Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colors: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release date September 25 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
A Carnage-controlled Miles is sent to dispose of J. Jonah Jameson. Miles tries to fight his way back into control of his body. Silver Sable appears, and that’s about the gist of things. Its yet another sub-par (at best) tie-in to a bigger story, where said story stands pretty strongly on its own without the need of most of these extra side-stories and spin-off books. But we’re too early in this review to just pass it off without me giving details, so what about this did nothing for me?
I’m big on continuity, so if I’m reading all of these tie-ins, there needs to be as few disconnects between them as possible. Now I will admit the dialogue here is a huge improvement over issue 1’s, as in, its not cringe-inducing, but I don’t like the way Miles with a symbiote is written. His actions and the struggle he has is okay, but when Doppelganger-Miles actually speaks, he’s literally regulated to simple words, like “Kill” and…“Kill!!” I get that Miles is a slave of the Carnage-symbiote, but we’ve seen others under the beck and control of Carnage who still manage to, you know, show personality and have more to say than just one thing on repeat. An entire family overtaken by the Life Foundation symbiotes managed to do Carnage’s bidding while twisting the personas of their hosts, giving them some character…Scream literally, has upwards to three personalities, even during the time she was slave to Carnage. Why aren’t the rules here universal? Why does it feel like Ahmed is just exaggerating and making up some of the symbiote rule set?
Speaking of which, when we do get Miles able to have an exchange with someone outside of growling “KILL” for the umpteeth time like a zombified Ren from Ren & Stimpy, its Miles “think-talking” to Happy Dan, the other Carnagified symbiote Doppelganger partnering with Miles in the book. I’m going to come off as a stickler here, but how exactly is Miles communicating with Dan through just their thoughts? Telepathy? I suppose the answer is supposed to be that they are all connected mentally through a hive-mind, which has been suggested before, but not once since the introduction of the alien costume/symbiotes back in the 1980s has this ever been a thing, and the one time Miles can actually communicate beyond his one word, its via a questionable new method?
The art is half and half for me. If we take away all the Carnages and Doppelgangers and look at literally everything else, the backdrops, the other characters, Federico Vicentini’s art looks improved compared to part 1. But once you do take in Carnagified Miles and Dan, who are central figures in this issue, or when you’re examining the beginning of the book where Dark Carnage and all his minions are together, its just a lot of samey red teeth and claws. This is the first time Miles gets any kind of symbiote, and while I had hoped visually he’d be given the same kind of care as Peter whenever Peter dons one, Miles ends up with one spectacularly boring look. He’s literally just another of the many, many generic Doppelgangers, but some of his costume’s web pattern and spider symbol intact. All these symbiote drones are colored the same, too, so most of them look too uninspired, and you can argue with them being filler characters that should slide, but Miles should absolutely stand out from them, and he doesn’t pop. And what kills me is the cover art (the default Clayton Crain cover) exhibits a Miles/Doppelganger that looks potentially great while also playing with the colors of Miles regular colors, so at least he wouldn’t have been yet another “red monster” in an ocean of “red monsters”, but the interior art squanders him.
Issue two gets away from the problem I had with the first part where I feel like this time the comic has something of its own to tell. Part 1 was mostly a filler-battle between Miles and Scorpion (who has moved on from having anything to do with this title to having what little of a story he has in the event book) that led up to events that were just a retelling of Absolute Carnage 2, nothing new or original. Yet here, we get away from that to actually tell a series of events for Miles that doesn’t feel copied or borrowed from the other tie-ins or main event, but none of it feels necessary. With the real gravity being in such titles, like obviously Absolute Carnage and Venom, what’s going on here feels like a big waste of time and money. I don’t see someone as big as J. Jonah Jameson being murdered in a side book, we know Miles won’t be trapped in a symbiote for much longer, Dan will probably sacrifice himself, or not WHO CARES ABOUT HAPPY DAN…none of this really matters. It adds nothing to the actual Miles Morales book outside of Absolute Carnage, and its just filler that doesn’t build on Absolute Carnage itself. At least be entertaining in your own right to warrant anything, but I didn’t find this one worth reading at all. I was ready to see Miles get thrown in with Peter and Eddie in this event, not shuffled off in his own odd corner doing whatever this is…
Miles Morales continues to be the weakest of the Absolute Carnage tie-ins. Its all an Absolute Nothing.