Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s coming a little later this year, but we finally have this year’s major Marvel Summer event. Instead of a threat from beyond, this time the Marvel Universe is facing a Spidey-themed threat in the form of Carnage. Powered by the evil symbiote god Knull, Cletus Kasady is making up for lost time, and in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s opening issue of Absolute Carnage, he’s making sure that everyone will remember his name.
Life’s been strange for Eddie Brock. Well, stranger than usual. Removed from his symbiote other, Brock has to take care of his estranged son (who doesn’t know he’s his son) while staying one step ahead of the police, who are on his trail for a being set up by Cletus Kasady. This would all go a lot smoother if Eddie still had his symbiote, but unlucky for him, it’s nowhere to be found, and Kasady is getting closer and closer to Eddie. But Kasady’s not only going after Eddie, he’s also going after every single person who’s ever worn a symbiote, which is quite a lot of people.
Donny Cates has hyped this event up a lot, and so far, he’s delivering the goods. His script succinctly recaps his run on Venom, and more importantly it sets up Carnage as an even bigger threat than he already is. There’s a strong sense of dread throughout the issue, and that comes from Cates’ carefully plotting the seeds for this event throughout his Venom run. Cates’ long-game strategy is paying off beautifully so far, and I can’t wait to see what other developments spring from it.
Ryan Stegman has been hard at work on this series, and it really shows. Stegman’s art has always been impressive, but it’s increased ten-fold with this issue. Stegman’s already impressive figure work and compositions are heightened, and they really make Cates’ script stand out. While Stegman’s Eddie Brock still looks physically imposing, he has an air of sadness to him that really comes through his body language. Brock’s clearly at his lowest point, but it’s going to be great seeing Stegman give him the heroic moment he deserves.
So far Marvel’s been on a pretty good streak with their big events, and it looks like Absolute Carnage will be another slam dunk for them. While it’s easy to jump into this event cold, you’ll probably get more if you read the start of Cates and Stegman’s Venom run, which is also pretty awesome to boot. For now though, Carnage has come calling, and it’s going to be hell for Marvel’s heroes.