Posted August 9, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Superior Carnage #2

Writer: Kevin Shinick
Art: Stephen Segovia (pencils), Jay David Ramos (colors)

Regular Cover: Clayton Crain

Of all the villains in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, Carnage is the one baddie I’ve always been torn up (dohohohoho) about. I absolutely HATE the character’s back story – an alien spawn meets relentless and remorseless serial killer and becomes an alien serial killer that never really manages to kill any of his opponents, no matter how underpowered they are compared to him. He’s always been sort of an enigma, in the sense that he’s supposed to be this totally-off-his-rocker murder machine, and yet because of storytelling limitations, he never ends up being able to kill anyone of value. It’s simple – you can’t really show him beheading Captain America or skewering Spider-Man (unless it’s an alternate-reality tale), and the last time anyone from Marvel even tried that, people went bananas. (Of course, the fact that they tried to pull off that stunt at a frigging theme park was probably a big reason why the idea didn’t fly so well.)

So yeah. Some jerkface with a massive hard-on for killing who can’t actually kill people who matter because of plot armor. Yep.

On the other hand, I love his design – it’s appropriately disgusting and intricate, and he’s legitimately terrifying. If I saw this guy crouching on top of an awning or lamppost, I’d probably piss my pants, suffer three heart attacks, and then piss my pants again. Whenever I think of Carnage, I think of two renditions that really stand out in my head – Mark Bagley’s and Clayton Crain’s. I guess this would explain why I was excited about this comic when I first saw the cover. I ended up asking myself, right before I turned to the first page – Could they actually do something interesting with Carnage here?

The answer? Not really. It’s frigging Carnage, for crying out loud. Silly self.

The best part of this issue is definitely the art. Stephen Segovia has proven that he can do Marvel and DC characters equally well, and I think his killer (nyuck nyuck nyuck!) linework and dark, moody characters really work here. The coloring only improves upon an already solid backbone. Who thought anyone could make Klaw look legitimately threatening, or that the Wizard could look even nuttier than usual?

Unfortunately, the comic’s bland attempts at dark humor, lack of emotional gravity, and somewhat forced inclusion of (surprise, surprise) Superior Spider-Man (where he is used as more of a handy, albeit unnecessary, vessel for a recap than an actual participant in this “event”) make it somewhat boring and dragging. I also don’t buy how the character who challenges the Carnage symbiote in this comic book (no less than four times, in fact) doesn’t immediately end up being sprayed all over the place after the first or second attempt. Sure, there’s an in-story reason why, but still. It’s the same, rehashed, reheated-three-day-old-chili “let’s use the killer, but not let him kill anyone important” crutch that pretty much makes Carnage useless as a character. I’m not saying I want to see him kill heroes or even fellow villains, oh no – I’m saying he’s useless as a character. Anyway, this comic ends on a cliffhanger-that-isn’t-really-a-cliffhanger. Was it enough to compel me to read the next issue? Maybe, if only because the art is damn good.


Visit Comic Odyssey and get your copy of Superior Carnage #2 now!

Mikael Angelo Francisco