Red Goblin: Red Death #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on October 30, 2019

Writers: Rob Fee, Sean Ryan, Patrick Gleason
Artists: Pete Woods
Penciler: Ray-Anthony Height
Inker: Marc Deering
Colorists: Dono Sanchez-Almara with Protobunker
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            You can tell Marvel just didn’t have a lot of faith in this one. I had not heard a thing about it until I decided to review it.  Is this just too late to the party? It’s not an Absolute Carnage tie-in. It takes place before then and the Red Goblin isn’t in that story at all. So this should have come out last year when there was still some speculative excitement over the character. Oh well.

            Red Death feels weird almost immediately. Norman is written a little differently in each story, and the first one by Rob Fee feels the weirdest. He writes him as kind of a tragic villain, with Norman being the voice of sanity. Compare him to the symbiote, sure, Norman is okay, but Fee kind of writes him like a good guy in some instances. Only the third story really has anything interesting happen, but I think it’s been done better elsewhere and actually devalues points in those other stories. Think the surprise ending of the remake of Metroid II. I think as a whole, this story could have been more fun if it leaned into the slaughter that Carnage is known for. It’s a solo book. A one-shot that doesn’t even have Spider-Man’s name in the title. Why keep it PG-13 then?

            The art by Pete Woods is solid for the most part. He shows a lot of stylistic range in his two stories. I’m really not a fan of his Red Goblin in some instances. The design was already iffy to some, but he exaggerates some features even more and it looks goofy rather than intimidating. Not sure if it was his call or the writer’s but the decision to split Norman/Carnage in half during their first bonding seems like a bad one to me. The Wayside Darkness story has a very different style; it’s much more cartoonish. It works for the most part. This story is much less violent than the others and feels kind of like an episode of Goosebumps. The faces look a little silly sometimes but it’s not a big deal. The shading in each story is emotionally connecting and serves them well enough. It never blew me away but it surely doesn’t detract either.
            I’m not shocked at all to be giving this kind of score to this one. Marvel’s lack of faith was transparent and frankly, appropriate. Red Goblin: Red Death #1’s stories are all over the place, yet relatively tame. This makes for a wholly uninteresting anthology. The art is good but not enough to make you want to stop and soak it in on any page. Maybe if it featured some actual carnage, that would be enough to make it dumb fun, but alas, you should pass.

Our Score:


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