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.
Venom #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Marvel relaunch train is gearing up, and after last week’s Avengers #1, we’ve now got the Lethal Protector himself, Venom, getting a brand new shiny #1. But like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before him, the appeal of the creative team helps offset any quibbles one would have over the renumbering. Rising star Donny Cates is at the writing table, and Marvel artist supreme Ryan Stegman is handling the art, which means that we’re in for a very different, and very cool, new take on Venom. Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
The original Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover was a massive success for DC and IDW, so it’s only natural that the two publishers would want to make a sequel. Bringing back original writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II is a welcome return to the worlds of these two mega franchises, but like the original series, it does take a little while to get the plot moving. Read the rest of this entry
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows was one of the more successful Secret Wars tie-in series from last year, so it’s no surprise that Marvel would spin that series off into an ongoing. While this isn’t the return of the Peter Parker/Mary Jane marriage that many longtime Spidey fans have wanted (myself included), it does present a fun “What If” universe that isn’t that far off from what we currently get in the regular Marvel Universe. Under Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman, Renew Your Vows has been hyped as Marvel’s answer to DC’s former Lois & Clark series, and while it has a lot of that series’ same charms, it’s also a pretty great debut for a new Spider-Man series as well. Read the rest of this entry
Uncanny Avengers #1
Of all of the Avengers titles in All New All Different Marvel’s line up, Uncanny Avengers was the one that piqued my interest the most. A diverse team, including Spider-Man? Check. Written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Ryan Stegman? Another check. Deadpool’s in it too? If it’s anything like his tenure on Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, it should be a blast. There’s a lot of goodwill toward this series in my eyes, but unfortunately all of these different pieces don’t add up to a satisfying debut issue. Read the rest of this entry
Frank Castle is back, and my god, he kicks so much ass. From Black Widow and Who Is Jake Ellis writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerards, The Punisher #1 finds Mr. Castle moving to Los Angeles on the hunt for more scumbags. What follows is a fantastic debut issue that brings the Punisher roaring back into the Marvel universe. Read the rest of this entry