Carnage #6 is written by Ram V, illustrated by Roge Antonio, colored by Erick Arciniega, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. This issue launches a new story arc titled “Carnage In Hell,” and it plans to live up to that name. Carnage, having laid waste to the realm of Svartálfarheim, now ventures into Niffelheim to find Malekith. This does not sit well with Hela, who sends legions of her monsters to battle the sinister symbiote. Meanwhile, Jonathan Shayde has arrived on Svartlfarheim to free Malekith – but must also contend with Cletus Kasady’s corruptive influence.
Despite being one of the darkest and most disturbing books on the stands, Carnage, at its core, is a book about identity. Carnage himself is trying to find out who he is without Cletus, and Shayde is struggling to hold on to his morals since a literal serial killer is inside his head. V takes this a step further by pitting each character against their darker nature and seeing how they either embrace or reject that nature. Hela even says as much in the opening pages: “Niffleheim is not a place of judgment. It is a place of trials…and they shall be tried.” Her words prove to be prophetic, as Shayde’s morals are tested, and even Malekith has a chance to reflect on the actions that led to his imprisonment. It’s not what one would expect from a Carnage book, but that’s what makes this series so great.
These “trials” involve even more gnarly Asgardian creatures, which include but aren’t limited to: a giant serpent, an army of the living dead, and Rosvelg – a massive bird-like creature whose gaze forces you to relive your worst sins. All of these are brought to life by Antonio, who once again steps in for main series artist Francesco Manna. Antonio seems to particularly love drawing gore, with entire images featuring bodies being split open or stabbed and blood running down the page. But his best work comes whenever Carnage is on screen. The sinister symbiote towers over everything in his path, his face forever fixed in a horrific grin.
The colors also play a huge role in setting up the tone of the book. Niffelheim is a snowy wasteland, the dark blue skies and pure white snow providing a backdrop for the chaos to come. And once Carnage and Shade enter the picture, that white background is stained with blood. Splashes of red fly across each page to the point where readers will be wondering, “how did they get away with that?” And Sabino’s lettering also shifts and changes based on the speaker. Of course, Carnage’s word balloons are as red and splotchy as the blood he spills, but it also provides a contrast to the icy black and white that form Hela’s words.
Carnage #6 finds the sinister symbiote descending into Niffelheim and offers a surprisingly deep meditation on the theme of identity. This is one of the most interesting books Marvel has put out in a minute, and if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, I’d highly suggest you pick this book up. Who knew a book about a bad guy could be this good?
Carnage #6 is available wherever comics are sold.
Carnage #6 finds the sinister symbiote descending into Niffelheim and offers a surprisingly deep meditation on the theme of identity. This is one of the most interesting books Marvel has put out in a minute, and if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, I’d highly suggest you pick this book up.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.