Of all the Symbiotes, there are three that are most memorable likely due to the order in which they were introduced, but also their awesome design. Those are of course Venom, Carnage, and Scream. Each has been rendered in different ways through the years, from horrific nightmares to heroic heroes. Scream has recently been given new life thanks to Absolute Carnage and now a new series from Clay McLeod Chapman and Chris Mooneyham. In this new series a new host has been given the Symbiote, and in this host is a young woman who just wants to…yep, scream!
This is a very mature issue with a solid introduction of Andi Benton and her complicated life and backstory. Chapman does a good job getting inside her head and revealing an angry person who is all on her own. This is very much a horror tale and Chapman does a good job tapping into the horrors young kids endure with an absent parent and how her childhood plays into her current self. She’s homeless and says she wants to be alone, but there’s that ever-present Symbiote inside her head that won’t go away. There’s a strong metaphor here for the angst younger folks go through and it tethers the supernatural nature of the Symbiote to something emotional and real. This first issue shows there are different ways to crack the Symbiote story and Chapman has done a good job setting up the tale.
He is of course aided by Mooneyham’s art, with colors by Rain Beredo and letters by Cory Petit. The look of this book is strongly dark and opens with quite an opening stinger (see below) that’ll have you reeling back. There’s a darkness in Andi that is reflected all around here in the dark streets depicted here. There’s almost a dank wetness to the imagery that creates a sense of cold abandon similar to what Andi is feeling. There’s an underwater threat established here that’ll have you shivering too. I won’t spoil it, but there’s quite a panel in the depths that captures a sense of dread and darkness that’s very well done.
The setting of this issue is well-timed too. Scream is walking the streets after Absolute Carnage completed and there seems to be some muck and horror slinking about. The creators establish the threat well enough to pique your interest and yet it also feels quite unique and standalone too. There are details here that connect things, but at the same time, they don’t necessarily have to. For much of the Marvel universe heroes are flying and swinging around with big smiles on their faces and this first issue positions Scream to be the hero we need in the wet dark depths of New York City.
This is my first experience with the character so I might be missing a piece or two, but I wasn’t quite sure why she was living on the street. Whether it’s self-imposed or for another reason remains unclear when reading the book. That made it difficult to connect with Andi on that level.
This is a strong first issue that has a dark tone and an unflinching horror underbelly. From the art to the story, this book somehow feels like a blast from the past and it’s mature in its approach. This is a dark and mature take on a hero that blurs the line between horror and heroics.