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.
- Spoiler: show
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!