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Review: Carnage #1

Carnage #1

Carnage is a character I honestly never really enjoyed or got. He’s just an unrepentant murderer who feels like the precursor to gore porn. It was never really anything interesting about the character to me, just how much destruction and death he could cause. He is escalation in human form, someone both Spider-Man and Venom could fear. Over the years, Carnage, and the concept of the symbiotes as a whole, have evolved to include gods and cults giving us something a little different and new. Carnage #1 feels like it continues the evolution of the character, an attempt to give us something more than just a high body count.

Written by Ram V., Carnage #1 gives us events from a few perspectives. There’s a killer on the loose and the detective attempting to stop him. It plays out in expected ways but it’s all a setup for what’s to come next issue. It seems Carnage is on a mission and that involves Hydro Man and access to other worlds. Not only does this up Hydro Man in some ways, it also gets the character away from who and how is he going to kill next. That is saved for the actual killer whose entire “art” is to gain the attention of Carnage.

The issue feels like it’s trying to do more with the character than we’ve seen in a while. Separated from Cletus Kasady, Carnage is literally on a search to define itself and the comic is taking us along for that ride. It’s not a bad start with shades of Se7en and other serial killer films like it. You can tell there’s a wink and nod towards Fincher without that being all there is.

The art by Francesco Manna is good. With color by Dijjo Lima and lettering by Joe Sabino, the comic delivers the gross death without being too gory and shocking. It’s there to some extent and dips its toes over the line but it never feels like it dwells in it. The camera doesn’t linger in other words. Still, there’s enough gore and horror to make fans of that, or those that expect it, happy.

The issue feels two backup stories as well. “A Lesson in Blood and Bone” by writer David Michelinie, artist Ron Lim, inker Robert Poggi, and colorist Israel Silva adds some depth to Cletus as a young boy asks him to take revenge against some bullies. It’s an interesting story and if it was published years ago, it could have shifted perspectives on the character but all this time later, it feels a bit out of character in some ways.

Ty Templeton also contributes two comics that take their inspiration from the Sunday funnies and they work in a goofy fun sort of way. It’s an unexpected bonus.

Carnage #1 is an intriguing debut. There’s a lot of potential here. It’s clearly setting up Carnage for a future much like Venom has received for a few years now. There’s an effort it would seem to move the character beyond his one note and become something a bit more interesting and possibly even scarier.

Story: Ram V., David Michelinie, Ty Templeton Art: Francesco Manna, Ron Lim, Ty Templeton
Color: Dijjo Lima, Robert Poggi Letterer: Joe Sabino, Israel Silva
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW