MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“When Norman Osborn merges with the Carnage symbiote, he becomes the villainous Red Goblin.”
Since Norman Osborn’s return to life at the end of “The Clone Saga,” there’s been some confusion about what to do with the character. His goblin mantle had been filled in his absence by both his son Harry and the mysterious (or at least very illusive) Hobgoblin. While he has returned to the Green Goblin a few times, there always seems to be something of a caveat to its presence. He’s also taken on other identities, serving for a time as Marvel’s answer to Lex Luthor, a ruthless business man with no true secret identity, then as a twisted “savior” as the Iron Patriot, and then finally as the leader of an army as the Goblin King. His latest identity, born from the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #799, is that of the Red Goblin. Red Goblin is about as clear-cut an example of escalation is serialized fiction as you can get. He’s the combination of Spider-Man’s greatest foe, Norman Osborn, with the deadlier, more un-hinged spawn of another of his greatest foes, Venom, all in a dark reflection of Spidey’s own time as host to the Venom symbiote. Hey, when you get to issue #800, you kinda have to pull out all the stops, right?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Red Goblin is figure 6 in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends. He’s the final single-packed figure in the assortment, and the only of the individuals to be a clear-cut villain. He also marks the second quickest turnaround from page to plastic in this assortment, being beaten out only by the Symbiote Spider-Man created to stop him in #800. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Like the last version of Norman, Red Goblin is built on the Bucky Cap body. He makes use of Carnage’s tendril-ridden lower arms and legs, as well as his tendril back-pack piece, a sensible bit of re-use, since it’s the same symbiote and all. He also uses Superior Venom’s feet and 2099‘s hands for properly clawed appendages. Red Goblin is topped off with a brand-new head sculpt and a tail that’s been stuck to the back of the basic Bucky Cap pelvis. The Red Goblin design is one that’s very dependent on specific lighting and a fluidity to the design, and because of this, it’s a design that’s not ideal for translation to toy form. This is evident in the sculpt, and how it looks when viewed from most angles. The head looks downright comical when viewed straight-on, like an old toothless man. Also, as versatile as the Bucky Cap body tends to be, I wouldn’t say it really lends itself to “fluid”. It’s a more realistic, balanced physique, so you throw a cartoony looking head on there and the head just looks even more cartoony. Not helping matters is the tail, which is a big, solid chunk of unmoving plastic. I can kind of understand Hasbro’s hesitance to do bendable appendages, with the long term issues that can plague them and all, but on a figure like this, it’s really limiting his play value, and ends up looking downright silly just sitting there in the exact same pose no matter what you do with him. Furthering the issues with translating the design into three dimensions? The paint. They tried. They really did. They’re clearly taking a page out of the Carnage playbook with how they handled this, but it just doesn’t work as well with this particular design. The black sections just look kind of random and blotchy, and there’s too much un-broken red between them to make it look convincingly like the symbiote is in motion. The hands and feet being solid black also looks goofy, because it kind of looks like he’s running around with opera gloves and some toe-socks. It’s undoubtedly too clean and too collected, and, again, it just ends up looking comical. Maybe he’d look better molded in slightly translucent plastic? Or something with various colors injected in? It’d be an inconsistent effect to be sure, but I think that would only further help the figure. He just needed something better than all the solid colors we see here. Red Goblin is a rather sparsely packed figure, with only a single Carnage-infused pumpkin bomb. No glider, which seems kind of criminal with any Goblin figure. He’s also packed with the right leg of Kingpin, which is, without a doubt, the best thing he’s got going for him.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve long felt that Norman Osborn was the sort of character that was better off dead. Apart from a few decent stories here and there (the Goblin King angle was one I liked), he’s felt like he’s sort of out of place. I appreciate the Red Goblin concept for what it is, but I can’t say I was that invested in it, nor was I that crazy for a figure of the design. Having the figure in hand, my feelings really haven’t changed. He just doesn’t work as a toy, and I struggle to find much to like about him. I appreciate their attempt to be timely with this release, and he pairs off alright with the Symbiote Spider-Man, but he’s ultimately just not very well-made, and a very clear weak point in the assortment.
Red Goblin was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys. He’s currently in-stock at their webstore. If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.