Superior Carnage #5 (Of Five): Wanted
Writer: Kevin Shinick
Artists: Stephen Segovia & Dan Kexia
Inkers: Dennis Crisostomo & Don Ho & Dan Kexia
Colorists: Jay Ramos & Rex Lokus
Letterer: Joe Caranagna
Cover: Clayton Crain
Editors: Stephen Wacker & Devin Lewis & Sara Ananat
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
It Was Simply An Act of Revenge: After Klaw’s demise at the end of last issue, he finds he has enough sonic energy left for one last go at things, but he remains in the background, biding his time. Meanwhile, the Carnage symbiote jumps from Mallus to SpoOck (learning his secret), but it decides to go with The Wizard, since SpOck’s head is crowded enough as is. Spider-Man fights the new Carnizard, who taunts him with the truth of his identity and consumes Mallus. SpOck grows increasingly desperate, so much so that he brings Cletus Kassidy in to hopefully bond the symbiote to him. The symbiote decides to leave The Wizard for Kassidy, but then decides it wants a new host that doesn’t have a fractured mind. As it changes bodies one more time, Klaw uses his remaining energy and blasts the symbiote into submission; others may see it as good luck, or an act of God, but Klaw’s final act was one of revenge.
The epilogue shows SpOck storing the Carnage symbiote with his other supervillains. It also shows us that the Carnage symbiote helped restore parts of The Wizard’s fractured mind and then we see Cletus Kassidy rise from his comatose state and smile. We’re promised the reunion of Kassidy with the symbiote in the Superior Carnage Annual.
The Theatricality of It All: This was probably the best issue of the bunch, but there was still problems. Klaw narrates the whole issue, giving it this epic feel as he compares it to theatrics; the final battle comes down to a desperate and tired SpOck fighting Carnizard in the rain and it feels quite theatrical, with secrets and blood spilling out into the streets. In fact, Klaw’s narration is most of what makes this final issue work, since he has an outside looking in perspective, as well as a personal investment in the outcome of this battle.
The more disappointing aspects of this issue come in the form of the epilogue. While I’m happy to see Cletus back up and around, I’m iffy on the new “symbiote fixes the mind” mythos they’ve given to Carnage. We’ve already established that the longer you’re with the symbiote, the worse off you are, so this is basically going against the previous established mythos. It feels almost in vein with the Ultimate Venom (which Richard Parker created to cure Cancer) but if this symbiote can fix fractured minds, then you can take into a more hopeful light and I don’t think that works with the symbiotes, especially Carnage; Shinick himself proved that trying a more light-hearted take on the Carnage symbiote doesn’t work and Anti-Venom didn’t really work out either. I’m sure it can be done well (imagine someone trying to market the Carnage or Venom symbiote as a miracle drug and the trials they would have to go through), but I don’t think Shinick can do it. Maybe when we’re out of material for characters like Cletus and Carnage, Flash and Venom, Mania (who was meant to join The Fearless Defenders before cancellation) and Toxin, but we’re not at that point yet.
Also a weak point was basically everyone in the Frightful Four except for Wizard. Malus was a weak character that ultimately served as canon fodder and while this issue makes Klaw’s inclusion much more important, he was still a rather bland character up to this point. And all the drama of The Wizard dying turned out to be for naught… Out of everyone, I was hoping he’d bite the dust, but he lives to get beaten another day.
Back to the things that works, Carnage learning the truth about SpOck made for a fun fight. Otto has some great lines like, “I guess I purged everything of Parker but his luck” and Carnizard was delivering glorious taunt after taunt. At one point, Carnizard asks, “Is there a Doctor hiding amongst us?” and we see SpOck lash out in anger… It was a pretty chilling moment, beautifully drawn.
Which brings me to the art of this issue. Segoiva kills it this issue. The final confrontation has a beautifully cinematic feel to it, much like the final fight between Neo and Mr. Smith in the final Matrix movie (say what you will about that movie, it was a beautifully shot battle). Segoiva’s storytelling is above Shinick’s here, as throughout the epilogue we see a creepy smile spreading as the narration talks about the recovery of the Wizard and then the final page reveals it to be the revived Cletus Kassidy. There was strong emotion, strong action, chilling images, and just a great flow in those whole issue, despite the five other colorists/inkers/artists that worked with him on this.
Verdict: I know it’s silly to hope that Carnage plays a huge part in the downfall of Otto’s empire, but it really felt like they were setting up Carnage for something big in the future. We technically have one final issue in the form of the annual, which I’m surprisingly looking forward to. Shinick took a weird route getting here, but Carnage is soon to be with his first love, he’s part of Otto’s super villain army, and he knows Otto’s secret; fingers crossed that something big lies around the corner.
- Tragic/Epic Narration
- Act of God/Act of Revenge
- Segoiva’s Story Telling
- Otto’s Secret is Out
- Great Lines
- New Mythos for Carnage