How can one of the most vicious villains in the Marvel Universe ever hope to be a hero? That’s a good question – and one that will be answered in this fall’s Axis: Carnage limited series. As part of the over-arching Avengers & X-Men: Axis event, Carnage is one of the characters that will undergo “inversion” which will see them flip to be in many ways the opposite of what they once were. On the surface, the idea of Carnage becoming the opposite of the bloodthirsty threat that made even Venom looked tame may seem shocking – and it should be.
Scheduled to debut October 29, the three-issue Axis: Carnage series will see Cletus Kasady and the Carnage symbiote return to New York City and try to balance being a superhero and a psychopath. Series writer Rick Spears says the core of this series is balancing who Carnage is and what readers love about him with the predicament of being a hero, and all the innocent bystanders who might be caught in the way.
Newsarama: Rick, what are you cooking up with Axis: Carnage?
Rick Spears: After the events of Axis, Carnage has been “inverted” and now wants to be a hero. The rub is he’s still a psychopath so he has no idea how to act like a “good” person.
Nrama: So in him trying to be a "good" person, what's his first test of that?
Spears: Carnage tries to help a damsel in distress but she’s not a damsel, nor is she in distress.
Nrama: Not much is known as of yet about the particulars of the "inversion" process Axis is promised to bring about-- how does Carnage feel about his situation?
Spears: Carnage doesn’t fully understand what happened with the inversion, but he has a deep need to be a good hero.
Nrama: Alexander Lozano’s cover to Axis: Carnage #1 shows the symbiote holding up a twisted version of what looks like the American flag. What can you say about that cover?
Spears: I love that cover. Alexander is amazing! He’s really done a stunning job on the covers. That one in particular is a great piece for our story. It shows a traditionally heroic image but when you look closer it’s all twisted, distorted, and strange. German Peralta is drawing the interiors and he is doing an amazing job too.
Nrama: The solicitation for Axis: Carnage #2 mentions the old Spider-Man villain Sin-Eater is a part of this. Can you tell us about his role here?
Spears: Sin-Eater was one of my favorite villains. I love the green balaclava and the purple outfit. He looked tough as nails. So, yeah Sin-Eater is back but in a different way. There is a mystery surrounding his return.
Nrama: New York City is also said to play a big role in this – can you talk about that?
Spears: I love NYC and you couldn’t have a better playground. For this I went for a sort of 70’s vibe and play it with a rough and edge.
Nrama: What’s your opinion on Carnage and what makes him so interesting for a solo series like this?
Spears: Carnage is a very extreme character, a total psychopath. Inverting him really opens up a ton of new possibilities. He’s trying to be good but he’s terrible at it and makes some pretty horrible mistakes. If you’re in trouble and Carnage is coming to the rescue, there’s just about as much a chance he’ll kill you as save you.
Nrama: Rick, you’ve worked with Marvel in the past but how did you get involved again to do this Axis: Carnage series?
Spears: Rick Remender is the mastermind behind Axis and mentioned my name to the editor Nick Lowe. I’ve known Rick for years. He’s a great guy. He’s killing it at Marvel and Black Science, Deadly Class and Low are all fantastic!
Nrama: Last question -- with this centering on Carnage, people have some expectations -- true or not. What would you say about the book, and the conceived idea of Carnage and what you're doing with that?
Spears: Sure, Carnage is a very popular character and to some turning him ”good” might seem strange, but that was the challenge as I saw it. I wanted to keep this the Carnage that everyone knows and loves but see him through this new lens. He’s still Carnage, and Carnage still rules.