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ABSOLUTE CARNAGE (2019) #4 review



Absolute Carnage (Marvel Comics)

You can pickup your copy of Absolute Carnage #4 now where all good comics are sold.


THE PENULTIMATE CHAPTER OF THE SYMBIOTIC EVENT OF THE YEAR! Eddie Brock has taken a beating, lost the allies closest to him, and, after the shocking events of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: #3, sees no way to take Cletus Kasady down once and for all without making the ultimate sacrifice. But what IS the ultimate sacrifice? Of the two beings that are bonded as VENOM, which will make it out alive?


Writer Donny Cates left us all hanging on a massive cliffhanger with Absolute Carnage #3. It was like that classic moment in your favourite TV series where you’re reaching the season finale and everything is looking bleak.

Then, just when all hope feels lost, it gets even worse thanks to a Hulk-sized plot twist. Only in this case that Hulk-sized plot twist is actually The Hulk!

Having the Venom symbiote turn its back on Eddie Brock and jump to Bruce Banner was a genius plot twist for several reasons. Firstly it offers the art team the chance to do something we’ve never seen before: Venom-Hulk. It also opens up the opportunities to make the scale of Absolute Carnage even more grandiose than it already is.

But maybe most importantly it leaves Eddie feeling abandoned and allows us to explore more of the emotional impact of living with – and now without – a symbiote.

Whilst Absolutely Carnage is undoubtedly a story of that character’s return and the absolute hell it unleashes on New York, it’s also a story about Eddie accepting his place in the world as an anti-hero, a father figure and as a central character in the Marvel Universe.

Over the course of four issues Absolute Carnage has grown to become an all encompassing event bringing in Avengers, Spider-People and Hulks alike. Cates has crafted the story in a way which has allowed it to grow issue-by-issue to the point where we’re now faced with an apocalypse-level event.

It’s cleverly grown very authentically over the course of those four issues and is easily one of Marvel’s most successful events to date. The rest of the Marvel Universe should be paying attention to just how Cates has been able to keep the series feeling fresh and unique without any reliance on plot contrivances to drive it to leave it feeling disingenuous to its characters.

What I find particularly engaging about this issue is that as the events around him spiral out of control and the scope of the book grows Eddie becomes more insular and isolated. The two are at polar opposite ends of the spectrum and yet one is feeding the other through the story.

This issue appears to be the pinnacle of Eddie’s search for self acceptance and we see that play out as he decides to take on Carnage firstly with his bare hands and then by accepting all of the other symbiotes housed in Future Reed’s machine.

The only place I felt the issue was lacking was in having Eddie face up to his role as a father to Dylan. Amongst the war raging around him it would have been interesting to take a beat and have him come clean about who he is. By the book’s end it seems unlikely Eddie will survive the whole event so to have him not tell Dylan could potentially end up being Absolute Carnage‘s biggest missed opportunity.

There’s very little left to say about Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer and Frank Martin’s artwork. This is another incredibly immersive book in the series. Once again the shades of red are in abundance and character take on an animated look which really comes to life on the page.

The trio has done outstanding work on visualising the scale of Cate’s scripts each month and it will be exciting to see what the final issue will bring us.


Absolute Carnage continues its rampage through the world of Marvel with another atmospheric, emotionally charged issue which dives head first in to the series concluding chapter.


Absolute Carnage #4 is written by Donny Cates with pencils by Ryan Stegman, inks by J.P. Mayer and colours by Frank Martin. All three also provide cover art.

Absolute Carnage #4 cover art by Ryan Stegman

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