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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Extreme Carnage Riot #1

Extreme Carnage: Riot #1 is published by Marvel Comics as part of the Extreme Carnage event. Written by Alyssa Wong with art by Fran Galan. The colour artist is Jim Campell, and the letterer is Ariana Maher.

Carnage is alive and has infiltrated the U.S. government. With heightened power, he can access the Hive that connects all of his siblings and controls them. His first target was Scream, but Andi burned the Symbiote to ash. Arrested by Alchemax, Andi was hunted down by Phage, who nearly killed her. A scientist salvaged what he could of Scream and rebonded it to save Andi. Now Silence, both person and Symbiote, are very different. They killed Phage, but Carnage still has more of his siblings bearing down on Washington. 

In this issue, another member of the Life Foundation Symbiotes enters the crossover. Riot has arrived on a bus, and Carnage asks him to pick a host. Encouraged by Carnage, Riot slaughters his way through his search for the right choice. On the other side of the city, Andi comes to terms with what she has just experienced. But, unfortunately, she is yet to discover one of the most distressing side effects of her recovery. 

The audience will be grateful that this issue moves forwards, out of the Alchemax building, and back to the task at hand. There is a great structure to this issue that fits the horror genre it belongs in. First, the protagonists are shown gathering themselves, trying to discover what their enemy is up to. And then the panels switch to showing exactly what their enemy is up to, with the brutal massacre taking place. An interesting facet to this series is that each introduction of the Foundation of Life Symbiotes has been accompanied by a small story of savagery. They find a host and, in doing so, unleash chaos. While quite a lot is accomplished within Extreme Carnage: Riot #1, it still doesn’t feel like the story is progressing fast enough. The ending wasn’t surprising, but it does hold potential for much more excitement to come.

The characters remain strong in this issue. Andi is trying to come to terms with the changes in her and her symbiote. She is very positive in the first part of the comic, relieved to be alive and bristling with energy. This was very refreshing in what has been a dark and grim series throughout. However, this does shift as a distressing revelation is made halfway through and may be one of the most important events in this story. Riot searching for a host presents one of the most intense, relentless moments of the series. But like with Lasher, it is difficult to know his actual personality due to Carnage’s influence.

The art is fantastic for much of the comic. Galan’s rendering of the Symbiotes is exceptional. Riot’s host-finding sequence is awe-inspiring in its terror. There is some horrifying imagery that sends shivers down the spine, with pained expressions and writhing tendrils. His progression through the murders is reminiscent of a slasher film, with sudden, explosive deaths that the artist explores with sadistic glee. 

The facial expressions of the humans are great as well. Carnage in the guise of Senator Krane is incredibly creepy. The smile on his face continues for slightly too long, giving him a Grinch-like look. Meanwhile, Andi’s large eyes seem inspired by a manga art style. This allows her to be incredibly expressive. The only character whose design may not have the necessary impact is Flash. His face is angular and thin, looking out of place with others around him.

The colours are fantastic. The shades used on the bus Riot arrives on are a grim, disturbing blend of red and brown. This is similar to Carnage’s palette but even darker. This makes the events that will later unfold even more unpleasant, yet you can’t look away. 

The letterer adds more custom word balloons to the book as Riot and Silence are given their own colours and fonts. The text within these balloons is easy to read throughout, with the legibility not affected by the alteration.

Extreme Carnage: Riot #1 is a brilliant transition issue as the second half of the crossover is underway. The different players involved are converging, and whilst this may have taken time, it will be fascinating to see what Carnage finally has planned. With the heroic characters free of their previous ideal, hunting their nemesis has provided new dangers. The Symbiote action has been glorious in every issue, and the art has been phenomenal in its grisly depictions, but the actual story needs to keep moving forwards as well. With this appearing to happen, the crossover has regained its momentum.

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

Extreme Carnage: Riot #1
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TL;DR

Extreme Carnage: Riot #1 is a brilliant transition issue as the second half of the crossover is underway. The different players involved are converging, and whilst this may have taken time, it will be fascinating to see what Carnage finally has planned… The Symbiote action has been glorious in every issue, and the art has been phenomenal in its grisly depictions, but the actual story needs to keep moving forwards as well. With this appearing to happen, the crossover has regained its momentum.