The new Carnage debuted debuted in “Gwenom Vs. Carnage,” and in the second issue she fully embraces her metal background with a new accessory.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Gwenom vs. Carnage #2 by Seanan McGuire, Flaviano & Ig Guara, Rico Renzi, and VC’s Ariana Maher, on sale now.

King in Black has seen all sorts of heroes and villains go through some incredible transformations over the course of Knull’s invasion and subsequent takeover of Earth. Popular heroes have become twisted versions of themselves, Knull’s forces have been bent to the will of others, and most recently the dark god’s own favorite creation has taken on a bold new look. Ghost-Spider is up against her best friend, currently under Knull’s influence and having been crowned as the new Carnage. Not only is she fighting one of the most vicious symbiotes of all time, she has also witnessed its most metal transformation yet.

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When the invasion began, Gwen was caught completely off guard. Finding safety in the city only led to more destruction and fighting back wasn’t working. In desperation, Gwen turned to her emergency escape system, one that would bring her back to her home dimension. Something went horribly wrong, though, and instead of getting back safely Gwen ended up dragging her world’s Mary Jane back with her into the heart of a city overrun with symbiotic ooze. With no way to fight back, MJ was quickly overcome, arising from the black mass as a tiger striped new version of Carnage. She faces Ghost Spider and almost as soon as the fight begins, Carnage smashes through a storefront to grab an electric guitar, transforming it into a literal battle axe.

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Gwen is able to separate Carnage from her weapon after evading a slew of wild swings and deep seated insults from her new enemy. Gwen doesn’t really want to fight back out of fear of harming her friend, but getting ahold of the axe would at least bring the threat level down somewhat. Once it’s in her hands, Gwen realizes that it isn’t the Carnage symbiote which has turned the guitar into a weapon, but rather her own symbiotic spiders. Instead of returning to her, the spiders flee back to Carnage, freeing her from the webbing she’s been trapped in.

Unable to make Ghost-Spider yield to Knull’s influence, Carnage rages on with her axe back in hand. Gwen pleads with her to stop and tries to explain that the synthetic symbiote she’s been infected with is a parasite that will kill her if the two aren’t separated. Unfortunately, Carnage doesn’t want to lose that connection. After only a moment’s hesitation Carnage yet again transforms into something more brutal than before, her face being covered completely in the symbiote with jagged eyes creeping across her face.

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Carnage has undergone some wicked changes over the years, from the original sleek serial killer symbiote to the devastatingly demonic Dark Carnage form he took on while hastening Knull’s reawakening. Even with all the iterations of the character throughout the years, none of them have ever had the chance to really incorporate any particular aesthetic very far from what had been already set as the precedent.

Being able to lean into the musical aspirations of the host is a great way to incorporate the heavy metal trappings of the new look into the series, and it’s a look befitting of the tone. Hopefully the new Carnage proves to be more than just another one-hit wonder.

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