Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artists: Garry Brown & Chris Mooneyham
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release date February 26 2020
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
I could assume that anyone who is following Donny Cates’s Venom and/or read all of Absolute Carnage is also picking up Scream. After all, this book did “survive” the events of Absolute Carnage, being the only title spinning off from that crossover. As I’ve been enjoying this book, I always appreciated how connected the two titles, Venom and Scream: Curse of Carnage, are. I never really thought of this book as only a companion book to the Venom title, as its very much story of Andi Benton also, but this latest issue felt like it had the strongest link to the events that have happened/been referenced in Donny Cates’s title.
The big bad of our book, Mother, mentions “their god” several times, referring to Knull, while retelling some history on the hero who mythology believes to be Beowulf. She confirms that Beowulf and Thor are one-in-the-same, which was a “revelation” that was strongly teased (practically confirmed) near the beginning of Cates’s run. Despite the consequences from Absolute Carnage and the threat of Knull spilling over into this title, becoming an increasing focus of this book, I still find Andi and Scream to be the best elements of this run. But as of issue four, I think we may have to consider rebranding the book with “colon” Curse of Knull.
This installment may give Mother a lot of exposition, but the action isn’t lost underneath it. Even as Mother preaches about their god, and shares vignettes of ancient times when her “child” and “Beowulf” co-existed, we see a constant, aggravate struggle between Scream and her wanna-be mama. Scream takes one multiple different forms, each uniquely grotesque. Let this not read as a negative, as our artist(s) presents us with some wicked transformations for Scream. Speaking of artists, plural, we are once again treated to the dual talents of both Garry Brown & Chris Mooneyham. These two clearly have a knack for drawing macabre imagery and this issue takes full advantage. The only negative I had with this issue is that it ends almost exactly how the previous issue ended…Andi is stripped of the Scream symbiote and is at risk of drowning…There is a twist to it by this issue’s end, but seeing this issue end in a similar way the previous one did meant this conclusion and cliffhanger couldn’t leave me with the same shock as before.
This issue also left me with a few new questions. Up until this point, I always assumed Grendel was just a symbiote created from Knull that had such power, it could take on the form of a dragon. Likewise, I assumed Grendel’s Mother (should I call her Big Mother…?) was a symbiote taking the shape of a giant, demonic humanoid. This issue, and by Mother’s accounts, gives me reason now to believe that Grendel is an actual dragon wearing a symbiote…or does Mother refer to symbiotes in general as “dragons”? Is there anything underneath or inside Grendel or Mother? Also, will we learn more “truths” about the epic of Beowulf? Did Mother and Grendel exist before Knull came to Earth centuries ago? I never would have thought a re-imagining of Beowulf with Thor and ancient symbiotes would work, and yet here we are, with me wanting to hear and see the whole story.
Scream has been a consistently good book, never failing to keep me engaged. The series has been a great amalgam of eldritch, street-level grit, and now with issue #4, we can add medieval lore to the mix.