In the wake of San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel has launched two huge comic story arcs. The first was “House of X,” which launched two weeks ago and will potentially change everything you know about the X-Men. The second involves Spider-Man and his longtime rival Venom taking on a familiar and yet stronger-than-ever threat in “Absolute Carnage.”

An ancient deity, which created the symbiotes billions of years before existence as we know it, is suddenly once again a threat when infamous serial killer Cletus Kasady, better known as the symbiote-infused Carnage, plans to awaken it. Who better to stop this threat than someone who has been intertwined with a symbiote for a good portion of his life – Eddie Brock, better known as Venom.

If that story doesn’t sound big enough yet, Eddie won’t be able to handle this foe on his own. He’s going to need help from someone else who has dealt with symbiotes before. He has to turn to his old rival – Spider-Man. Still not enough? Carnage needs to collect the little piece of symbiote left in everyone who has ever bonded with a symbiote. That is a long, impressive list.

Where I have said on several occasions that “House of X” has the potential to be one of Marvel’s biggest story arcs ever, “Absolute Carnage” is one I will personally enjoy more. These characters are the ones who introduced me to Marvel and ones I feel a personal connection with.

Writer Donny Cates has a great handle on Eddie Brock and the dynamic between him and his symbiote. He has also taken the seemingly unbeatable pairing of Venom and Spider-Man and given them a foe that makes their situation seem unwinnable.

Don’t worry though. The situation isn’t so dire that Spidey and Venom can’t afford to spare some time for fun and witty banter or casually take out an unlucky gun-wielding thief. I mean, it is but they find time to do all that stuff anyway.

This new story arc feels huge, without including too many characters from around the Marvel Universe, so far. Like I said, there are some high-profile name names on Carnage’s list of targets. Still, it feels like a big story while sticking to the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe (again, so far). Perhaps the threat of a universe-ending god being called upon by a classic villains will do that.

On top of the excellent story, this comic includes some fantastic art. Artist Ryan Stegman has created some amazing visuals, including some truly horrifying monsters. Also, the constant red tint on just about every page is a reminder of the powerful threat of Carnage.

This first issue is a great start to an exciting new story. “Absolute Carnage” pits Venom and Spidey against Carnage once again, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out and what surprises are around the corner.

“Absolute Carnage #1” is available now.