Image Courtesy of Marvel Comics
What’s up, everybody? I’m glad that you came back to read another one of my posts! Today, I’ve got a review for one of the most highly anticipated books of the summer: “Absolute Carnage”! It’s something I wasn’t too sure of going into it just because I know how dark the character of Carnage can be at times. But, as a Spider-Man fan, the idea was too irresistible. Before I go too far, it should be noted that this is only a monthly five issue mini-series, so my reviews for this won’t be as frequent as my other material. So, don’t expect this series to be reviewed every week. With that out of the way, let’s dive into it!
“Absolute Carnage” is written by Marvel newcomer (somewhat), Donny Cates, with art by comics veteran, Ryan Stegman. These two have been collaborating for over a year since their run on “Venom” began in mid-2018. Cates is also dominating the Marvel Universe with many other titles such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Marvel Knights”. Although almost the entirety of Cates’s run on “Venom” has been leading to the giant event known as “Absolute Carnage”.
I have to say, this is probably one of the best comics I’ve read in quite some time. And I’m reading a lot of good stuff right now. In terms of story, character, and world-building, it nails everything on the head! Perhaps the greatest part is you can just go into this without having read a single issue of “Venom” or, if you’re a longtime reader, the payoffs are even better. Not only does this exceed every expectation for a Venom book, but it might also be one of the best Spider-Man stories in years without Spider-Man in the title. I know, that was a long-winded explanation. But you get my point! Cates knows these characters inside and out and it shows from the very first page.
I don’t want to say too much about the expositional chapter of this for fear that I’ll spoil something. The only reason I say that is because there’s a huge bit of Eddie Brock’s personal life that was spoiled for me because I’m not reading “Venom”. Though that’s on me for not reading it. Though I don’t want to punish anyone else. So, we learn that Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage, has been resurrected by a symbiote worshipping cult. Now that he’s back, he’s after anyone who has ever been bonded to a symbiote. Let’s see – that narrows it down to EVERY CHARACTER IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE! So yeah, every hero has a target on their back. The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Avengers, you name it. No one is safe.
What’s a guy to do? Well, Eddie decides to go to the only man he can trust: Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Perhaps the only one besides Eddie who’s had extensive experience with symbiotes. Spidey and Venom have a sort of fragile relationship due to Venom’s violent, yet heroic, nature. A long explanation and a few burgers later, Spidey agrees to help. Here’s where things get tricky: Everyone who has worn a symbiote still has a microscopic piece of it left in their DNA. That’s what Carnage is after. And he won’t have to look hard because, being bonded to a symbiote himself, Kasady can sense the presence of other symbiotes. Time is not on the hero’s side.
The two heroes decide that the only way to save the others is to find a machine that can extract the remaining bit of symbiote from their DNA. Luckily, Spider-Man knows where one already exists! It’s at this point where we get the surprising return of The Maker, a character who hasn’t been seen in any large capacity since 2015’s “Secret Wars”. He’s also a somewhat evil version of Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe. Although now he’s not so much evil as he thinks he’s just far superior to everyone else. He says the machine needs a test subject before it can be fully implemented. Like any sane person, neither Venom or Spider-Man is willing to subject themselves to a potentially life-ending experiment. But, as luck would have it, Spidey knows where to find the perfect test subject. The only problem is they have to break into a maximum-security prison on Long Island to get to him.
Who is this test subject? None other than Norman Osborn, formerly known as The Green Goblin. Why is he perfect for this? Well, he was briefly bonded to the Carnage symbiote and became The Red Goblin. After his defeat in “The Amazing Spider-Man” issue #800, Osborn went insane and now believes that he is Cletus Kasady. That’s the long and the short of it. After the heroes successfully make their way into the prison, things seem to be going fine at first. Then things go awry, as they always do.
That’s all I’ll say for this review. Anything else would be far too spoilery. But this story is amazing! I can safely say that I’m all in for this crazy ride! It’s intriguing, scary, violent, and funny all at the same time. And it does all those things extremely well. I couldn’t be happier! It exceeded all my expectations and it will exceed yours too! So, even though you can probably guess the answer, would I recommend this book? 100% Yes! Now, the next issue comes out on August 28. So, expect that review somewhere around that time. But, my very next review will be either Guardians or Spider-Man. Until then, stay happy and stay comical!