By Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer and Frank Martin
There isn’t much doubt that Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most popular characters, and one of the most widely known characters worldwide. Because of this, he is often times at the center of big events, or even the catalyst for a spider event. In recent years though, other spiders have gained a ton of popularity point; Miles Morales, Ghost Spider, Ben Reilly, and of course, Venom and Carnage. We now have Absolute Carnage going on in the Marvel universe, and everyone who has ever worn a symbiote is a target the most demented of all villains. Peter and Eddie have to work together to save their friends and family, and stop the infection from spreading.
Donny Cates has certainly shaken the Marvel universe up. His run on Venom has paved the way for some powerful new villains, Knull comes to mind, as well as other great stories like Silver Surfer Black. Now he has his first big event, and while we’re two issues in, Absolute Carnage has not disappointed. Cates continues where he left off in issue 1, With Spidey and Venom trying to escape a Carnage Horde and the Red Goblin. It’s great to see Cates Utilize the Red Goblin. He was a cool and interesting character in Dan Slotts Run on Amazing Spider-Man, but he didn’t get enough time in the series. Cates does something cool by putting two psychopaths, Carnage and Red Goblin, on the same team. We have to know this will turn into a power struggle somewhere down the road, but you have to enjoy the ride. The Maker has also been a standout candidate on Cates’ run on Venom, and he’s great in his little scenes in this issue. Cates has really nailed his character down and made you like him, even though you know he’s shady. As the issue ends, we start to see prominent spider characters like Miles Morales and Scorpion get attacked. Cates has a great pace this issue and he balances the drama and the action to make the book flow well. This series has been a lot of fun so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
The pencils this issue are handled by Ryan Stegman, with colors by Frank Martin and inks by JP Mayer. Stegman has really evolved as an artist lately. This is some of his best work to date, helped by the smooth inks from JP Mayer. Stegman’s work looks very realistic, or as realistic as possible for a book about spider people, the bruises and emotion on Eddie’s face as he talks to the Maker about his son is priceless. The pages of Miles and Mac Gargan fighting the Carnage horde look amazing too. They are just very clear panels and pages, and everything is easy to see. The colors by Frank Martin are stunning. Martin is hands down one of the best colorists in the field, but this issue is very moody, but vibrant colors really shine. An example would be as Miles is attacked by the horde, his zapping fists attract your eye. While there is a bunch of red used in this issue, dark greens and black are used well. As Eddie feverishly fights to save Mac from being turned, the background is rainy and dark, but we see the different shades of green on Scorpion. The art was fantastic in every facet of the book, a huge task that delivered greatness.
If you have passed on Absolute Carnage, you really are missing out. Donny Cates has been building Eddie Brock up his entire run, and it seems like everything is coming to a head in this series. You really can’t say enough about the pencils, inks and colors, but the artists who worked on this book killed it. Absolute Carnage is an absolute gem.