Red Goblin #5
Cletus Kasady is back in New York and more powerful and bloodthirsty than ever! Normie Osborn, meanwhile, is eager to prove himself as the new RED GOBLIN! But when that eagerness puts him on a collision course with Carnage, Normie and his symbiote will emerge from this issue forever changed!
Nailing a crossover can be challenging, significantly when it cuts through three ongoing titles. Carnage Reigns has managed to be exciting, engaging, and consistent, in no small part, thanks to stewards Alex Pakndel and Cody Ziglar. However, one of the primary reasons for that consistency is that it’s been built around the narrative voice of Miles Morales and Cletus Kasady. With Red Goblin #5, Normie Osborn is tossed into the fray; the use of his narrative POV is a consequence of this crossover that, while still quite entertaining, overall creates a disjointed reading experience for both Carnage Reigns and Red Goblin.
While yes, the hiccups in this issue regarding narrative inconsistency are unavoidable; this isn’t a destructive nor wasteful issue. For those reading Red Goblin, this issue winds up being super important for the character’s future with a development that I cannot and won’t spoil. Those reading that book will also find Normie’s integration into the event’s story smooth and character-rich. Seeing him interact with other heroes and villains makes him clear in the Marvel Universe and significantly expands his personality and inspiration as a hero. His adoration of Miles as Spider-Man is particularly significant, as Miles is the young Spider-Man now that kids look up to. Pakndel never forgets Normie’s age and how that affects his decision-making skills as a hero. Overall, the Red Goblin side of this issue is very strong and moves the needle forward for Normie in great and flavorful ways.
Where the issue stumbles in the narrative presentation surrounding Carnage Reigns, as a reader, we’re now on the outside of a story we once followed from its origin point. While Normie has a well-written and constructed narrative voice, it’s previously disconnected from the event’s flow. As such, the story can feel flat, even when new and significant developments occur. It takes away from certain plot moments that would have punched otherwise.
This isn’t a bad issue; it’s still a good one. From amazing action sequences, such as Miles and Normie versus Carnage, to all the great characterization not just for Normie but for the likes of Scorpion, Red Goblin #5 is just as good of a chapter in this event as the rest have been. It’s just that the POV shift doesn’t work, and when that is how the story is framed, it makes all those other great things feel lesser.
Bazaluda’s art is strong as hell and keeps up well with the other artists working on the book. The book’s opening, reminiscent of the opening to Wes Craven’s first Scream film, is filled with tension thanks to how Bazaluda juxtaposes panel POV. However, in cadence with her excellent use of horror tension in the book’s opening, she’s able to make the big superhero action, later on, feel as though it came from the same book tonally as the opening. As a sequential storyteller, Bazaluda is beginning to impress on Red Goblin.
Narrative dysfunction, while super prominent and somewhat disruptive of the main narrative at hand, isn't enough to take away from Pakndel's skill as a writer. While this issue doesn't hit the highs of those that came before, as piece in a larger puzzle, it keeps up the momentum of both Carnage Reigns and Red Goblin enough to keep either from faltering fully in the face of a crossover.
Red Goblin #5: Red Reign
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
User Review( votes)