ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1/ Writer: Donny Cates/ Penciller: Ryan Stegman/ Inker: JP Mayer/ Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles/ Publisher: Marvel/ Release Date: August 7th, 2019
Cletus Kasady has been resurrected, and has one goal in mind; to hunt down everyone on Earth who has ever bonded with a symbiote and awaken the dark god, Knull. Eddie Brock is in for the fight of his life, but how can Venom stop a god powered Carnage?
Absolute Carnage #1 spins out of the main Venom book, with Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman reuniting to tell the tale of the Lethal Protector’s greatest battle. And at sixty pages, this is a wallop of a debut issue; readers are literally getting three issues’ worth of story for eight bucks
Cates, in my honest opinion, has yet to write a bad comic. His script veers from action-packed to horrific at the drop of a hat (and finds a nice balance between the two in the third act of this issue). On top of that, he manages to get the voices of Eddie, Spider-Man, and Carnage just right. Spidey, in particular, adds a levity to the proceedings and even has a heartfelt chat with Eddie about being a father. There are very few writers who tap into the core of who Peter Parker is, and I can safely say that Cates is one of them.
Stegman, Mayer, and Martin push themselves to their artistic limits, and the end result is some of the most striking artwork in a Marvel comic this year. The first three pages act as a recap for the current Venom run thus far; Stegman manages to pack a literal host of Symbiote hosts on these two pages and draws a terrifying image of Carnage and Knull intertwined within a DNA Helix. Later, another page finds Carnage striding through the halls of the Ravencroft Institute, literally pulling open his chest and plucking out pieces of his symbiote. Carnage shrouded in darkness with the other inmates pulling at their cells and the alarms blaring. This scene is enough to make even the most ironclad stomach squirm in horror.
Cates and Stegman have crafted a gloriously gruesome ode to the horror that is Carnage. I can’t wait to see what the next issue brings, and how they top this first one. All Hail The Bleeding King.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 Codices.
Collier, or CJ as he’s known to his friends, is a screenwriter and blogger residing in Seattle. When he isn’t at his laptop or at work, he loves to read comics, watch movies, play card games, and hit the local arcade. Spider-Man is his favorite fictional character of all time.