It’s a big week for anthology comics with Women of Marvel #1, Superman Red & Blue #2, and Carnage: Black, White & Blood #2 all featuring multiple creative teams and stories. By far, Carnage is more chaotic, bloodier, and darker, but you could have guessed that. Carnage: Black, White & Blood #2 is a bit more clever than the other two books thanks to its connection to Marvel’s latest event King in Black in one story, its ties to an iconic heroes journey in another, and in the third its ties to the predator vs. prey element of the character. All told, it’s a good collection, but let’s break down each.
This issue opens with a story called “Carnage Shark” by Donny Cates, Kyle Hotz, Rachelle Rosenberg. It takes place after “Venom Island” where Venom defeated Carnage’s Symbiote, but apparently not enough. Carnage now swims the seas like a massive shark! This story reminds us the Symbiote is still around and that he’s not so easy to kill. The art is moody, dark, and plays up the light vs. dark theme Cates used in King in Black. Only this time, he’s added blood. Hotz is very good at creating a 3D effect with his art through inks and textures, which you can see in Carnage’s forms. There’s an excellent contrast of red on the blacks and whites thanks to Rosenberg’s colors, and she does enough to allow the blacks to fade into the reds.
Next up is a story by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto called “My Red Hands” which uses red sparingly at first in a symbolic way. This is a story about a young boy who has an abusive stepfather. Carnage acts like an imaginary friend feeding the boys rage and anger. Things boil over, of course, and visually the use of Carnage is unique as he’s more black and white at first, until that rage becomes action. It all leads to a surprising twist and further shows how purely evil Carnage can be.
The last of the three stories is by Ram V and Javier Fernandez called “My Name is Carnage.” This story hits at the lonesomeness of being in the wild and how Carnage feeds on others like a wild animal. It hits at the carnal nature of Carnage, which is even more evident out in the wild. Fernandez draws Carnage like some kind of sinewy beast with his Symbiote tendrils acting like living worms which is quite unnerving. The use of red is like a shock to the system, at least until Carnage shows up, which creates a sense of horror and unease at the start of the tale.
Carnage: Black, White & Blood #2 is a good anthology with three very different stories, which all capture the horror that is Carnage in different ways — be it a beast that never dies, an evil that can get creative in ruining lives, or an alpha predator in the world, there are facets of Carnage on display that aren’t always apparent. For that reason, this anthology captures the creative ways Carnage can disturb, and destroy.
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