REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #2 - But Why Tho?

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Seanan McGuire, with art by Flaviano and Ig Guara, colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Ariana Maher. After an unlikely accident causes the MJ from Gwen Stacy’s Earth to get pulled into her battle with the symbiotes, Knull takes control of MJ, wrapping her in a symbiote of her own and creating a new Carnage to oppose Gwen. Now, not only does Gwen have to find a way to survive the current crisis, but she has to also free MJ from her current imprisonment. And it doesn’t look like MJ is going to make it easy for her.

With great power, there must also come great responsibility. That’s the line. The inescapable quote that drives the spider-centric comer of the Marvel Universe. But unfortunately, no matter how responsible those who possess power try to be, inevitably, somebody gets hurt. Whether by action, or inaction, pain comes along. And sometimes, the ones that we hurt are the ones we love the most.

Gwenom vs Carnage #2 picks up right where the last issue leaves off, with Gwen about to face down a newly christened Carnage in the form of her oldest friend MJ. As their fight commences, Carnage brutally lashes out at our hero in more ways than one. While unleashing a physical assault with all the enthusiasm we’d expect from a symbiote bearing the name Carnage, Gwen is also beset by some hard truths about the nature of her friend’s feelings about her. And while I have no doubt the conclusion of this story will reveal that much of what is said is being amplified by the symbiote, within every lie, there is a cornel of truth.

The possibility that Gwen could’ve done so much harm to her friend, without ever realizing it no less, rocks Gwen as hard as any of Carnage’s attacks. McGuire shows a great appreciation for the depth of Gwen’s character and her concern for others here.

Beyond the emotional confrontation, Gwen is also forced to confront the King in Black himself. Knull’s presence side by side with Gwen’s is an interesting contrast. This is especially true thanks to McGuire’s great character writing.  While Knull brings the all-encompassing confidence of an ancient deity to the panels, Gwen’s much more down to earth attitude shines all the brighter because of his presence. Especially as her stubbornness pushes her through the confrontation, giving Knull an example of how hard it is to intimidate someone who has made a lifestyle out of being in over her head.

The artistic presentation in Gwenom vs Carnage #2 delivers on both its action, as well as the emotional conflict it contains, though the action is truly the scene-stealer of this issue. While Gwen’s acrobatics continue to look dazzling in this issue, the menace and raw savagery of Carnage comes through just a well. The two feel equally matched, despite how drastically different their approach to combat is.

The differences in these combatants are further shown through the book’s colors. While Gwen is draped in the mostly black design of her Gwenom costume, Carnage is an ever-changing collection of colors and hues. Lending a further sense of instability to the character’s appearance.

The lettering in Gwenom vs Carnage #2 accentuates the book’s visual style nicely. Great font choices and lots of extra expression with the letter design helps the lettering feel at home with the over the top energy of the book’s visuals.

Wrapping it all up, King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #2 continues to deliver an evolving and interesting story. With a great balance of kinetic action and emotional stakes, I look forward to seeing where this series goes next as the King in Black event continues.

Gwenom vs Carnage #2 is available February 3rd wherever comics are sold.

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #2
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TL;DR

Gwenom vs Carnage #2 continues to deliver an evolving and interesting story. With a great balance of kinetic action and emotional stakes, I look forward to seeing where this series goes next as the King in Black event continues.