BY MATT TUCK
Carnage: Black, White, and Blood is a trippy look into the bloodthirsty mind of carnage as three tales take you on a journey that is part elseworld and part psychological case study.
CARNAGE: BLACK, WHITE, AND BLOOD #1
Written by: Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, and Al Ewing
Art by: Ken Lashley, Sara Pichelli, and John McCrea
Tini Howard’s opening tale was my favorite of the three, although they were all entertaining and fully embraced the black, white, and red color scheme.
The story takes place in what feels like the closing moments of 1993’s "Maximum Carnage." With his clan defeated, Cletus Kasady is reeling after an attack from Cloak and Dagger. As Carnage gets to his feet, Cloak indulges Cletus as he begins telling his and Scream’s love story.
Mixing past and present and showcasing Carnage’s twisted mind, Howard and Ken Lashley’s “Love Story” tells the story of a conquering Roman soldier after a plague has decimated the city. In true Carnage fashion, he craves blood, but none can be found until he encounters a woman and her baby. Things are not as they appear, and the man snatches the baby from her arms only to find it turn into the Carnage symbiote and infect him.
From there, we are treated to a western version of Carnage. In this case, a bounty hunter is following the bloody devastation of his prey. When he finally comes across his target, we find Carnage hiding in a cave. Just like the first story, Benjamin Percy and Sara Pichelli’s “End of the Trail” closes with the bounty hunter having been infected by the Carnage symbiote.
While I was more engaged with “Love Story,” Pichell’s artwork stood out as the true star of this particular comic, grasping to the pulp origins of classic Western comics.
Finally, there is the most original of the three tales, “You Are Carnage.” This one caught me off guard as it was a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story with a Dungeons & Dragons twist.
Al Ewing directs the reader to roll the dice to accomplish a variety of tasks and decide which panels to proceed to next. The story is like an Agent Venom variant for Carnage with you as the symbiote's pilot on a test run. The rolls of the dice help you determine whether or not you can control Carnage and keep his murderous tendencies on the side of good or if you will succumb to its madness. While it is not a great Carnage story, it certainly is unique and a fun read.
Overall Carnage: Black, White, and Blood is entertaining and worth the cover price for any fans of the sinister symbiote. Outside the Carnage faithful, I can’t see this comic bringing in new fans, but the Patrick Gleason “negative” variant will entice cover hunters.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.