Absolute Carnage #1
Writer: Donny Cates
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, & Frank Martin
Variant Cover Artists: John Tyler Christopher; Adi Granov; Gabriele Dell’Otto; Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin, & Edgar Delgado; Kyle Hotz & Dan Brown; Mike Deodato Jr. & Rain Beredo; Aaron Kuder; Artgerm; Nick Bradshaw & Morry Hollowell; Ron Lim & Israel Silva
Carnage is back, and everyone is a target in his crosshairs. While Eddie’s on the run with Dylan after being framed by Kasady, he finds himself at a crossroads, and in desperate need of help from an old foe-turned-ally: Spider-Man. As the two try to formulate a plan, Carnage grows stronger, and it seems as if there’s no stopping him. With everything on the line, the two former enemies find themselves as the only ones standing in the way of total annihilation. Can they stop Carnage before he continues to enact his plans? Or is it already too late?
This event has been highly anticipated on my part since it’s been announced, and for good reason. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman both crafted something truly special with their run on Venom, reinventing the character and his lore in a fresh and unique way. Now a whole event spanning all of Marvel Comics centered around him? It has all the makings to be something truly incredible. So it’s with total elation that I’m happy to say that this issue is absolutely outstanding and dripping with complete brilliance, from the very front and all the way to the back. Any good event needs to start off strong, and this whopping sixty-plus page comic exceeds that expectation in flying colors.
To start off, obviously, the art is the best I’ve ever seen from Stegman, Mayer, and Martin. Each page is filled to the brim with so much detail, and even the spaces between the panels are used to fantastic effect. The tone and atmosphere are both oozing with dread and horror, and some of the splash pages used are absolutely horrific in all the right ways. The horror vibe set up since the start of Cates’ and Stegman’s Venom run is used to its full potential, and I can’t wait to see how much further they delve into it as the event goes on.
This issue is long, and that can definitely be an achilles’ heel for any packed book, but Cates uses each page to the fullest, to the point where you never ever want to put it down. The story, much like the art, sets up the tone and dread perfectly and plays up the fears about the end being just around the corner. The threat is so great, and so astronomical, that it genuinely makes me curious as to what’s gonna happen, and how it’s all gonna end. Usually, with any given event, I kinda have a feel for where it’s going, but with this one, I have absolutely zero clue, and that’s the best thing this issue does.
The characters are written perfectly and are given so much development with a whole lot to do. Seeing Eddie and Peter interact, bounce off of each other, and work together shows just how far they’ve both come in their relationship, and really puts into perspective how good of a team they both make. Carnage is at his most terrifying yet, and that’s no small feat by any means. Just as you think there’s nothing horrifying left for him to do, Cates pulls another hat out of the bag that surprises you, and one can only guess how many more he has left.
I can’t say much else without spoiling, but I implore any Venom, Carnage, Spidey, or symbiote fan to go out and buy this book. It’s definitely going to be one of the most remembered issues of the past decade, and it’s one you won’t wanna miss. This event is shaping up to be something truly special for fans of the horror side of the Marvel universe, and I wait with baited breath to see what happens next.