he takes the image that’s haunted him his whole life and turns it into something inspiring.
This issue is chock-full of tropes, but the cliche is beyond earned as Pakandel has infused the deepest parts of Normie’s character into these traditional superhero stories. There’s a bridge scene where Normie finally becomes the hero he was always meant to be. There’s a big action scene where the hero fights an antagonist that acts as a mirror image in terms of color and power set. There’s a rooftop conversation that cements the hero’s ideology and an ending page where the hero can be seen looking out upon the streets of New York City, his face shadowed by his mask.
It all sounds so familiar, and yet, it’s not here because the team is lazy. It’s here because Normie’s growth as a character led him here naturally; some of these tropes are poetic in more ways than one. The most obvious, and my particular favorite, is the use of Dylan Brock as Venom in the book’s last big fight. Thematically, the book has explored the idea of taking symbols of evil or personal traumas and turning them into a source of heroism and power. Normie has spent the entire series struggling with his Osborn identity, and having Venom, a character born from hate and anger that grew into one of Marvel’s most complex and interesting heroes, be the final challenge Normie has to face is incredibly rich. Even more so, in their fight, Normie takes on the symbolic role of Venom’s arch-enemy Carnage, his red symbiote and the traumas associated with it, another thing that he and Rascal have to grapple with. He’s inheriting a legacy that’s been tied to nothing but pain, and as a human being and a hero, he’s now accepted that legacy and has grown to use it as a force for good.
I could go into how much this matters and how the socio-political theming behind this is beyond earnest, honest, and genius, but the most powerful thing about this series thus far has just been experiencing Normie grow out of his anger and self-loathing into someone who has come to understand that self-disgust is something that can be solved through acceptance and change. There’s an incredible message to this series, one fit for both young teens and adults, that permeates through excellent action sequences, exciting character dynamics, and a book that layers its subtext within all the things that people love about superhero comics. This book is everything people love about Marvel distilled into a singular series.
While it isn't the most satisfying series finale, Red Goblin #10 is still a pretty strong ending to the title, one that provides an open-ended promise that this isn't the last we will see of Normie in the modern day. While niche and underserved, this series has been one of Marvel's best this year and something all superhero comics should strive to be: Engaging, exciting, and driven by human character.
ICYMI! Red Goblin #10: A New Day, A New Hero
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
User Review( votes)