Posted September 19, 2013 by Alvin Minon in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Superior Carnage #3

Marvel’s Superior Carnage #3 takes us to the climax of the mini-series with Carnage taking on a new form as The Wizard tries to control the symbiote and have the symbiote aligned with the Frightful Four. Taking on a new form and now following orders from The Wizard, Carnage, or rather, Superior Carnage is unleashed to wreck havoc and mass murder.

It’s been revealed that The Wizard wasn’t able to control Carnage as Cletus Kasady’s been lobotomized, thus having no human mind to be controlled at all. The Wizard’s left no choice but to transfer the symbiote into its new host, Dr. Karl Malus, allowing him to bend the will of the once uncontrollable villain and even have the homicidal maniac take on a new form. The Wizard, with the assistance of Klaw, proceeds with his plans beginning with the seige of the city hall.

What’s good with the story is that Kevin Shinick has allowed several developments on the characters. We learn more about The Wizard’s motive, what drives him to pursue his goals, how he seeks to impress his son before he dies, despite the fact that dealing with the symbiote could lead to his sooner demise. For a villain who has experience of being in the sidelines most of the time, he was given a tragic twist that could garner sympathizers. The dynamics of the duo of Klaw and The Wizard got me interested too, as Klaw clearly displays some level of concern for the villain who’s now losing his mind. Aside from that, there’s the ongoing conflict inside Malus’ head with The Wizard trying to maintain control on one hand and the symbiote posing to strike and dominate at the slightest hint of weakness from the mind-controller. Too bad for Malus though since it looks like the guy wouldn’t be able to catch the break and be in charge of his own body. Though at least, the guy looks cooler now, sporting a red symbiote suit and cloak, armed with lots of firearms ala Punisher.

As for the story’s downside, I’m not really sure what the guys at Marvel want to do with Superior Carnage. In the past two issues, the series is stuck in limbo between a dark tone and comedy, passing off as a comic with indecisive tone. But here, it appears that the comic has leaned more towards dark humor. The jokes we’ve seen in the first issue has certainly increased since then, with this issue containing more laughs and witty lines. While this could be seen as a good thing for some, I couldn’t say that I like what the Carnage has become. Back in #1, I thought Carnage would get some spotlight, get himself involved in some master plan that would permit him to go back to spreading mass terror.The guy’s a killer whose powers could viciously hack prominent heroes, he even dishes out some nasty butt-kicking moments here and there. But instead he’s tied down to being a pathetic lapdog, spitting out punchlines, cracking jokes while being controlled by a lower class villain. Also, this might not sound like a big issue but the idea of Kasady and Carnage being separate entities doesn’t sit well with me. Not sure if Marvel has plans for the guy, or if the symbiote would go back to its host but them going their own ways? Pfft, I just don’t like it.

Whatever’s the deal with the story, this book’s artwork is really its strong point. Stephen Segovia once again displays his uncanny ability to turn characters into what he wants readers to see. This time he’s paired up with Dennis Crisostomo, with Jay David Ramos on the colors, and together the work they’ve done here makes the comic a worthy grab. The colors are vibrant were they need to be, and shift from colors to dark allowing the smooth shift between scenes of bloodshed and horror to ones where they crack jokes. The not so frightful Frightful Four somewhat looks more threatening, The Wizard looks like he’s having a hard time dealing with his own insanity and controlling the red beast and Klaw looks like he’s concerned about The Wizard as much as he wants his arm to get fixed. Also, now there’s the much needed attention given to our titular character, since it’s The Wizard who’s hogged all the dialogues and scenes so far. I swear, if it weren’t for the artwork, I’d think of this comic as Superior Wizard. Good thing they’ve allowed Superior Carnage to take the spotlight here, allocating full and half-page shots to showcase the villain and his new look. It’s Carnage’s time to shine in this comic, from the “glamour shots” where we can see the detail from his new form to the scenes showing the villain using new means to kill his victims while still possessing same menacing appeal that he had as Carnage.

Superior Carnage looks menacing and really different albeit he seems like a mix of Spawn, Deadpool and some Digimon. Perhaps this has something to do with who’s in control since his the symbiote’s form now has a clear shape, reflecting how Malus or The Wizard’s in control, compared to the state he’s in with Kasady where he’s all webby, dripping and transforming. I bet there are people that would like the new look, and there are those that wouldn’t since the guy looks weird or even funny, but hey, he’s still sporting the same vibrant bloody red suit and the creepy malicious ambiance of the original Carnage’s intact. There’s a big difference between the new image of Superior Carnage vs the old webby/slimy Carnage look but they were able to indicate how the villain’s consciousness shifts from The Wizard’s control to the symbiote’s via subtle changes in the appearance, plus the part where most of Superior Carnage’s form reverts back to the original, the one in red tights. Same thing could be said with The Wizard’s appearance as his demeanor changes every time he puts on his helmet or whenever it gets knocked off.

At the end of the comic, Superior Spider-Man once again makes his appearance, confronting the Frightful Four as they enter the mayor’s office. This makes me curious as to how things would go and how the series would wrap itself up. Superior Carnage #3’s a good read,a solid issue with a great cliffhanger and it’s definitely better than the second issue. The artwork’s still rocking, impressive as usual so what I could only hope for is that Shinick would keep it up with what he has built up for the character.

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If you haven’t read Superior Carnage yet, grab your copy now from Comic Odyssey and catch up!

Alvin Minon