Deadpool vs. Carnage: Round Four
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Salva Espin
Colorist: Veronica Gandini
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Glenn Fabry & Adam Brown
Editors: Mike Marts & Jordan White & Frankie Johnson
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
The Plot (If you could call it that): Carnage is killing people, Deadpool shows up with symbiotes, they fight, Deadpool tricks Carnage into nearly killing Shriek, and then Carnage just gives up, refusing to do anything so chaos can never control his life again.
Thoughts: Just stop throwing Carnage books out there, okay Marvel? You haven’t had a good one since Zeb Wells was writing Carnage and even that divided fans. But at least Wells stuck to an idea and mined it for what it was worth. Kevin Shinick and Cullen Bunn have come up with a plethora of ideas both interesting and stupid for the character over the past year, things like: lobotomizing Cletus Kasady, taming the symbiote with mind-control, bonding the symbiote to a cripple (ala Agent Venom style), having symbiotes restore fractured minds (but they still cause Cancer), having Carnage find out the truth about SpOck, killing Kasady and Carnage so they can morph into one and no longer be separated again, and then having Chaos control their life. But no idea has stuck or mattered really in the long run of things, despite Carnage pretty much having a monthly for the year. And the execution of these ideas has been polarizing. There was no consistent tone, no consistent idea, no consistent arc. The best issues were the self contained stories or ones that played off characters all around Carnage like the Klaw focused issue in Superior Carnage.
And Deadpool vs. Carnage was the worst of the lot. It was unoriginal, it was pointless, the fights were bland, it felt bizarrely out of character and it tried to so hard to be funny but failed. Kasady just gives up after nearly killing Shriek, who was earlier established to be a means to an end. Pardon? Carnage, the sociopath killer of the Marvel Universe, gives up because he nearly killed his main fling? Sure, Bunn tries to play it off as he doesn’t want chaos to rule his life anymore, but there was no sense of conclusion to this at all.
Last review, I gave it some leeway for being a comic that was able to make sense out of chaos. I retract that statement… I feel like Bunn had no idea what he was doing here, having Carnage bounce back and forth between whether Chaos controls his life or not. And Deadpool has a little speech about how Chaos connects them all, but it read like Bunn grasping at straws to make this story have a point.
Despite having some weak story lines this year, Carnage has had several great artists working for him. Stephen Segovia started the year off on a strong, disturbing note with Superior Carnage and did a good job playing around with new forms for Carnage in the mini-series. For the annual, he passed the torch over to Kim Jacinto and Mike Henderson for a more sketchier, gritty style that suited the story being told. And then for Deadpool vs. Carnage, we had Salva Espin step up to the plate. Although I found him the weakest artist to handle Carnage this year, his cartoonish style suited the more bizarre tone of this mini and he did a commendable job. Sadly, in this issue he basically made Deadpool into a colorful Agent Venom and didn’t get the chance to deliver anything new to the table.
Future: We already know when Carnage will be returning to the playing field thanks to the AXIS announcement. As well as appearing in the main book (which rumor has it will feature a mind swap between villains and heroes) he will get a three issue mini, written by Rick Spears and art by German Peralta (anybody else find it funny that a German is headlining an AXIS book?) I’ve seen little from either of these guys, but Spears has been described in ways similar to Shinick and Peralta has a gritty tone to his artwork. I wish I was optimistic, but I’m really just expecting them to somehow rip apart Kasady/Carnage again and create some new status quo for him.
Verdict: This mini-series was all over the place and I wish I could say that it ended on a good note… or even felt like it ended at all, but it didn’t. It just stopped after delivering us four issues of inconsequential, unoriginal crap. I hope Marvel can get their shit together when it comes to Carnage and stick with something for the guy. I’d love to see Wells come back to Carnage, but at this point I’d be happy with getting a status quo for the guy.
- The art
- Doesn’t feel like an ending
- Not funny