Catching Up With Cletus In Web Of Venom: Carnage Born #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

We revisit the origins of Carnage and Cletus Kasady, including the night in the Ravencroft Institute and when the offspring of Venom first bonded with Cletus also at Ravencroft. A cult seeks to revive Carnage, and they are the ones who stole the symbiote Dragon material from the Maker. Carnage returned to Earth after his cosmic rampage, but both Cletus and the symbiote died on their fall to the surface. However, the cult believes that both can be revived with the symbiote Dragon material.

Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 cover by Kyle Hotz and Jose Villarrubia
Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 cover by Kyle Hotz and Jose Villarrubia

Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 follows directly upon the most recent issue of Donny Cates’ main Venom title. We follow up on the cult worshiping the dormant body of Cletus Kasady. It also serves as a refresher for those who may not be familiar with the last decade of goings-on with the character of Carnage.

Having a cult to Carnage was a nice touch from the outset. Beyond having Cletus worshiping the chaos god, Chthon, it seems totally plausible that someone as nihilistically cruel as Cletus Kasady would accumulate worshipers from followers, and even survivors, of his wanton evil.

It is interesting that in this, like Al Ewing did with the Immortal Hulk title, rebirth is becoming more of a narrative theme in Marvel characters given how often they die and come back.

We do get a bit of pure and uncut Carnage in the back half–though I won’t say how. I forgot how viscerally entertaining this absolute monster can be, and, if you’re reading this comic, the odds are you are a fan of Carnage, too. It leaves the Carnage cult within feeling oddly metatextual without being outright judgemental towards the audience.

Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 art by Danila S. Beyruth, Cris Peter, and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 art by Danila S. Beyruth, Cris Peter, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

Danilo S. Beyruth is the artist on this venture, and there is an appealing sense of surreal style in many of the representations of Carnage and Cletus Kasady in this issue. Many of the scenes with the cult do feel more grounded, which makes for a solid foil to the more out-there images. Cris Peter’s color art is dark and grim throughout, only ever contrasted by the blood red of Carnage.

Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 is a promising next step for the saga of Cletus Kasady and how he may once again come into conflict with Venom. Strangely, Norman Osborn and the Red Goblin is lightly referenced only once. That small observation aside, this is a solid Carnage comic and is worthy of a recommendation. Check it out.

Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 comes to us from writer Donny Cates, artist Danilo S. Beyruth, color artist Cris Peter, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Kyle Hotz with Jose Villarrubia, and variant cover artist Ian Bederman.

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