Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1
In the aftermath of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, the Marvel Universe still needs a place to treat and rehabilitate the criminally insane, and efforts to reconstruct RAVENCROFT are well underway. But Ravencroft is no ordinary facility, and untold secrets may yet be waiting to be unearthed in the destruction Carnage left after his attack on the facility.
Spinning out of the events of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s Absolute Carnage event comes the first of three one-shots leading to a mini-series about the Marvel equivalent to DC’s Arkham Asylum, Ravencroft. This first one-shot, devoted to Carnage, takes the reader back to the 1600’s to explore the earliest manifestation of the institute, as a place to harbor Cortland Kasady, an ancestor of Kleus Kasady (presumably). Cortland kills his wife, Molly Ravencroft, and escapes the prison and thus the stage is set for what is to come.
The issue was an interesting read although it is very unfriendly to new readers. A basic understanding of Donny Cates’ run on Venom and his plans for the greater cast of symbiote characters feels very necessary to understanding the majority of the plot here. The flashback sequence is straight-forward enough to follow but many of the modern day events, revolving around John Jameson, Misty Knight, and Wilson Fisk, could leave the reader feeling lost and confused (what was John’s role in the destruction of Ravencroft?). This book follows the recent trend across Marvel to construct a greater and deeper legacy through the history of the 616 Earth, such as with the examples of Jason Aaron’s “Avengers One Million BC and the use of the Eternity Mask in Marvel Comics #1000. This type of storytelling has the potential to enrich an already rich tapestry of the history of Marvel Comics but also contains the seeds of over-convoluting the timeline and creating numerous continuity disruptions. Where Ravencroft will fall on that spectrum remains to be seen.
The contrast between artistic styles from the modern day segments and the extended flashback sequence is jarring. The modern day sequences by Unzueta feel flat and without a real sense of depth while Vilanova’s flashbacks are rich in detail and inviting despite the horrors they contain. While I understand wanting clear lines of demarcation between the time periods and the use of two distinct styles to do so, these two styles are far too different to meld into a single issue without creating a narrative disruption. Rosenberg’s always gorgeous color work also seems better suited to the flashback sequences, as well.
Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1 (Tieri, Unzueta, Vilanova, Rosenberg) begins the journey into restoring the institute while also uncovering the darkness of its past but presents some problems for new readers.
Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1: Sins of the Past
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 6.5/106.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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