Comic Review: Carnage (2016) #1-16 by Gerry Conway

Credit: Marvel Comics

By Miller C. Lashbrook

This series was such a pleasant surprise. I have never been a big Venom or Carnage fan when they are not in a Spider-Man story. However, I wanted to read this series because I know it set up some things in Absolute Carnage. This series is a thrilling combination of Predator and Eldritch horror. And just when I thought I wouldn’t care about the characters they got me to care, even including a little queer romance.

SPOILERS AHEAD

This series is not for the faint of heart. It deals with murder, trauma, cults, body horror, ritual sacrifice, abuse, and more. The smartest move by the writer was to give the reader a team hunting carnage as our protagonists, rather than the monster himself. We do have some issues where the narration is Cletus Kassidy’s a.k.a. Carnage, but for the most part the story focuses on the crew trying to take him down, made up of Eddie Brock with the Toxin symbiote, John Jameson Jr. a.k.a. Man-Wolf, an innocent girl, an FBI agent, and a witch who has studied the Darkhold. Oh yeah, by the way, the Darkhold, usually found in stories related to magic in Marvel Comics, is part of this story.

Carnage finds out that some Darkhold cults have interpreted a prophecy in the dark text as being about him, that he will be their “Red Slayer” who will bring back the demon Chthon. The suspense built throughout the series as the reader might ask whether or not Carnage will succeed in his mission.

I really only have two issues with the series that stop it from being a perfect rating. The first is pacing. The second arc of the series moves a little slow, maybe only one issue too slow, but we take a little too much time getting to the island. I also thought that the final issue ends very abruptly. It did not seem to really show what exactly was done with the symbiotes to stop Chthon. Specifically, I did not catch whether or not the symbiotes went back to the characters at the end, or if they all stayed with Lubulile.

Overall if you are looking for a Marvel comic with grit and thrills, this series is a great pick.

4/5 Alien Symbiotes 👽

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