[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
We join Captain America as the Carnage infection first begins to spread through New York. He immediately tries to contain it, and the Amazing Spider-Man soon arrives to let him know what’s going down. Over in Los Angeles, Hawkeye wakes up to find a pack of Carnage infectees knocking down his front door. He is soon contacted by Captain America, who relays what he learned from Spider-Man. There are symbiote towers on both coasts boosting Carnage’s ability to control the Doppelganger hordes, and they need to be destroyed. Hawkeye goes about finding the one in San Francisco, and Spider-Man and Captain America link up with the Thing and Wolverine to hunt down the New York tower.
Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1 gathers the Avenging members of this apocalyptic tale for a mission that could potentially cripple Carnage’s mission to summon Knull to Earth.
It seems to take place between Absolute Carnage #1 and #2, and it introduces an aspect to this story–that being the symbiote telepathy towers–and lets us know that the Avengers took care of those.
This likely would have been a slightly better read had it come out between those two issues, as it would have been better narratively rooted. However, we’ve already seen that, whatever the Avengers did, it didn’t help much against Carnage.
On top of that, and this is a semantic complaint I know, the symbiote towers don’t make much sense in the established logic of the story. Given Carnage’s current power and whatever eldritch connection he has to Knull seems to allow him to control the Doppelgangers with no problem even after the Avengers shut down the towers.
Despite these complaints, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1 a fair bit. It’s nice seeing Clint Barton in a comic again after his extended absence since the cancellation of West Coast Avengers, and there is an enjoyable forward-moving kinetic flow to the story. Cap, Thing, Wolvie, and Spidey push through countless Doppelgangers on their trip to the tower, and we get to see Hawkeye get creative and crafty in his fight against Carnage’s hordes.
Alberto Albuquerque and Guiu Vilanova team up for the art of this issue, and they do a damn fine job of it too. Each provide a fairly grim and horror-tinted aesthetic that jives with the bloody apocalypse surrounding our heroes in Absolute Carnage. Rachelle Rosenberg supports that with a dark and foreboding color palette which adds on another thick layer of atmosphere to the story.
Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1 doesn’t benefit from it being postponed, but it’s still a fairly fun and action-packed read. We get to see how the Avengers responded to the monstrous threat posed by Carnage, and we get to see Hawkeye back in a comic, if only for a little while (before his upcoming miniseries). I can recommend this one well enough. Feel free to pick it up.
Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1 comes to us from writers Leah Williams and Zac Thompson, artists Alberto Albuquerque and Guiu Vilanova, color artist Rachelle Rosenberg, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Clayton Crain, and variant cover artists Gerardo Sandoval with Jason Keith; and Junggeun Yoon.
Final Score: 6.5/10