CARNAGE Unleashed: The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY

So, I once did a silly video-review of a one-shot called Carnage: Mind Bomb (by Warren Ellis) on the YouTubes. -Because it's a book I've always enjoyed...  I was all set to do another video on the one-shot follow-up, I also owned, called Carnage: It's A Wonderful Life (by David Quinn).  But unfortunately after re-reading it: I found that I hated the ever-living fuck out of it.  I thought it was a hackneyed, pretentious mess- I mean utter fucking over-written garbage!
-Now, while it's way easier to talk about something you despise (why do you think the internet is so full of hate?) I don't want to contribute to that.  You can not like something, sure. -You can share the reasons why, that's fine.  -You can disagree with others, respectfully.  But hate is not helping anyone, and all the sites out there who just hate on, insult, and trash comics and creators they think are bad; with such venom, malice, and vitriol- are NOT helping the industry.  They are part of the problem.  Yes- there do exist some comics out there that are just flat-out fucking bad... no one is going to defend Power Pachyderms, or NFL SuperPro.  But when other books are divisive- and it's a matter of personal taste- these "reviewers" are literally yelling at, and ignorantly insulting fans, while turning other people off of the product in general.  Not to mention they are not helping the way people perceive comic-book-readers. We are not all bitter, angry, unpleasable, nitpicky, over-literal, pretentious, self-righteous assholes.  (NOTE: I am NOT talking about any friends of this site- I am referring to some other "comic-reviewers" out there on the interwebs.)
-Well, I'm a little bit of a self-righteous asshole, I guess.
Look, I'm not trying to pick a fight, and I'm not trying to get up on my own soapbox here... so I'll stop now.  But my point is- I never released that next "review", and that was why...  This brings us to today, and the four-issue mini-series: 
Venom: Carnage Unleashed
-Look familiar?

Yeah, you might want to have this playing in the background:

That's right- this 1995 comic writes LJN's 1994 video game into actual continuity...  Much like the game, for us, was based off of the fourteen-part Summer-event: Maximum Carnage.  -Here in the 616 it was based on a horrible, real-life killing-spree!
-You know; for kids!!!

Ah, yes- the Seva Genesis.  -Classic system.  So classic that the text stays on the wall even if the poster is ripped away!
 (Remember: You can center-click, or right-click/View Image on any panel for a larger version you can read.)

-I know that Venom is not one for rational-thought... But Eddie is assuming a lot here.  Because it turns out that all the proceeds go to help the victims of Cletus Kasady's brutal rampage. BUT NOT IF HE CAN HELP IT!  And so Venom sets out on a mission to stop the game from being made by... killing Carnage? -Like I said: He's not really one for rational-thinking.  

Unfortunately- despite this good intro- it's not a very good comic...  The plot is pretty terrible... and a bit too unbelievable- even for a story about two crazy people with symbiotic alien space-goo for clothes. But I did not hate every single aspect of it like I did with It's A Wonderful Life.  There is something to discuss here, rather than only bash on unmercifully.  -That's why I mentioned all that above.  And as you can probably tell from the post's title: I wanted to go over the good, bad, and ugly of it all real quick.
-We're still in The GOOD section:  
I enjoyed Andrew Wildman and Art Nichols art fine.  -Especially on the two title characters. And the premise started out great.  A tie-in to the actual game?  That's an awesome idea!  And despite some legit to the max 90's lingo- they even, pretty-much, predicted how pay-to-play internet gaming with downloadable content would be in the future!  Clock this:
-But does it have Nintendos?

-And now we go to The BAD... and I don't want to harp on the issue, so I'll just let Venom explain it real quick:
You read correctly: Carnage is traveling "through the phone lines via a modem."
-He's emailing you murder.
-He's literally in your base, killing your dudes.
-This LAN Party is a bloodbath!
-Dial-up... to DEATH!!!
-Please be patient while your 56k modem downloads the murderous Carnage QuickTime.mov

-No, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!  

-This is what they call: A stupid fucking idea. 
Also, Carnage dialogue is hard to write- I'd imagine.  It's hard to capture that crazy Charles Manson-esque "You think I'm crazy but my eyes are open to the truth, and to me YOU are the ones who are delusional- and suffering for it.  But I can free you!" type thing without making it sound cliched, or just plain stupid. Warren Ellis did it perfectly. David Quinn did NOT.  Larry Hama is kind of somewhere in the middle, but still just a little below the not annoying mark, for me here.
-Then there's some side-story about this punk-rock girl Eddie meets who is traveling cross-country to meet her boyfriend that she met online or some shit? And he turns out to be this total loser, druggie, who doesn't give a fuck about her and takes all her money to go score heroin- while leaving her in his nasty, roach-infested apartment to sing love-songs about him...  I don't know...  It was dumb.
-Finally, to The UGLY; because this comic also has Dr. Kafka in it...  because of course it does- it's a Carnage story:

You see- Dr. Ashley Kafka is simply the stupidest, most infuriating character in all of comics!  I can not stand her!  -Going back to her appearances in (a favorite of mine) Spectacular Spider-Man, but more "recently" in those two Carnage one-shots I've been mentioning, ESPECIALLY in It's A Wonderful Life; she just seems to get more and more inept and fucking unbearable.

She has never NOT failed!  

-Countless villains under her charge have escaped (again and again) to murder again and again: Carrion, Vermin, Shriek, Carnage- and none of them have ever been cured, or helped by her in ANY way- yet she always still has her job at the Ravencroft Institute somehow... and always maintains this smug air of self-righteous moral superiority:

Tantamount to murder?
-Keep in mind this is while Carnage is attempting to escape... yet again- to murder countless people who will be playing his game online, LIVE at Midnight; with his new internet-traveling powers (and it's safe to assume that will include a lot of children) and he already tried to slit another psychiatrist's throat earlier, AND he has already killed five guards and eaten their faces!!!  
But look at her face in that last panel- she simply can't believe the security-force is going to try and stop him by any means necessary.  I mean- it's simply tantamount to murder!  -And she pulls this shit all the time!  SO MANY people in The Marvel Universe have died needlessly JUST because of HER!
"Oh no!  The weapons that usually work on Carnage aren't doing anything anymore? -Well GOOD LORD, don't try bigger, deadlier weapons on him!  Just let him kill you, me, and the rest of your men!"

Carnage is a convicted mass-murder who has shown no remorse. He is yet again attempting to escape your charge at a PRISON for the criminally insane.  -Never mind all those times he has tried to murder both you, and John Jameson Jr.... He has, and is again, killing a number of guards and doctors to escape- and has, and will, be murdering innocent civilians once he's out...  You are watching him do this AGAIN and you dare say THAT'S being excessive???  -Really?   It's an "overreaction" to do your job and stop this all from happening? -From escalating any further? 
What the fuck is wrong with you?!? 
Police-officers can shoot someone who is in the act of committing a heinous crime.  Guards can shoot rioting or escaping prisoners. Soldiers at war kill the enemy or they will be killed.  It is maintaining, protecting, and defending- that is not the same thing as murder!  And this is no mere criminal: this is FUCKING CARNAGE!!! 
-This is just beyond.  You are NOT some superhero with super-powers and the moral obligation of "killing is never the answer".  You are employees of The State with a duty to protect the public from the people incarcerated in your facility. There is a difference!
Never have I wanted to be able to reach into the pages of a comic and choke the life out of a fictional character so badly as with Dr. Kafka!


This has been a long one already, thanks for sticking through to the end- I'll wrap it up by saying: If you like the art, and don't find the premise of symbiotic-internet-travel retarded; then you might enjoy this one.  Especially if you are a Larry Hama fan.  I only have the first two issues of this one and I wanted to like it- but it just didn't work for me... And Kafka did not help!  Needless to say I will not be tracking down the last two... which is a shame- because it leads into Sinner Takes All, and I very much enjoyed that miniseries.
I'll leave you with this little critique of Dr. Kafka's work:
 (Web of Spider-Man, Annual #10)


  1. I had that Sega game! It was awesome - Firestar and Dagger finally made it to a computer console, except here it was called Sega Megadrive.

    Venom was my dude back in the 90's, but I always picked up a book and decided if I'd take it by how well he was drawn. Lethal Protector, The Madness The Mace and Funeral Pyre all still crept in. Pyre had Punisher and Madness had Venom vs Juggernaut - who didn't want to see this stuff?

    As for the above, Carnage would really be screwed in todays WiFi world huh? Gotta love how the tech of the time saves so many battles. The original Tron it was databases and circuit boards, here its modem based terror, Poltergeist came through the TV and if any bored writer needs a last minute save idea, there's always the EMP wave. I'm almost waiting for Ultron v62737 to be beaten by Iron Man uploading Miley Cirus into his built in Spotify app.

    Completely agree about the negativity thing. IADW was originally going to be comic news and junk focussed on villains and the villain point of view, dissing heroes etc, written as though an invisible rouge was writing the site. But I felt the amount of negativity on comic sites and forums was embarrassing, and changed to positive news and highlighting positive fan efforts instead.

    1. It was indeed a great game! There was a SNES version too but I never played it. Mega-drive makes more sense what with the original being called the Master-system. Khan pulled Genesis out of his ass. Because it is very cold... in space.

      Venom was EVERYBODY'S dude in the 90's! Those first 4 miniseries you mentioned were great. (Wait- was The Mace great? I think I might not have cared for it as much... I'ma have to pull that one out and give it a read again) because I have all of those- with Eddie Brock rocking his sweet, sweet mullet. The Maddness was the best, though! -Fucking Kelley Jones!!!

      If that's how Ultron is defeated in Avengers 2- I'll riot!

      That idea sounds like a cool POV for your site- it would be different, though- because it would be a villain character... a gimmick. That's something you could bring out once a week on a post, you know? But you're right- the amount of negativity on these sites is embarrassing. And I'm finding willful ignorance, as a result of the years of hate; is starting to overtake it. -Not that I'm some big expert or anything with this blog... it's just stuff I like, and own- as I read (or reread) it. I'm trying to keep it positive, too- it's just that I REALLY hate Doctor Kafka. Ha!

  2. aw fuck man i can't believe i posted that comment about wishing i had a symbiote like Carnage to kill people i hate on the internet under the previous posting by mistake. i tell ya bro being rushed for time when you have a bit of it coupled with not getting enough sleep can really fuck with your cognitive abilities much like alcohol does. under those circumstances you'd be amazed what kind of stupid shit one is capable of such as posting a comment under the wrong posting. well maybe if this fucken work schedule of mine eases up later this month i can throw something together for your art contest. maybe something having to do with Starhawk? alright, i'm off to my fucken night job now.

    1. It's all good like the weekend, man... I was just fucking with you.
      Speaking of alcohol, I'm drunk right the fuck now! (Getting together the post for V-Day.)
      Yeah, I have not even started on the art-project... I'll be out of state for a few days coming up- gonna sketch some stuff out then... try and warm up a bit. -It has been so long. I'm prolly gonna suck, but hey- at least I'ma be drawing again!
      If you draw Starhawk- have him making out with his Sister in limbo. Hey- they ain't blood... it's kosher.

  3. Rock and Roll pumpkin! I fucking loved that song by Green Jelly. This was indeed the hottest Carnage would get. I remember the commercial for the video game. Played it for SNES. Can't remember how well I did, but fuck it.

    Andrew Wildman's art is hit and miss for me. I enjoyed him on the old Marvel Transformers book, but on other stuff, no. Just no.

    Sounds like a super-weak ass story. The hell David Quinn. But then again he did write a poor mid-90
    's revamp of Dr. Strange back in the day.

    1. SAY IT AGAIN!
      Yeah, Carnage was tops for awhile... He was pretty one-note though, and never had the staying-power Venom did. Plus- like I said- I don't think he was written very well towards the end of his popularity...
      I'm not very familiar with Andrew Wildman's art. My guess is on the Transformers title- the robots looked good and not much else? Because Venom and Carnage looked great in this one- regular people... not so much. -Not bad; but like you say: hit or miss.
      This weak story was by Larry Hama... Quinn wrote It's A Wonderful Life and it was beyond a weak story... It was used-toilet-paper in comic-book form. And I'm a HUGE Faust fan! So, I was very disappoint. I kind of want to check out his take on Doctor Strange- I remember when those were out.
      Hama is the G.I. Joe guy... and he wrote around eight of the Venom minis from back then... The others I read by him, I enjoyed... this one, though. The plot was just too lame to get behind.