Without each other, both halves of the being called Carnage have found new companions—but in an unexpected twist of fate, their wards have traded places, with NYPD Detective Jonathan Shayde coming face to face with the Carnage symbiote on a distant world and serial killer Kenneth Neely coming face-to-face with his idol, Cletus kasady.
Alex Paknadel takes the reins from Ram V this month in a surprisingly smooth transition. This is not to suggest that the two writers’ styles are interchangeable, as there are noticeable differences in the flow of their dialogue. Kenneth Neely has gained a spine, shedding his squirming, timid cadence from previous issues to speak with more assertiveness and occasional aggression.
Ram V’s Carnage had a slightly humorous and maliciously sarcastic edge to its voice, which sometimes felt akin to the Joker. Paknadel’s take is formal and blunt, filling the panels with grim, poetic monologues about its intentions. These changes do not come across as a jarring inconsistency but rather the natural evolution of these characters, given what they’ve been through.
Carnage has achieved near-godhood, absorbing copious amounts of mystical metal, so its new eloquent demeanor reflects this ascension. Kenneth Neely has finally sobered up (several issues too late) to the fact that allying with a deranged symbiote is a terrible idea. He has witnessed firsthand what Carnage plans to do with the world, so his confidence and insistence that it must be stopped makes sense.
Kenneth finally encounters Cletus Kasady, and their lengthy exchange provides some exciting drama and character exploration. The conversation transforms into a poignant “never meet your heroes” moment as Kenneth finds that the killer he idolizes has no respect for his method of violence. Neely finally gets his shining moment of agency, using his knack for manipulation to push the egotistical Kasady into confronting Carnage.
Erick Arciniega colors the backgrounds with neutral blacks, greys, and browns to emphasize the brightness of Cletus’ red hair and green eyes, drawing the reader’s eyes to him in every panel. Francesco Manna’s penciling does justice to the bulky, armored figure of Carnage’s new form. There is some especially impressive motion and anatomy in the sequence where Detective Shayde unsuccessfully tries to pry himself out of Carnage. There is also a first-person point-of-view panel from within the symbiote, where the art team successfully recreates the effect of vision obscured by cloudy, murky water.
The long-awaited meeting between Cletus Kasady and newcomer Kenneth Neely finally occurs, delivering substantial drama that adds depth to both characters and builds up anticipation for a reunion between the Carnage symbiote and its former host.
Carnage #11: The Cletus Kasady Show
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10