Absolute Carnage: Lethal Protectors #3 Review

by Nick Devonald on October 23, 2019

Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Flaviano
Color Artist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel

Lethal Protectors is filled with little throwbacks and nods to previous symbiote adventures. Even the title, Lethal Protectors, is a reference to Venom: Lethal Protector, Eddie Brocks first series as main character, and also putting Venom forward as anti-hero rather than villain. Issue #1 introduced the villains from Maximum Carnage, while issue #2 introduced the supporting heroes.

It’s also a direct continuation of Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage, released in April as part of the set up for Absolute Carnage’s release in September. Cult of Carnage is a follow up to Carnage in the U.S.A., which is a major influencer of Absolute Carnage.
As you can see this is a series for the symbiote superfans. New readers don’t need to be alarmed though, everything is explained thoroughly enough to understand, and this tie-in series might even help understanding with the overall events of Absolute Carnage.
Can it be read with no knowledge of these past events? Yes, it’s explained well enough that you don’t need a degree in Symbiote history to understand, but is extra rewarding for long time fans.

But put all that aside and answer the real question, is it any good? Good? Yes. Great? Not so much. The biggest problem it faces, other than the massive knowledge expected of its readers, is that it really pales in comparison to the main Absolute Carnage and Venom series. They’re so good it lowers what could have been a good series to only mediocre.

So what’s good about it? Whilst not essential reading to the event it gives us more of a street level view of what’s going on in New York which the main series has been missing. And if the conclusion to the issue is accurate these characters are all going to be showing up again in the Absolute Carnage conclusion so you’re sure to get a better understanding of what’s going on by reading this.

The artwork is quite chaotic in this issue, done intentionally to emphasise how manic and overwhelming the fight between our Lethal Protectors and Carnage’s hordes are. It works well for this, but I’m not sure how keen I would be on it if this was a comic with less action. The previous two issues (By the same art team) seem to have clearer art, but I do think that has been an intentional decision.

What doesn’t work as well? First off by taking a number of B-list characters and putting them up against Carnage they really ought to be slaughtered. Obviously not Marvels intention, but they should be out of their depth rather than holding their own. Being a tie-in rather than an essential comic there’s also no real character development or moments for individual characters to shine. But that’s the nature of the beast.

In conclusion this gives us a look at the chaos engulfing New York which has been skimmed over in the other series, brings back a whole host of characters familiar to readers from Maximum Carnage, and sets things up for an epic battle in Absolute Carnage #5. On the downside there is a lot, a lot, of references to older series that newer readers, or even less well read fans, might find confusing or off putting. Not essential reading, but recommended for more than just completionists. Casual fans of the main series can skip it though without missing out. (This is subject to change since Absolute Carnage #5 hasn’t been released, but I doubt it.)

Our Score:


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