REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gwenom vs Carnage #3

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Seanan McGuire, with art by Flaviano, colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Ariana Maher. Having been brought under Knull’s control, Earth-65’s Mary Jane Watson has assumed the name Carnage and intends to wreak some havoc. But seeing her friend manipulated and used by the dark god of symbiotes isn’t something Gwen Stacy can handle. She’s getting her friend back. Whether Carnage likes it or not.

They say we always hurt the ones we love. Nowhere does that seem more true than in superhero comics. Even when the main character isn’t hurting the people around them, most commonly by putting their secret duties as a hero before their loved ones, the simple nature of their knowing the hero constantly places them in harm’s way. And while these moments of danger are not the direct fault of the hero’s, it would still feel that way. Just ask Gwen Stacy.

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3 opens with Carnage attempting to ditch her would-be savior as she looks for an opportunity to wreak some havoc. (Bet you thought I was gonna say Carnage!) Luckily for her, Gwen has never been the type to give up so easily. Having chased both friends and enemies across dimensions, a jaunt uptown is nothing for the inter-dimensional wall-crawler.

But each time Gwen manages to catch up with her possessed friend, her pleas to MJ are shrugged off, as Knull’s influence over her mind seems all but absolute. Eventually, Gwen is forced to accept the truth. The symbiote isn’t going to come off willing, so she will have to force it off. But how does one force a symbiote to un-bond from its host….

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3’s writing does a good job delivering Gwen’s internal crisis as she struggles to figure out a way to free her friend. Her well-delivered concern is put up against the excellently written derision of MJ. McGuire delivers the villain’s loathing of our hero with all the cold-cutting cruelty that could be asked for.

The final confrontation at the end of this story is perfect. It is clever while also working in the long history of the symbiotes and Gwen and MJ’s personal history.

Artist Flaviano does a great job keeping this story’s visual presentation equal parts symbiote filed nightmare and punk rock energy. The more jagged approach to the linework here happily fuels both these elements of the book beautifully. This, coupled with the large quantity of black being offset by colorist’s Renzi’s magnificently utilized neon palette, and you have an eye-catching presentation that is truly unique.

Wrapping up our look at this book is Maher’s letters. All the dialogue is well placed within the panels, and MJ’s alternate bubble design help gives her voice that monstrous edge.

When taken all together, King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3 delivers a story that somehow manages to deliver heartfelt emotion and life-threatening peril while wrapping it all in a rave-inspired color scheme that manages not to diminish either of the previously mentioned elements. It just rocks.

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3
4.5

TL;DR

When taken all together, King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #3 delivers a story that somehow manages to deliver heartfelt emotion and life-threatening peril while wrapping it all in a rave-inspired color scheme that manages not to diminish either of the previously mentioned elements. It just rocks.