Mild Spoilers Ahead
Eddie looks back on the first time he met Cletus Kasady at Ryker’s while, in the present, Venom and Carnage battle in the skies over New York City. Meanwhile, Amazing Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Captain America, the Thing, Wolverine, and Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales) are being overwhelmed by Norman Osborn and Carnage’s Dopplegangers. All seems lost, until the Lethal Protectors, Captain Marvel, Scream, and Deadpool arrive to save the Avengers. However, that still leaves the matter of the symbiote codices and the coming of Knull. Even if Venom kills Carnage, Knull will still awaken.
Absolute Carnage #5 closes out this Venom-centric epic with a final brutal duel between Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady. Eddie is armed with the combined codices removed from the Avengers, and Carnage is armed with the Grendel and Venom’s own symbiote.
At its best, Absolute Carnage #5 is a brutal showdown between Venom and Carnage. At its worst, the comic wraps things up so quickly that it almost feels like a non-ending.
To elaborate on that, once the Lethal Protectors arrive, we see nothing more of the Avengers and the Doppelgangers. Plus, Carnage goes down far too quickly.
On the flip side, the loose ends keep the book true to its horror atmosphere. Knull is still a problem at the end, we still don’t know what Dylan Brock is, and it seems unlikely that all of Carnage’s allies and minions went down with the ship. It’s a hollow victory, and fits this comic well.
Ryan Stegman once again provides brilliant and often macabre visual work to this big finale to Absolute Carnage. The design of Venom and Carnage in this issue is fantastic, and the fight between them is aptly brutal. Mark Bagley provides the artwork for the Ryker’s Island flashback, and he, of course, lives up to his legendary reputation. Frank Martin’s color art is grim, and that’s perfect for the book.
Absolute Carnage #5 is a solid finale to this horrific epic. While it does fall short of expectations in some regards, the book still has plenty of high points. The artwork is fantastic, the final battle is cool, and the pyrrhic victory gives the ending as much a macabre tone as the opening issue. This one still earns a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.
Absolute Carnage #5 comes to us from writer Donny Cates, artists Ryan Stegman and Mark Bagley, inkers JP Mayer, Jay Leisten, and John Dell, color artist Frank Martin, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Ryan Stegman with JP Mayer with Frank Martin, and variant cover artists John Tyler Christopher; Paolo Rivera; Mark Bagley with John Dell and Jason Keith; Kyle Hotz with Dan Brown; Mike Del Mundo; Inhyuk Lee; and Greg Land with Jay Leisten and Frank D’Armata.
Final Score: 7.5/10
Mild Spoilers Ahead