Let the Bloodbath Begin (Absolute Carnage #1 Review)
Updated: Jan 25, 2020
ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1
Writer: Donny Cates
Penciller: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood.
- Edgar Allen Poe
Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman came out swinging with the first issue of this latest Marvel event. ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1 is a massive tomb of a book, clocking in at over 60 pages!!! This event is a culmination of everything these two have been working towards since VENOM #1. The mythology they have built surrounding the origins of the symbiotes and building up Knull (The God of the symbiotes) all the way to the resurrection of Cletus Kasady aka Carnage, has been one hell of a ride. This issue was full of everything you could want in an event book, explosive action, gripping story and one hell of a cliffhanger. Everyone take notice, Cates and Stegaman have just raised the bar for what an event book should be.
I've always been a diehard Spider-Man fan but Cates and Stegman have done what I never thought possible, they made me a diehard Venom fan. From their very first issue of VENOM Cates and Stegman proved that this wasn't gonna be just another anti hero book. They showed Eddie Brock AKA Venom, as a man almost tortured and suffering from the symbiote that he is attached to. From there, he lost his symbiote, found out he had a son and is now being hunted by Carnage.
Which brings us to ABSOLUTE CARNAGE. From the opening pages Cates deftly ties together everything that has transpired up to this point. He has Brock bring everybody up to speed, by explaining everything to Dylan (his son). From there it's non stop action. From a fight in the subway to a bar brawl, there are no punches pulled. The art team is at the top of their game from the first page to the last. During the subway fight. Eddie regain his "other", and he is Venom once more. Eddie Brock has become one of the most interesting characters in the MU, since Cates started writing him. He doesn't hesitate to sacrifice himself as he touches the third rail to take out Carnage. But his risk taking was for naught as Carnage is on a whole other level since he was brought back to life.
Seeing no other way, Eddie seeks out the help of his longtime enemy Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. The scene in the bar where Eddie tells Peter everything, was probably my favorite scene in the book. It was not only funny, but perfectly encapsulates the long relationship between these two characters.
After learning that Carnage framed Eddie, they seek out help from The Maker (Ultimate Universe Reed Richards), which leads them to Rykers Island. While there they square off against Carnage and his army of symbiotes. With a cliffhanger that is sure to have you jump out of your chair. Stegman, Mayer and Martin make you feel like your in a horror movie and the walls are closing in. They build the tension at the set the mood perfectly. In the editor's notes in the back, it say this issue took 6 months to do. Well it shows in the quality and perfection of every page.
After WAR OF THE REALMS, I wasn't sure I was ready for another event but after this issue, all those doubts have been put to rest. I seriously can't find one bad thing about this book. It was perfect in every way. If you haven't been reading VENOM, don't worry, you can jump right in with this issue. But I guarantee you'll immediately want to pick up all the VENOM issues. Cates and Stegman are creating a blueprint of how to successfully launch an event series. The hype is real.