Rating: 3/5 – A less than “Superior” first issue starring Carnage
Superior Carnage is another first issue launching out of July’s Superior Spider-Month that’s already brought us Superior Spider-Man Team-Up and the Superior Foes of Spider-Man. The last time we saw Carnage he had been lobotomized during the ‘Minimum Carnage’ storyline that ran through the Scarlet Spider and Venom series. So this time the alien symbiote is pretty much in control, without any influence from longtime Carnage host Cletus Kasady. It’s a straight forward and at times cliche first issue, but writer Kevin Shinick does a decent job of telling a story without having to know Carnage’s complicated past.
I wasn’t familiar with Kevin’s previous work, but he’s mostly known for his TV writing. He’s written episodes for Robot Chicken, the Mad animated series and he was also the writer of broadway’s Spider-Man Live show. His last comic work was seen in the Avenging Spider-Man series, so he does understand Spider-Man and this universe.
This first of a five issue mini-series takes place in an unnamed prison where Carnage is being held, and long time Marvel villain the Wizard is trying to break him out in order to create a new and deadlier Frightful Four. Shinick chooses to use two different methods to tell the story in this first issue. The story’s opening narrator is compelling, and allows the unfamiliar reader to feel less confused by providing a neutral bystander point of view. Unfortunately that narration and that character’s thought balloons end abruptly half way through the issue and switches over to us following the Wizard, without any narration. Because of that, the story telling feels jumbled and doesn’t have the same style throughout. There are also a couple scenes with the Wizard where the dialogue sounds a bit clunky and unnecessary.
Artist Stephen Segovia does a pretty good job of making Carnage look menacing and alien, but his backgrounds are all too simple. Yes, the story does take place in a prison, but at the same time there’s too many panels that have a plain gradient background. We’ll see if the art progresses going forward, assuming the story leads out of the prison and into more visually interesting locales.
I’ll be back for the second issue as I do like the characters involved, especially the one who makes an appearance on the final page. But if you’re not a fan of Carnage or the Wizard, this book doesn’t hold up to the other “Superior” books that have come out this month.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – firstname.lastname@example.org
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