I Can Breathe!
Doverton, Colorado is almost completely "infected" by Carnage - Cletus Kasady has taken over and absorbed almost everyone in his way - including Cap, The Thing, Wolverine and Hawkeye! The government has sent in a crack team of symbiote enhanced soldiers, each with their own specialty - will it be enough to destroy Cletus and save the citizens of Doverton? Well, if it isn't, then the welfare of everyone within a 25 mile radius is in jeopardy, as the entire area will be erased off the map as the last resort in "containing" the carnage.
Story: 4.5 / 5.0
I was really pleased with the story overall. I am really excited to see how the next issue starts, as the last page of this issue was quite the intense cliffhanger. It is amazing how fast hope is gained and then dashed within the pages of this book. Just when you think things will go right for the "good guys", the story takes you in a completely different and more horrifying direction. I am not sure if it was the intent to show how (mostly) useless this "crack team of symbiote enhanced soldiers" is, but the point is made over and over as we see they really are no match for Cletus and his ability to manipulate the Carnage symbiote. What it does show is how powerful the symbiote is, and when under the control of a mad man, how devastating it can be for everyone in the surrounding area. There aren't too many things that can neutralize the efforts of the Avengers AND the symbiote super-soldiers. I just hope the sacrifice Tanis has forced upon the "good guys" doesn't cost them one of the best super-heroes in this fight!
Cover Art: 4.5 / 5.0
This cover didn't really fit in with the USA theme like the previous three. In fact, this is the first cover we see Carnage interacting with another character - each previous cover has been some USA specific propaganda being portrayed through illustration only. In this issue, we see a pretty standard Carnage/Spidey cover with a "Don't forget to VOTE!" speech bubble. The Carnage USA propaganda seemed to work better when it was symbolism alone - this cover just didn't make the grade, especially when compared to its predecessors. That said, it was still very visually appealing - I just think some of the "message" was lost with its implementation.
Art: 5.0 / 5.0
The art, as always, is awesome. It is the perfect style to set the mood for the kind of horror story. Far from "cartoony", it adds a sense of realism to the story that elevates the horror level and keeps you at the edge of your proverbial seat. You can easily imagine the art from this book coming alive in a live action movie, sure there would be a lot of CG, but it would be stellar. The vast majority of this story has taken place at night, I am continually blown away at how much detail exists even though so much of each panel is so pitch black.
Overall: 4.5 / 5.0
This story just keeps getting better. Maybe it is how hopeless everything seems, even when faced with some of the best and brightest super-heroes (or at least anti-heroes). In this, as expected from the teaser in the last issue we see what happens when the parent of carnage is introduced into the chaos - the answer - not much for cause, but quite a bit for the story. Flash's introduction into the story fit perfectly, and really makes me want to read Secret Avengers #23 and continue to read his ongoing series. The symbiote story-lines have so much potential. This is obviously recognized by Marvel, as two of their best books are this mini and the ongoing Venom series, which just finished a mini-event with quite a bit of Marvel Universe cross-over action. I will be sad to see this mini-series end, but I am positive it will be a fitting conclusion to this fantastic series!