Out this week is the trade paperback for Carnage: Black, White & Blood. First released as a Treasury Edition in November, the new collection comes in at the standard trade paperback size and features all the same content. If you’ve been waiting for the standard size it’s finally here, but how does it stand up against the Treasury Edition?
Retailing for $17.99, this edition is four dollars less than the Treasury Edition so you won’t be saving all that much. That said, when prices go down across booksellers expect to find this far cheaper. I highly recommend the Treasury Edition, particularly because this series is all about featuring great art. In fact, this collection is losing .5 points off its score because it’s not quite as epic as that presentation. I could see this as an excellent choice for those who like their trades the same size and shape on their bookshelves, or simply because it’s easier to handle in the standard size.
If you’re unfamiliar with this series, this follows in the same footsteps as the Wolverine: Black, White & Blood as an anthology of shorter tales. A four-issue series, each issue features three unconnected stories that tend to lean into the action side of storytelling. The distinction between other anthologies is right in the name since this series only uses the color red and white. That allows the creators to get a lot more distinctive with the style of art as well as get creative in how they want red to appear.
The opening issue features stories by Al Ewing, Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, with art by Ken Lashley, John McCrea, Sara Pichelli. Each of the three stories leans heavily on violent action and it’s an eclectic bunch of tales. The first focuses on the love story between Carnage and Shriek, the second is a western and the third is a choose-your-own adventure. One can imagine the use of red is easier to pull off with a red villain like Carnage, but there are some clever ideas at work to weave in the color.
One of my favorites from this collection is Karla Pacheco and Chris Mooneyham’s “Sea of Blood” which is a pirate story straight out of the classic films with some familiar names thrown in. Who knows if this tale is canon, given Carnage has lived throughout time, it seems, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Pacheko spares no expense, from digging up treasure to playing out pirate tunes over the captions. You’ll finish this story and think, “Is it even possible to do a better Carnage pirate story?” The answer may be no!
Carnage: Black, White & Blood is an easy pick up for anyone who adores comics art and anyone who likes a clever story. Not every story is perfect, but that’s rarely the case in anthologies. The quality of talent mixed with clever, smaller story ideas makes for a delightful time with one of the most psychotic characters ever put to the page.
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