Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Iban Coello
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Kyle Hotz & Dan Brown
Variant Cover Artists: Patch Zircher & Brain Reber; Will Sliney & David Curiel
Sleeper has returned, and he’s here to join the fight against Carnage. However, the Maker has other plans in store, and they just might put both Dylan and Normie in danger. As Absolute Carnage rages on, the two boys become increasingly paranoid about their predicament and try to hatch a plan to avoid danger. Can they pull it off before things go from bad to worse? And what exactly is the Maker truly planning?
The way the recent issues of Venom have acted as a companion piece to Absolute Carnage has been pretty well-done, all things considered. While I believe there are far too many tie-ins, as was the issue I had with Spider-Geddon, the main story and conflict are at least a lot more interesting this time, not to mention better-written. The story that is told in the Venom tie-in has been incredibly interesting and nail-biting, and this issue continues that sentiment to the fullest.
Iban Coello’s art hasn’t been my absolute favorite style, but it’s gorgeous, especially in the flashbacks showing Sleeper’s journey since the end of First Host last year. The way Sleeper himself is drawn and colored is stunning, as well, along with the other symbiotes in the issue. One design in particular, however, which I won’t spoil, comes across as a tad bit uninspired. It could’ve been incredibly extravagant and breath-taking, but it more or less goes for the safe route, which in the end, is a bit disappointing.
The main story, however, is still incredibly strong, even though it’s filler for understanding the main story going on. Seeing Dylan go from looking down on Normie to being willing to protect him is a sweet development, and I hope we get to see more of the two characters after the event. Sleeper being back is another win in my book, as he was the best part of First Host last year. I never truly liked the way it ended and refused to tie up certain loose ends, so I truly hope this is a sign we’ll get some much-needed closure from Costa’s run on the character in the future.
The stuff being teased for Dylan, in particular, is incredibly interesting, especially with one particular moment in mind. He’s been one of my favorite things about Cates’ run on the lethal protector so far, so I’m glad to see there’s a whole lot more in store for him. Wherever it’s leading, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m intrigued to see where especially with the revelation from Absolute Carnage #2 in mind.
Overall, this is a strong chapter in the event of Absolute Carnage that goes beyond just developing the story. From bringing back Sleeper, to developing and teasing interesting avenues with Dylan, this book is not gonna be one to skip when it comes to keeping up with the overall event. From the character work to the stakes, to the nail-biting tension, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I’m incredibly excited to see where it all goes next.