REVIEW: ‘Carnage,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Carnage #2 - But Why Tho

Carnage #2 is written by Ram V, illustrated by Francesco Manna, colored by Dijjo Lima, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. “Transformation” begins immediately after the events of the premiere issue, with the Carnage symbiote brutally splitting Hydro-Man apart and absorbing one of his molecules. Detective Jonathan Shayde, caught in the crossfire, ends up being bonded to a part of the symbiote that still possesses Cletus Kasady’s memories. He intends to use this to track down Carnage and stop the sinister symbiote in its tracks, but Kasady’s memories may prove to be more of a  hindrance than a help.

The twist with Shayde is unexpected, but it’s a testament to V’s skills as a writer that he can find a way to weave it into the ongoing theme of identity. Like Carnage, Shayde is on a quest – but where the symbiote is seeking its identity, Shayde is seeking to bring it and the Artist to justice. And the fusion with the symbiote only spells trouble. Anyone who’s watched Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal – or any piece of media with a serial killer at the helm – knows that a serial killer will often work their way into people’s heads and twist them into acting on the killer’s behalf. With Shayde, he literally has a serial killer’s memories in his mind, and anyone who’s read a comic with Carnage can tell you that those aren’t nice thoughts to have rattling around in your head.

Manna continues to deliver visuals that are equal parts gorgeous and disturbing, not letting up for a minute. A two-page spread features Shayde’s body contorting in a rather gruesome way as he’s pulled into the portal created by Carnage and Hydro-Man’s interactions, with the symbiote wrapping around his arms and legs. Another two-page spread has the symbiote literally explode from Shayde’s head, creating a blood-red patchwork of panels that feature Kasady’s numerous kills. Leaning into the gore factor, Lima shades these memories in a bright red. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, as there are other scenes that give Carnage: Black, White & Blood a run for its money – and that series was literally created to have more gore!

In fact, red is a color that recurs often, particularly in Sabino’s lettering. Not only does Sabino continue to give Carnage his trademark red and white word balloons, but the red lines Shayde’s narrative captions and runs throughout Carnage’s body – save for his glowing yellow eyes, which are the stuff of nightmares. In fact, it’s hard to tell where the Carnage symbiote begins and the gore ends with how prominent the red is. But given Carnage’s nature, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Carnage #2 continues the sinister symbiote’s quest for identity and will sear itself into readers’ minds with its disturbing imagery. With yet another Spider-Man villain in Carnage’s crosshairs, the Marvel Universe may receive a grim reminder of why the Bleeding King is one of its deadliest figures.

Carnage #2 is available wherever comics are sold.


Carnage #2
4.5

TL;DR

Carnage #2 continues the sinister symbiote’s quest for identity and will sear itself into readers’ minds with its disturbing imagery. With yet another Spider-Man villain in Carnage’s crosshairs, the Marvel Universe may receive a grim reminder of why the Bleeding King is one of its deadliest figures.