Carnage: Axis Part One (Of Three): Inversion
Writer: Rick Spears
Artist: German Perlata
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editors: Charles Beacham & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
First, can we acknowledge how great sound that team of names is?
Plot: After the Inversion Spell in Axis #3 is cast, Carnage is now determined to become a hero. But when all you’ve ever known is how to be a killer, toning it down to superheroic restraint is no easy thing. While Carnage struggles along, Sin Eater is back on the streets. Except this isn’t Stan Carter, this is some supernatural creature targeting news reporters. When ambitious reporter Alice Gleason becomes Sin Eater’s latest target, Carnage comes to her save. They escape together and Carnage reveals he didn’t save her, but was already planning on kidnapping her to have her train him to be a superhero.
Thoughts: Nick Lowe promised some crazy things for Carnage when he announced the AXIS tie in books and it’s writer, Rick Spears who was picked by Axis scribe: Rick Remender to handle this story. And they definitely deliver, because this was some damn good storytelling with a truly bizarre concept: Carnage as a superhero. It’s not where I imagined the character going, but Rick Spears sells it. A lot of what makes this work is the constant similarities to difficulties Spider-Man encountered on his journey to superhero. Seeing Carnage handle scenarios that typically Spider-Man would deal with and having him react with violence lends this book a darkness to its humor that makes it work. I do feel like the visual nods to Spider-Man grow too numerous by the end of the issue though, but a lot of them are fun.
But it’s not just Carnage’s new status quo that Spears gives us in this issue. No, he also manages to create a truly creepy villain with a great gimmick. This Sin Eater is almost immediately removed of the continuity having Stan Carter return would bring, so it’s new reader friendly. This one is some kind of renegade spirit who seeks out sin, which there is an abundance of in NYC. He speaks like a biblical figure and absorbs the souls of those he kills, for a purpose we do not yet know. We do know he believes he’s offering his victims a mercy, but unknown is why he chooses to go after news reporters. I am confident in where Spears seems to be taking this story though.
Spears also gives us a wonderful leading lady in the form of Alice Gleason. An ambitious news anchor, desperate to get the coveted superhero news cycle spot, she shows as a mastery of manipulation (on both her audience and men) and appears driven enough to put her life on the line. She carries herself with confidence, even when confronted by Sin Eater. I hope she features prominently in the next two parts.
I don’t even know what to say about German Peralta. Carnage miniseries seems to be the best place to find some of Marvel’s best new talent. His faces are expressive, his action dynamic, his layout of the page wonderful, and his violence visceral. I love this guy after one issue, so hats off to the whole artistic team.
Verdict: This was a helluva lot of fun, but in a dark way. Spears is able to pack a lot of story in one issue and it doesn’t feel cumbersome. He also gives us intriguing lead characters with a lot of personality. This book continues the trend of the AXIS tie ins being both: A.) Fantastic & B.) Much better than the main book. This book shows a strong sense of knowing where it’s going and I’m on board for the brief ride.
- German Peralta & The Art Team
- Great Leads
- Lots of Story
- New Reader Friendly
- Doesn’t take itself too seriously
- Homages to Spider-Man, perhaps too many