Doppelganger is Doing Carnage's Dirty Work
As John Jameson explains, a local resident of Doverton named Eric Morrell has put out a call for help. Something or someone has been mutilating the bodies of the people and animals in Doverton, including all of those who were killed during the past events at the hand of Carnage (Eric's daughter is among one of the victims dug up out of her grave and mutilated, making this personal... and disturbing).
What Eric and John don't know is that elsewhere in Marvel's comic universe, Carnage has been resurrected as the new Symbiote God. So as the pair introduce The Church of New Darkness to Marvel continuity--the church that all current residents of Doverton now worship--and learn that New Darkness followers are all mindlessly worshiping 'The Dark God,' they can't put the pieces together. But readers can: the town once overrun by Carnage is now worshiping him as the Symbiote God, Knull.
The two are denied entrance when they want to investigate the church for leads in the gruesome killings (they're way better detectives than they realize), and are denied all access by the church's chilling spokesperson, 'Miss Deel.' But when John wakes up in the middle of the night to find Eric missing, he runs to the only place he could be: The Church of New Darkness. John arrives just in time to see Eric being sacrificed at the altar in front of the congregation.
'Miss Deel' is revealed to be Shriek. The massive hooded figure before the congregation is Carnage. And finally, the mysterious figure mutilating the living and the dead of Doverton is revealed: The Doppelganger.
Doppelganger: The Remover of Spines
From the first panel showing Doppelganger's three-clawed hand, readers can put together the figure who has been ripping the spines out of human and animal bodies. A final flashback shows the gruesome act as Doppelganger rips the spine out of Eric in a single swipe, and presenting it to Carnage like any good son would. In the present, John and Misty enter the church to discover that Doppelganger was just getting started... as the entire congregation remains sitting in their pews, spines ripped out, and smiles still plastered on their faces.
Those keeping up to date with Carnage events already know why such a disturbing act must be performed. The Web of Venom series has explained that every time a symbiote bonds with a host, it leaves behind a trace of itself--and in the process, a piece of the Symbiote God, Knull. Now that he's gotten a taste, it's Carnage's mission to kill EVERY symbiote host throughout the Marvel Universe, and consume Knull piece by piece. This comic is the beginning of the lead up to the main event in Absolute Carnage, and if this issue is any indicator, expect more twisted and gruesome plots in true Carnage fashion.
But by issue's end, the Cult of Carnage's mission may have already been achieved. The heroes of Marvel's Universe may have already lost, as the dark God is already here.
Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 is available at your local comic book store now, or direct from Marvel Comics.