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Gwenom Vs Carnage 1 Main

"King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Seanan McGuire
Illustrated by Flaviano
Colored by Rico Renzi
Lettered by Ariana Maher
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 13th, 2021


Knull has arrived on Earth and everyone with a symbiote is in trouble. Gwen Stacy is a special case as hers comes from a different dimension. Knull doesn't have the same control over it. That puts Ghost-Spider in the thick of things, but she's not alone. Someone from her Earth is about to make the jump over here and she's not quite the same.

I was really bummed when the Ghost-Spider series ended, so I'm glad to see writer Seanan McGuire return to the character to tell her next chapter. Based on the afterword in this issue, this was the original plan for the next evolution of this story, but the series didn't make it that far unfortunately. I'm being purposely vague because the twist here is surprising and it's worth checking out cold.

You can probably figure some of this out based on the title alone (and the cover for issue #2). How can Gwen fight Carnage if Cletus Kasady is dead? While there are some similarities to previous iterations, this one has a unique spin and I can't wait to see how it plays out over the course of this mini-series. It also ties into the open threads from the Ghost-Spider series.

Click images to enlarge

Artist Flaviano delivers some gooey action as Gwen takes the fight to these alien invaders. The artwork moves seamlessly from stylized action to close, personal moments as Gwen changes from her super hero suit to street clothes. We see a few sides to the character and it really helps invest us in this struggle.

Gwen has a symbiote suit and it changes a bit as the action heats up. It reacts to her stress levels, getting darker and scarier over time. By the end, there are jagged points and teeth, not to mention the long, gnarly tongue that spirals out of her hood. Colorist Rico Renzi keeps some key elements of Gwen's costume alive, like the white and pink of her mask and her shoes, yet the rest is in black. This looks a little strange at times, like they contrast too much, but they work in the context of the story.

Click images to enlarge

This issue culminates in an amazing sequence. The panel layout is angular and erratic, adding to the unsettling tone of the scene. The colors pop on the page, mixing the signature palette of Earth-65 with the grittier look of Earth-616. Letterer Ariana Maher shows the pain and shock perfectly with one amazing scream that's scrawled across the page.

King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage is a standout for this event. It does what few tie-ins can, by using the big points to further a story about the character and not just shoehorn it into things. I sincerely hope we get to see more from Ghost-Spider after this because there are so many cool possibilities here. This book is scary, personal, and downright awesome.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
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Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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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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