Comics : Carnage #5

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This review was first published on: Jun 2011.

Background...

Kletus Casady is Carnage once again! Having been experimented and imprisoned by Michael Hall, a industrial and technological wizard who has used the symbiote to engineer living prosthetic limbs and his own armoured security force, he is ou for revenge!

Spider-Man and Iron Man face him but the odds seem overwhelming when he absorbs a team of armoured security guards and grows massive in size and strength!

It doesn't get any better when Shriek, having been bonded with a symbiote-infected prothetic arm (taken from Doctor Tanis Nieves), and Doppelganger (who has been torn in half!) arrive on the scene!

Carnage ensues!

In Detail...

Carnage #5
Jun 2011 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man & Iron Man Vs. Carnage, Shriek & Doppelganger!
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Zeb Wells
Artist:  Clayton Crain
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Review

Michael Hall makes his escape in a helicopter as the fight rages below!

Spider-Man and Iron Man now face Carnage/Kletus Casady (massive and black, having absorbed Hall’s armoured security force), Shriek (who is joined with Tanis Nieves’s alien-infected prosthetic arm) and Doppelganger! Carnage directs Shriek to target the civilians with her powers of manipulation whilst he deals with the heroes! Iron Man fires all of his weapons at Carnage, knocking him through a wall!

Meanwhile, Doctor Tanis Nieves sees what she has done. Having removed her prosthetic arm, she has give Shriek more power!

Carnage recovers so Iron Man tries to control the remains of Hall’s armoured tech that he merged with! Carnage is too clever though and tries to hack Iron Man’s systems, forcing the hero to stop! Spider-Man intervenes, but there seems to way to beat him!

Shriek holds Nieves aloft to see the civilians start to attack one another! The symbiote inside the prosthetic arm wants Nieves back and Nieves lets it in! They bond and she transforms into a silver and blue symbiote – Scorn! Scorn attacks Shriek and forces her to use her powers on Carnage! She makes Shriek shriek and Carnage is finally taken down! Spider-Man and Iron Man leap on him, tearing the armoured tech from him! Spider-Man is desperate for Kasady to be brought down but he tears the symbiote open to find that he is gone! Scorn walks over and dumps Shriek for the authorities. She peels back her symbiote and turns back into Nieves. Spider-Man knows her life is now changed forever…

Later: Spidey and Iron Man tracked a symbiote tether to control the suit whilst he escaped but the trail went cold.

Shriek is in a coma.

Nieves is under the care of Tony Stark.

Michael Hall has been found… by Kletus Casady! With Doppelganger at his side, he tortures Hall and plans his comeback!

In General...

Carnage is back and free! Tanis Nieves ends up being a new symbiote on the block! Shriek had her chance to shine! Spider-Man and Iron Man lose! All in a days work for Zeb Wells who proves his worth as a solid, exiting and involving writer who clearly captures carnage!

Reading this concluding issue, there has been a definite and deliberate move on Wells’ part to transfer the riotous feel opening issue that was steeped in 90s nostalgia to more of a modern and even more dangerous take on the character who is now fuelled with a different kind of motive: total revenge. Here we are handed 21 pages of violence, action, threat, violence, character development and violence - just what you want from a Carnage comic! With Wells helming December’s Carnage USA, I find myself already looking forward to more of this character, this supporting cast and future developments.

The choice to create a new symbiote character, whilst very 90s, is a little odd to me. I had the feeling that Wells wouldn’t waste the work he’d put into Nieves, but this reads a little too much like Toxin (an evil symbiote inside a good person). For me, this repetition is the only flaw.

As I am for Wells, I’m pleased we get more of Clayton Crain’s work on the symbiote. I’ve said before that this is some of the most consistent and clearest work I’ve seen from him and this issue is no exception. The liquidity of the symbiote, solidness of Iron Man and freakishness of Shriek, Doppelganger and Scorn are superb in his capable hands. There is also this great sense of darkness, speed and power that fits the violence and action that Wells requires. In all, a great creative team on a project perfect for them. And we get more!

Overall Rating...

An excellent series comes to a close. The fact that there is more on the way is exciting and the title character has become a true threat once again!