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If you’ve been loving Absolute Carnage as much as we have at AiPT! you’ve probably read all the sharply unique one-shot stories that led to it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about might I suggest picking up Venom: Unleashed Vol. 1, which is out today in comic book shops. It collets Web of Venom: Ve’Nam #1, Carnage Born #1, Venom Unleashed #1, and Funeral Pyre #1, all of which help flesh out how Carnage got so overpowered in the event.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Tangled tales from Venom’s deadly web! As the United States struggled through the Vietnam War, Nick Fury needed a secret weapon -and when an ancient creature was discovered at an archaeological dig site, Fury was sure he’d found it. In reality, the discovery was an ancestor of the Klyntar symbiotes…and would become a waking nightmare for a platoon of American soldiers! Then, it’s the return of the sinister symbiote off spring – Carnage! Few mourned serial killer Cletus Kasady after his recent death. But now a cult devoted to the madman has gathered, hoping to resurrect their fallen idol and return the madness of Carnage to the Marvel Universe! And prepare for more shocking stories of symbiosis as the web of Venom unravels!
Why does this matter?
I actually missed two of these when they came out and I’m kicking myself for it. This helps add context not only to the incredibly powerful Knull (and his awesome red spinning symbol) but how Carnage came back from the dead as well; it also ties up other loose ends like the secret city under San Francisco.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This book kicks off with two stories written by Donny Cates in Vietnam and another diving into the Carnage cult, followed by a Ryan Stegman story focused on the Symbiote dog, and finishes things off with a Cullen Bunn story focused on Andi Benton aka the Symbiote Mania. I’d say with certainty at least three of these stories are must reads if you want to gain a full picture of the Absolute Carnage event. Each story is very much a one-shot and stands alone but each informs the reader in different ways.
The first two Cates written stories add a ton of context to Carnage and his new powers. The first is Ve’Nam #1 drawn by Juanan Ramirez with colors by Felipe Sobreiro. This story is bold and reveals the Symbiotes have been on Earth much longer than we thought. Familiar faces like Nick Fury and Wolverine further add validity to the history and solidify the fact that Knull is a threat that is not to be taken lightly. Following this is Carnage Born #1 which gives us a full breakdown of what Carnage has been up to the last few years. There are details here I wasn’t even aware of and Cates does a great job making you believe in the cult who are the ones explaining things to us. They’re believable in their madness and love of Carnage.
Next up is Stegman’s story with art by Kyle Hotz and Juan Gedeon. It’s mostly without dialogue since it focuses on the Symbiote which is now in dog form and does not speak to Eddie going on an adventure. It helps add a bit of context to Carnage’s growing powers and there’s a nice nod to a classic Venom tale that took place underneath San Francisco.
Last but not least is Bunn’s Funeral Pyre #1 with are by Joshua Cassara and Alberto Alburquerque filling us in on what Mania has been up to and the growing unease as Carnage gains power. This story leans heavily into the gore and shocking horror really laying on thick the violence Carnage is capable of. It’s pretty twisted and it’s beautifully drawn.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Of all these stories Funeral Pyre is probably the least interesting, but it’s one of the prettiest of the bunch. It remains to be seen if Mania will matter all that much in the vent, but if she does you’re going to wish you read this story.
Is it good?
An excellent way to catch up on the great one-shot stories that lead to Absolute Carnage. Pick this up to get a bit more informed on the gnarliest horror event Marvel has ever produced.
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