Marvel has had success with Superior Spider-Man and now it’s Superior Spider-Month. We’ve already gotten the Superior Foes of Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man Team Up. What else could possibly get superior-ized? Why Carnage of course! Major Spoilers sat down with Superior Carnage #1 to see just how superior it is. Your review is just ahead…(Man that’s a lot of superiors)
Great story and humor
The art is wonderful
Huge tonal clash
Carnage is a secondary character
Previously in Superior Carnage: Cletus Kasady had his plans of destroying the Microverse and taking over the world foiled by Venom and the Scarlet Spider. This resulted in the Scarlet Spider lobotomizing Kasady, leaving him drooling in an undisclosed containment facility. The symbiote on the other hand is still alive and angry.
MIX ONE PART HORROR WITH ONE PART HUMOR
I’m a sucker for the whole symbiote family. From Venom to Carnage, hell even Toxin I find somewhat cool, so I couldn’t resist checking out Superior Carnage #1. I found the Minimum Carnage crossover to be somewhat enjoyable and liked the ending, believing the character may be shelved from his resurgence. As with all things comics, that wouldn’t be the case and Carnage has returned. And his return is good.
Ted Connelly, a man sent to prison for insider trading, narrates the first half of the issue. Unfortunately, for him, due to the governor’s plan for dealing with overcrowded prisons, he’s in a maximum-security prison with super-villains. A nice bit of social/political commentary I thought. He’s also in the cell right next to Carnage. Thanks to the Wizard releasing the rabid Carnage, many die and the sh@t hits the fan.
Kevin Shinick really grabbed me with the first half of the book, making me feel Ted’s terror of being a normal man stuck with a bunch of super powered loonies. I felt sorry for him and feared for his inevitable demise. The horror of this book is done so well and when Carnage is set loose, we’re shown exactly why this character is dangerous. This is the best version of Carnage I’ve seen. With Kasady is no longer in control, we don’t have to deal with his overbearing personality and instead get to witness the symbiote go wild. It makes Carnage scary, something I haven’t found him to be in quite a while, if ever. Humor is also sprinkled nicely throughout, with Ted’s shorts remaining at a constant “level brown” alert. The comedy starts to hit hard in the second half as the Wizard is revealed to be behind Carnage’s release, in an effort to once again form the Frightful Four and impress his son. The Wizard’s interaction with a tied up guard is witty as the guard says what many a reader is thinking. “The Frightful Four! Right. Big surprise. What is this, your sixteenth version?” That dialogue right there had me giggling like a toddler and I was beaming when Klaw showed up on the final page. It will be interesting to see how these Kirby characters interact with the modern Carnage.
While the humor is strong, the clash in tones between the first and second halves doesn’t gel well at all. We go from violent horror with subtle humor to a comedic interaction with a character that, in all honesty, is quite silly. Shinick fails in giving the book a consistent voice and the titular character honestly seems secondary. While I enjoyed our (extremely) violent time with him in the book, I hope to see more of Carnage and shown why he is superior other than the fact that Marvel needed a title hook.
ART THIS TITLE DESERVES
Even though I shouldn’t have, I brought the baggage of my displeasure with Minimum Carnage’s art with me. I was sure that Marvel wouldn’t stick a prime artist on a book involving the character. What a kick in the face I got when I saw the first few pages. Stephen Segovia’s pencils are wonderful and give the book artwork that I felt was needed. If you’re going to add superior to the title in hopes of readers picking it up on that connection alone, you better bring it. And boy does Segovia bring it. The whole breakout scene is great and Carnage is drawn just how he is written, out of control. Blood flies, dismemberment occurs and no detail is spared. His work is similar to Leinil Francis Yu’s while maintaining uniqueness. The two page spread of Kasady and the symbiote being ripped apart by Klaw’s blast is A-list work and received an audible “Wow” upon first viewing. I couldn’t have been more impressed by Segovia and I will be keeping an eye out for more books he may be on.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH PICKING UP
I was honestly taken aback by how much I enjoyed Superior Carnage #1. While I hold a soft spot in my heart for the symbiote family (I started my heavy comic reading in the 90’s), I wasn’t expecting much from a Carnage title. Shinick has me intrigued with this introduction, supplying great humor and horror throughout and Stephen Segovia’s art blew me away. While there are tonal clashes and Carnage is relegated to a secondary character, this is still worth picking up. Even if you’re not a Carnage fan, you might enjoy it as they’re attempting something different. Superior Carnage #1 earns 3 out of 5 stars.