‘Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1’ – A Tale Steeped In Darkness

Where do the Marvel lunatics go when a jail just isn’t the right place to put them.

Why, they head to Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane, of course. Well, maybe not so of course.

Unlike DC’s legendary Arkham Asylum, Ravencroft hasn’t made its way into the pop culture vernacular. Marvel may have some legendary buildings like Avengers Mansion and Tower, Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and the Baxter Building, for starters, but places like The Raft and Ravencroft aren’t anywhere near as familiar to the masses.

Following the locations high profile inclusion in the bestselling Absolute Carnage series, Marvel is setting about changing things by giving the institute a larger focus.

It starts here.

Ruins of RavencroftRuins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artists: Guiu Vilanova, Angel Unzueta

This book manages to pack in two solid stories to kick off the three-part Ruins…mini-series. The present-day one is set in the immediate aftermath of Absolute Carnage, with the destroyed institute being visited by Mayor Wilson Fisk and the discovery of a journal and a hidden staircase, both of which are clear setups for the upcoming ongoing Ravencroft series. While that tale is interesting enough, it bookends what I think its a more fascinating, old-school horror story that offers up cannibalism, carnage (both the character and the action) witchcraft, and a feeling of menace that’s rare to find in mainstream comics.

Tieri and company are going about crafting an origin story for Ravencroft in a vibe that I couldn’t help feel recalls Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s groundbreaking Arkham Asylum graphic novel. I admit it’s an easy comparison based solely on subject matter, and some may very well feel differently. But as I was reading Ruins of Ravencroft, that was the feeling I had. Dark places are born of dark stories, and Tierri is giving Ravencroft a tale steeped in darkness.

Ultimately, while I can’t say I was eagerly anticipating the release of this series, Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage #1 established enough interesting mythos and creepy factor to make me excited to pick up this week’s instalment, Ruins of Ravencroft: Sabretooth #1 and the compilation title Marvel Tales: Ravencroft.


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