Writer: Ram V
Artist: Francesco Manna
Color Artist: Dijjo Lima
Cover Artist: Kendrick “Kunkka” Lim
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Carnage is loose! No longer bonded to Cletus Kasady, the crimson symbiote is on his own quest towards greater power and mayhem. He’s brought a tag-along in the burgeoning serial killer Kenneth Neeley as his own sidekick, but Neeley also comes with the hard-hitting police detective Jonathan Shayde in hot pursuit. In Carnage #4, Detective Shayde does what he can to stay hot on the heels of Carnage and Neeley!
This issue’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It’s a much slower comic than the previous issues. Whereas the third issue was more self-contained and made some sense as to how things figured together, this issue is a little more underwhelming and feels purposefully incomplete. Like, it’s leaving how and why a certain element in the story fits into everything concerning Carnage’s current goals.
Don’t let the synopsis fool you, this comic doesn’t provide readers with any more murder and bloodshed than is to be expected from Carnage. It certainly doesn’t outdo what Ram V had Carnage do to either Hydro-Man or the Spot in the previous issue. In fact, you could say that you don’t really get that much Carnage in this book, which is partly because of the comic shifting focus onto the next “piece” in Carnage’s plot.
The art team continue to pull it off in Carnage #4. When it comes to the art department, there’s no complaints from this reviewer. Francesco Manna continues to nail it with the eerie designs of Carnage mixed with Dijjo Lima’s colors that keep making this alien villain and his scenes of murder cool to see. The only nitpick is that there’s no real big scenes of murder from Carnage like in previous issues. However, when it comes to the new location and its denizens, Manna and Lima show their art combination works with Sci-Fi aliens as well as more fantastical things too.
The thing about this is comic is that it feels like it’s purposefully slowing things down compared to previous issues. You can see this in the story, characters, and pacing. In the story, slight SPOILERS, but the comic takes you to Svartelheim, the realm of the Dark Elves. There, Carnage and Neeley are after a certain something directly connected to Malekith the Accursed. The comic spends several pages on setting this up and the state we find the Dark Elves prior to Carnage’s arrival. However, it’s all setup, even for Neeley who’s left in a rather interesting predicament, but like everything else in this issue, the comic leaves the payoff specifically for the next issue.
Things get more confusing on Detective Shayde’s end of things, as not much else happens with him until he reaches his own destination. Again, slight SPOILERS, but let’s just say, readers will be far more confused when Shayde meets a Spider-Man related heroine who’s connected to the Spider-side of the Multiverse. It’s still confusing stuff, but at least I’m aware of the concept. For anyone else, they’ll be caught completely by surprise by not only the heroine’s existence but also what she’s talking about. Overall, readers shouldn’t expect much from this issue other than a quick read.
Carnage #4 shows the next piece in Carnage’s plan to greater heights of murder and chaos. However, this issue is a little more slower than previous issues. Not much happens for Carnage or both Detective Shayde and Neeley, but at least Neeley has some interesting setup for the next issue. Other than that, it’s a fine quick read.