Carlo Carrasco’s Comic Book Review: True Believers: Absolute Carnage – Carnage #1

If there is anything I like most about Marvel Comics’ True Believers line of comic books, it’s that I get to read reprints of past stories without having to pay a whole lot of money to buy the original comic books or those pricey paperbacks.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, I bought a copy of True Believers which reprinted the first appearance of Deadpool in New Mutants #98.

This time around I got to check on the first-ever encounter between Spider-Man and the vicious supervillain Carnage with True Believers: Absolute Carnage – Carnage #1 which is currently available for for only $1.

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The cover.
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Hard-hitting action in the first encounter between Spidey and Carnage.

The comic book is a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #361 which was released in 1992 just months before Marvel’s official celebration of the 30th anniversary of Spider-Man happened.

The story begins when Carnage causes trouble at the Agro-Lab Empire State University. He messes with a man named Chip (who claims to have done nothing wrong), cause property damage using his symbiote and eventually kills. This opening scene clearly shows that Carnage is a more troubling than Venom (who in turn was being turned into an anti-hero figure by Marvel’s creators).

Peter Parker/Spider-Man meanwhile spends quality time at home with his Aunt May. Unsurprisingly, a telephone call interrupts his private life causing him to go to the university to determine, secretly in costume, what happened. Peter personally knows Chip and the guy’s death only adds to his concern about the rise of brutal murders.

“Chip’s dead. And I’m worried that these serial killings may partly be my fault,” Peter told Mary Jane.

Using his access as a freelance photographer, Peter conducts computer research at the office of the Daily Bugle and discovers Cletus Kasady’s prison profile. Knowing that Kasady (Carnage) was a cellmate of Eddie Brock/Venom, he digs deeper and goes around the city to investigate. This sets up his first encounter with Carnage. What exactly happened between them? You just have to read to find out.

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Tension builds up as Peter Parker researches Cletus Kasady.

Even by today’s standards, the story remains gripping, intriguing and entertaining at the same time. David Michelinie really knows how to balance spectacle, exposition and suspense with the Spidey-Carnage conflict as the highlight. Michelinie also showed Kasady’s insanity clearly and, even by his look, the villain is clearly a creative rip-off of DC Comics’ insane villain The Joker. Artist Mark Bagley’s art is still good to look at and he managed to pull off the daunting task of visualizing the present along with drawing images from Spidey’s past with original symbiote and Venom. The action scenes still have good visual impact.

Overall, if you are even a bit interested in Spider-Man, Carnage and 1990s comic book culture, then True Believers: Absolute Carnage – Carnage #1 is recommended. For only $1, this is one engaging and entertaining comic book to read.

Take note that there is a chance that Carnage will become the next popular supervillain in the movies once the character appears fully in the sequel to 2018’s Venom movie. Remember the mid-credits scene in Venom? Carnage could literally rise in pop culture.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

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A Look Back at Spider-Man #24 (1992)

Back in 1992, Marvel Comics published the Infinity War limited series which dealt with a new conflict that brought the superheroes together. It was the sequel to 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet.

To emphasize the scope of Infinity War, several comic books from other regular series published by Marvel had specific issues serving as tie-ins. In this retro review, we take a look back at Spider-Man #24.

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The cover with art by Mark Bagley.

Spider-Man #24 begins with Peter Parker waking up from a nightmare. Careful not to wake up his wife Mary Jane, he decides to go out in the middle of the night.

“Who ever said super heroes are supposed to sleep? At least I didn’t wake Mary Jane up this time. Got to get out to clear my head,” Peter Parker thought. “Sheesh! I’m Spider-Man and I love being me!”

As Spider-Man swings during the night, Jason Philip Macendale (the Hobgoblin) wakes up too from a nightmare. This makes him decide to work out a bit and then go out disguised as the Hobgoblin flying with a glider. He also happened to be training himself with the handgun.

Eventually the two will encounter each other but not head-to-head. Rather they get into conflict with the Demogoblin (a more demonic version of the Green Goblin) and, more notably, the Spider-Man Doppelganger (a biologically monstrous version of the superhero with eight arms, sharp teeth and animal instinct).

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Spider-Man meets his monster match.

With regards to its quality, the story sheds light on Spider-Man’s uneasy connection with Hobgoblin. As for its connection with Infinity War, the Spider-Man Doppelganger’s presence linked the Spider-Man monthly series in a serviceable fashion, specifically what happened near the end of this comic book was reflected in one of the pages of Infinity War #1.

Still I felt that this comic book was a missed opportunity to truly emphasize the Spider-Man Doppelganger as a new menace in Spider-Man’s part of the Marvel universe. There is not enough spotlight on the monster (whose first appearance was in Infinity War #1 by the way) nor was its battle with the superhero proved to be satisfying when it comes to emphasizing spectacle for the readers.

Quite notably, the narrative and action had to be shared with the Hobgoblin who is technically the 2nd lead character in this comic book. Sure he got to fight the Demogoblin and the Doppelganger providing comic book action but I preferred to see more of Spider-Man versus the Doppelganger as this was their first encounter.

When it comes to visuals, penciller Larry Alexander did a satisfactory job overall. While the faces and hairstyles of Peter Parker and Jason Macendale don’t look different enough from each other, Alexander clearly put more effort to make a few key moments of the action scenes stand out.

Overall, Spider-Man #24 is a satisfying read. It marked Spidey’s first-ever encounter with the Doppelganger but was bogged down by the way the story was crafted. If you plan to buy this old comic book at all, don’t pay a full dollar for it.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com