REVIEW: ‘Extreme Carnage: Lasher,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1 is part 4 of the Extreme Carnage crossover, published by Marvel Comics. Written by Clay McLeod Chapman. The art is by Chris Mooneyham and Danilo S. Beyruth. The colourists are Marcio Menyz and Jim Campbell, and the letters are by Clayton Cowles.

Carnage has returned and possesses the body of politician Arthur Krane, an anti-alien senator who has aligned himself with the Friends of Humanity. With leftover power from the Symbiote god Knull, Carnage can communicate and influence others of his race. He reaches out to his siblings, the Life Foundation Symbiotes. Starting with Scream, he is prevented when Andi Benton burns her partner to ash. Angry, Carnage sends Phage to kill Andi in revenge, who has been captured by Alchemax. In front of Anti-Venom, Phage deals a fatal blow to Andi.

In this issue, the battle between Phage and Anti-Venom continues. The horror he just witnessed is still affecting him, and the Alchemax soldiers are interfering with his attempts to defeat Phage. Andi’s injuries are not yet fatal, leading Flash to carry her through to the laboratory where Dr. Steven is working. The doctor has been working on salvaging what he can of Scream, but it may not be enough to save either the host of the Symbiote. Meanwhile, Carnage makes contact with another family member: Lasher. Lasher has attached himself to an elderly man with dementia, but when Carnage gets involved, the situation gets bloody quickly.

The plot of Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1 is split into two. One side has the battle between Phage and Anti-Venom, whilst Lasher’s story moves entirely separately from his family’s. The action inside the Alchemax facility is exciting and dramatic, with a major character’s life hanging in the balance. However, this is the third issue that has been spent in and around this location, and it’s beginning to slow down the story. Around them, the plot moves forward, with more Symbiotes being hinted at joining in the fight. Each issue has had a significant event happen inside it, and this is no exception. The surprise within this issue changes the face of a character completely. 

As for Lasher, his presence within the issue is significant. This subplot of the chapter is brutal, scary, and yet somber. Somber isn’t a word often attributed to a Symbiote story, as they tend to be too quick. They are slasher horrors, full of gore and savagery. But Chapman’s depiction of this old, ill man is incredibly sad. As for Lasher, Carnage’s control of him and his host would have more impact if we had more understanding of his personality before. In that regard, the Symbiotes’ different personalities aren’t displayed to the extent that they could have been this far into the series. 

Both artists deliver an incredible display of violence. Mooneyham is responsible for the fight at Alchemax whilst Beyruth illustrates Lasher’s story. The two artists create a visual separation between the two tales, so the reader instantly knows the setting. Mooneyham’s work looks more chaotic, with big, hulking figures in tight quarters leading to a feeling of claustrophobia. What’s great is that each of the symbiotes has a different shape and line weight, so telling them apart is easy. There has been a very 90s element to this art style, brilliant when Carnage is involved. 

As for Beyruth, his art is still fantastic, but there is a difference. The details on the faces of his characters lead to more haunting expressions, heightening the feeling of fear in the hearts of the reader. The relationship between this particular host and alien is intensely creepy. Lasher’s ooze appears to hang off the body of the old man. Add to that his spider-like legs, and he may be the most skin-crawling of the species.

The colours are fantastic. All of the Symbiotes are different colours, which is important as it helps signify their identity. Anti-Venom’s pristine white is beautiful and always stands out in the madness of its surroundings. What is incredible about this small section of Marvel Universe is how just a glimpse of colour can affect the readers as they get a sense of what they’re about to experience. Specific shades, like Lasher’s, invoke immediate recognition.

The lettering has a lot of work to do considering the number of different voices and custom word balloons Cowles utilizes. Lasher, Phage, Carnage, and a few other characters all have their own balloons or caption boxes, yet they are easy to follow ad it never gets confusing which thoughts and words belong to which characters.

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1 has great action but is lacking something special. A lot is going on within the issue, and yet some parts feel stale. More Symbiotes are joining the fray, and that may be the problem. It doesn’t feel like each one has been given a distinct voice and personality, so they have begun to be interchangeable. When they do have one, it is smothered by Carnage, and his overpowering chaos means that we don’t get a chance to feel for his siblings. Lasher’s story within this chapter is a horrifying and powerful piece of storytelling, but because of its host. Hopefully, the event moves on from this and regains its momentum. 

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1
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TL;DR

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1 has great action but is lacking something special. A lot is going on within the issue, and yet some parts feel stale. More Symbiotes are joining the fray, and that may be the problem. It doesn’t feel like each one has been given a distinct voice and personality, so they have begun to be interchangeable.