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Comic Book / Scream: Curse of Carnage

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Scream: Curse of Carnage was a comic book series launched in November 2019 as part of the Marvel: A Fresh Start initiative, spinning out of the Absolute Carnage event, and the Absolute Carnage: Scream tie-in miniseries in particular. It is written by Clay McLeod Chapman and drawn by Chris Mooneyham.

The series stars the eponymous Scream, one of the spawn of Venom, in the aftermath of the Absolute Carnage event, where it was resurrected and eventually bonded to Andi Benton.

Unfortunately, Scream: Curse of Carnage was abruptly Cut Short in July 2020 due to low sales, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic preventing the sale of physical copies for several months. However, one-shot tie-ins for King in Black wrapping up most of the dropped plot threads were announced as a result of fan outcry at the cancellation, with Chapman and Mooneyham also returning to write Scream's tie-ins for Extreme Carnage.

Scream: Curse of Carnage provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: While Clay McLeod Chapman stated in a podcast that he had the story planned out for up to twelve issues and solicits for up to the eighth issue had been released, the series was abruptly cancelled after only six issues. As a result, all of the plot-threads set up during the first arc and the beginning of the second have been left hanging.
  • Ambiguously Gay: It was hinted that Clay McLeod Chapman had planned to establish the new supporting character Guinevere as a romantic interest for Andi, though he teasingly refused to clarify when asked if this was the case following the series' cancellation.
  • Attempted Rape: After Andi punches a misogynistic skinhead in the face when he accosts her at a mosh pit, he and his friends follow her into a nearby alley intending to rape her. Andi rolls her eyes as he threatens her and then transforms into Scream, who scornfully trounces them.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Grendel's Mother is the villain of the first arc, amassing an army of symbiote-infused reanimated corpses in order to prepare for Knull's arrival, and wants to "adopt" the Scream symbiote as her daughter.
    • Demagoblin is the villain of the second arc, recruiting homeless children into a cult.
  • Canon Welding: Big Mother — the purported mother of the dark elf Grendell who fought Beowulf — from Captain Marvel is revealed to be a symbiote-dragon, and is the "sister" of the Grendel symbiote-dragon from Venom (Donny Cates).
  • Darker and Edgier: This series is much darker in tone than most other Venom and symbiote-related series, delving into the horrors of being a homeless youth in a big city.
  • Despair Event Horizon: With her mother having abandoned her at birth, her father and aunt having been murdered right in front of her, and her mentor/father-figure having also been murdered, Andi comes to the conclusion that no-one cares about her and that she's better off dead, though the Scream symbiote stops her from committing suicide.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Andi was previously a visually obvious female distaff counterpart to Venom as Mania, and her using the Scream identity fills the same role as a visually obvious female counterpart to Venom. She also takes up a similar role to Eddie Brock when he was in his Lethal Protector phase as an anti-heroic homeless person.
    • The Scream symbiote is identified as female and fills the same role as the Venom symbiote as an emotionally controlling symbiote with attachment issues.
    • Big Mother is revealed to sort of be one to the Grendel/Dark Carnage symbiote from Venom (Donny Cates) and Absolute Carnage, even possessing a similar means of achieving her goals.
  • Dying Dream: After the Scream symbiote is ripped off her by Grendel's Mother in Issue 3, Andi has a vision of being back at her home in Philadelphia, where she's reunited with her father, mother, and Flash Thompson as she's drowning at the bottom of New York Bay.
  • External Retcon: While the first appearance of Grendel's Mother in Captain Marvel made it clear that the poet who recorded Beowulf falsified many of the details, she makes it quite clear that it was more than just the reports of her death that were greatly exaggerated; and flashback scenes scattered throughout the narrative reveal what really happened.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: Gwenivere lures Andi out to Cony Island — albeit after hours when the rides are shut down — and they sit and talk in the ferris wheel in a manner evocative of this. While Andi feels drawn to Gwen for reasons she doesn't fully understand, Gwen accidentally touches a nerve and Andi leaves, with the series' cancellation derailing any further development of their relationship.
  • Hope Spot: At the end of Issue #1, Andi meets a woman claiming to be her mother. Issue #2 reveals that she was one of Big Mother's reanimated corpses and was actually after the Scream symbiote.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Driven to despair by the deaths of everyone she ever cared about, Andi attempts to kill herself by leaping off the George Washington bridge. However, the Scream symbiote stops her from plunging to her death.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In Issue #5, Detective Henley and his partner are investigating the aftermath of Scream's battle with Big Mother when the FBI's Anti-Symbiote Task Force rolls up and takes over the case, leaving Henley infuriated.
  • Legacy Character: Andi is the third woman to bond to the Scream symbiote, after Donna Diego and Patricia Robertson.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: As per the norm, Scream's hair is longer than the entire length of her body, despite Andi having short hair. The third issue draws several parallels between Andi, Scream, and Rapunzel.
  • Missing Mom: The series establishes that Andi's mom abandoned her at a young age, whereas prior to the series her mom just wasn't mentioned.
  • Nerves of Steel: May Parker is completely unfazed to discover that Andi Benton is the host of a symbiote in Issue #2, and manages to snap Scream out of a Knull-induced rampage.
  • Pedo Hunt: In Issue #6, several homeless minors go missing, having been abducted by the Creeps.note  The Punisher and Sandman both assume that Winston Pendleton — a sex-trafficker and pedophile who uses his wealth and connections to Mayor Wilson Fisk to get away with his crimes — is responsible; the Sandman seeking to turn him over to the authorities, and the Punisher seeking to kill him. In order to break up the fight before a child caught in the crossfire gets hurt, Scream beheads Pendleton herself. The Creeps themselves are killed by Demagoblin when they target a member of her "congregation".
  • Pun: A variant for issue 2 has Scream on top of an ice cream truck. As in "we all scream for ice cream".
  • Retcon: "Grendel's Mother" is retconned into being a symbiote dragon and to be of no relation to the dark elf "Grendell" — rendering what was recorded in their preceding databook entries moot. She was also shown to have accompanied the Grendel symbiote dragon to Earth, and how Thor defeated the Grendel is shown differently than it was in Venom (Donny Cates) — with Thor bashing it over the head with Mjolnir instead of hitting it with divine lightning.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: The first arc reveals that Big Mother from Captain Marvel is actually an ancient symbiote; and Issue #6 brings back the Creeps, a pair of elderly child-abductors whose first and only appearance was in a Kidspot PSA featuring the X-Men.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • May Parker witnesses Andi transform into Scream to fight off a horde of symbiote-infected homeless people; but rather than kicking her out or turning her over to the police — which Andi expected due to the recent symbiote-induced chaos of Absolute Carnage — May opts to nominate Scream the protector of the F.E.A.S.T. Center.
    • NYPD Detective Henley deduces that Andi Benton is Scream by the 6th issue, but instead of arresting her or turning her over to the FBI's Anti-Symbiote Task Force he attempts to form a crime-fighting alliance with her to get around police bureaucracy and red tape.
  • Ship Tease: In Issue #6, Andi meets a fellow homeless teen named Guinevere, whose cheerful teasing starts drawing her out of her standoffish shell. The Scream symbiote and Andi are both confused, with the former alternating between warning Andi not to let Guinevere distract her and encouraging her to seek companionship beyond itself; though Andi is worried that anyone who gets close to her will die.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title: The title references Carnage and the then-recent Absolute Carnage event.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In contrast to her amicable relationship with the Mania symbiote, Andi initially hates being bonded to the Scream symbiote, who in turn doesn't appreciate her attempting to kill herself and takes over her body whenever she finds herself in danger.
  • Undead Abomination: Grendel's Mother uses offshoots of her symbiote to turn the corpses of drowned people and animals into nightmarish abominations resembling Lovecraftian monsters such as Deep Ones and Star Spawn.