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Absolute Carnage 2 Main

"Absolute Carnage #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Inked by JP Mayer
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2019, 32 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on August 28th, 2019


We already know Cletus Kasady is a deranged serial killer aided by the Carnage symbiote. Now he's a reanimated corpse of a deranged serial killer, hell-bent on ripping out and consuming the spines of anyone in the Marvel Universe that's ever worn a symbiote (which is quite a lot of people). To make matters more terrifying, another version of Cletus has taken up residence in Norman Osborn's body, so you have two psychopaths running around wreaking havoc. Venom and Spider-Man are right in the center of this chaos. They're already outnumbered and Carnage keeps tipping the scales in his favor.

Absolute Carnage is scaring the crap out of me. It's not just putting characters I love into horrifying situations. Spider-Man faces life-and-death scenarios every day. Writer Donny Cates has brought some real terror here. There's a suffocating quality to this issue, like the danger and mayhem is surrounding you and getting closer and closer with each turn of the page. The pacing is terrific. My heart was pounding out of my chest by the time I got to the end of this issue.

This is especially true with the final moments of Absolute Carnage #2, showing how Miles Morales fits into everything. The kid is fighting his heart out against a mob of Carnage's minions. Artist Ryan Stegman draws a mob of these monsters practically swallowing Miles up as the rain pours down. It's one helluva action sequence tinged with unsettling horror because any way you look at it, this is a losing battle.

Click images to enlarge

Colorist Frank Martin creates a dreary tone for this sequence. The rain is washing out much of the color, leaving a dismal mood that coincides with the fleeting one-sided fight. There are occasional flashes of light from Miles' venom blasts that give you a glimmer of hope as the horde begins to overwhelm the hero.

Absolute Carnage #2 gives us a glimpse at some of the tie-ins to this event in a gorgeous double-page spread. Stegman shows snapshots from the other books in a web spun out of Carnage's unsettling symbiote. Most of these provide some additional context to the overall story, but are not required to enjoy this main event. This was a nice way to showcase them without distracting from the overall narrative.

The dynamic between the two versions of Carnage is proving to be very interesting. While they're working together right now, it's only a matter of time before they tear each other apart. Cletus #1, the walking corpse, definitely asserts his dominance over Norman. He's shown on a throne of sorts, towering over his minions. The dark red of his symbiote contrasts with the glowing yellow energy that seems to pulse out of his chest and eyes. This is a monster in the truest sense of the word.

Click images to enlarge

Letterer Clayton Cowles amplifies that quality with some chilling word balloons. You truly understand that Carnage is a sadistic killer based on how his dialogue appears on the page. It comes through in a scratchy font in blood-red word balloons.

The sheer amount of detail in the artwork is jaw-dropping. Stegman's art is second to none and inker JP Mayer amplifies it a thousand fold. This works really well with any scene with a symbiote as the inks highlight the alien nature of these creatures with their slimy texture.

Absolute Carnage is nothing short of terrifying. It's a pulse-pounding thrill ride of an adventure through the lens of pure, unbridled horror. This book will grab hold of you from the very first page. There were times I had to remember to breathe as I was so enthralled with this book. This is top tier stuff.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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