Writers: Donny Cates, Chip Zdarsky, & Ram V
Artists: Kyle Hotz, Marco Checcheto, & Javier Fernandez
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release date April 21 2021
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
Our newest issue of Carnage: BWB is out and we have ourselves three new tales. The first is written by Donny Cates and “resolves” the cliffhanger from Venom #29. The Carnage symbiote has found itself onto a cargo ship where it hijacks the body of a crewman. But before they can wreck any havoc, the voice of Eddie Brock intervenes. See, this story takes place right after the Knull-Coming, King in Black, and Venom is now the new God of Symbiotes, and they rain down “Venoms” from the sky to combat Carnage. He’s taken care of in swift order, and the story is over. There’s little to this one, and it reads very quickly.
The next two tales I’ll cover together. Mind, neither story relate to each other, or the Cates story prior, but but then again neither is really all that significant to warrant their own overly detailed paragraphs. At least the Donny Cates Carnage story relates to actual events that have happened, while these two feel like non-canon stories not to dissimilar to the second and third Carnage shorts from the last issue.
In our first tale, a child named Brandon wants to learn the secret inside the barn his abusive stepfather is keeping from him. Brandon has a secret of his own, though…a little friend named Carnage inside his closet, whispering temptations. I find Marco Checcheto’s art to look really good in this minimal color style. Visually, I enjoyed this story the most. The final story involves the remains of an expedition trekking through snow-filled wilderness trying to find a meteor while “something” hunts them down. This one was my least favorite of the three stories. While the first tale initially had me interested and the second tale was good enough with some great imagery, I found myself all too bored throughout this last story, and it’s end really didn’t pay off. To be honest, none of these stories really have interesting endings.
Despite being a trilogy of whole new stories, my takeaway was pretty much the same here as it was from the last issue. I didn’t really love or hate these stories. These are just bit-sized filler tales where your mileage will vary. I know I didn’t really get anything out of these. In fact, the first story looked to be the more interesting of the three, but as we saw, it just happens, then ends. Each story has their own merit, I suppose, with each writer being allowed to interpret the character in their own unique ways. It’s something I made myself realize, given how none of these takes on Carnage feel like the real one (yes, even the Cates tale which actually happens in continuity with the de facto Carnage symbiote). But what really carried this book for me was the art. Three distinctly different artists whose styles I thought somehow popped more due to the black and white (and red) usage of color. It’s not much, given my score from the last issue, but I think this collection is a step-up from the last anthology.