Absolute Carnage #5 Review

by Nick Devonald on November 20, 2019

Writer: Donny Cates
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inkers: JP Mayer & Jay Leisten
Colors: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Wow. This issue was everything I wanted it to be. A perfect conclusion to Marvels event of the decade. Donny Cates & Ryan Stegman are the perfect duo, forget the Avengers, forget Batman & Superman, the best team up in comics is Cates & Stegman. Their swan song on Absolute Carnage also turns out to be quintessential Cates & Stegman. Masterful storytelling interweaved with stunning artwork.

This is the end of Absolute Carnage and it delivers on all fronts. The final showdown between a powered-up Venom & Carnage which has been teased all along.

We have all the supporting cast from all the tie-ins showing up. Epic battles. Yet we still have time for all the smaller moments that really make Cates’ writing stand out from the crowd. Everything is present.

All the main characters from Absolute Carnage get their moment to shine, but the focus is on Venom & Carnage, as it should be. We even get a reminder in the intro pages of their initial introduction and how long this confrontation has been building for. And then looming in the background is the threat of Knull, always lurking, ever present.

Dylan has really had a chance to shine throughout, and this issue has some nice throwbacks to the start of the event where he repeats a line that both Eddie and Peter said.

Normally, even when I score something a 10/10 I have something that doesn’t quite sit right, some niggle or little annoyance. I can’t fault a single thing with this issue. I sat with a big cheesy grin throughout the issue. Perfection.

The art by Ryan Stegman is top notch as always, the colors from Frank Martin have really given this series its own distinct personality and this issue is no exception. The art has really shone throughout the series and been one of many things which have made it stand out from the crowd.

Over this run on Venom and Absolute Carnage we’ve gotten to know Eddie Brock in a way that previous series haven’t, and he’s really had a chance to grow and change. That has been one of the highlights of this series and watching Eddie’s relationship with his son grow has been fantastic. Things will never be the same for them again, and I can’t wait to see the consequences of that in future issues.

We get a payoff from Dylan’s storyline that has been months in the making. And we see Eddie doing what every father would do, protecting his son no matter what. He’s really accepted his role in Dylans life over the course of this event, and his actions really do reflect this.

Towards the end of the issue Eddie is faced with an impossible challenge but he doesn’t hesitate, where heroes would be paralysed with indecision he does the best he can. His choice reminds us why Brock is an anti-hero despite always trying to do his best. It’s just one of the things that make the character so interesting. There will be long term consequences to his decision which I can’t wait to see played out.

A very bittersweet ending that only makes me more excited for the future of Venom under Donny Cates masterful storytelling.

An unbelievably good conclusion to one of comics most epic events thanks to a perfect collaboration between artist and storyteller. This is an absolute must read. I can’t emphasise enough how good this issue, and whole event, is.

Our Score:


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