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Is it Good? Carnage USA #5

Carnage USA #5 is the last issue in Zeb Well’s Carnage USA story arc where Carnage has taken over a town using some kind of new portable symbiote powers. It seems fair to review this comic since it was one of the first issues I recommended buying in ComiX Weekly way back in December. Since the story has changed quite a bit, including an all symbiote special ops team joining the battle including Venom. Both Venom and Carnage lost their powers in issue #4 and this issue opens with some symbiote on symbiote action.

Carnage USA #5 (of 5) (Marvel)

This issue opens with the respective Carnage and Venom symbiotes searching for new owners, which probably won’t end well. Also, we see something new to the comics world, two handicapped dudes missing their legs fighting to the death! Based on Celtus Kasady’s reaction to being stabbed through the forearm, it’s going to be a brutal fight.

He’s such a sweet talker.

It’s interesting to see so many new story elements introduced in the climactic book of a series. This has more to do with there being practically no story over the last 4 issues than any dramatic shift intended by the writers. The Avengers didn’t even need to be in this story, especially considering they were written off as extras after the first few pages of issue #2. I’d wager they were introduced in issue #1 to raise the stakes, but were quickly swept to the side. No, what this comic is doing is trying to recreate the 90’s. Lots of pretty pictures and shocking surprises. A comic that only asks the reader to geek out and enjoy the ride? I’ll take it.

Gorilla Venom? Hell yes!

In a way, keeping the Avengers in the story allows Wells to utilize typically serious characters as a barometer for just how bat s--t crazy the book is. They aren’t just standing around in this issue like they were from issue #2 to issue #4.


Clayton Crain is the perfect artist for this kind of material. It needs to look scary, but also dirty and messy. The computer effect look also gives everything a nice sheen to go along with the 90’s feel. It’s as if each panel is a hologram cover!

Mmm, baked symbiote with ziti.

Unfortunately if you’re looking for a story you’re going to be hard pressed to find one. Given it’s a pretty-picture book and not much else you shouldn’t be surprised the heroes win the day simply because Venom got his symbiote first. When a character does finally come calling for justice, the heroes simply say, “we’re comic book heroes, we always let the bag guy live.” Even after something like this happens:

But again, this is more a Michael Bay experience than Shakespeare. Heck, this book even has big ass guns to impress the masses.

Never big enough.

Because there isn’t much substance this book hasn’t hit the ComiX Weekly budget, and sadly I can’t say this mini-series would be worth the purchase in trade paperback either. The story is too wishy-washy and changes so much it’s as if nothing matters or is given any gravity. On top of that, the only good dialogue was in issue #1 and since then it’s been rather humdrum at best.

You shouldn’t expect this in today’s ComiX Weekly budget, but for anyone who likes blockbuster action pictures you’ll probably dig it.


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