Review – Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics)

Absolute Carnage #1
  • Writing - 8.8/10
  • Art - 9.8/10
  • Overall - 9.3/10
User Review
0/10 (0 votes)


Writer: Donny Cates
Pencils: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 8, 2019

Eddie Brock has to stop Carnage at all costs, but will his symbiote come back to him to once again become Venom? Plus he may need some help from a certain wall-crawling hero!


Absolute Carnage #1

Absolute Carnage arrives in glorious fashion with its first issue. The oversized, overstuffed issue brings the havoc-wreaking symbiote, Carnage, back into the Marvel Universe. With new untold power, he is seeking to destroy anyone that has bonded with a symbiote. It is desperate times for Eddie Brock; without his symbiote, he doesn’t have much to fight with. Will his symbiote come back and once again become Venom? Will that even be enough to stop the mayhem? He might need some help and a certain wall-crawler may be the answer!


Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Ryan Stegman
Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Ryan Stegman

Donny Cates has been building up Absolute Carnage for quite some time now. From the Cult of Carnage to other one-shots, the big event has slowly been built up in the background for a while now. I have been digging Cates’ run on Venom; he has done some very interesting things with the character of Eddie Brock. Cates has also changed up the whole symbiote mythos with Knull, and he continues to expand on that in Silver Surfer: Black (check the reviews for issue #1 and #2). He continues to tell the tale of a downtrodden Eddie Brock in this issue and it serves as a good continuation/companion for the Venom series. I do feel, as well, that even if you are not up to date with Venom or what exactly is going on, Absolute Carnage #1 does a pretty solid job of being new-reader-friendly.

Cates does some solid work throughout the issue. It has a good ominous horror type vibe throughout the issue. This being a triple-sized issue, Cates does a smart move in breaking up the issue into three chapters. I actually took a break between chapters and I feel it helped the storytelling a lot instead of trying to power through all of it. Even things I enjoy, sometimes it is good to take a little break and come back to it. I feel it really helped the reading experience for the larger-format issue.

A little spoiler, maybe, but Spider-Man is in this issue and I absolutely adore Donny Cates writing Peter Parker. The tone and wit feel right and he seems to have a good connection to the character that comes through the pages superbly well. 


Ryan Stegman on pencils, with JP Mayer on inks, is an absolute beast in the art department for Absolute Carnage #1. They offer some truly mesmerizing visuals throughout the issue. There is a wonderful amount of detail in each and every page and panel, with some stunning two-page spreads throughout the issue. The characters are fantastically well detailed and designed. I adore the way Stegman draws Venom. He has great cartooning and expressions—from the classic giant teeth and grins to a more subdued face, it all looks great.

The action sequences are also superbly well laid out. The panel structure and movement it brings to the pages works extremely well. The characters are also very dynamic; everything has a great sense of motion, speed, and impact. The art team does an exceptional job of bringing everything to life on the pages.

I spoke about in the writing how Absolute Carnage had a great ominous horror type vibe to it. A lot of that has to do with the art and the coloring work from Frank Martin. He paints the issue in a very dark tone of colors. Everything is washed in a little bit of a darker hue. Even in the brighter scenes, his coloring reminds you of the threat lurking behind our heroes.


Absolute Carnage #1 delivers a start to a high-octane contained event comic. Cates catches the tone well for the characters and the story at large, while the art team delivers some truly stunning visuals throughout the issue. While you may love or hate the symbiotes in the Marvel Universe, you can’t deny Absolute Carnage is a fantastic read.

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