Extreme Carnage has been an interesting series as it shines a light on Symbiotes outside of Venom while also rehabilitating Carnage. This week marks the sixth chapter in the eight-issue series and Steve Orlando is back to helm a Toxin-focused issue. Paired with Gerardo Sandoval and Danilo S. Beyruth, will Carnage succeed in adding Toxin into his collection of Symbiote slaves?
I was extremely excited to read this chapter in the Extreme Carnage line thanks to Orlando’s exciting short back in April. Toxin’s host is a teenage boy, which offers a new spin on the type of person a Symbiote powers up. Bren Waters has a good heart, similar to Toxin, who is more a hero than a villain when it comes to the stable of Symbiotes. His father also works at Alchemax, which is the same location a lot of the Symbiote violence has taken place in this event. As Bren rushes to check on his dad, Carnage attacks Toxin in the void.
Now that we have a better understanding of the void, Carnage’s nightmarescape attacks on Symbiotes make a bit more sense. Orlando basically throws Carnage at Toxin in this place where anything seems to go. That supplies some creative attacks for Toxin to dodge or take. The main conflict is between Toxin and Carnage in this strange void space, and Sandoval does a great job with the art in these scenes. Toxin’s bulbous muscles distinguish him from other Symbiotes along with his orangey-red complexion.
Beyruth also gets a chance to draw a bit of the nightmare scene as he pencils the first quarter of the book. There are some creepy digested bones and goo as well as some gnarly musculature of Toxin rendered well.
Orlando continues to write great dialogue that sounds just right for each character. Carnage comes off as a bully with empty threats while Toxin is sure of himself and willing to put his life on the line for his new host Bren.
Plot progression is very slow with this chapter as it focuses mainly on Toxin fighting Carnage. The cliffhanger connects with the last issue cliffhanger, making that development expected. Add in the fact that Toxin’s battle with Carnage resolves in a way that’s unclear (I guess he just uses willpower to win?), and it makes for a so-so conflict. There just isn’t enough to the plot of this issue to make it worth reading. When stacked up against the excellent opening issue, the Lasher issue, and the Riot issue it’s evident this issue didn’t have a lot to work with.
Extreme Carnage: Toxin is an okay issue that doesn’t add much to the bigger story. The plot progression is minimal, the fight between Carnage and Toxin ends in an unclear way, and there really isn’t much to the issue. There’s some fun nightmare-realm Symbiote fighting and a strong voice in the dialogue, but it’s a weak chapter apart from that.
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