Warning: SPOILERS for Absolute Carnage #5
The Absolute Carnage event promised a major death in its final battle between Venom and the symbiote villain, and it definitely didn't disappoint. But the epic killing may only be a precursor to an even bigger, even more horrifying battle on the way.
The event has proven to be the culmination of years of stories, with Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman's run on the Venom series creating a brand new mythology surrounding Knull, the Dark God of Symbiotes. A villain so cruel and all-powerful, Carnage couldn't resist resurrecting him to tear Earth apart, along with the rest of the universe. Never one to do things quietly, Carnage -- resurrected when a piece of the Dark God's symbiote joined the corpse of Cletus Kasady -- decided to strike the entire planet at once... and he's saved Eddie Brock's son for last.
That's the fight built to in Absolute Carnage's finale, with more emphasis than ever placed on Cates and Stegman's seemingly most important addition to the Venom lore, the symbiote codex. It's a simple enough idea: while symbiotes may merge with different creatures in sequence, a small fragment is left behind in abandoned hosts (to help the symbiote Hive mind function). It's been Carnage's mission to... extract these fun-sized symbiotes until he's assembled enough Hive mind clout to call out to Knull, inviting him to make Hell on Earth. And Eddie's son is the last piece of the puzzle.
Even when Cletus has Dylan Brock cornered, suggesting that eating the boy (and whatever symbiote codex he inherited from Eddie) will fulfill his quest, it's worth giving Eddie credit for his attempted solution. Knowing the only way to protect the Avengers and other Marvel heroes was to remove their codices safely, Eddie spearheaded the plan to make it happen. In fact, when Carnage finally absorbed the Venom symbiote, it was these collected heroic codices Eddie relied on to even the odds. Unfortunately, that was also part of Carnage's plan.
Between the two of them, Carnage points out, there are more than enough symbiotes to awaken Knull, if combined. So as Carnage wraps his symbiote tendrils around Dylan Brock, he gives Eddie a choice: let him kill the boy, which might not be enough... or Eddie kills Carnage, absorbing his symbiotes to make sure he stays dead, and merging more than enough to awaken Knull. Posed with the question of saving his boy or the entire world, Eddie makes his choice: "@#$% the world."
Forming his amalgam of symbiotes into a sword, Eddie uses it to sever Cletus Kasady's spine (one of the most striking features of the new Absolute Carnage's design). After the fatal blow is struck, Eddie tears the symbiotes free from Cletus, returning the villain to nothing but a pile of desiccated remains. But the second the Venom symbiote is returned to Eddie, it voices its horror at what he's done. Sure, Dylan is saved... but Carnage wasn't lying about the consequences. Knull has been awoken, and is on his way. Here's hoping Eddie has a few more tricks up his sleeve -- in addition to more symbiotes than ever.
There's no telling what kind of devastation Knull could cause when he arrives, meaning this final issue may prove to be the start of something much, much bigger in the months and years to come. Better to pick up a copy for yourself sooner rather than later.
Absolute Carnage #5 is available now from your local comic book shop.