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'Carnage Vol. 1: Born Again' TPB explores a new purpose for the villain
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Carnage Vol. 1: Born Again’ TPB explores a new purpose for the villain

‘Carnage’ sets up Flash Thompson against Cletus in an intriguing if slow start.

Nobody ever dies in comics, especially Carnage, who returned in Torunn Grønbekk and Pere Pérez’s series last November. The first four issues are getting collected this week, along with Web of Carnage #1, revealing Carnage’s return comes with cultish followers.  The character has had an incredible transformation over the last few years, becoming as powerful as a god but also shedding his human counterpart. You can’t keep old Cletus Kasady, who revels in chaos, down.

Kicking things off, Carnage #1 is a natural place for fans to pick up on the character, opening with the villain at the godly Omnipotence City. With his glowing eyes and mouth, the rampaging Symbiote cuts through guards like butter. This opening scene helps us understand there’s a grander purpose for the Symbiote, as well as prove he’s ultra-powerful.

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This leads to a hop, skip, and a jump back to a Carnage and Cletus reunion. Pérez shows the return of Cletus in a gag-inducing scene with violence that’s pretty hardcore for a Marvel comic. One might hope for a bit more explanation as to how Cletus could return, but this is comics, and I think an adequate amount of explanation is given.

From there, the story opens up to reveal its hero, Flash Thompson. Funny, he was also dead, but now he’s returned, acting as a kind of detective to stop Carnage. He’s still got the Anti-Venom costume as well as the heroic heart to tamp down pure evil. His return is similar to Carnage’s, as both of their bodies were returned by Symbiotes. That connection is intriguing, but only mentioned later in the collection.

Carnage #1

The return of Cletus begins here.
Credit: Marvel

Pure evil is the name of the game with Carnage, who enacts a plan that is rather intriguing. He may be at god-level powers, but is he truly a god without believers? That seems to be where the narrative is going, complete with an act to draw attention that’s equally horrific and awful.

Pérez is a good fit for this book, rendering street-clothed characters well. I’d argue there’s too much talking and sitting around for a first issue, dragging things out. Pérez’s standard layout style mixes things up with diagonally cut panels to keep things moving along. The action in the opening is impeccable, and the violence is gruesome. It’s too bad we didn’t get more of it by the end.

If you like your villains sick and sadistic, Carnage is for you. This issue sets Carnage on a new path of discovery and growth as he attempts to find a following the only way he knows how: Killing with creativity. There’s a good setup here with Anti-Venom on Carnage’s trail, but that story doesn’t see its end, and instead, this collection acts as the build-up for Carnage’s battle with Venom.

'Carnage Vol. 1: Born Again' TPB explores a new purpose for the villain
‘Carnage Vol. 1: Born Again’ TPB explores a new purpose for the villain
Carnage Vol. 1: Born Again
If you like your villains sick and sadistic, Carnage is for you. This issue sets Carnage on a new path of discovery and growth as he attempts to find a following the only way he knows how: Killing with creativity. There’s a good setup here with Anti-Venom on Carnage’s trail, but that story doesn't see its end, and instead, this collection acts as the build-up for Carnage's battle with Venom.
Reader Rating1 Votes
7.9
Gore and mayhem are very edgy, especially for Marvel
Action in the opening scene really pops
Majority of the first issue is characters talking and thinking with little action outside of the opening and closing pages
Builds towards an interesting conflict with Flash only to abandon it so Carnage can go kill Venom
8
Good
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