Absolute Carnage: Scream #2 Review

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval & Alex Arizmendi
Colors: Erick Arcinega
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Release Date September 4 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)

Patricia Robertson and Andi Benton, at separate times, once hosted the clone of the Venom symbiote. Now, Andi hosts demonic hellfire and Patricia hosts the Scream symbiote. Patricia is under the influence of Dark Carnage and wants to kill Andi for him. Ultimately, Patricia breaks free from those dark urges, and takes that moment of clarity to wrap her head around the situation she’s thrust herself into, with Andi’s help.

The two debate towards whether Andi should let Scream hide her from Carnage and his followers. They put aside their disagreements to save some civilians from Carnage’s “dopplegangers”, but Scream feels her darker impulses intensifying again, and Carnage makes his appearance.

So where issue one felt like a bland start, issue two has a bit more flavor. Scream #2 is definitely an example of getting past its rocky start, and cruising smoothly through the rest of the trip. Absolute Carnage: Scream #2 marks the first issue of the event for September, and I’ve read (and also reviewed) all of August’s Absolute Carnage books. So far, none of the tie-ins have proven to be essential reads that feed into the main event book outside of (perhaps) Venom. Here, in Scream, our two heroines defend a corner of the city from Carnage’s horde, and are then confronted by Carnage himself (well…with there being TWO Carnages right now…they’re confronted by a Carnage, let’s say for now).

Usually, Sandoval is a hit or miss artist for me. His pencils on both issue of this run so far have been top notch, and personally, in both cases his art was my favorite thing about each issue. Sandoval’s style is reminiscent to me of both Francisco Herrera and Joe Madureira styles. Every page he draws, on every panel, he crams so much material and waste no space. This issue does have two different artists on it. This doesn’t bother me when the dual artists have styles that mesh well together, but there is a distinct difference between Sandoval and Alex Arizmendi’s visuals. With Arizmendi’s, the inking doesn’t compliment his work as well as it does Sandoval’s, and their respective arts just don’t transition well into each other. The difference in their art even changed the tone of the book for me. It was jarring when I got to the point where Sandoval’s art switches over to Arizmendi’s, but it does switch back over to Sandoval’s before the book ends.

I’d say Cullen Bunn’s writing is much better here than I felt it was in issue one. His written dialogue for the titular character was passable in the previous issue, but here the voice he gives Scream/Patricia is stronger, more effective. This time, it felt like everything Patricia, or Scream, and Andi had to say or think to themselves was necessary, and it was a smooth read. On a downer note, we still haven’t gotten any more insight on Patricia Robertson, something the first issue failed to deliver, and at this point, I doubt that’s even going to happen.

So, I’ll say this: I’m one of those weird die-hard fanatics who like the semi-obscure character Scream, so I am rooting for this book and the character. I felt underwhelmed with Bunn’s first part in this three-fold tie-in, but issue 2 has perked me up. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but the writing has improved and the visual imagery on Sandoval’s end is quality eye-candy. I happily await the conclusion. Maybe it’ll be a Scream…!

Final Thoughts

Absolute Carnage: Scream #2 is progress, not only story wise for the characters within, but also quality-wise. What qualms I had with issue one are mostly resolved in this installment. I liked this issue more than its previous chapter, and while its nothing of a spectacular read, it has made me optimistically eager to finish it to its end.

7/10

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