Carnage USA was my favorite mini-series of 2012, I rather enjoyed Carnage before it, Minimum Carnage never happened, and now we get the third mini-series to feature Carnage in the past few years, though instead of Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain behind the scenes, Kevin Shinick (Avenging Spider-Man) and Stephen Segovia try their luck.
How’d they do?
Superior Carnage #1
Writer: Kevin Shinick
Art: Stephen Segovia
Colors: Jay Ramos
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover: Clayton Crain
Editors: Tom Brennan, Stephen Wacker, and Sana Amanat
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Vote No: Most of the story is told to us through the perspective of Ted Connelly, a normal human being who is thrown into a super-villain prison because of overcrowding and his governor wants to try a sixty day trial before they vote on it. And he just so happens to be the only guy with an empty cell when Agent Venom brings in Cletus Kassidy in after Kaine Parker did a number on him, sometime between Carnage USA and Superior Carnage (MC seriously never happened). And he’s there when Carnage finally breaks free and kills everyone, Ted included.
Carnage’s escape was orchestrated by The Wizard, who took control of the guards’ minds. The Wizard wants to recruit Carnage in the Frightful Four, for two reasons; to deal with the government’s symbiote (Venom) and to impress his son (Bentley 23) into joining the Frightful Four. He plans to control Carnage’s mind, but Carnage proves too powerful and tries to kill The Wizard. The Wizard reveals Carnage wasn’t his first recruit and Klaw knocks Carnage out with his sonic hand… thing (I guess his Sonic Klaw?)
Thoughts: So, weirdly enough, this book builds off pretty much everything I’ve reviewed for the site. We’ve got The Wizard and his desire to impress his son (Fantastic Four/FF), we got Venom (Thunderbolts), we got Carnage (Carnage USA), and we’ve got Kevin Shinick (I’m currently reviewing Deadpool for the site as well and his two-parter in Avenging was part of my most recent review). So that made me chuckle a bit while I was starting this.
As for the actual issue, it’s…. decent. Kevin Shinick manages to find room to throw some humor in this very bleak first issue when The Wizard is explaining his plan to a father/son guard combination. It was chuckle worthy, especially when the father starts beaking on the history of the Frightful Four. However, that takes a dark turn towards the end too and that’s basically the feel of the whole issue; bleak. Not like overly-saturated horror like we got in Carnage USA or tame horror that we get in a lot of ‘horror’ comics, just bleak. Not particular interesting to write about.
As far as characters go, we don’t really get much on that front either. Our lead dies, we don’t get into Carnage’s head, and The Wizard is largely one-note and even his big “ah-ha!” moment at the end was kind of lame; I would have rather seen him die. That being said, I’m sure the attempt to bring Carnage into the Frightful Four will prove to be interesting, maybe even entertaining or funny if Shinick wants to play it that way; right now it seems like he doesn’t know what he wants to do, so I just want him to commit to a direction and go with it.
The one place this issue shines though is in the art department. There are some truly beautiful and disturbing images in this and some nice splashes of Carnage that go nicely with the work Clayton Crain did with the character before it. It’s not quite as slick as Crain’s work, but I actually prefer Segovia’s work over his glossy stylized stuff. While it’s not the best work I’ve ever seen, the symbiotes look badass and the death/insanity looks great, so I can forgive some of the weaker stuff; I hope Shinick goes a more-horror based route because that’s Segovia’s strength. The colorist also plays along with the bleak theme of the comic, so I have no feelings about it one way or another; I definitely don’t want to see a bright vibrant cartoony palette for a Carnage comic, so this will do just fine.
Verdict: I don’t know what I expected from this comic, but this was definitely not it. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing at this point, it really depends on the strength of what comes next. I really hope Kevin Shinick picks a tone and goes with it, but Segovia is killing it on art right now, so it’s definitely above average for me because of that.
- Frightful Four jokes
- The Symbiotes/Insanity looks great
- Builds off what came before
- Could be an interesting concept
- Indecisive tone to the book
- Weak characters
- Very By-The-Numbers