Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Clayton Crain
Marvel Comics | graphic novel | $19.99
Review by From the Booth‘s own KEN
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Carnage fan. A big part of that is me misremembering Maximum Carnage which I read sometime around my ninth birthday. Upon rereading it, it was terrible. But the combo of Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain on a number of Carnage books (Carnage: Family Feud, Venom vs. Carnage, Carnage USA) was more than enough for me to rediscover my love for everyone’s favorite symbiotic serial killer.
Zeb Wells has written so many great books it’s impossible to squeeze them into this review but the highlights are Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack MurdockAvenging Spider-ManAmazing Spider-Man and New Mutants. He also is an actor and writer on the amazing show, Robot ChickenClayton Crain is best known for Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation and Sensational Spider-Man. Crain is a somewhat polarizing figure since he uses digital painting techniques in his art. Although some people don’t like his distorted oil panting-like look, many others think it represents the next leap forward in artwork.
The story opens with an armored truck heist that is anything but normal. Spider-Man’s long lost Doppelganger has come out of hiding and is determined to get whatever is being transported in this vehicle. With an assist from Iron Man and some mysterious high tech security agents, the Doppelganger’s plot is foiled. As the truck reaches its destination, Shriek (Doppelganger’s “mother” from Maximum Carnage) steps out of the van and is confronted with the not-contained-for-long Carnage symbiote.
Wells has once again hit a home run with Family Feud by reuniting many of the main characters of Maximum Carnage and writing a better story in six issues than was previously written in twelve. He is ably assisted by Crain whose digital palate is perfect for displaying the wet, sharp tendrils of Carnage which seem to menace the reader in every panel. Whether a panel takes up an entire page or their erratic layout leaves an unusual amount of negative space between them, each one squeezes the most detail possible into the artwork.
It’s easy to see why Marvel kept Wells and Crain together for three Carnage miniseries. The synergy of storytelling and art is as seamless here as it was on the first arc of Savage Wolverine where Frank Cho both wrote and drew the book. It’s a shame they didn't get tapped for the current five issue miniseries, Superior Carnage.
Final rating (out of 5): 


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