While Cletus and Norman may be dead, Carnage still lives on within Eddie Brock after the climactic conclusion of the Absolute Carnage series. Venom #21: Venom Island takes place after that conclusion and follows our anti-hero turned hero, Eddie Brock, as he tries to make a new life for himself. Despite wanting to live peacefully with his son he quickly realizes that cannot happen since Carnage now resides within him and he is the only one that knows that Knull is on his way.
Volume 21 acts as a great gateway from one series to another as well as a solid opening for this arc. In the chapter, we see Eddie Brock become acquainted with the Avengers and show the resolve to finish something no matter the cost. Knowing the risk he is burdened with to destroy Carnage and Knull once and for all, Eddie sets out to escape from society and live on an abandoned island. Since this is Carnage we are dealing with, Eddie wants to remove any potential casualty and suppress Carnage to an inner demon rather than an overpowering symbiote/murderous personality that he has become.
While being entirely dependent on a previous story arc, the story in Venom Island is both intense and enjoyable. The story is an immense payoff to all the grueling struggles and character development Eddie Brock has undergone up to this point. At this point, he wants nothing more than to live a normal life with his son and that motivation is quite relatable when considering the big picture and everything that has happened.
Venom Island so far has set itself apart from the myriad of other current Marvel comics with its down to earth character motivations and Venom not being gungho like other superheroes. The panels are also very clean and fluid in transitions and interpretations. Where a lot of Carnage adaptations fall behind in clustered dialogue, Venom #21 makes it easy on the eyes to quickly understand the order of each box of dialogue and who is speaking between Venom and Carnage as well as Eddie’s inner dialogue.
I am excited to see what the future of this arc holds and where the story will go from here. Even if you haven’t read the Absolute Carnage series, Venom 21 allows for a quick entry into the series without the need of that prior knowledge. I would strongly recommend picking this series up for yourself.