Review: Carnage U.S.A. #4 – Venom Assembles

Carnage U.S.A. #4 of 5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Clayton Crain

Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain’s Carnage U.S.A. begins to wind down this month as  Spider-Man rallies Doverton’s survivors and Venom joins the fray.

Last issue, Captain America was able to break free of the Carnage symbiote’s control long enough to call for help from Venom (who is now a member of the Secret Avengers if you’re out of the loop).  Of course, Venom shows up this issue right as the government task force powered by the de-amalgamated Hybrid symbiote is failing and Carnage is about to tear Spider-Man’s eyes out through his mask (while promising it will be “like your skull is givin’ birth!”).

Unfortunately, Spider-Man stops Venom from blowing Carnage’s head off, giving Carnage a moment to regain the upper hand (and control of Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye, and the Thing) before Tanis Nieves (AKA the most recent addition to Marvel’s long list of symbiote characters, Scorn) uses a bulldozer to push both Carnage and Venom into a…silo of some sort? Whatever it is, it causes the symbiotes to leave both men and run off, and leaves Venom’s host, Flash Thompson, in a compromising situation with mass murderer Cletus Kasady.

If my description of the plot sounds a bit chaotic, that’s because this issue moved along at breakneck speed. That’s not to say the writing suffered–it didn’t. Wells’ Carnage gets more and more maniacal with every issue he writes the character, and his Spider-Man stays well in-line with the “No One Dies” status quo Dan Slott has set for the character.

Most of the backgrounds remain relatively sparse, but that’s to be expected when each frame is painted by hand on a monthly title and features the amount of character detail that Crain includes here. It really works in his favor that this story is set in a small Midwest town because there isn’t really anything to see in a place like that, anyways.

I’m excited to see how this one wraps up (and hopefully get more of an explanation for that big silo thing).

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

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Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.