Writers: Ryan Stegman, Declan Shalvey & Ed Brisson.
Artists: Joe Bennet, Stephen Mooney & Scott Hepburn
Color Artists: Mattia Iacono & Andres Mossa
Cover Artists: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer & Jason Keith
Marvel keeps the red flowing as more writers and artists team-up to unleash more stories featuring everyone’s favorite crimson symbiote villain Carnage. In Carnage: Black, White and Blood #4, readers get three more tense tales featuring Carnage and the mayhem and chaos only he can cause in life and death.
So, this comic has quite the lineup of writers and artists paired up together. The first story is “Carnage Beyond” written by Ryan Stegman who fans may recognize as the primary artist for the main Venom series. He’s taking the writing role this time with excellent art by The Immortal Hulk’s artist Joe Bennett. Now this story follows the first issue’s lead, where it picks up a story element from the main series involving Carnage and runs with it for a short story.
Like the story written by Donny Cates, this story takes place after King in Black as Dylan is now Venom and involves the Venom Beyond story arc from before. The story is well-written and nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not the most compelling and could be downright confusing to anyone not reading the main series at all or who forgot that story arc. Especially if you have no idea who Dylan is. However, the main star of this short story is Joe Bennett’s art as he brings the magic from The Immortal Hulk into this story and makes both Venom and Carnage look amazing and monstrous.
The second story “Skin Deep” is more of a personal deep-dive into the mind of Cletus Kasady himself. It’s written by Declan Shalvey and drawn by Stephen Mooney. This story at first takes a more noire-kind of tone as it establishes a Cletus Kasady who seems more sane but paranoid than usual. Why? Without spoiling much, it’s because he can see “monsters”. Everywhere he looks, everywhere he turns, there are monsters all around him and no one notices.
The story really takes this internal direction for the character as it establishes the character’s voice and paranoia pretty well. It has this slow build up with its depiction of Cletus Kasady’s downward spiral that comes with some bloody developments as you’d expect. In the end, it’s a fine story but it’s a little predictable once you catch on to it. Nothing groundbreaking here, but there is a big reveal that might satisfy Carnage fans.
The third story, “The End of Humanity” is the most different one in this trio. It takes things into a more extreme direction. It’s written by Ed Brisson and illustrated by Scott Hepburn, where things have gone downhill for the world. This story takes a more post-apocalyptic direction, nothing stands out too much, but the main point of focus is the main character of Caden.
Caden’s narration is what drives this story; it establishes the setting, relays his woes and fears, talks about the other characters. And of course, it follows the horror that comes with contact with Carnage of any level. This may be the weakest of the three stories but it’s not a terrible story either. If you can get into the post-apocalyptic theme then the rest will fall into place when Carnage finally shows up.
Carnage: Black, White and Blood #4 brings readers three more stories full of Carnage murder and mayhem. One of the stories will hit better for fans who have been following the current Venom series, while the others are just good on their own that don’t require extra reading. The choice of artists work well here as each brings something new to the table when it comes illustrating Carnage.