Carnage U.S.A. opens with a goose bump-inducing scenario that gave me the chills more than any horror/zombie book that I’ve read in the last year. Sheriff Bryan O’Neil rushes home. He’s bloody. He’s battered. And he’s scared. O’Neil discovered that Cletus Kasady, the Spider-villain known as Carnage, assimilates new victims through the water supply (like Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever). He checks on his family only to find that his son is giving his baby brother a bath. The painted artwork done with dark tones provides a chilling visual when we get to see the results.
I was hoping that this tone would continue, and we’d get an ordinary man vs. villain story. However, a collection of heroes steps in: Captain America, Spiderman, Hawkeye, Wolverine, and The Thing. Sigh. Every hero in the book was recently used in a Marvel film. That means we possibly have a book of toy/film cross-promoting heroes. Here’s where a great Darkhold Redeemers story could have kicked in. Anyone remember Darkhold Redeemers? Never mind.
Hawkeye provides some humorous banter about the Thing. Yadda-yadda. It works. It doesn’t impress. It works.
By the end the heroes confront Carnage after a walk through town akin to The Wild Bunch. Carnage overtakes the town in the way the Joker taints the citizens of Gotham with his laughing gas. The townspeople have wide grins on their faces to signify Carnage’s invasion. When the villain appears, he subdues all of the heroes except, you guessed it, Spiderman.
So the story ends like Archie #627 (Archie Meets Kiss) where Riverdale has been turned into zombies; the town has been turned into Carnage zombies.
With the T+ rating, the book could provide some additional chills. But that’s IF Marvel takes off the leash and lets things go crazy. That’s a big IF. This is a good start for this miniseries. I enjoyed this chapter, and I hope it gets better from here. Show me something crazy, and don’t be afraid to take some risks, Marvel. And please don’t let me be right about the heroes selected for this book being chosen because they are the movie flavor of the month.
Writer: Zeb Wells Artist: Clayton Crain Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $3.99