REVIEW: Venomverse #3 – “Carnage”

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Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciler: Iban Coello
Colorist: Matt Yackey
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 9/20/17

During a routine battle with a villain, Venom was transported to another world where Captain America and Doctor Strange (both bonded with venom symbiotes) were recruiting fellow Venoms in a war against a species called Poisons. Unfortunately, things are looking dire for the Venoms. Captain America and Spider-Man were both captured and turned, and now Deadpool has willingly surrendered. What’s left for Eddie to do?

Plot: While Deadpool is being acclimated into the Hive of Poisons, Mary Jane and Rocket are working with Ant-Man to potentially explode their enemies. At the same time, Eddie has convinced Doctor Strange to try something drastic – though the others are not convinced it will do any good. His plan involves roping Carnage into the battle, which seems like a recipe for disaster.

As if on cue, the Poisons show up to wreak havoc and Carnage must decide which victims he’d prefer. While it seems he picks the side of the Venoms for now, that choice is not without its consequences for the team.

Story: Venomverse #3 pushes the envelope further in terms of violence and carnage – ha! – and manages to raise the stakes for the Venoms. The fact that it does so without delving much into the feelings of individual characters or relationships between them is actually rather impressive, but you have to be deeply invested in the large-scale war between the symbiotes and parasites to be along for the ride here. Thankfully, there are a few interesting moments between Rocket and MJ, for example, and fans of Carnage will be happy to see him in all his deranged glory. But, much like Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again, it’s hard to be invested in any one character since they will most likely be turned into a Poison by the end of the issue.

On the flip side, the murderous nature of the story allows for different characters to have their time in the sun. Last issue gave more space to Deadpool and Spider-Man, while this week’s outing lets Carnage do the heavy-lifting in terms of action and has Doctor Strange holding down the emotional fort. It’s hard to see how the story will be wrapped up in only two issues, given how dire things look for the Venoms at the moment, but the wacky surprises are part of the event’s charm.

Art: There are bold lines and vibrant colors throughout Venomverse #3, which make for an enjoyable immersion into what might otherwise be a dark and dreary world. Iban Coello and Matt Yackey work to make Cullen Bunn’s story pop and thrive on the pages. There is a fluidity in the action sequences, making the fights that take up a large portion of the issue come to life instead of feeling stagnant.

While facial expressions are mostly rendered irrelevant by venom masks or poison coverings, the few times that faces are shown they are etched with a great deal of emotion – whether it be of the humorous or fearful kind. Overall the art team is successful in feeding into the fun tone, making for an excellent contrast against the near-certain doom awaiting these characters.

Verdict: If the crossover event has kept your interest so far, then Venomverse #3 is a great addition to the story. It puts the heroes even more at risk while just barely giving a peek at what salvation may soon lie in store.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

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