Carnage Black, White & Blood #1 (Review)
Written by: Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, and Al Ewing
Art by: Ken Lashley, Sara Pichelli, and John McCrea
Colors by: Juan Fernandez and Mattia Iacono
Lettered by: Joe Sabino
There have been quite a few anthology series launched in the last few months and with Wolverine Black, White & Blood kicking things off well, it seems it's Carnage's turn. This first issue kicks off with a solid list of creators (who would have guessed we'd one day see a carnage story by Pichelli?), each with their own approach to the titular character and while some of the stories deliver, a healthy dose of pre-existing fandom of Carnage might be needed to really as this issue most likely would not win over any non fans.
The first story is a bit hard to follow, both the writing and art result in disjointed storytelling that while might have been the goal given Cletus' unstable characterization but given the short page count, detracts from the enjoyment of the story. The story centers around Carnage's own brand of romance but given how little time their is for any real substance, it's easily the weakest of the three stories.
The second story by Percy and Pichelli is easily the standout story of the issue but it also highlights the problem with Carnage as a leading role. The story follows a lawman on the hunt, attempting to track down Carnage as he reflects on how extreme this particular prey's chaos and violence is compared to others he's hunted in the past. It's fairly straightforward but there's just enough presented of the lawman's motivation and character to latch on to as a reader. While Carnage is the focus of the plot of this story, it's really about the lawman's journey so the big glaring problem is that Carnage is just much better as a villain and foil to more fleshed out characters. He's a bit like the Joker, best when pitted against his real enemy, Spider-man.
The third story has a gimmick that might have been more successful with more length but the end result is it comes off a bit shallow. While the second story is a highlight and there are good qualities to all three stories, the sum of the parts don't quite add up with this issue. While I might check out the next issue, I'm not sure if Carnage is the right vehicle for a anthology series.