Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s coming a little later this year, but we finally have this year’s major Marvel Summer event. Instead of a threat from beyond, this time the Marvel Universe is facing a Spidey-themed threat in the form of Carnage. Powered by the evil symbiote god Knull, Cletus Kasady is making up for lost time, and in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s opening issue of Absolute Carnage, he’s making sure that everyone will remember his name.
Life’s been strange for Eddie Brock. Well, stranger than usual. Removed from his symbiote other, Brock has to take care of his estranged son (who doesn’t know he’s his son) while staying one step ahead of the police, who are on his trail for a being set up by Cletus Kasady. This would all go a lot smoother if Eddie still had his symbiote, but unlucky for him, it’s nowhere to be found, and Kasady is getting closer and closer to Eddie. But Kasady’s not only going after Eddie, he’s also going after every single person who’s ever worn a symbiote, which is quite a lot of people.
Donny Cates has hyped this event up a lot, and so far, he’s delivering the goods. His script succinctly recaps his run on Venom, and more importantly it sets up Carnage as an even bigger threat than he already is. There’s a strong sense of dread throughout the issue, and that comes from Cates’ carefully plotting the seeds for this event throughout his Venom run. Cates’ long-game strategy is paying off beautifully so far, and I can’t wait to see what other developments spring from it.
Ryan Stegman has been hard at work on this series, and it really shows. Stegman’s art has always been impressive, but it’s increased ten-fold with this issue. Stegman’s already impressive figure work and compositions are heightened, and they really make Cates’ script stand out. While Stegman’s Eddie Brock still looks physically imposing, he has an air of sadness to him that really comes through his body language. Brock’s clearly at his lowest point, but it’s going to be great seeing Stegman give him the heroic moment he deserves.
So far Marvel’s been on a pretty good streak with their big events, and it looks like Absolute Carnage will be another slam dunk for them. While it’s easy to jump into this event cold, you’ll probably get more if you read the start of Cates and Stegman’s Venom run, which is also pretty awesome to boot. For now though, Carnage has come calling, and it’s going to be hell for Marvel’s heroes.
Coffin Bound #1 (Image Comics)
A mix of Tim Burton and Mad Max, Coffin Bound is the latest title from Image Comics, and it’s pretty weird. Focusing on Izzy, a girl who’s being chased by an unstoppable creature called the Eartheater, the Dan Watters written, Dani drawn first issue is definitely one of the weirder comics on the stands. So weird, in fact, that it’s kind of hard to explain. There’s shades of David Lynch in this comic, but also grindhouse fare like Death Proof and a little bit of Evil Dead too. It leads to a book that’s pretty hard to follow, but definitely has it’s own unique style.
Watter’s script drops you right into the center of the action, and doesn’t give you a lot of time to find your footing. While usually I’m able to catch up pretty quickly, I don’t think this was the right call for this comic. Sure, dropping your reader into a universe is a viable way to start your story, but it has to be done in a specific way. Watters’ script just makes you feel disoriented, and it never really recovered for me.
Dani’s art is pretty pitch perfect for this issue. It fits the grindhouse style perfectly, and her weird monster designs are plenty creepy. Hopefully this book, which has a lot of hype around it, will help push her career onto more high profile books, as her work has a very unique look to it that seems to be plenty malleable for other genres.
While Coffin Bound didn’t quite work for me, I have to admit that it’s cool that it plays by its own set of rules. I’m sure this book will find plenty of people to give it a shot, and plenty more of them will want to keep up with it. As for me, it was a neat little diversion that unfortunately was not for me.
Wolverine vs Blade #1 (Marvel Comics)
Lots of times comics fall through the cracks. Whether a series is cancelled too early or it’s a one shot that’s been lost in a drawer somewhere, many times whenever there’s a comic coming out that seemingly has no real reason for being released, that’s the case. And it’s probably definitely the case for Marc Guggenheim and Dave Wilkin’s Wolverine vs Blade one shot, a comic that feels like a relic from the mid-00’s brought to today. Read the rest of this entry
Something happened that many thought never would: Robert Kirkman’s pop culture behemoth, The Walking Dead, is ending. Read the rest of this entry
The Flash #70 (DC Comics)
Nearly every DC character has had their own “Year One” story, except for the Flash. But all that is changing with Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s The Flash #70, which goes back in time to show some of Barry Allen’s earliest adventures after gaining his abilities. While it does retrace a few familiar beats of the Scarlet Speedster’s origins, Williamson uses this story to pepper in some new wrinkles that will play off of the current and future runs on the character. Read the rest of this entry
Fairlady #1 (Image Comics)
We’ve all seen the stories of a big war in a fantasy realm, but what happens when the war is over? That’s the main crux of Fairlady, a new fantasy series from Brian Schirmer and Claudia Balboni that plays a little like Lord Of the Rings, a little like Magnum P.I, and ends up being a whole lot of fun. Read the rest of this entry
Assassin Nation #1 (Image Comics)
What happens when a bunch of the world’s top assassins are put into a room together? It might look something like Assassin Nation, the new Image title from Ryan Starks and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl artist Erica Henderson. Unlike that Marvel title though, Assassin is very much an M-rated title, and it’s all the better for it, as Henderson’s talents aren’t hindered in the slightest by removing the restrictions of Marvel. Read the rest of this entry
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel Comics)
Despite becoming household names thanks to their mega-successful movies, The Guardians of the Galaxy still can’t quite make it as a comic series. The Brian Michael Bendis run petered out after a few years, and the relaunch with Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder served as more of a tie-in to the Infinity Wars event than it’s own series. So what’s Marvel to do? Create a new team of Guardians with the creatives behind the mega-hit Thanos run, Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw. Read the rest of this entry
Conan the Barbarian #1 (Marvel Comics)
Like Star Wars before him, the mighty Conan has made his return to Marvel Comics from Dark Horse. And also like Star Wars, he’s got Jason Aaron writing his new adventures. But that’s where the similarities end, because make no mistake, Conan The Barbarian, featuring art by Mahmud Asrar, is a truly brutal book, and marks a triumphant return to the publisher that made him famous in comics. Read the rest of this entry
Aquaman #43 (DC Comics)
Aquaman’s got a big budget movie coming out this week, which means that DC is hoping to have some fabled “new readers” coming into their local comic shops after their trip to the multiplex. To meet that, DC has a new creative team and a new direction on Aquaman, with famed writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Robson Rocha drawing the panels. While this new start is a bit of a drastic change for someone like me who’s read Aquaman since the New 52 relaunch, there’s enough here to keep me reading to see how it all shakes out. Read the rest of this entry
American Carnage #1 (Vertigo Comics)
Comics are able to hold a mirror up to our world like no other medium, and no comic holds up a mirror quite like American Carnage, the new series from Vertigo. Written by Bryan Hill and drawn by Leandro Fernandez, American Carnage details a disgraced FBI agent’s attempt to infiltrate a white supremacist group, but what how far can he go without losing his soul? Read the rest of this entry