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Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Review

Only in comics could you explore the life of a character who wore the Symbiote for a matter of minutes.

One of the clever elements of the Absolute Carnage event is how the story naturally drudges up any character who has worn the Symbiote. Not only does it remind us of how many folks have worn the damn alien, but it allows creators to use characters you might not ordinarily see. Case in point, Leonard Elkhart gets his own tie-in this week. If you don’t know who he is, that’s okay, because he’s from an obscure moment in Symbiote history.

So what’s it about?

Read the preview.

Why does this matter?

Peter David and Francesco Mobili have captured the story of a tragic life here, which ties into the event thanks to a random moment that occurred in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #99. Only in comics could you explore the life of a character who wore the Symbiote for a matter of minutes!

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Cool angle!
Credit: Marvel Comics

This is a good idea with solid execution. The book opens with two pages from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #99 & #100 revealing who Leonard was and why he wore the Symbiote costume at all. He was a simple tourist who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sadly for him, that means Carnage is going to need to kill him for the codex trapped inside of him, but that isn’t even a factor for much of this book. No, instead we learn about Leonard’s life, how a fan-favorite Spider-Man villain upturned his life by accident, and how much these accidents do happen.

After we get the flashback pages, the book opens in on a parole hearing where we find Leonard being questioned as he can get early release due to his cancer. They want to know if he is of sound mind and should get a few days out of prison before it all ends for him. Much of the story is told via captions as David reveals how a regular Joe Judge went from a happy life down a terrible road. Leonard is a believable character and it’s fun to see the perspective of this average Joe in New York. There is more than one bond made through this revelatory back story. 

The art by Mobili (with colors by Java Tartaglia and Rain Beredo) and letters by VC’s Travis Lanham are quite good at capturing the tone of the book. There’s a sullen nature to everything thanks to the muted colors and Leonard is rendered in a realistic way. It’s not a painted book like Marvels, but it gives off a similar vibe. You get so invested in the reality of the story that when a giant robot crashes through a wall, you’ll be amazed. 

Getting a Marvels vibe!
Credit: Marvel Comics

It can’t be perfect, can it?

As tie-in stories go this isn’t a necessary read by any means and really the event has given the creators an excuse to tell a heartfelt and emotional tale rather than adding to the event itself. If you know anything about Absolute Carnage you’ll also see the ending coming a mile away, but maybe that’s a good thing since it hangs a feeling of dread over every scene that leads up to the finish.

Is it good?

This is a good done in one tale that tells a heartfelt and very real story. It’s about an average Joe’s life and how a little bad luck can send everything crashing down.

Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Is it good?
This is a good done in one tale that tells a heartfelt and very real story. It’s about an average Joe's life and how a little bad luck can send everything crashing down.
A nice one-shot about a man who was unlucky enough to wear the Symbiote for a few minutes back when Peter was wearing it
Realistic looking art grounds this in reality
This is certainly not a necessary read to understand Absolute Carnage
You'll see the ending coming a mile away...which might be the point?
9
Great
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