An American werewolf in a mine… with Carnage. This is a fight fans weren’t expecting thanks to the Toxin red-herring but it’s the one they got. Luckily it delivered all the thrills and spills people expected.
Yes, the excellent new Carnage series continues with its third issue and this time around the Crimson Killer faces off with the monstrous Man-Wolf. As stated, fans had been eagerly anticipating the eventual showdown between Carnage and fellow symbiote, Toxin. That confrontation will undoubtedly happen in the not-so-distant future but for now readers will have been more than satiated by the physical encounter presented here.
Of course the addition of a werewolf steered the tone of this comic yet again, taking it from a supernatural crime thriller that explored the mind of a murderer more so than that of a supervillain and switching it to a rather campy B-movie horror. This isn’t a knock on the book though as it is still every bit as enjoyable and deliciously dark as it has ever been and the ever evolving tone means that readers are not going to find themselves growing tired anytime soon.
Accompanying the main plot are some equally entertaining sub-stories concerning the usual comic book tropes; betrayal being chief among them. Last month the mine owner who allowed his land to be used in the attempted capture of Carnage was revealed as a traitor though his motives remained hidden. This time some light is shed on this development although not enough to quell anyone’s curiosity. What is particularly noteworthy about this character’s aiding of Carnage is that it has allowed for a complete change in the direction of the story. There were previously concerns that this very linear tale had a logical end point that was fast approaching, the ending of this book has turned that on its head and opened up a whole world of new possibilities, perhaps literally.
Gerry Conway is deserving of massive praise for his work on this title. He has consistently taken the reader in one direction and then switched at the last minute, keeping intrigue and suspense at a scintillating high. He has also balanced the classic horror elements with those of the modern crime procedural and classic crime noir and the result is a book with something for everyone that does not sacrifice the integrity of any of the characters featured within. Even with his continued teasing of a Toxin appearance without delivering one he does not lose fans but rather keeps them coming back in hope of finally seeing Eddie Brock transform.
Once more Andy Troy and Mike Perkins have blended together to create a book with superior artistry. The previously mentioned tones of horror and crime noir are represented expertly through the use of a primarily gloomy colour palette coupled with vibrant yet not overly cartoony colourings that allow the key personalities to really pop on the page. Carnage and Man-Wolf in particular get this treatment and as such they appear to be every bit the larger-than-life creatures that they should be.
It should come as no surprise that Carnage #3 is yet another triumph as this team have proven their skill in bringing these characters to print. The concept remains highly interesting even with the complete 180 in direction and is more than enough to keep fans coming back for future issues. Let’s just hope that whatever lies beyond those gates is just as excellent as what sits before them.
Score: 4.5 out of 5.