Just because you’ve never been bonded to a symbiote, that doesn’t make you safe. Miles learns this the hard way in Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1, out this week from Marvel Comics.
The Scorpion (Matt Gargan) attempts to rip-off an armored truck, coincidentally right in from of Miles. The two faceoff, with the young Spider-Man actually starting to gain the upper hand. Just then, Carnage’s squad of symbiotes crashes the scene, and Miles is caught up in the middle of the horror.
If you weren’t aware, this book exists as a side-story to the Absolute Carnage event currently unfolding. The entirety of Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 is, in essence, one continuous action sequence. The book picks up with Gargan’s heist, and remains firmly planted in the moment-to-moment sequence of events.
Beyond the intense action, the issue serves to reinforce Miles as one of Marvel’s most idealistic characters. The Scorpion serves as a perfect foil to Miles; the former is cold and viscous, the latter unfailingly principled. Upon realizing the symbiotes are not consciously attacking him, Miles insists they try not to hurt them. Scorpion, for his part, is wholly uninterested in whether the assailants live or die. This characterization comes through loud and clear in the book.
“We can do this without killing them!” Miles exclaims at one point, to which Gargan replies “Maybe. But where’s the fun in that?” This contrast of personalities is a deliberate move on the part of writer Saladin Ahmed, who describes Gargan in a recent interview as “a surly, thorough scumbag – a monster of a person” (warning: interview contains spoilers).
Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 is engaging and compelling from beginning to end. The only real problem is that it isn’t really essential to the overall narrative.
The book relays events we see unfold in Absolute Carnage #2, only viewed with a focus on Miles’s story, rather than Eddie Brock’s. If you haven’t yet read that book, the events here will likely come as a surprise. That said, Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 doesn’t bring much new information to the table if you’ve read it already.
As mentioned, the book is essentially one continuous action scene. With a lesser artist on duty, it could have easily devolved into a hard-to-follow blur of confused and disjointed illustrations. Fortunately, artist Federico Vicentini proves up to the task, providing some excellent visual work for Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1.
The work captures the chaos with vivid, dynamic energy without disorienting the reader. The artist lays out each page in a different manner, but follows a regular, starkly-delineated scheme from one panel to the next. As a result, we can follow from panel to panel, never feeling lost or unmoored. Vicentini’s character designs are angular, yet sleek and stylized. The style lends itself well to the action on the page and drives home the energy of the storytelling.
Erick Arciniega provides colors for Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1. His work is vibrant and meshes well with the dynamism of Vincentini’s illustrations. He shadows streaking figures in motion, distinguishing them from stationary objects and making the figures leap off the page.
Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 is a fun and action-packed read. If you’re only interested in material essential to the larger Absolute Carnage event though, it can be skipped. Check it out for yourself at your local comic book shop.