Just when you thought Carnage wasn’t pushing the limit enough, Carnage #4 comes out and takes things to another level. Ram V and Francesco Manna aim to tell a Carnage story that goes beyond a detective imbued with a sliver of the powers of Carnage and takes things even further. Entire realms are explored in the latest issue of Carnage, further complicating this symbiotic web.
Carnage #4 opens where we left off with Carnage now in possession of The Spot and Hydro-Man’s powers. Detective Neely is trying to stop him, but now they’re being sent to entirely different dimensions. Or is it realms? Much of this issue takes place in two locations. One is an in-between of time and space (that’s where Neely is), and the other is the elvish realm of Svartalfheim. These new directions for the story take the narrative to an entirely new level.
Possibly the biggest is the adventure Neely goes on, which ties into the spider-verse in a surprising way. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but if it wasn’t obvious the sliver of Carnage Symbiote he possesses wasn’t setting him up to defeat Carnage, this issue will do the trick.
Meanwhile, Carnage’s adventure takes the reader on a little backstory of different elves. So far, this series has been about Carnage snatching up powers of specific Spider-Man villains, but it appears he’s going off the beaten path for new power. To get there, Ram V gives us the backstory on seemingly nondescript elves which helps flesh them out enough before they are murdered by Carnage eventually.
Given the switch to a fantasy setting and a major focus on the elves, this issue is certainly jarring compared to the last few issues. It went from twisted, violent scenarios to something entirely different. That’s not to say the fantasy themes are unwelcome, but it does feel out of place given where we were before this issue.
The fantasy element of this issue is unmistakable, aided by Manna’s art. There’s a cool rocky vista over a double-page layout that screams fantasy worlds like Lord of the Rings. There’s a darker, moonlit tone thanks to the colors by Dijjo Lima with some good glow effects in Carnage’s eyes. Manna uses a slight turn to his angles on panels giving the scenes a topsy-turvy unnerving feel. This realm Carnage has jet-setted to is certainly not welcoming.
If you wanted something a little different, Carnage #4 gives it to you with a major location change. I never knew I wanted Carnage melded with sword and sorcery, but when you see what he does with a spear you’ll be wondering why anyone hasn’t done this sooner. This creative team is building towards something that feels lasting that may change Carnage forever.
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