Comic Corner: Carnage (2016) (Review)

I wanted to wait until the end of this series to really delve in and do a solid review on exactly what we’ve seen here. Over the years, we’ve had a ton of different Carnage stories spun into a lot of different tales. Sometimes we get the story of Cletus Kasady himself, sometimes we get him fighting Spider Man, sometimes we get Eddie Brock trying to rectify the mistake that he accidentally made all those years ago by infecting this psychopath with a symbiote. This current iteration of Carange finds the titular super villain searching for a way to destroy the world.

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Carange finds his answer in the way of a book called the Darkhold (Darkholm?) and essentially, it’s the way to unleash the big bad of this series. Now, Carnage is simply a piece of work. He’s a sociopath to rival all sociopaths, and he really doesn’t care about the consequences, he’s just looking to make the world burn. The catch this time is that we have an anti-Carnage task force attempting to hunt him down along the way. There aren’t any notable characters on this task force except for the original symbiote himself, Eddie Brock. Brock is on what seems to be a path of redemption, and as Toxin, he’s looking to bring down Carnage once and for all.

What I will say is that the series offers new takes on just how big of a jerk Carnage is in general. Cletus Kasady’s ambitions and backstory are explored a bit more here, and we get a solid amount of insight into his past. The art style is awesome. Dark and gritty, it’s truly fitting of a story like Carnage’s, and it helps to really show off the brutality of the whole venture. Unfortunately, the intrigue that builds is quickly lost, and we get another cookie cutter Carnage story that ultimately fades to black as the series finishes.

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Fights are predictable, and the story falls into the same tropes of “Carnage is a badass” over and over again. Yes, we get it. Unfortunately, the side characters that aren’t Eddie Brock are way less interesting than anything else we see in the series. Even getting introduced to a new Symbiote called Raze doesn’t help move the story along, and there’s a consistently boring and flat tone throughout the whole series. I kept wishing for a bigger payoff, but the end is just as predictable as you’d expect it to be. While there are some interesting moments of pure gore and violence, we don’t really get the satisfying development I’d be looking for in a newer title.

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Running about sixteen issues, the story would more than likely be a lot more interesting through a trade paperback, as the Carnage story itself isn’t really good enough to keep you interested month by month. I will say that certain parts of exploring the Symbiote itself do help to nearly bring me back into the fold, but I’m ultimately lost towards the end in yet another cookie cutter Carnage series. For fans of Carnage, this is more of what you’re looking for. I expect that new readers will feel like this is just another super villian story with not much else to offer in the end.

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