When it comes to event comics, horror isn’t typically the genre of choice. Absolute Carnage, however, leans right into the delightfully bloody and scary visuals thanks to the lead villain Carnage and his attempt to take over the world. In the latest issue out today, Carnage is getting closer to becoming godlike in power. And with heroes like Captain America and Wolverine on his targets list, can they even hope to contain him?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
This is a good third issue since it slows things down and begins to shift the narrative in a new direction. The big additions are the A-tier heroes who enter the story here and certainly liven up Carnage’s focus.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a well-plotted issue opening with a reminder of Miles losing to Carnage and becoming part of his army of drones. This leads to an action sequence, followed by a slower scene to recap the stakes in play, and then finally an uproarious attack that should kick everything into a new gear. There are meaningful interactions as well that keep our focus on the characters.
The horror element of this series continues to be its biggest strength. So far Carnage has been incapable of taking any hits from the heroes and this issue revels in the fear and doom permeating off Carnage’s limitless power. There’s a shred of hope they can stop him from even wanting to kill superheroes for their codices thanks to The Maker’s device, but even then chances seem slim. Carnage, for his part, continues to be evil incarnate — he’s less a supervillain and more of a force of nature. You can’t just fight Carnage, you need to have faith that good will prevail over evil. Cates and Stegman are making a case that maybe evil is a natural order of things thanks to Carnage’s limitless power.
The horror visuals continue to impress and there are many highlights here. From the opening page with Miles falling into the darkness with blood dripping off him to extreme close-ups of Carnage’s face shifting from flesh to Symbiote, there are many unnerving moments. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a tingling feeling on the back of your neck while reading it. Even a somewhat positive and heroic beat on the last page will have you feeling uncomfortable. There are also small standout beats that aren’t even splashy in their rendering that’ll have you hovering over a page for extra minutes. One example is a cool moment where Eddie runs in the opposite direction of his Symbiote, which stands motionless like a puff of smoke.
Frank Martin’s colors and JP Mayer’s inks are some of the best of the week thanks to the atmospheric gloom and doom hanging over everything. From the cold dread of a dark blue rainy scene to the dark shadows under Eddie’s creepy eyes when something isn’t right with him, you’re left with a feeling only the best horror flicks can deliver on.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
There’s a jump-scare like a moment involving Eddie that doesn’t quite add up. I’ll avoid spoilers so it’s a surprise, but in hindsight, it’s unclear what Carnage is doing waiting around when he’s mostly charged in killing at will. It’s almost as if the villain stopped to let the anticipation and scary beat drop rather than doing the more logical thing.
Is it good?
This is a good third issue since it sets the stage for a superhero battle you won’t want to miss while mixing up character dynamics and our anticipations. Absolute Carnage is dripping with tension, serving a dish of horror delights.