Trade-waiting readers should be happy to note almost all the Absolute Carnage tie-in series have been released. Hurray! Out today is the Miles Morales three-issue tie-in written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Erick Arciniega. This series was one of the most harrowing since Miles was turned into a Carnage drone. How might he escape? Why with his incredible hero willpower of course!
This is a pretty good three-issue story although the payoff is left for you to read the main Absolute Carnage series. The book opens with Miles and Gank going shoe shopping, but alas Miles doesn’t have the cash for $300 shoes. This plays into a moment at the end of the arc which is a nice nod from Ahmed if you’re paying attention. Cut to the money raining from the sky and a solid gag from Ahmed to kick this story into action mode. Scorpion shows up and gets his plans foiled by Miles, but more importantly, a key Spidey villain meets Miles for the first time. That adds a bit of weight to their confrontation. Their new relationship (if you can call it that) is further explored thanks to the Carnage drones, who show up thanks to Scorpion wearing the Symbiote once before.
Things get wild when Miles is kidnapped inside a Symbiote. The dueling voices inside Miles and the Symbiote are fascinatingly done in the second issue. Miles is dying to gain control of himself but can’t thanks to the god-like power of Carnage. The pulling back and forth of control builds towards a finish that should have folks talking for a while; it also reveals Miles’ ability to free himself and reflects on how strong his will is. I also loved how Ahmed and Vincentini show the Symbiotes at the start as a pack of rabid wolves.
The stakes are raised in the third issue since Miles is too weak to use his venom blast. J. Jonah Jameson’s inclusion is nifty, although I doubt he’ll even remember it in future stories. Sadly the conclusion isn’t really a good one since it relies on seeing what happens to Miles next in the main series.
The art by Federico Vincentini does a great job with the action scenes. The speed of the Symbiotes in this story is impressive and there are some well-rendered close-ups that’ll have you leaning back from the beasts on the page. There’s a kinetic energy to everything in the book too that helps remind us this is an action book and a lively one. Color may have something to do with that energy by Erick Arciniega who gives us splashes of color when contact is made here and there. If I were to sum up Vicentini’s pencils, I’d call them clean and crisp.
This collection also houses the one-shot Absolute Carnage: Weapon Plus #1 which seems to be a common thread with all the tie-in series. Written by Jed MacKay with art by Stefano Raffaele this story allows Weapon H to get in on the Carnage action. Cleverly MacKay adds a subplot between Weapon H and his mother-in-law which ends up giving the issue purpose some tie-ins lack. Real change is affected by their relationship. This story also draws on Weapon H’s past well.
The identity crisis Miles suffers is a major highlight of this trade paperback. The action and kinetic energy captured in it is another must-see element. All that said, it sadly suffers since a lot of the weight of the story requires you read the main event.