There’s a tale of two Spider-stories going on right now at Marvel, both of them action-filled with aims to change the current status quo for various characters. How each story is being delivered, though, is quite different. It comes down to tone.
I previously looked at the first issue of Extreme Carnage, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. This is a dark and gruesome story featuring Carnage, Anti-Venom, and a host of other symbiotes. As we hit Extreme Carnage: Lasher, the fourth of the five issue mini-series, the story continues to feature a lot of blood and guts and body horror, something not typical for mainstream comics. This issue is written Clay McLeod Chapman, who is part of the Symbiote Hive alongside Johnson, Steve Orlando, and Alyssa Wong. As a fairly massive horror fan, I’m continuing to enjoy watching how this group of writers and the artists across the series manage to deliver the goods.
I want to give an extra shoutout to Clay McLeod Chapman himself, who’s previous Marvel work in the Spider-verse has been extremely strong (you can see my thoughts on his writing here). Chapman is also the author of the great novel Whisper Down The Lane, which I devoured in just one day. If you love horror, have an interest in the Satanic Panic of the ’80s, or most likely both, you’d do well to pick it up.
While Clay McLeod Chapman and company are dealing with lots of carnage, writers Nick Spencer and Ed Brisson, alongside artists Mark Bagley, Dioegenes Neves, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos are putting Peter Parker through this paces with Sinister War, in which multiple teams of six (there’s even one of seven) are going after Spider-Man essentially at the same time (it’s all coming from a relatively new big bad named Kindred – I won’t spoil his story for you, though). The latest issues, #2, is virtually non-stop action from beginning to end, with just a little bit of exposition thrown in.
From its logo to its concept, Sinister War feels like a throwback, but in the best way possible. I’m one for character development in anything I read, but I also think there are times when creators should just get to let loose and have some fun. You can feel that coming off the pages of Sinister War.
There’s a lot to choose from for us Spidey fans right now, and for all the differences in storylines, both Extreme Carnage and Sinister War are worthwhile reads.