Carnage has been a very busy villain in the modern era. After a number of mini-series and stories featuring the maniac, the symbiote and its original host, Cletus Kasady, have both been incarcerated in separate locations. Seeing as DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE (also written by Cullen Bunn) has been announced, it's safe to say we all know the mass murderer will have the symbiote slither back on him yet again. Well, this issue is pretty much a prologue for April's new mini-series where the Spider-Man foe will find himself at odds with the Merc with a Mouth.
This issue basically exists as a love letter to Carnage fans and to restore everything back to the status quo with the villain. It's nothing you really haven't seen before, but it's the mandatory course of events we need to walk to see the deadly dude make his true reappearance. There's nothing here that'll shock you or blow you away, but if you're a particularly big fan of the character, then odds are you'll have a good time seeing how everything returns back to "normal" for him.
I've always been somewhat mixed on Kim Jacinto's work with human characters, but given the book's tone, it's a really appropriate style. The jagged facial features and strong use of shading matches the darker and more diabolical tone of the issue. Mike Henderson steps in when everything begins to hit the fan and it's not a drastic departure from Jacinto's style. In fact, it's somewhat similar yet comes off as a bit more polished and smoother. The entire sequence looks perfectly fine, but truth be told, it would have been great to see Jacinto illustrate all of the chaos. I may not be the biggest fan of Jacinto's work on humans, but as shown over in the pages of VENOM, his work on symbiotes is fantastic stuff.
There's nothing necessarily "bad" about this issue, but it comes off as a very familiar story and if you're just a casual fan of the character, it's very difficult to justify the $4.99 cover price, especially since all of these developments are sure to be quickly covered in DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE's intro page. Speaking of which, it would have been great to hit us with a bigger tease for the next mini-series. I know Bunn wanted to focus on the red symbiote here (and understandably so), but a stronger hook for April's mini-series would have been great. Seeing as it's an annual, I'm sure they could have found room to perhaps include just one scene to tease Wade?
If you're a huge fan of Cletus, then odds are this is going to make you beyond thrilled for what's to come. For everyone else, it's an amusing way to set things back to the way they were with the famous fiend and tease the future. Honestly, it doesn't come off as a mandatory read for DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE because odds are these events will be swiftly summarized in the first issue's opening page. That said, if you have love for Cletus, it's a twisted and violent story worth experiencing.