Carnage USA by Zeb Wells

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For whatever reason, and I haveIMG_1772 no idea why, when this one first came out a few years back I decided to read it. Again this is one of the few that I actually collected the single individual issues as they were published. I think the artwork and the covers sold me, as there are very cool and very unique. Also, I really didn’t know much about Carnage and had not seen him in much during my reading so wanted to see what he, and all of his craziness, was up to.

Zeb Wells, which is an awesome name, has a pretty unique background. I couldn’t find out much information about him, but I did see that he is was a writer for RobotChicken, which is the stop animation show on Cartoon Network IMG_1773with all the old action figures and dolls. From there he seems to have come out of nowhere and made the transition into the comic world. He has mostly written on a few of the lesser known crossover series, and I am not saying that to diminish his work by any means. He did write a story about the origins of Venom, whIMG_1775ich I would like to check out some day. It seems that the bulk of his work is on Spider-Man and the related friends and enemies of the Webslinger, but he also wrote a large stent on the title New Mutants. This is the first story of his that I have read.

This one takes place in a small town in Colorado. Carnage is on the loose and ready to cause some, dare I say carnage. See what I did there? He quickly uses the symbiote to bond with just about every citizen of the small town. Soon the Avengers show up but they too are bonded and now work for Carnage, Spider-Man is the only one to get away. Later a group of Special Forces shows up who specialize in fighting Carnage and other symoiotes. Soon after that Venom gets thrown into the mix. Will the Special Forces, Spider-Man, and Venom have what it takes to stop CarnaIMG_1776ge?

It has been quite a while since I read this one, but I think the story itself was just ok. I will say that I did enjoy the character Cletus Kasady. He seems to me to be the closest equivalent to the Joker in the Marvel Universe. Characters like the Joker always fascinate me, as they are just all around bad and don’t seem to have a master plan like so many other villains. Carnage seems to be a crazy person that has some superhuman powers, who seems to live from one moment to the next and has total disregard for anyone else. He is a very interesting character, one that I think there is not enough stories in the MU about, or I will admit that I have not read enough of.

While reading I felt that the story was just very simple, and laIMG_1778cked any real depth. To me there was nothing spectacular going on. This just kind of seemed like a one off story that was meant to give Carnage some limelight, which don’t get me wrong is cool, but it felt weird and different somehow. It felt like just a standalone story that really had nothing to do with anything else.

With that being said there is a prelude, if you want to call it that, before this one. Carnage Family Feud was the series before this one, so I am thinking that this is a somewhat continuation of the story. So without reading the first part I think this one feels a little off. However I cannot say for certain how much Family Feud leads into this story, but upon further research it seems that Family Feud does lead into this story. So I think I need to read that one before I can truly judge this one.

TIMG_1774he artwork on this one is two sides of the same coin. I will explain. First I would like to say that the artwork is pretty awesome looking. It is a very unique traditional style, and by that I mean that it is not cartoony, but it is very stylized. It is very hard to describe and at times looks like some sort of claymation artwork, regardless it is a very neat style and one that I do not think I have seen before. The thing I felt that was weird about it is that as the story goes on the artwork gets progressively darker and darker. To open with the artwork is very bright and vibrant, but as the story continues it gets very dark and almost every scene has no bright colors but is swallowed by dark shades. Honestly it was hard to take good IMG_1779pictures to post for the interview because of how dark the pages were. I am not sure if this was done on purpose or what. It is certainly noticeable and to me made a lot of the scenes hard to look at especially with the glossy pages as the light bounced off every page. The colors as I have said start out very bright and vibrant then make a U turn to dark town. As you can see from the pictures I have poseted the brighter colors in the artwork really give the reader something special, so I am not sure of the reasoning to go with such a dark color scheme to finish out the book. The final few chapters have almost no bright colors in them. Everything is replaced with grays, blacks, and dark blues, it is very dull but the artwork really picks up the slack where the colors are absent. I did like the page layouts and felt they were very original for the most part. They were a nice little mix up from the usual. I also wanted to say that when you couple all the aspects of the artwork together the book had a very modern feel to it, like it was this new contemporary comic book. This is the first one that I have read in a while where the pages the book was printed on were whitIMG_1780e, and honestly it does give a different feel to the book and story as a whole. That is something you don’t always think about or even notice, but it stuck out in this one and does give some very different vibes while reading.

Overall I am not sure what to say about this one. The story was ok, nothing special, but that artwork is both really cool, but at the same time hard to enjoy because of the very noticeable dark scenes as they were very hard to truly enjoy. I also wanted to mention that the cover art is pretty amazing and the artist draws Carnage posing from a few famous paintings. Again there is something about this book that has a very different feel to it and I think it is the white pages. Behind the actual scenes the white give the sense that there is so much more space that was not used. It almost feels like watching a movie or something, where new scenes are just flying at the reader and coming out of nowhere. The normal black pages seem to add a backdrop where the scenes are stuck to, but the white is somethingIMG_1781 new and different. I recommend this one if you are a huge Spidy fan, or if you are interested to see how the page layouts with the white backgrounds affect the visual perception of the story. Despite a lackluster story there are some very cool aspects to this one.

Manik

 

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