carnage(Comic Books) Superior Carnage: Carnage is one of those characters that’s like a kid with a really versatile toy… at first you love it for exactly what it is… man you really like that toy and you play with it till the paint starts wearing off… it starts to look an awful lot like a repainted Spidey action figure slowly over time but you know in your heart it’s CARNAGE!… then the character feels like it needs some pizaz so you start playing with it outside… in the sandbox, under water, in your bowl of cereal…. you know… wherever… then it starts to get a little silly and you mix the character with other toy runs…. it’s time for Carnage to battle HE-MAN! Now he’s gonna battle VOLTRON! Heck yeah! Eventually you kinda give up… you forget you even had a Carnage action figure until you find it under the couch several months later so you take him out and play with him a little… only to lose him again…  eventually though you just plain break the toy… but you have a lot of memories with that toy so you can’t quite bring yourself to throw it away.

That is a somewhat surprisingly accurate metaphor for what they’ve done with Carnage in the comics… he was really big for awhile… then you start taking carnage out of normal Spidey books and suddenly he’s facing the Silver Surfer… then you have him meet the Sentry and he’s torn in half thrown towards the sun and… eventually lobotomized?! Yeah… that’s where they left our favorite son of Venom… Lobotomized. What more could they POSSIBLY do to him? Give him a new mini series title of course… Superior Carnage (the latest in this “superior” concept they’ve thrust upon Spidey fans…..) tries to pick up from lobotomized Carnage… and to a degree? I find myself actually enjoying the story so far… now… do I necessarily recommend this series to just anyone? No. No I don’t. So this is a first for me folks I’m reviewing something that I’m not falling all over myself to tell you about so you go out and also look it up.

So if it’s not setting the world on fire awesome Jesse, why haven’t you deleted it from your pull-list? Morbid curiosity. I added it out of morbid curiosity and the writing is at least good enough to string me along for a couple issues… but honestly unless you were already like a HUGE Carnage fan? I don’t see why you should bother with this book. They already jumped the shark with this character like 10 years ago… and now they are doing odd things with the character just like they did with Venom (post Eddie Brock). Odd does mean interesting, but it doesn’t really mean good.  I think the super fans will like it based on what I’ve seen thus far just because new Carnage feels better than no Carnage but much like with the Superior Spider-man line there are CHANGES… and the jury’s out on whether they’re any good or not.

Update: Okay so the end of this series has come and gone and I did actually see it through to the end, there was some interesting moments that redeemed some of the lackluster moments but the ending sort of just fell off for me. They used this mini-series to set up for the future, but the ending seemed bizarre and they added some superfluous images to the epilogue just to beat us over the head with what they were hinting at. My original feelings about this story haven’t changed all that much since my initial review but I’ll admit Wizard vs. Superior Spidey was kinda fun led to some moments I wouldn’t have initially seen coming. So it was funner than some past Carnage stories but in the scheme of things? Fairly forgettable… the only real revelation in the story will be certainly rehashed if they decide to bring Carnage out of the toy chest again to play, which they certainly hint at.

Three word review?: Carnage Carousel Comic 

raindogs(Webcomic) Rain Dogs: I put this one off long enough… I knew when I started reviewing web comics that Rain Dogs was one on top of my list. It’s up there for so many reasons. First what is Rain Dogs? The quick pitch is that it’s about running a record store (actual Vinyl) in the digital age. Sounds like pretty standard slice of life stuff but not once you meet the primary characters… then you get an epic storyline complete with a retirement home full of dystopian retirees pretty much straight out of Mad Max 2 (or 3)! And that’s just in the first year!  Just when you think it couldn’t get any weirder you get a extreme home makeover story arc with Humpty Hump (of Digital Underground fame) as the host?! Now if that doesn’t already sound incredible… (what’s wrong with you!) Stephen gives you even more in the way of his blog content!

The art has a unique style and the character design stays consistent, one of the funnest things to see was Stephen’s sketches from his last convention (look them up on his facebook page) because he did established pop culture characters in his unique style and it was awesome to see them all come alive in his style.

cover_72When you read a webcomic you probably come for the funny but eventually?  You stay for the creator (and the funny). Stephen McGee of Rain Dogs boldly puts himself into not only every comic but also into each accompanying post. With each comic he busts out a track for “recommended listening” and it’s not just a “here ya go” and be on your way kind of post he gives you musical history mixed with editorial on each track. When it comes to building community with his readers? Stephen may be the best at it that I can think of. He actively engages people through his site, through social media, through interviews, through guest strips… I’m convinced this guy actually has clones of himself so he can just keep bringing us the awesome (and he’s a scientist so… you figure it out). He’s been gracious enough to jump on board with the #5thpanelguest project that we threw out not all that long ago and he’s been a great sport with those… On the internet it’s so much easier to talk about the people we don’t like  but I find it super easy to tell you that I really appreciate and respect Stephen. I can’t recommend his comic enough.

Right now Stephen is currently running a sale at his store which means you can get your hands on his book at a discounted rate! I cannot recommend his book more! I’d go with the Limited Edition while he still has copies… wait… Kiefer this review is for a web comic right? Can’t I just read it for free? Yeah… I suppose you could and you TOTALLY SHOULD! But his book is so well put together, and includes such awesome extras… like his intro essay, that I really highly recommend spending the coin on the book.

Three word review?: Record Store Apocalypse!

Stephen McGee RAD LINKS: