Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Editor: Devin Lewis
Publisher: Marvel Comics

You’ve heard of Venom and Carnage, but the so-called Venomverse is a lot bigger than many realize, and this week’s Scream: Curse of Carnage #1 puts a spotlight on Scream, the “daughter” of Venom.

Scream: Curse of Carnage is one of several titles spinning off from this year’s Absolute Carnage crossover event, starring the titular symbiote in its first ongoing series. After the events of Absolute Carnage: Scream resulted in the death of its most recent host, Patricia Robertson, Scream has since found a new partner — Andi Benson, a homeless girl with ties to Flash Thompson, the missing (former) host of Venom. This isn’t Andi’s first dealings with a symbiote — she was previously a host to Venom clone Mania — but going by this first issue, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be smooth sailing for either her or Scream. 

The premise here is a classic Venom-adjacent plot. Much like her hosting predecessors, Scream finds Andi at a vulnerable point in her life and takes advantage of it, promising protection and companionship in exchange for bonding with it. When a figure from her past shows up again and threatens to jeopardize her relationship with Scream, expect symbiotic growing pains to ensue. 

Scream: Curse of Carnage #1 is very much an introductory issue that’s less plot-heavy and more concerned with establishing Andi’s character. Because there have been countless symbiotes and even more hosts, it’s important to make them feel distinct from one another or they’ll all blend into an amorphous symbiote blob (which, by the way, has actually happened in Venom comics quite a few times).

Because we spend so much of the page count in Andi’s head, there’s not much action happening throughout (aside from the requisite fight scenes), so it doesn’t make for an especially exciting issue to read. It’s one of those unique problems with floppies that wouldn’t be as much of an issue (pun unintended) in a collected edition, serving as the first in a five- or six-chapter book, but it feels a bit slight as a standalone read. Writer Clay McLeod Chapman’s script is good on that level, but it’ll take a few more issues to really get a handle on his ideas for this story.

At the very least, Chris Mooneyham’s art delivers exactly what you’d want from a Venom-adjacent book, and his depiction of Scream carries enough resemblance to the wider symbiote family while still making her look distinct enough from them. Of all the symbiote designs, I’d argue Scream is second only to Venom itself, with long tendrils of barbed hair and a bright yellow-red color scheme (I know Carnage has its fans, but it’s really just a red palette swap of Venom if we’re being honest, though I do like the updated Prophet of Knull redesign). A book like Scream: Curse of Carnage requires a darker, horror-inspired tone, which I think Mooneyham really nails, accented by Rain Beredo’s brooding colors that pop when Andi transforms into Scream mode. If there’s any reason to check out this comic, I’d recommend it for the art alone. 

Scream: Curse of Carnage #1

7.3

Premise

7.0/10

Execution

7.0/10

Script

7.0/10

Art

8.0/10

Pros

  • Chris Mooneyham's art is quality horror-tinged work
  • Interesting protagonist in Andi Benton as the new Scream

Cons

  • May confuse those who haven't kept up-to-date on recent continuity
  • As with many Venom-adjacent titles, it's dependent on your interest in symbiotes
  • Perhaps too focused on character and not enough on story in relation to its page count
Nico Sprezzatura
nicofrankwriter@gmail.com
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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