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Gwenom Vs Carnage 3 Main

"King in Black: Gwenom Vs. Carnage #3" 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, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 3rd, 2021


Gwen Stacy from Earth-65 has gotten wrapped up in Knull's invasion on Earth-616. That would be enough for the hero known as Ghost-Spider, but she's brought something from home with her as her bandmate, Mary Jane has come along for the ride. The two are friends, but deep-seeded animosity came to the surface when MJ was infected with a twisted version of the Carnage symbiote, blending from Gwen's own suit and whatever monstrosities Knull has cooked up.

Instead of a generic battle against symbiote dragons like we've seen in most of the King in Black tie-ins, Gwenom vs. Carnage has delivered something more. Writer Seanan McGuire has given us a deeper look at the dynamic between these two characters, using the lens of this symbiote invasion to do so. Their confrontation culminates the only way one can between these two: with a battle of the bands.

Click images to enlarge

I'll admit, this is a little weird, but it works in context. Artist Flaviano goes all out with this. The two characters are darker than their usual selves, between Gwen's Venom appearance with sharp angles and jagged points and MJ's lithe form like a shifting snake ready to gobble her whole. The panel layout for this is frenetic, lending itself to the action and the sounds. To really put this over the top, it all takes place at the grand stage of Madison Square Garden.

While MJ's look as Carnage can be pretty cool, it sometimes feels a bit off. She can be a little formless at times, more like a moving shadow than the symbiotes we're used to. Obviously, this is a special case and unlike any we've seen before, so that makes sense. Letterer Ariana Maher gives her a frightening voice akin to the original Carnage. This matches her biting words that cut Gwen deep.

Click images to enlarge

The real star of King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #3 is colorist Rico Renzi. Earth-65 has always had a unique color palette and that gets pulled into the big battle on this Earth in an explosion of pinks and yellows. They're splattered across the page like shotgun blasts and they add so much to the heat of this battle. It's such a welcome contrast to the usual dark tones we see when dealing with symbiotes.

Although this mini-series wraps up with this issue, the door is left wide open to tell more stories with these characters, particularly MJ. As popular as Gwen is, it's a big disappointment that she's not starring in her own ongoing series. For now we'll have to settle for these great short series and tie-ins. As it stands, she hasn't played a big role in the main King in Black event, but this book is more than enough to not only provide a unique look at the invasion, but to move Gwen's overall story forward in a big way.


Story: fourstars Cover
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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4 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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