In the last issue, Carnage saved reporter Alice Gleeson from the marauding and macabre Sin Eater, a wraith seemingly resurrected from Spider-Man and Venom's past. Carnage takes the opportunity given to him to learn about how to be a good person and a hero from Alice, of whom he's grown fond and idolizes as "one of the good'uns," to paraphrase from his other appearance in the main Avengers & X-Men: AXIS event series. Being good isn't all it's cracked up to be, and Carnage struggles to cope with his inner demons as the Sin Eater continues to hunt Alice down in his serial murder spree.
This issue picks up after Sin Eater has captured Alice once again, leaving Carnage in the sights of a pair of surface-to-air missiles and certain doom. In his brief stay in limbo at the gates of heaven, the angelic aspect of Alice delivers to Carnage a familiar, yet mispronounced Uncle Ben motto as one of the greatest lessons a hero can learn before he pulls himself back into the land of the living. Now, as far as Rick Spears is stretching Carnage's invulnerability to the point of indestructibility against friggin' missiles, one should note that the symbiote and Cletus Kasady have evolved so much throughout the years they've been bonded that they have become something of a comparative powerhouse—a Superior Carnage, if you will. (I suggest reading Superior Carnage to catch my drift.)
Alice finally uncovers the truth behind the Sin Eater's secret identity (it's rather convoluted, but hey—that's comics for ya'!) and Carnage ultimately saves the day only to learn one final lesson about being a hero. Spears leaves Carnage as a bright-eyed do-gooder in the end so Cletus' redemption story could continue in AXIS, but despite the new status quo for the character, I feel that this is the best next step for him. The way Spears redeemed Carnage was just thematically fitting and, more importantly, satisfying. I'm hoping we get to see more stories after AXIS and Carnage's upcoming cameo in Nova in which he gets to be a hero—a new Lethal Protector, for the lack of one. (Sorry, Broxin [Eddie Brock as Toxin], but you'll get that title back when creators start including you in comics again!)
Once again, Germán Peralta and Rain Beredo outdo themselves with the art in this issue. Their combined skills and style, to me, are very reminiscent of those of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire's—two of my favorite modern artists and Marvel superstars. I still have issues with Peralta giving Carnage a tongue, but I think I'm going to overlook this minor blemish this time around.
AXIS: Carnage #3 gets 5 out of 5 stars for both the writing and art, leaving me more than impressed with this tie-in series overall. If you've read this issue, what were your thoughts on the way Carnage was redeemed as a hero? Would you like to see him get his own series with the new status-quo, or do you want him to be the villain you loved him as again? What could this All-New Carnage (hint-hint, Marvel!) angle mean for his relationship with Spider-Man and Eddie Brock? Let us know in the comments section below, and keep following Fanboys Anonymous for more comic book reviews by yours truly. Also, don't forget to check out The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!
Speaking of Carnage, why not play the brand-new Venom pinball table from Zen Studios available on Steam and iOS and Android devices? It features Carnage, too!