Carnage has always been one of my favorite supervillains. He first appeared back in 1992, right as my brother and I were getting really into comics. A deranged serial killer with an alien symbiote powering him, he was pretty badass. The character has had legs, for sure, lasting 14 years now, and now he’s got his own series, written by comic book legend Gerry Conway.
I love the concept of this first volume, it’s a straight up horror thriller. One of Cletus “Carnage” Kasady’s first big kills was burning down the orphanage he was in as a boy, killing everybody, except for one girl, Manny, who grew up to be an FBI agent. Now, she’s tracked down Kasady to a mine in West Virginia, and has a team going in to capture the symbiotic psychopath. Of course, it all goes to crap, and it’s her and her team trapped in a mine along with Carnage. It helps though that her team has John Jameson also known as Man Wolf, and the original host of Venom, Eddie Brock, who is in control of the Toxin symbiote these days. There’s some further twists to the story, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves.
I really, really enjoyed these first few issues. It really goes to show the versatility that comic books have these days, and have always had. You can do a horror story with a supervillain monster, or you can do a standard superhero story, or a crime story, or a love story, or anything with these characters when you give them depth, because life is more than just one genre, so should the medium of comic books.
Gerry Conway, as a writer has only gotten better over the years, or maybe he was always this good, but was just hampered by the medium of comics as they were back in the 70’s. The art here too, by Mike Del Mundo is fantastic, and give the story that horror movie atmosphere that it needed.
Also, for new readers you don’t really need to know anything prior going into this series, it helps if you are familiar with the Venom/Carnage history, and John Jameson’s Man Wolf identity, but you won’t be overly confused. A strong first volume for this series, can’t wait to see where the series goes next. **** 4 out of 5 stars.