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Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #1

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Cable
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Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #1

Post by Cable » 26 Mar 2021, 00:37

Have you thought that lately there just haven't been enough comics featuring symbiotes? Then have I got good news for you!

In all seriousness, despite overload from King in Black, I decided to try this because it just happens to feature stories by Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, and Al Ewing, aka half the stable of X-Men writers. Just a coincidence I guess but it got me interested to see what they would do with it.

Spoilers:
Spoiler: show
The first story features Carnage facing down Cloak and Dagger during the Maximum Carnage event. Cletus relays a story that the Carnage symbiote has told him: in Roman times a Lucius Marius was the last survivor of a great battle. He went into the conquered city to pillage but everyone was dead; that is until he found a woman with a crying baby. He seizes the child and it turns out to actually be a Klyntar. He is overcome by the symbiote and becomes a Carnage at the woman's side as she raises the dead into a zombie army. Carnage uses this story to relate to Cloak that he is a fool if he thinks they can save Shriek because she is as bad as him, and their dark love is great enough to match the light of Dagger.

The second story features a lawman in the Wild West in pursuit of a mass murderer hiding in the mountains. He notes outlaws always have myths surrounding them to build up their reputation. When he finds the killer though he realizes this time the stories were real...He faces the Carnage symbiote and his bullets are having no effect. The symbiote overcomes the lawman and his horse and rides off to continue its trail of death.

The third story features a government initiative that is an extension of the Agent Venom program but using the Carnage symbiote. It is written as an RPG and you must attempt to resist the murderous impulse of the symbiote while stopping a gang of Ani-Men. Here is how my game went:

Roll 1d6 for Willpower Points. I rolled a 3. If you roll a 3 you get to add 3 to your score, giving me 6 WP. I must keep these points to not lose control, but I must also use them to influence the symbiote. I roll to force Carnage to follow the police sirens leading to the crime. I roll a 5, which is under my WP amount and so a success though I then lose 1 WP and am at 5. I roll to force Carnage to engage the Ani-Men. I roll a 6 which is above my WP so I fail. The Ani-Men are killing police officers. I roll again to force intervention and roll a 1 so a success (lower than WP) though I lose another WP and am at 4. I roll to keep Carnage from actually murdering the Ani-Men while subduing them. I roll a 2 so success though lose another WP and am at 3. The giraffe Ani-Man is putting up a good fight though so I have to roll again to keep it nonlethal. I roll a 4 and fail. Carnage brutally murders all the Ani-Men and I lose 3 WP and am at 0. I stopped the crime but the police are looking at me like I'm a monster. I have to make a final roll but I can't possibly succeed. The ending I receive features me waking up later to the project leader resigning and apologizing for being responsible for a massacre. I am just a skeleton floating in a tank with a violent Carnage symbiote.
I liked Howard's story the least. The one nice thing about it is the nostalgia factor of it being in the midst of Maximum Carnage, but I wasn't certain whether the historical story was supposed to be taken literally. If it does it is a bit of a retcon in tracing the Carnage symbiote back so far. Klyntar go back that far in time but Carnage has generally only been considered in relation to the Kasadys and they first encountered the Cult of Knull in the 1600s. Traditionally it hasn't been like Venom which is a specific Klyntar that bonds to different people and they are all Venom. Carnage is Cletus Kasady and I believe there have actually been multiple symbiotes that have bonded with him but they are all Carnage. So it isn't really a Carnage story if it is in ancient Rome. But it could just be a story that the symbiote is telling Cletus to pump him up.

Percy clearly wanted to do a Western and he succeeds in nailing the vibe but otherwise it is a fairly rote Carnage story. He does get assigned Pichelli though so this one has superior art to the others.

The final story is the best because no surprise Ewing decides to totally exceed expectations and make a literal adventure game (I actually rechecked the credits page to make sure Gillen wasn't writing as it is something I would expect from him.) I can't imagine the amount of planning Ewing and artist McCrea had to put into laying this out but there are two endings and it is a lot of fun and made the price of admission worth it!
Best Comics of Week 29

X-titles: X-Men Legends #5 by Peter David (1) and Todd Nauck (1)
Non-X titles: Extreme Carnage--Phage by Steve Orlando (2) and Gerardo Sandoval (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic this year

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