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'Carnage Reigns: Alpha' #1 sets up a good horror story
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Carnage Reigns: Alpha’ #1 sets up a good horror story

A horror house of slaughter only Carnage could bring.

Carnage may have been dead, but he’s back right in time for the Summer of Symbiotes to kick into gear, celebrating Venom’s 35th anniversary. What better way to kick things off than with Carnage Reigns: Alpha #1, a crossover story featuring Miles Morales and Red Goblin fighting the return of Cletus Kasady in charge of the Carnage Symbiote?

Featuring writing by Cody Ziglar and Alex Paknadel, this extra-sized first issue sets up a horrific showdown with extra backup stories to flesh characters and context. The main story is also extra-sized with art by Julius Ohta and colors by Erick Arciniega. The main story takes place over an hour or so, with Miles Morales checking out a dicey situation with news and police hovering around a building. Soon he enters a building that’s basically a haunted house, but instead of fun scare actors, it’s Carnage in an all-new and horror-fueled form.

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Outside of establishing key players, like a new black ops group run by Agent Gao with Scorpion as its main weapon, this issue spends the majority of its time inside Miles Morales’ head. He reminds us how Carnage took over his mind back during Absolute Carnage and how that has affected him to this day. Carnage is like the boogeyman, and Miles Morales very much fears him. He’s not afraid to fight him, as things get quite dangerous and violent at times.

Carnage isn’t quite what you might remember him as, especially if you haven’t been reading his solo series. The creators do almost enough to remind us of key elements, like how he was literally in Hell or has a sidekick serial killer “friend” or, as he calls himself, a court jester. More importantly, the book nails the horror aspects. Carnage has taken over an entire building, with Cletus’ popping out of the walls to harm anyone who stands in his way. He’s genuinely frightening and a monster to be reckoned with.

'Carnage Reigns: Alpha' #1 review

Nom nom nom nom!
Credit: Marvel

An interesting wrinkle is Scorpion, who has a bone to pick with Carnage after getting his spine ripped out a few years ago. He’s a bad guy, but as a backup story by Cody Ziglar and Travel Foreman shows us, he’s being forced to do good-guy stuff. His use in the main story adds a villainous angle on the hero side of things, while the backup shows us he’s no good guy and is just following orders. There’s a Task Force X vibe to his placement in the story, which is backed up well by the backup story.

Along the way, the creators remind us of Miles’ family, who are still reeling from Rabble’s destruction of their home. This pairs well with David Pepose and Paris Alleyney’s backup story, which reminds us Miles is an adult now, but he’s still a kid to his parents who care about him greatly.

I did feel a bit confused by Carnage’s use of an Iron Man armor. Not much is explained there, which is unfortunate since it plays a huge part in the cliffhanger. Pair that with his ability to seemingly pop out of nowhere with multiple versions of himself attacking, and it would have been helpful to know how he has so much power or how it works. It’s not yet established what Carnage is after, either, so it’s more of a fight comic with answers expected later.

Caryl Lynn Eaton and Will Robson close out the issue with a backup featuring Agent Gao. It gives us some insights into why she has a bone to pick with Carnage specifically. Told in a flashback, Robson gets to depict Carnage in his classic form giving us a rad classic Carnage moment.

Overall I’m intrigued by Carnage Reigns: Alpha #1. It’s fitting Carnage gets a big crossover to reintroduce him into things, although I did leave with a lot of questions. Using Miles Morales at its core, there’s a hero we can root for and interesting wrinkles involving Scorpion that should be fun to unpack as things play out. Carnage Reigns: Alpha #1 leans into the scares with a horror house of killing and slaughter that’ll hook you.

'Carnage Reigns: Alpha' #1 sets up a good horror story
‘Carnage Reigns: Alpha’ #1 sets up a good horror story
Carnage Reigns: Alpha #1
Overall I'm intrigued by Carnage Reigns: Alpha #1. It's fitting Carnage gets a big crossover to reintroduce him into things, although I did leave with a lot of questions. Using Miles Morales at its core, there's a hero we can root for and interesting wrinkles involving Scorpion that should be fun to unpack as things play out. Carnage Reigns: Alpha #1 leans into the scares with a horror house of killing and slaughter that'll hook you.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
A horror comic to be sure, the creators capture the true terror of Carnage
Miles Morales inner monologue keeps you refreshed on his point of view on Carnage
The Black Ops team with Scorpion is an interesting wrinkle
The backup with Miles's dad is a nice reminder of his care for Miles and what Miles is going through mentally, but feels a bit unnecessary
Unclear what Carnage wants
8
Good
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