Carnage #3 is written by Ram V, illustrated by Roge Antonio, colored by Dijjo Lima, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. “The Empty Place” sees Carnage tracking down Jonathan Ohmn— the teleporting supervillain known as the Spot — in order to harness his other-dimensional powers. In the process, Carnage reveals his grand plan and how it connects to the fallout from King in Black. Meanwhile, Detective Jonathan Shayde is still dealing with the fact that a piece of Carnage now infests his body; things grow even worse when he learns that it’s the piece with Cletus Kasady’s consciousness.
With this issue, V puts a spotlight on the dark side of ambition, especially for a character like Carnage. While he’s never shied away from killing the innocent, his connection with the symbiote god Knull has led him to seek bigger targets which could spell danger for many of the Marvel Universe’s deities. Likewise, Kasady’s mental influence on Shayde comes with its setbacks: Shayde is frustrated that his superiors have locked him out of the Carnage case, and Kasady plays on that frustration by putting vividly mental images of killing his coworkers in his head. This is the most interesting part of the issue to me, mainly because it plays out like a twisted, gorier take on The Silence of the Lambs with Kasady stepping into the role of Hannibal Lecter.
On the art side of things, this issue sees Antonio stepping in for Francesco Manna, who illustrated the first two installments of Carnage. Antonio’s artwork hews fairly close to Manna’s style, with plenty of haunting and hypnotic imagery. A key example comes when Carnage confronts Spot; the teleporter unleashes a multitude of mini black holes, which Carnage shoots his tendrils into. This results in Spot being pulled apart, with literal chunks of flesh hanging off the ends of crimson tentacles. Granted, a book about a literal serial killer will more than likely feature some gore, but it’s a genuine surprise to see a mainstream comic push the envelope this much.
Though Antonio is a new artist, Lima still remains on the book as its colorist. Under his watchful eye, red is the most prominent color in the book. Carnage’s dark red flesh is highlighted by the malevolence in his golden yellow eyes and matching mouth and sprays of blood splatter across panels. Even Sabino’s lettering turns red and white— and appropriately twisted when Carnage is speaking, in contrast to Shayde’s regular white and black captions. And Sabino has characters’ screams of pain stretch out past their word balloons, which drives home the level of agony that Carnage inflicts on his victims.
Carnage #3 unveils the series’ endgame as the creative team looks to push the sinister symbiote into the upper echelon of Marvel villains. That’s a tall order for any character, but this creative team shows that they’re more than up to the challenge. And it’ll hopefully draw more readers, as this is slowly shaping up to be one of Marvel’s most interesting titles.
Carnage #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Carnage #3 unveils the series’ endgame as the creative team looks to push the sinister symbiote into the upper echelon of Marvel villains. That’s a tall order for any character, but this creative team shows they’re more than up to the challenge. And it’ll hopefully draw more readers, as this is slowly shaping up to be one of Marvel’s most interesting titles.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.