(What do people think of the AXIS logo? I like it, but I don’t know if I’m in the majority of minority here)
Carnage AXIS Part Two (Of Three): Repentance
Writer: Rick Spears
Artist: German Peralta
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editors: Charles Beacham & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
We’re Going To Need An Actual Numbers: After seeing how Inversion messes with Cletus’ mind by altering his origin story, we join Cletus and Alice after he kidnaps her. After he learns the importance of promises, Cletus promises not to harm Alice and she agrees to teach him to become a hero, seeing her chance for a huge story.
While Carnage sets out on his journey to becoming a hero, two social workers discover the body of Emil Gregg. Emil believed himself to be Sin-Eater, but was exposed as impostor by Spider-Man. His body is found with a Sin Eater mask and across town, Sin-Eater hunts for Alice.
After Carnage attempts to repent for his sins and stop a bank robbery, Sin-Eater and the NYPD discover Carnage and Alice. While Carnage fights the NYPD, Sin-Eater manages to kidnap Alice. The issue ends with Carnage promising to rescue Alice, despite the numerous obstacles in his way.
Thoughts: This issue has a huge problem. I am uncertain of what really happened for two big moments. While I believe the opening pages shows us Carnage’s evolving mindset, it could be something else. I believe this because we see the events of his origin switch from villainous to classic hero backstory involving dead parents. He also places Alice in the retelling in place of other women and Venom shows up for a panel for some reason. But like I said it was really uncertain. As was the dead body in the issue. Nothing lets us know it’s Emil Gregg, there’s no editor’s notes who Emil Gregg is, but the story makes it seem like they discovered his body. But it could be a body of someone that Emil killed, because we still don’t know who Sin-Eater actually is in this story. The editors really drop the ball this issue, because even with researching Emil Gregg, I had no idea if he was the dead man or not.
That being said, Rick Spears easily has the best handle on Carnage since Zeb Wells. And he writes him completely out of character, so that takes talent. He takes Cullen Bunn’s bizarre ‘Nothing Has Meaning’ take on Carnage and uses it as a launching point to create this burgeoning hero in Carnage. I want to see a Carnage on-going that continues this progression under Spears’ pen. He proves he can write Carnage and is capable of creating an interesting supporting cast if Alice is any indication.
And dear God, keep him with German Peralta & Rain Beredo. This art team is perfect for the character. They nail the dark scenes, especially the origin story scenes. They nail the gritty stuff, walking that fine line between too much and too little. They have a cinematic style that works wonders, especially that last page. And it is clear that Peralta is having a blast when he gets to parody classic Spider-Man scenes with Carnage, which thankfully there was less of in this issue than the first.
Verdict: Despite some big missteps, I really want to see what happens next. Carnage has to get past the NYPD and Sin-Eater to save the day, but how will he do so? Will he embrace his new found heroism and do it without bloodshed? Or will he return to his villainous ways to save an innocent soul? There’s some great drama ahead for Carnage in the finale for this mini. I’m holding out hope that he remains good after this, but not without having to sacrifice something. I find it hard to believe that the origin story wasn’t foreshadowing. Let’s give Carnage a true superhero origin.
- Narrow focus
- Art team
- Leads remain strong
- Editorial clarification needed