Marvel Comics’ latest event is rolling forward this week with Absolute Carnage‘s penultimate issue, as Carnage attempts to take over the world…again! This series has been an epic event with a heavy horror tilt that grew even more horrific as Venom abandoned Eddie Brock for Bruce Banner last issue. Can you say “Venom smash?” It’s Hulk vs. Carnage as Eddie attempts to be the hero he knows he can be, for at least a few minutes, as Carnage grows even stronger.
Superhero comics done right
There are multiple instances of this issue working very well as a superhero book. Frankly speaking, I was expecting even more creepy horror, but the identity of this series is certainly fluid enough to change gears. We’re talking a supercharged Carnage, Eddie gaining all kinds of new power, and heroes triumphantly appearing at the right moment. Many will love Miles Morales’ part in this issue as he once again proves his willpower is stronger than most. Eddie also gets to don Captain America’s shield and seems to gain a little respect from Steve Rogers in the process. Donny Cates is clearly playing on the tropes we so love dearly and it works for the most part.
Carnage is looking good!
Ryan Stegman’s art — along with colors by Frank Martin, and the ever-important inks from JP Mayer, Jay Leisten, and Stegman — does not disappoint. There are quite a few striking pages starting with the full-page splash that opens the book. That comes with an intense level of blur to strike you at the speed at which Hulk and Carnage are tearing each other apart. There’s also the subtle glow of Carnage’s symbol on his chest which gives him a sense of godhood the event is playing towards. Props must go to Stegman’s design of a new supercharged version of Carnage too. It has a medieval devil thing going on that’s incredibly striking. That said, the spine on this guy is comical, isn’t it? How does he even bend without abs?
One problem I did have was a rather quick 180 Eddie goes through to get back in the fight. Dare I say this event could have used another issue? It’s a rather convenient plot turn that doesn’t make all that much sense, but then again we’re talking about an undead god of alien fluid flying around so who am I to complain about realism? Regardless, the twist is rather unearned and sort of just pushes the narrative forward for the next triumphant climax in a long line of Marvel events.
For an event that seems to have progressed rather quickly, this has been a great ride. The horror and frightening visual splendor is on full display to soak in for anyone enticed by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s epic take on Venom.