Absolute Carnage has been steadily delivering a fun big event centered around the conflict between Venom and Carnage. Through the course of this event Donny Cates has elevated Carnage into one of the scariest villains in the Marvel Universe. With Carnage invading the secret base the Maker created to extract the Codex from former Venom symbiote users things may only be getting worse for our heroes. Will things only get worse for the Marvel Universe with Carnage’s complete takeover? Let’s find out by checking out Absolute Carnage #4.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer, Jay Leisten and Ryan Stegman
Colorist: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Venom-Hulk smashes Dark Carnage through a wall, much to Dark Carnage’s enjoyment.
Nearby Eddie Brock leads Spider-Man, Dylan Brock and Normie Osborn into a secret bunker filled with weapons. Eddie plans on arming himself with the anti-symbiote weapons to fight Dark Carnage and his symbiote army while Spider-Man protects the kids.
Spider-Man thinks that is a bad idea. Eddie says he has to do this because he does not want to be useless while the Avengers are left in a vulnerable state. Spider-Man agrees to Eddie’s plan and promises to protect the kids at all costs.
While Eddie puts on the anti-symbiote weapons Spider-Man says the Avengers won’t be waking up for another ten minutes. Eddie grabs Captain America’s shield and says that he will pretend to be a hero for ten minutes then.
Eddie marches in to the main part of the base and starts fighting Dark Carnage’s symbiote army alone. The Miles Morales Carnage sees Eddie fighting and goes right after him.
Outside the base Dark Carnage is able to overpower Venom-Hulk. Having him pinned against a wall Dark Carnage stabs Venom-Hulk through the head all the way to his brain.
Back inside Eddie struggles to defend himself against Miles Morales Carnage. Eddie does his best to talk directly to Miles in hopes the kid will hear him. Eddie eventually uses his gauntlet to send a Venom Blast through Captain America’s shield. The Venom Blast causes the Carnage symbiote to leave Miles’ body.
Miles tells Eddie that they can’t let Dark Carnage get the Venom symbiote. He goes on to say that if Dark Carnage has only been able to extract the Codices one at a time but he gets the Venom symbiote he’ll be unstoppable.
Outside, Dark Carnage is able to cause enough damage to Hulk’s brain to cause him to revert back to Bruce Banner and lose consciousness. This allows Dark Carnage to rip the Venom symbiote off Bruce’s body. He then absorbs the symbiote to become a new Dark Carnage-Venom hybrid.
Eddie and Miles see Dark Carnage’s new form and are left in shock. Captain America suddenly appears and tells Eddie he has done a good job. He then takes his shield back from Brock and leads the Thing and Wolverine to fight Dark Carnage.
While Captain America, the Thing and Wolverine fight Dark Carnage, Miles tells Eddie they have to destroy the other codices before the symbiote army gets them. As Eddie and Miles fight their way codex extractor Spider-Man continues to defend Dylan and Normie.
Eventually Dark Carnage defeats Captain America, the Thing and Wolverine. At the same time, Norman Osborn-Carnage breaks into the bunker and starts fighting Spider-Man.
Seeing no other way to defeat Dark Carnage now Eddie breaks into the codex extractor machine. He then takes on all the symbiote codex to transform into a new version of Venom. Venom and Dark Carnage then each grow wings to take their fight into the sky. End of issue.
The Good: The level of escalation throughout the course of Absolute Carnage has been fun to read. And the way things escalate in Absolute Carnage #4 is no different. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman show a complete understanding of where they want their big event story and characters involved to go. That understanding leads to a much tighter ending that has you looking forward to what is next for Venom and Carnage.
Getting to the point where you are looking forward to the final clash between Venom and Carnage is reached thanks to the great character work by Donny Cates. Absolute Carnage #4 was a superhero making performance for Eddie Brock’s character. The character of Eddie Brock and Venom has spent more time as an anti-hero and villain more than anything else. There hasn’t been a moment where Eddie has been able to make the full transition to being a superhero.
That is until Absolute Carnage #4. This is the issue where fans can point to show when Eddie Brock makes his full transformation into a Marvel Universe superhero. Cates does a fantastic job giving Eddie the time to shine by placing him in a position that it would be easier to hide with Normie Osborn and his son, Dylan Brock. As Spider-Man said, Eddie did not need to go out to face Dark Carnage’s symbiote army alone. But that is what Eddie chose to do because he felt it was the right thing to do as he needed to take on the burden of this symbiote crisis that he felt he caused.
It is all a true mark of a superhero that Eddie would make the choice to stand up against insurmountable odds. These are the type of moments that get fans fully behind a character. Especially in the case of Eddie, who has flipped flopped between anti-hero and villain so many times. Now that is not something that does not need to happen anymore. Eddie as Venom can be a full-time superhero.
Which all made the moment when Eddie saw that there was no other choice but to absorb the symbiote codices that they contained even a better moment. This acceptance that he was the only one that could stop Dark Carnage pushed this selfless act. Becoming Venom again was what Eddie needed to do in order to save the Marvel Universe. It all made the evolved Venom look that Eddie took on when he began to chase Dark Carnage a strong note to end Absolute Carnage #4.
Having Captain America and Spider-Man accept Eddie’s actions helped put all the decisions the character makes over. If there are heroes that can put over someone as a superhero it is Captain America and Spider-Man. Especially seeing Captain America put his hand on Eddie’s shoulders gave Eddie the full credibility that the character deserved with his actions in Absolute Carnage #4. It’s these type of story decisions that help elevate a character like Eddie who has earned this credibility through the course of Absolute Carnage.
Eddie’s transformation into a full blown superhero as Venom would not have worked out as well if Dark Carnage wasn’t the great villain he has been developed to be. Cates has done a wonderful job making Cletus Kasady’s Dark Carnage a character that revels in being the sick, evil bastard he is. It is honestly refreshing to have that can just be hated for all the villainous actions he takes.
The battle with Venom-Hulk was the perfect way to put over how Dark Carnage views himself as a God. The match-up put over Dark Carnage as someone that God-complex is not just for show. The character has become truly powerful that not even a Venom controlled Hulk can take him down. And the way Dark Carnage took down Venom-Hulk works well in showing what kind of fighter he is. Digging his claws into Venom-Hulk’s brain to cause the Hulk to turn back into Bruce Banner was straight out of a horror movie.
Getting that visual in Absolute Carnage #4 effectively showed that the usual methods of fighting won’t do against Dark Carnage. If our heroes are to defeat Dark Carnage they will have to fight in a way they don’t hold back. Which Cates emphasized with how the Venom symbiote being in control kept Hulk back from fighting back at full power. The subtle way that Cates showed that the Venom symbiote being in full control just played into Dark Carnage’s advantage since there was this dueling mentality in Hulk.
It all set the stage well for the anticipation for Venom and Dark Carnage’s final confrontation. Building up hype for the final fight is exactly what needed to happen going into the final issue of a big event. Accomplishing that will help Cates maximize the effectiveness of the character development that will happen in Absolute Carnage’s conclusion.
Miles Morales supporting role was also well done in Absolute Carnage #4. It was good to see that Eddie getting the clone Carnage symbiote off Miles did not take the character out of commission. Miles served an important role of pushing Eddie forward so that he makes his big hero decision at the end of this issue. This is a good way to position Miles alongside Peter Parker as being important parts in Eddie’s evolution and being the two that must protect the other heroes from the symbiote army in the final issue.
Ryan Stegman continues to provide Absolute Carnage with excellent artwork that works to maximize the tone that Cates is going for in this story. Stegman hits on how wickedly evil Cletus Kasady is as Dark Carnage. The character of Dark Carnage comes across as supremely powerful and that is thanks to how Stegman draws all the action scenes the character is involved in.
Stegman also does a great job in helping to build the hero arc that Eddie goes on. The emotion on Eddie’s face as he asks Spider-Man to let him go out to defend the still unconscious Avengers was powerful. You can tell how much this means to Eddie and how Spider-Man understands where he is coming from through Stegman’s artwork. It made the visual of Venom chasing Dark Carnage even more dynamic as it was something we saw Eddie earn through the course of Absolute Carnage #4.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman combine to deliver yet another excellent chapter of the Absolute Carnage event. Absolute Carnage #4 does a fantastic job showing how wickedly evil Cletus Kasady is as his God-complex reaches its next level. Dark Carange’s evolution complimented the hero journey Eddie Brock takes as his return to being Venom is well earned. By the time we reach the cliffhanger ending the hype for how Absolute Carnage will end is at its max level. Which is exactly how things should be heading into the final issue of a big event.
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