In the world of Spider-Man, the goblins are one of the biggest pains in the ass. Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, Red Goblin; it just never seems to end. What’s different about this particular iteration of the Red Goblin is that it’s Norman Osborn’s grandson Normie. He’s attempting to do the right thing, but the dilemma lies in the fact that the symbiote is more violent than a 12 year old boy. Alex Paknadel handles the writing for this issue. He’s responsible for giving us all the internal drama going on within little Normie. Joining him on this adventure are Jan Bazaldua on pencils, David Curiel on colors and Joe Caramagna on letters.
This is a surprising issue in terms of depth for a super hero comic book. There are pages early in the book dealing with flashbacks to when Normie was younger. Paknadel shows us Norman and Normie riding the subway together. This is an interesting scene because the Osborn’s have an endless supply of money and never nee to be on the subway in New York. Norman, an eviler man at the time, uses this to show Normie what the enemy looks like. It’s a clear cut case of classism and elitism. This is used in the story as Normie fights for his life in the sewers to rescue his Pop-Pop. Paknadel also does a great job of reminding the reader that Normie is still just a child. He makes mistakes and constantly tries to be optimistic, even when he’s getting pummeled. Paknadel also hammers home the relationship between Norman and Normie. Even though Norman has done terrible things to his grandson, Normie still loves him and would do anything for him. This issue is littered with undertones and deeper problems that people face in society. Kudos to Alex Paknadel for turning in an amazing book.
The pencils for this issue needed to be slick with a tone of creepiness. Jan Bazaldua pulls this off wonderfully. In the early pages of the book, while Normie and Norman ride the subway, Norman essentially tells Normie that they are better than the poor people in society. As this conversation happens, Bazaldua draws a creepy Green Goblin behind Norman. The image is eerie and is used to remind us who Norman used to be. The design for Phil Urich is also scary in it’s own right. I understand this is a book about goblins, but something about his look is unnerving. Bazaldua draws a worn down mask with sharp teeth. Bazaldua’s style works well for the spooky side of the book, but it also shows off his talent for drawing large battle scenes. As the Red Goblin fights to save his Pop-Pop, Bazaldua draws him getting pummeled by a barrage of thugs. The pencils are clean and crisp and we don’t lose detail with such a large group in the panel.
The colors by David Curiel are important for this issue. He has to keep the tone for the pencils that Bazaldua puts down. Curiel is successful in doing this. Panels with close ups of Phil Urich are dark and have a lot of shading, especially around his face. When Normie has a vision with his symbiote, Curiel has the entire page with a reddish hue. This is effective to show readers that this is a dream like sequence, but it also works because the red is the color of his symbiote. One of the things Curiel does the best this issue is that he makes this entire issue seem dark. Even in pages where Normie’s mother is talking to the principal, the mood and atmosphere are dark and rainy. These little touches made by the writer and artists help set the tone for everything to leap off the page and get the reader in the mood of the book.
The letters by Joe Caramagna play a large part in the story. Caramagna has to use different word balloons, red serrated balloons, when Normie is talking as the Red Goblin. This works well and allows the reader to see that the goblin has a different tone and voice when he’s suited up. The sound effects flow in this issue. Caramagna “SWIKK” as pumpkin bombs fly at enemies. There is a nice transparent “BOOOMMMM” as a bomb explodes forcing the villains to run. Perhaps my favorite effect is when Normie’s mother talks to the principal at Normie’s school. She scratches her nails into the wood of the desk she sits at. Caramagna puts a little “KRRRrkk” right above her nails. This shows that she isn’t messing around and the whole family is dangerous.
Red Goblin #3 is another exciting issue in a series that has exceeded expectations. Alex Paknadel touches on real life issues from class discrepancy to young kids growing up too fast. This series has more depth than other books on the shelf. Red Goblin #3 is available at a comic shop near you!