Superior Spider-Month rolls on with another brand new series from the Spidey Office over at Marvel. First, we were treated to the bumbling baddies of ‘The Superior Foes of Spider-Man’. Now, we legitimately have a superior foe in the form of Carnage, one of the most vicious villains that Spider-Man has ever faced.
When we last saw Cletus Kasaday, he was practically lobotomized during the events of ‘Minimum Carnage’ and left brain dead in a superhuman detention facility. Now, with Kasaday clocked out, the symbiote is running the show. But in ‘Superior Carnage’, that won’t last long as the Wizard is looking to control the widely popular villain and build a new Frightful Four around him. Basically, he wants to do the exactly what the government did with Venom, except with the exact opposite results. Instead of a new hero, Wizard would have a superior villain.
In the preview for this book, writer Kevin Shinick, who returns to the Marvel Universe from his regular job of working on ‘Robot Chicken’, said that his goal was to make Carnage scary again. Well, I’m gonna go ahead and saw that he’s succeeded in do that. Of course, most of that is thanks to artist Stephen Segovia and his terrifying portrayal of the character, but there’s something about the fact that there’s nothing going on in Kasaday’s head that makes it scarier. Mindless, senseless violence at the hands of Carnage, but all manipulated by the Wizard. That’s a dangerous combination that will be interesting to see as the series goes on.
The titular character aside, I was getting a little bored of the book in terms of story structure. A narrative framing device. A monologuing villain. A prison riot. These were all pretty standard comic book tropes that we’ve seen time and time again. The repetition of this structure had me assuming that this was going to be a drag, but halfway through the book, Shinick threw in some swerves to those constantly used devices that made everything that came before it bearable. More than bearable actually because my interest has been piqued by the events that are unfolding.
The Wizard was another factor that threw me off a bit, but Shinick really has brought some notoriety to the B-list villain, especially if he succeeds with the plan that he presents in this issue. Basically, the writer really took me on a ride where nothing was really what it seemed. That’s why I didn’t see the reveal on the final page after the beautiful splash page of Carnage/Kasaday coming.
Overall, this issue set up for some pretty interesting things to come. I’m definitely going to keep reading ‘Superior Carnage’ and not just because of how badass the main character was in the 90s. The game has changed for this symbiote and I want to learn all about the new rules.
SUPERIOR CARNAGE #1
Written by Kevin Shinick
Art by Stephen Segovia & Jay David Ramos
Cover by Clayton Crain