Writer: Ram V
Artist: Francesco Manna
Color Artist: Dijjo Lima
Cover Artist: Kendrick “Kunnka” Lim
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cletus Kasady and the Carnage symbiote have been inseparable for decades, becoming one of the most murderous supervillains on Earth. But after their last separation, the Carnage symbiote is beginning its own bloody journey. However, two tag-alongs have also become a part of that journey, and in Carnage #2, the crimson symbiote decides what to do with the both of them.
Last time we saw the Carnage symbiote showing Kenneth “The Artist” how to make Hydro-Man into a portal of some kind. However, their encounter is interrupted, brief as it is, by detective John Shayde who has been pursuing “The Artist” for some time now. While they don’t have a fateful encounter or any interaction to speak of, Carnage sees potential in the detective as well as what he can bring to Kenneth’s own development.
Now, nothing major exactly happens in this comic. The focus of this story is the theme of transformation. We see this play out in three ways with John Shayde, Kenneth “The Artist”, and even the Carnage symbiote. Ram V plays this idea that when dealing with serial killers, everyone involved is changed or transformed in some way, both the killer and those who pursue them. John Shayde develops as he is transformed in more ways by his encounter with the Carnage symbiote, fleshing him out a little as the main POV character. Meanwhile, Carnage takes Kenneth under his wing, mentoring him, encouraging him, in his own dark way, to understand himself so he can transform into something more monstrous.
All of which begs the question: What does Carnage want to transform into? The comic doesn’t give away any big hints as it focuses more on exploring this theme through the characters. The art by Francesco Manna with Dijjo Lima’s colors continue to make this a fun and macabre comic to read. On top of delivering solid facial expressions, poses, etc. the artwork manages to balance out the mundane in terms of tone, bodies, and colors with the macabre in the dark, surreal, and twisted especially when it comes to depicting Carnage.
Of course, the story’s far from over and while Detective Shayde has barely any interaction with The Artist, he has left an impression on the serial killer as Shayde readies to continue the case tracking down both killers. However, Carnage is done with his journey as he prepares to face his next target which continues to escalate the mystery, hopefully for the better.
Admittedly, one problem with this comic is the lack of horror, both visual and emotional. However, the comic’s story makes up for that with the theme of transformation with the characters and there are still snippets of murder here and there, but nothing to brag home about. It does help that the comic implements some surprise developments for Detective Shayde, and it can either develop into some good thrilling action or deliver some tense horror situations and scenarios for him. We’ll see in the next issue.
Carnage #2 continues the Carnage symbiote’s dark journey with a couple of tag-alongs. The comic is a little light on the horror but it explores this sense of dark “transformation” between all three characters in several ways that will continue in the next issue. The art from Francesco Manna with Dijjo Lima’s colors continue to make the comic look great.