Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, and what a lovely
Sunday Wednesday morning it is folks. Gather round around as Pastor Carnage preaches the good word of the one who will make us whole, the word of the Symbiote. Let the anger consume you, let it crawl right over your flesh, become one with it. Because where we’re going, there be no hope. There be no love. There is only darkness…. Only Sacrifice.
Carnage USA #3
Preacher: Zeb Wells
Communion: Clayton Crain
Organ: VC’s Clayton Cowles
The Vatican: Tom Brennan
Pope: Stephen Wacker
When we last left our heroes, though some of their heroics may be in question, we had Scorn and her team moving in on Carnage, while Spider-Man was trying to comfort survivors on an isolated grid. Of course, that was issue 2 of 5, so you knew things weren’t going to work out for our characters and this issue is all about moving our playing pieces to the final battlefield, while introducing one more piece to the game.
Once again the star of this issue is Carnage, who gives a truly creepy sermon to the townsfolk and then demands they makes sacrifices to please their ‘Lord’. And as if that wasn’t enough, he does so in front of a struggling Captain America, as a way to torment Steve and put him back in his place. The Last Chance Church isn’t the place for Carnage to shine though, since he is now able to take over his minions bodies through symbiotic control and mess with the heads of the survivors and Spider-Man by tearing families apart. The emotional trauma Carnage dishes out this issue is immense and it climaxes in a scene where Captain America is given the choice of which of two kids he will kill.
On the heroic front, Scorn abandons her team after being on panel for less than a page. The Special Ops continue on alone, kicking Doppleganger’s tuchas and facing a horde of mindless and more importantly bulletproof symbiotes. Not exactly the most exciting events, but I hope this leads to so much needed kills for this series. Nameless soldiers are made to be bad-asses and heroes, facing death with a gun in hand and a smirk on their face. As for Spider-Man, he’s faced with fighting symbiotic children in the wee hours of the morning, while trying to stop one of the survivors from screwing over everyone else. Sadly, it looks like we might not get our symbiotic lions and howler monkeys, but in their place we get a truly Spider-Man moment, reminding us Zeb Wells writes a great Spider-Man.
Last issue, I made a bet that Spider-Man would be the one to break free of Carnage’s control at some point. Turns out I was wrong and it is Captain America who broke free just long enough to get a call out to a certain symbiote wearing Corporal. Now if you follow the Venom series, you know Steve and Flash aren’t on the best of terms but the story is labelled as, “Taking place after Secret Avengers #23”, where I guess the two make up? More interesting is the fact Eugene answers using the name Victor Edward, which literally sent my mind whirling with a conspiracy theory, wondering if someone else had been giving the Venom symbiote or if Flash had merely changed his name. Unfortunately, there is no mystery as the last page clearly informs us it is Flash in the suit, ruining all intrigue.
So it seems all hell is about to break loose at the Church of Symbitology next issue, as our playing pieces come into offensive position. We’ve got Venom entering the playing field to show Cletus how a real man uses the suit. Spider-Man is making his way to the church, hellbent on keeping a selfless promise he made. And Scorn is sneaking around off panel, thirsting for revenge against Carnage. Last issue is still my favorite comic of this year so far, great pacing and some genuinely intriguing setup.Plus Claton Crain must of been born for this job, the horror vibes just bounce off the page and I feel like he brought his… S game I guess, this issue because his facial expressions are much better this time around to me. I feel like Zeb Wells stumbled this issue, with some bad pacing and poor payoff, but still managed to retain control of the board with some great characterization and a last page that leaves you wanting more. He’s done great with Spider-Man and Carnage, so here’s to hopes that he does great with Venom.
Rating: 3/5 (See what I did there?)