Superior Spider-Month Continues!
Superior Carnage tells the tale of The Wizard and his desire to do with Carnage what the government did with Venom: control him and use him. An interesting idea but we’ll get to the end result of that in a moment.
The narrative of this book is set up in a unique way. We are introduced to Ted Connelly, he’s in a maximum security super-villain prison as part of the governor’s plan to deal with overcrowded prisons. So he’s an inside trader in with the likes of , well, to be honest none of these villains looked familiar to me but they aren’t that important anyway. He’s telling about his life and then the special day when Venom brings in Carnage who has been effectively lobotomized by the Scarlet Spider, but he is still an evil monster.
Ted’s nightmares get worse when he learns that Carnage is going to be in the cell right next to his and the guard that overlooks them says there is a bit of gambling going on and the focus is the number of shorts Ted will soil being so close to a psycho. It’s at this point things go from bad to worse for Ted as the guard opens all the doors to the cells, yeah, he’s being mind controlled, and Carnage escapes and begins to slaughter everyone in sight.
From here poor Ted meets his demise and The Wizard makes his debut in this series. The narration we have been reading from Ted up to this point was what the Wizard was reading in Ted’s mind. It was a very fun way of progressing the story.
The Wizard watches as Carnage lives up to his name while explaining that he plans to recruit the maniac much the same way the government has done with Venom. The plan works better on paper than it does in the real world as The Wizard learns controlling the mind of Carnage is impossible when his mind just isn’t there! But, a last-minute save by another villain who controls sonics save Wizard from being gutted.
I had no hopes for this book, going into it I just saw it as yet another attempt to cash in on the never-dying popularity of Carnage. I can’t say I’m familiar with Kevin Shinick but a quick Google search surprised me. He’s worked on things like the Spider-Man Live! Broadway show… He has done stuff on Robot Chicken… Among other things I don’t see anything that would make him, on paper, the right guy to write this book. Fortunately, none of that matters. He does a great job on this book, he make The Wizard cold and creepy and even makes Carnage the one thing he hasn’t been in a long time: threatening. Of course I apparently missed how Carnage was able to fix himself, the last time I saw him he was floating in space after having been ripped in two by the Sentry.
Whatever, I can look it up and see what happened later.
On the art side… Stephen Segovia I’m somewhat more familiar with having seen his covers for the recently wrapped Evil Ernie series from Dynamite Entertainment. He has a ‘old school’ style meaning the way his pages are set up gave me the feel of the way Marvel books used to look. But his work really shines when Carnage makes his gory entrance, it’s been way too long since Carnage has been scary looking, or scarier looking, but Segovia managed to make him look threatening again. Combine the look with the fact he isn’t talking and joking anymore and you have an impressively scary Carnage!
There are very few books that focus on villains that I like. More often than not the villains are made sympathetic in those books. We’re given some pap about the having a rough childhood or some nonsense and that does nothing more than make the villains less intimidating. We don’t get that here. There is no moves to add layers to the mindset of Carnage or attempts to humanize him. No, he’s cold, vicious, and deadly. Just how I like him!
I was planning on getting just the first issue then grab the trade when it came out but after reading this issue… I have a decision to make!