Carnivora begins with Doc seated at a terminal, attuning the ship’s computer before beginning an audio recording. The circular computer screen adjacent to Doc resembles an eyeball, staring at him with a concentrated focus. The ship’s artificial intelligence detects that Doc is emotionally distraught via the inflections of his voice, and this distress is communicated to the reader via Doc’s slumped posture. The computer, still trying to ascertain what is going on, asks Doc to provide data for it to process. Doc leans forward and closes his eyes, gripping the desk for stability. He states that the ship has reached the edge of the universe and will soon pass into the abyss. He confesses that he is going mad, and regrets having never been able to reach his “goal.” The final frame of the page captures Doc from overhead, contained within a mess of machinery and instruments. He then begins his recount, stating that this all began because of “that woman…” 

The second page opens with a profile portrait of Doc facing right, gazing out over the proceeding two-page spread. The construct of computers and machinery no longer in view, a black background frames Doc’s head, bleeding into the second frame, where we see Druuna moving through a landscape evocative of The City from Morbus Gravis. She wears a cloak and sneakers but has bare legs. Slowing her pace as she walks through the rubble, Druuna leans upon a wall for balance, mumbling to herself that she won’t make it much farther. Soon after she falls to the ground, clutching her stomach. 

Druuna then wills herself back to her feet after hearing a sound in the distance, identifying it as someone chasing her. Curiously, only Druuna’s monologue is used to communicate the sound, with no lettering announcing her supposed stalker. She breaks into a jog, coming to a staircase leading to a door with an eye carved in the center. Steam escapes from the ground at the base of the staircase, forming borders on either side of her, beckoning Druuna upwards in the direction of its flow. 

She begins pounding on the door with her fists, pleading for someone to let her in. The vantage pulls back for the second frame of page 4, revealing the shadow of her stalker creeping up the staircase. The creature appears humanoid in shape, though fur seemingly covers its body. It leaps for Druuna, snatching her cloak just as the door opens. Druuna slams the door shut behind her, holding her stomach with her left hand while she pushes the door shut with her right. She then looks up to thank her saviour for opening the door. The page closes with two men in surgical outfits staring at Druuna menacingly as she nervously asks who they are. 

The first frame of page 4 is small, showing Druuna pounding at the door while the following two frames are elongated into taller rectangles. The second frame reveals her stalker’s shadow while the third is a close-up of Druuna resuming her pleas, with her eyes wide with fear. The following row of frames mirror this format, with the first frame being smaller than the second and third. This narrowing of frames produces suspense, quickening the reader’s pace as Druuna sprints through the opening door in the fourth frame, is caught off guard by the creature stealing her cloak in the fifth, and finally shutting the door in the sixth, leaning upon it as though it were the frame border, closing the page. However, the page continues with the final panel, compressing Druuna at the base of the page, and trapping her inside. 

The figures approaching Druuna have putrid green complexions. She retreats, warning them not to touch her, but they quickly seize her arms and carry her into their operating room. Here, several more men await. Overhead, a large light illuminates a chair in the centre of the room. Hooked, bladed, and needled instruments hang from the ceiling, and blood splatter can be seen all over the room. 

Up to this point the viewer has yet to see Druuna from the front and without her cloak on. Serpieri has hid Druuna’s frontal midsection through framing and posture, but as she is hurled onto the chair on page 6, it is revealed that the source of her discomfort is pregnancy. 

Druuna is pinned to the table by the doctors. One produces a scalpel, plunging the blade into her belly. She screams in horror as blood erupts from her stomach. On the second last panel of the page, Druuna throws her head back, grunting in pain. The splash of blood from her stomach can be seen against the dark backdrop, though only her head and breasts are in view. On the final frame of page 6, Druuna abruptly sits up in bed. A sheet covers her legs, though from her uncovered torso and chest we can see that she is no longer pregnant, nor are there men around her. The whole ordeal appears to have been a dream and she is now in a bedroom, alone. 

Page 7 opens with Druuna recounting that she has this same dream night after night. Before she can reflect on it further, a strange man bursts into the room. Druuna tries to calm him, caressing his chest and pulling away his trousers. He succumbs to her at first, but then pulls her head upwards, revealing a throng of onlookers have materialized behind him. The man’s colour drains, aligning his tone with the white and greys seen in the crowd and backdrop. Druuna remains the only character in the scene to have a flesh tone, and her red underwear contrasts with the white linens she sits upon. Hunching her shoulders and planting her hands behind her, she crosses her legs, signaling fear, but also curiosity. 

On page 10, Druuna placates the mysterious man and onlookers by lying face down on the bed and undressing. The second frame changes vantage to the perspective of the abuser. Looking down at Druuna on the bed from a first-person viewpoint, the abuser’s fist can be seen in the top right corner of the frame, gripping the handle of his whip. The whip cuts across the entire frame, cutting the image of Druuna in two, further stressing the duality of temptation and fear. The final frame of the page shows two of the onlookers up close, a man and woman dressed in black tie attire with ghastly green skin. The woman’s hands resemble paws with shortened thick fingers, more akin to claws than human hands. 

The abuser then removes his trousers while the crowd of vile onlookers close in. Blood running down Druuna’s back from the strikes, she pleads for the man to be gentle. Her anticipation quickly turns to pain and then fear as the man, mounting her from behind, transforms into a quadruped mutant. His head elongates and his mouth sprouts fangs and a long, pointed tongue. The final frame shows the creature mutating, licking Druuna’s back as he clings to her hips with his stumpy, three-toed foot. Colour completely drains from the scene, bringing Druuna into the crowd’s cold realm. 

The following page begins with a small profile portrait of Druuna, with her mouth agape as it was while under assault from the creature. It is then revealed that this event too was a dream, with the next frame showing Druuna’s head situated inside a large mechanical helmet with a speech bubble overtop reading, “Cerebral activity has resumed…” Druuna lies on a table surrounded by monitoring machines. As she wakes up, asking where she is, the monitor in front of her continues its reading of Druuna, though it is not clear who it is broadcasting to. The vantage then moves to the screen placed in front of her. As Druuna regains her focus, the blurry screen shows Schastar (now spelt Shastar) as he existed pre-mutation. He acknowledges Druuna, stating that he and Lewis managed to meld with the ship’s synthetic computer system when she came aboard, though his manifestation is only due to Druuna’s memory, with her being able to realize them into existence through the computer. 

Druuna removes the helmet, stating she cannot remember what has happened, and contemplates whether she is having yet another nightmare. Schastar assures her that she is not dreaming, revealing that the ship’s crew have been using their equipment to scour her subconsciousness, though he is not sure what they are looking for. As Druuna leaves the lab, Schaster tells her that he loves her and warns her to be careful, as something horrible has happened on the ship. 

Outside of the lab, Druuna discovers a hole ripped into a metal wall. She steps through it on the second frame of page 14, her right foot hanging just outside the panel, telegraphing her move from one plane to another. 

In the deserted infirmary, Druuna notes that the room is a direct replica of the one she just left. She finds a partially decomposed corpse on one of the medical beds, which begins moving as she approaches. 

Upon closer inspection, Druuna notes that the corpse is only partially organic. Blood spews from its exposed organs, but the bones are made of plastic and metal. It also appears to be signaling Druuna by tapping its index finger, though Druuna is more enticed by the trail of blood leading away from the severed torso. She follows the trail, discovering another mangled corpse nearby. She turns away in horror, and the corpse begins speaking, warning that it has become a part of the “things” that devoured him. He warns Druuna that she is a Prolet, though the “things” do not distinguish, and will hunt her too. Before she can clarify what he means, Terry appears behind her, warning Druuna away from the man. 

Terry identifies the man as Howard, one of the ship’s crew members. Druuna asks Terry why they had her hooked up to the machine. Terry ignores Druuna, instead opting to plunge a syringe into Howard’s head, extracting the matter within, explaining that he was a brilliant scientist and that his knowledge could be injected into a different “subject” later. 

The final two frames of page 16 form a curious parallel. A pipe in the top right of the second last frame aligns perfectly with a pipe in the final frame, only separated by the small break between frames. However, the vantage pulls out and the women change positions, ensuring the rest of the mechanical folly in the background does not line up, thus communicating the dreamlike flexibility of this environment. 

Terry and Druuna continue to walk/crawl and talk, with Druuna demanding answers to her questions. Terry scoffs at the concept of a curious Prolet, revealing that a breach has occurred and entities that devour human flesh have come aboard the ship. They do not know what these creatures look like, but she claims that Doc is working to find a solution. 

Terry and Druuna opt to travel via air duct to avoid rousing the creatures’ attention. They come to a vent along the way, and Terry stops to show Druuna the horror the creatures have wrought. Several humanoid forms engulfed in a fleshy red web of resin can be seen in the room below, with the coating seemingly dissolving the bodies into formless sacks. Druuna recoils in terror, comparing the net to a spider’s web. 

Terry and Druuna leave the hatch and make their way towards Door 6, where Terry states they will be safe. She contacts Rogers (now called Roger) over the intercom, but the door does not open. Rogers states there is a problem, and he will have to come down to assist. As they wait at the door, Druuna states that she can hear a slithering noise behind them. Terry theorizes that the noise was made by the Prolets, who have broken free of their housing (as seen in Terry’s rape closet in Creatura) and now roam the lower levels like “blind mice.” She states that they seem oblivious to danger, and often just stand and stare vacantly at the crew. 

Door 6 opens on page 20, and Rogers and another crew member storm through, guns drawn. The second crew member is then revealed to be Terry, who looks at Druuna’s companion, stating how uncanny the resemblance is. Terry (Druuna’s companion) pleads for Rogers and Terry to put down their guns, but instead they shoot her. 

On page 21, the imposter Terry falls against the wall, looking downward at the hole blown into her chest. In the next frame, her body is flung up into the air as an alien form explodes out from her chest cavity, mutating and expanding as it moves. The creature is not unlike the mutants seen in The City, being a collection of tentacles and hooked appendages. 

Terry and Rogers open fire once more, igniting the beast as it flees. As they turn to go back through the door, another hairy, cycloptic, crab-like creature emerges from the imposter Terry’s body, leaping at Rogers and knocking him to the ground. He drops his gun, but Druuna quickly recovers it and fires at the creature, prompting it to dash away. 

The use of atmospheric effects like shading and steam as backdrops on pages 21-23 keep the focus on action, highlighting the characters and not the backgrounds, producing a sort of stressed hyperfocus. The watercolour bleeds employed to create smoke and flame in the final panel of page 21, for example, light the corridor up, leaving the surrounding background white. On the first two panels of page 22, smoke and flame billow off the fleeing creature, coating it in shade and obstructing its form from the reader. Most of the background disappears in the fourth panel, with the crew framed to look as though they are standing at the edge of a cliff and cannot retreat any farther. 

As the second creature flees and the smoke and flame dissipate, Terry turns her weapon to Druuna. The backdrop turns to a pure black cloud in the second last frame of page 23, while a close-up of Terry in the final frame completely obscures the background infrastructure in darkness as she accuses Druuna of being a monster. 

Terry ties Druuna’s hands behind her back as they return through Door 6. Druuna is then brought before the rest of the surviving crew, who meet her with the same degree of skepticism as Terry. It is only upon Doc’s intervention that they halt their plans for disposing of her. Doc examines Druuna’s face, gently pulling her eyelid open with his thumb and index finger to examine her reactions, explaining that even if she is a Replicant, Replicants are often convinced that they are human. Doc leaves Druuna under Terry’s supervision while he goes to prepare a test that will determine whether Druuna is human or not. 

Rogers then accosts Terry for suggesting a test of her own, calling her a pervert as the two women depart for the lower level. Here, Druuna is stripped and has her hands bound to an overhead pipe. Terry states that the creatures will be able to tell whether Druuna is human by how they treat her, and that if she is a Replicant, she will be torn apart. Terry then locks herself out of the room while Druuna is left alone, terrified. 

As Druuna waits for the Prolet door to open, she contemplates whether she may in fact be a Replicant. She has trouble accessing her memories, though eventually recalls Schastar’s name. The frames dart between angles throughout page 27 — up close, full body, and overhead — with the rapid changing of vantage communicating Druuna’s distressed state. 

On page 28 the Prolet door opens, releasing a pack of shadowy figures into the room. Darkness invades the space as well, and as the creatures close in and lay their hands on Druuna, the shade thickens, perhaps channeling Druuna closing her eyes and refusing to look. 

A hermaphrodite figure takes command of the group, ordering them away from Druuna with a series of grunts. This figure wears a tube top which partially covers its chest, while a thong covers its bulging genitals. It wears a bag over its head with two eyeholes cut out, through which the reader is given view of its bloodshot eyes. 

The figure hits Druuna repeatedly with their whip. Closing in and gripping the whip’s handle upright, the final frame of page 29 sets the thick woven handle against Druuna’s rear, signaling the rape to come. The following page is a brutal and terrifying display as Druuna is penetrated and groped by multiple figures, with her thought bubble in the final frame declaring, “Stop it! Stop it! I want to die! I want to die!” 

The hermaphrodite figure then lifts Druuna off the ground by her hips and proceeds to penetrate her. Druuna curls forward, gripping her assailant’s hood with her teeth and yanking it free, revealing a hideous two-headed monster beneath. The page ends with a flash in the penultimate frame, followed by the outline of the ship in space in the last, leaving the reader to imagine the rest of the assault. 

The scene then abruptly changes to Will seated at the control panel of the ship. A pale blue light coats the area. Will, who sits topless aside from a blanket draped over his right shoulder and arm, stares vacantly off into the distance, trying to remember what it is he is doing. Druuna, clutching a sheet over her front, enters the room, telling Will that she has been waiting for him. He states that he must do something, though he cannot remember what. 

Druuna bends forward, caressing Will’s body, saying that she hates to see him in such a state. She then unbuttons his pants and performs fellatio. Will succumbs to the pleasure, gripping Druuna by the waist with his left hand as she leans over his chair. Then, from beneath the cloth covering his right side, a mechanical hand is revealed, not unlike the mysterious corpse Druuna discovered in the infirmary. Druuna stands up, beckoning him to follow her. Will leans forward and grasps at his mechanical hand, once again falling prey to distraction, thinking to himself, “Where does time begin?” Will leans on the doorframe with his right arm raised, framing Druuna in-between his torso and the wall as she crawls onto the bed. Before following, he finishes his thought with, “And where does time end?” 

Will meets Druuna at the bed, standing beside it while Druuna, kneeling, reaches down and unfastens his pants. Will questions where Druuna is from, recounting somehow that she is a part of him. Druuna affirms this, stating she is there to indulge his desires. Their speech bubbles connect, situated one on top of the other, amplifying this connection. 

As the two make love, the vantage switches from right to left on page 35, revealing Will’s mechanical arm once more. He embraces Druuna with it, using it to hold her waist and cup her breast, no differently than he uses his other hand to explore her body. Afterwards, Will falls asleep, mumbling that it is as if he has fallen into the abyss. Druuna slips away in the cover of dark in the final frame, her face coated in shade aside from pinpoint dots for her eyes. 

When Will awakens, light has returned to the room. He reaches over to hold Druuna only to find that she is gone. A blood stain mixed with a mysterious sticky substance is on the bed where Druuna had been. Will follows a trail of blood to a hatch labeled 373, questioning why she didn’t come to him for help. 

As Will descends into the hatch and navigates a mess of dilapidated corridors, he realizes that he is hearing voices in his head. He attributes these voices to a psychic being, and remembers where he is; however, upon discovering another mess of blood and sticky resin, he also realizes that he may be in imminent danger. 

Page 37 adheres to Serpieri’s oft-used stepped arrangement of panels, with the offset between the stacking of frames on the left and right guiding the reader’s eye down the page like a staircase. The mess of infrastructure in each frame adds to the sense of disorientation, with the final frame being a bust shot of Will looking to the right in shock. 

Page 38 reveals a nest of bodies entangled in a web of resin. As Will approaches, one of the men engulfed in the net pleads for Will to take his life, stating that he is being eaten by the creatures. He warns that they should not have passed over into this dimension, as the forces of chaos have infected the ship. Will, still not able to recall transitioning into the abyss, attributes the psychic force to keeping him in a state of lethargy, and evidently had been trying to keep him away from the infected parts of the ship. As the crew member finishes his plea, the page ends once again with Will looking over his shoulder to the next page, warning that someone has appeared behind him. 

Will sees Druuna in the distance, hunched over and naked, with a strange creature sitting beside her, prompting him to grab a metal pipe and spring into action. Upon reaching Druuna, however, Will finds her alone, back turned to him as she huddles over a web of resin with a human skull beside her. She chants, “No… No…” as Will asks why she is not moving. A putrid red steam rises beside her, floating off towards the corner of the page, signaling the horrific revelation to come. 

On the next page, Druuna is revealed to have been eating human flesh. Will backs away in horror. No longer able to connect telepathically, Will states that she cannot be Druuna, and she must have been holding him prisoner. Druuna pleads with Will, stating she does not know why she is doing this, repeating that she loves him. Will tells her to stay back and states that he is returning to his crew. All the while, the silhouette of another appears behind him. 

This silhouette is revealed to be a Replicant of Will. This new Will has no mechanical arm and sports deep green eyes. He corners Will, to Druuna’s protest, telling him that he too is a copy, a Replicant, like Druuna and he are. 

Page 41 utilizes a split in the layout, keeping Will (with the mechanical arm) on the left while the Replicant Will and Druuna remain on the right. While the first row of frames mirror one another, the third frame (situated in the middle of the page) joins the men together, with their speech bubbles acting as a central border. In the final and largest panel of the page, Will backs away, gripping the pipe in his right hand and making a fist with his outstretched mechanical left, while the opposing Will steps forward, arms at his side and his hands flexing menacingly. Druuna, in profile on the furthest right, pleads for the Will to stop. 

Though her head and torso are in profile, Druuna’s arms and legs are posed, with her right hand raised to her face in concern, while her left arm rests at her side. Her right leg too steps forward, while her left remains straight and immobile, conveying her distress and indecision. 

Will inadvertently backs into a live nest of web, which quickly grabs hold and begins to devour him. He pleads in pain as the creatures penetrate his body, the anguish made evident by his face in the fourth frame as the tentacles encircle his neck. Druuna curses herself, stating that he shouldn’t have followed her. As he is lifted from view, Druuna panics, trying to convince herself that she is human. Then, from behind her, a swarm of the spider like-creatures roll into view, cornering Druuna between them and Will’s hanging body. 

Page 43 opens with a portrait frame of Druuna, yellow veins having sprouted on her face and deep green eyes staring forward as she grits her teeth, mumbling, “Yes… Yes… Yes…” The scene then abruptly changes to Druuna, now wearing her regular white top, laying on a platform, seemingly asleep. Her hair drapes out to the left, breaching the Replicant Druuna’s frame, though her left hand grabs hold of a pipe situated to the right, as though it were an anchor. She awakens over the next two frames, hearing Schastar calling her. Upon sitting up, Druuna finds she is no longer in the bed, but rather in a vast field of grass with a wall situated ahead. The wall runs as far into the distance as she can see. Between her and the wall stands Schastar, calling her name. Druuna, now clothed with her top, red thong, and runners, stands up to meet Schastar. 

Schastar is not as we have seen him before – healthy, and wearing normal, well-fitted clothes — a far cry from the rags he wore as a mutant in Morbus Gravis. Schastar explains that he and Lewis are still bonded, though in many ways are incompatible. This area they find themselves has been constructed by Lewis, and likely resembles a real, but very ancient, part of the telepathic universe Lewis has been exploring. Druuna is understandably more enamored by Schastar’s presence, though eventually listens to his explanation. Hand in hand, they look to the sky, noting how the wall reaches higher than they can see, far beyond the rolling clouds. 

Schaster begins making marks upon the wall, explaining the paradox. Once the ship breached the edge of the universe, time began running backwards. Though the formula may be indecipherable to Druuna, and the reader, the strong winds surrounding Druuna and Schastar (evident by the characters’ blowing hair) clearly indicates the danger they find themselves in. 

Schastar tasks Druuna with delivering this information to the ship’s captain. Though Will has telekinetic abilities, they are not developed, and thus he fell prey to the monsters. However, if they can turn the ship around, they may yet reverse and survive the events that have transpired. 

The two then embrace against the wall. Though Schastar is only an apparition with no human form, he still tries to hold onto Druuna before fading away. In the third frame of page 47, Schastar begins to turn transparent. Serpieri uses grey and blue colouring to show this loss of form, with the pale green of the ground, and Druuna’s hand upon his chest, seen through the inked outline of Schastar’s body. In the next frame, Schastar dissolves entirely, with Druuna’s hands falling through him and hitting the wall while he evaporates, the lines moving up and through Druuna as she throws her head back in agony, crying his name. The final frame pulls out from the scene, showing Druuna leaning against the wall, head dropped and hair obstructing view of her face, while lightning strikes in the background. 

Collapsing against the wall, Druuna calls Schastar’s name once more before suddenly finding herself back aboard the ship. Druuna recalls that it must have been a dream, and then turns her thoughts back to the Prolets’ assault from earlier. Druuna leaves her cell through the open door, and we can see she is wearing the same complete outfit from the dream: white top, red underwear, and white sneakers. Determined to find Doc and relay the information Schastar gave her, Druuna stalls partway up a staircase when the ship’s alarm begins sounding, with bold lettering used to convey the emanating ring from the fog up ahead. 

Page 48 shows a curious arrangement of panels as Druuna ascends a staircase instead of descending, signaling the aforementioned reversal of time. The bottom two panels of page 47 emphasize this with their vertical orientations, pushing her upwards and back towards the preceding panels. 

Druuna then finds Rogers, torn in half, laying on the ground. Shortly thereafter, Terry is pictured brandishing a pistol, peering around the corner, shouting for Druuna. She scolds her for leaving the door open and pleads for her to come out as this sector is no longer safe. Behind her, Druuna, covered in darkness, stands in wait. 

Druuna then reveals herself, wearing a blank look on her face and casting a dark shadow on the wall beside them, building the unnerving sense that this may in fact be the Replicant Druuna. The two then take off up the stairs, meeting other members of the crew fighting off a throng of creatures. Terry directs them though the next hatch, but Druuna pauses momentarily, looking at the mess of tentacles under assault by the crew, with her gaze meeting one of the creature’s eyes. 

On page 51, Terry and Druuna come face to face with Druuna and Rogers. The Druuna that had been accompanying Terry urges her to shoot the Druuna sitting next to Rogers. Meanwhile, a horde of the spider-like creatures sneak up behind Terry, with one of the creature’s eyes situated just over the Replicant Druuna’s left shoulder. The pipes overhead hang low, and the grid they form situates the Replicant Druuna and creatures together. Terry, meanwhile, is situated right in the middle, with a pillar separating her from the creatures and the real Druuna. The real Druuna stands outside of the frame, with the top right panel border dissolving and bleeding into the second and third panes, linking the real Druuna to her other depictions on the page. 

Druuna turns to run, but Terry fires and hits her in the side. Druuna rounds the corner and clings to the wall, covering her wound, but escapes. Terry celebrates her shot, the smoke emanating from the barrel of her gun wafting into the void of steam around her. In the next frame, the Replicant Druuna congratulates her on the shot. The Replicant Druuna’s back turned away from the reader, we have only Terry’s look of shock to realize her mistake. Page 53 opens with a portrait of the Replicant Druuna in a wide frame with monster appendages sprouting out from behind her. A monster leaps out and pins Terry to the wall. She quickly opts to take her own life, placing the barrel of the gun into her mouth. Blood and brain matter splatter on to the wall in the following frame while the creature’s claws bend inward, signaling the coming penetration. 

The following page opens with Doc leaning around a corner, cautiously, as if pulling back a curtain to reveal Druuna slumped against the wall. He then lifts her and carries her away, with the final panel of the page moving back to Doc recounting events, as seen at the book’s start. 

On page 55 the computer states that it is receiving instructions not to process any more of Doc’s requests due to his emotional state. Doc immediately intervenes, giving the computer exact instructions to accelerate, then immediately reverse, as they hit the boundary between the two universes. If his calculations are correct, Doc theorizes that this will transport them 24 months into the past — before the infestation began. 

Doc stands up from his chair and makes his way over to the nearby gurney. He pulls back the sheet to reveal Druuna’s lifeless body underneath, and states that he did everything she asked him to do, confessing that the calculations given to the computer will make the ship explode, but perhaps liberation will be found in their death. 

Pages 56 begins with Druuna and Doc’s Replicant doppelgangers standing outside of the lab, using the intercom to speak, stating, “The spaceship is ours… you are alone… you have no hope… I know what you’re thinking but you won’t be able to do it… no. You haven’t got a chance, and, as you know, there is not enough room for two of us here…” 

A sickly red resin sticks to the Replicants’ backs, anchoring them to an off-panel source. The Replicant Doc casts a shadow on the wall as he reaches up to the intercom button with his left hand, signaling the encroaching darkness. 

The computer system announces that the instructions Doc has input will begin in thirty seconds, giving readers a sense as to how much time is passing between the following three frames. In the third frame, Doc takes a seat and removes the cigarette from his mouth, tossing it away. He stares forward blankly as the computer reaches five seconds in its countdown, with its formally circular pupil now a series of chaotic tangents. The fourth frame closes in on Doc’s face in profile, with the countdown reaching its final second. The frame here is slimmer than the third, prompting a sense of tension and quickening of time. The fifth frame switches from a vertical to horizontal orientation and moves from profile to a frontal view, giving vantage of Doc’s eyes as the countdown reaches zero. Though a bead of sweat could be seen in the fourth frame, here his perspiration is much more intense, and his narrowed gaze conveys a look of genuine fear as he stares out of the book. 

The final panel widens dramatically, shattering this sense of time, and the backdrop changes from Doc’s quarters to a tunnel of light. Numerous focal point lines stem from the tunnel’s white centre, with Doc free falling towards the light. Doc’s movement through the space is communicated via his foreshortened position, with his right leg even breaking out of the bottom of the panel. A portrait of Doc screaming is situated on the left-hand side of the picture, scoring the bright space with a violent sound. 

Page 57, like page 56, continually moves inward. The first panel of page 57 shows Doc, now at rest, hunched forward in profile with his eyes closed. Beams of yellow light radiate in from the left side of the panel, while a hand reaches out from the right side. His hair is also brown with a few white streaks, suggesting this is a younger version of himself. In the second frame, Doc turns to grasp the hand that was reaching for him, revealing it belongs to a woman named Tahinita. The two sit on a bed, with Tahinita naked and Doc clothed and sitting on the edge, as if about to leave. In the third frame Doc stands and turns to Tahinita. They embrace, but Tahinita turns away as Doc states, “I am looking for something up there… something that will help me fill the emptiness I feel inside me…” The pair are depicted in colour on the right-hand side of the panel. In the background to the left, a young man is sitting at a desk with his back turned to the pair. Here, the colour scheme is bluetone, separating the two events unfolding both in terms of space and time. 

The fourth frame closes in on the young man at the desk, who turns around, though Doc and Tahinita are no longer in view. Behind the young man is a window, through which a woman and small boy can be seen running. The sixth frame closes in on this pair, capturing them from a frontal vantage as they run from an explosion. Rounding a corner, the woman takes the young boy in her arms and states, “…They won’t get you… those damned machines… they won’t get you, my darling!” These final two frames are coloured with tones of yellow and blue, again signifying a separation in time and place. 

On the final page of Carnivora, Doc finds himself back on the ship and in the company of his crew; alive, uninfected, and without memory of the book’s events. The page concludes with Druuna smiling at Doc (and by proxy, out towards the viewer), while Doc closes the book by wondering whether the alternate versions of the crew still exist. 


Carnivora is, more so than the previous volumes, a work of autofiction. The book begins with Doc’s hand adjusting a knob on the computer console, a tool he then uses to record the events leading to his predicament. The positioning of his hand in this opening frame is not dissimilar to how one holds a marking instrument, like a pencil or brush. In real life, Serpieri is an illustrator, while Doc is a scientist, and this opening frame conveys the authorship he has over the preceding events. While the book may be about Druuna, the opening two pages and the final three pages encapsulate Druuna within Serpieri’s own internal conflict, portraying her adventure as the source of his inspiration, obsession, and turmoil. 

On page 7 Druuna awakens in a small room. She lays on a single-sized mattress, recounting the events of her nightmare before flipping over and falling back onto the bed, face first. Above the bed’s headboard, a framed painting tilts inward. The portrait of a man seemingly looks down at Druuna, who is oblivious to his presence, though she thinks to herself that she can feel someone is about to arrive. 

The lighting in the room stems solely from the chandelier above the bed. Though it should seemingly light the entire room, it instead creates a sort of spotlight around Druuna and the bed, as seen in the fourth frame of page 7, leaving the door and picture frame cloaked in a menacing shade. 

As Druuna fantasizes about waiting for the coming assault, she bites the bedsheet and closes her eyes, with her hand outstretched next to her face. In the following frame, her hand tightens, gripping the sheet while she opens her eyes and looks up, the lettering “TumpTum” over her head announcing movement nearby. 

There is a subtle mirroring of the opening pages of Morbus Gravis here. On pages one through four of Morbus Gravis, Druuna also lays on a small, single frame mattress in a near state of undress. She reads a book describing earth, unable to understand the descriptions given by the author. She closes the book in frustration, thinking to herself that she should dispose of the literature, as it is forbidden by the Priests. On page two, she is also pulled away from her reading by a sound signified by the lettering “TunTump.” Lying face down on the bed while Schastar emerges from the cellar, Druuna turns her back in fear, biting the bedsheet just as she does on page 7 on Carnivora

In Ecofeminist themes in Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri’s Morbus Gravis, Jones highlights the reflective quality of the graphic novel medium, citing how events on the page mirror the reactions and thoughts of the viewer, “…in calling attention to the cruelty of the spectator’s gaze, there is a reflexive referral to the readers gaze from outside of the text which effectively points out to the reader his own enjoyment of cruelty and suffering.”(Jones 2006) As demonstrated in the proceeding scene where Druuna is raped in front of a crowd, one may pause and reflect on their own reaction to the assault on display. Perhaps the reader is represented by the one spying on Druuna through the picture frame. The second frame of page 10 is shown from the first-person perspective, putting the reader in the role of the abuser, with his wielding of the whip being equivalent to the reader’s engagement with the page. The page finishes with the perspective turned around, showing the grotesque crowd of sickly mutants dressed in high-class attire, perhaps also meant to be reflective of the reader. 

The man who eventually comes into the room on page 8 of Carnivora does bear some resemblance to Schastar, and with his mutation several pages later, this connection could be further argued. However, there are several differences between them as well, with the fact that Druuna does not appear to recognize the man as she does Schaster on page 12 being further evidence of this. 

In a 2020 interview, Serpieri spoke about capturing gait in his illustrations – specifically, the movements of Native American peoples (including the Algonquins, Iroquois, etc.). He stated that native peoples move in a “completely different way from us.”(Guarino and Pollone 2020, 18) While this characterization deserves clarification (or further scrutiny considering the source to be Charles Russell), that conversation is perhaps too large for this forum. However, examining this point in the context of Carnivora, the question of what qualifies as human is tabled. 

Observing the Prolet scene on pages 28 through 31, the creatures’ movement is considerably different than that of the crew, or even the crowd from the dream sequence observed earlier. The Prolets walk in a hunched fashion; guarded, but also aggressive, reaching out to observe their world via touch instead of sight, as demonstrated when they converge on Druuna. The one who stands out amongst this group is the hermaphrodite with mutated twin heads, perhaps signifying the Prolets’ susceptibility to mutation on the edge of the universe as well. In Creatura, when Terry exposed herself to this same group, the mutant Prolet was not present. Thus, Serpieri is not likely suggesting the Prolets are innately barbaric, but rather that they are susceptible to outside forces in the same way as other humans. Nevertheless, classifying two distinctive groups of human beings is a point worth noting in one’s reading of Druuna and her role amongst the crew. 

When Will confronts Druuna on page 39, for example, she is hunched over, eating a human corpse with her hands. Though she moved in a convincingly, or perhaps deceptively, human way the scene prior when her and Will made love, her Replicant side is communicated not only by the act of eating flesh, but in how she performs the act itself. Similarly, when Will confronts the Replicant version of himself on page 41, the Replicant’s posture is strong and tall, a far cry from the animalistic movement of the other Prolets. 

Another recurring object used as a mirror between the realm of the humans and Replicants is the eye. The ship’s computer is representative of an eyeball, as seen in the opening pages set in Doc’s lab, as well as page 56 when the countdown is occurring, and the “pupil” of the screen becomes distorted with static. The Replicant creatures too brandish cyclopean eyes. Will and young Druuna discover a giant eyeball at the beginning of Creatura, alluding to the gateway of transcendent physical form. If the eye seen in Creatura was God, or the forces of chaos, then the ship’s computer is the opposite – a being built on stringent logic and analysis, requiring data and knowledge consumption rather than physical matter. How characters interact with these different representations of God is highlighted in the crew’s straddling of extremes as they cross dimensions. 

The wall bordering the end of the universe too invites analysis. Serpieri states that this wall is representative of what lies beyond the event horizon (Serpieri 1993). It’s a fascinating scene, as it unfolds in an ethereal dimension in which Schastar (and Lewis) can exist in a semi-physical form. Whether this wall and field exist or whether they are supposed to be the manifestation of Druuna’s mind attempting to comprehend the feedback surrounding her is up for interpretation, but it can once again be read as both a personal barrier for the questions Serpieri was pondering of his own life and illustrative process, as well as a narrative piece stemming from his fascination with the universe and what effects exploring its boundaries could have on human beings. 

Another point to note about this scene is that Schastar draws his formula on the wall. If the wall was indeed created by other physical beings, the lack of adornment is curious, and the wall’s implacability between manufactured and natural begs the question, was this boundary erected by intelligent beings, or was it formed naturally? If it was created at random, is the development of the Replicant beings a result of this arbitrary boundary? 

Prior to Doc’s introduction, Lewis shared the beach vision with Druuna, an experience Serpieri has cited as his inspiration for the Morbus Gravis series (Serpieri 1993). If Lewis, or Schastar, were early drafts of self-insertion, or a splintering of personality traits by Serpieri, Schastar marking the wall not only pushes the story forward, but represents Serpieri having reached the edge, formulating a way back. 


Carnivora’s story unfolds in a non-linear fashion and takes place across coexisting realities. It begins and ends with Doc; however, it is only Druuna who can transcend the different realities present. Though Doc shouldn’t have vantage of all the events depicted in the book, they are nevertheless part of his recount because of his communication with Druuna, assumedly disclosed to him between when he finds her wounded in the hallway and to when she is seen deceased in his laboratory. Druuna’s disclosure is purposefully left out of the narrative, perhaps due to page count concerns, or perhaps due to the story’s autofiction elements, alluding to the fact that Doc already knows what Druuna has been through, as he (Serpieri) has authored it. Covering the lifeless Druuna with a sheet while in his laboratory, Doc states, “Good-bye, Druuna… I did what you asked me to do. But even so, I promise you, those beasts won’t win. If our course of action is unsuccessful, the computer has been programmed to set off a system that will make the spaceship explode… Death is a liberation of sorts and the end of everything, including evil!” 

On page 12 we learn that Druuna had been hooked up to the brain scanner, and this data may have been available to Doc as well, clarifying his recount. While Serpieri is the creator and overseer of the book, his conduit, Doc, is not. While it would be impossible for anyone besides Serpieri to clarify what events acts as metaphors to real life and which are analogous to his artistic process, the revelation that the Morbus Gravis series is a platform for Serpieri to contemplate his illustrative work should alter the way in which readers view it. 

Serpieri’s journey to comic books from fine art did not unfold without resistance. While studying at Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts, he recalled, “I was already a painter, and moving over to comic strips was a piece of advice I had oft received from friends who came to see my exhibitions of ink drawings, but being an artist and a left-wing intellectual, you can imagine what my reaction was.”(Guarino and Pollone 2020, 17) When he did move to comic illustration, it took some time for publishers to accept his style, but he persisted and eventually found a position illustrating Westerns for Lanciostory (Guarino and Pollone 2020, 18). 

How the character of Druuna was formed is a multifaceted and lengthy story. In part 2 of this series, Serpieri’s confession of initially conceiving the strip as a caricatured comedy comic was discussed (Serpieri 1993). Numerous other influences, including Valerie Karpinsky in La Femme Publique (Burattini 2021, 80) can be cited in influencing Druuna’s creation, as could his interest in science fiction (Serpieri 1993) and politics, with the “post-bomb” (Sassu, 1992 in Delmastro and Stareantino 2021, 22) setting of Morbus Gravis used as a means to both highlight Druuna’s persevering beauty and the totalitarian control of pleasure and pain by way of religious constructs (Serpieri 1993). 

Though he classifies himself as an illustrator nowadays, Serpieri has cited leftover traits from his time as a painter (Serpieri 1993). In Serpieri Sketchbook he recounts: 

In January ‘94 at the French Comics Convention at Angouleme, a journalist asked me a strange question: ‘What did you think of the woman who was selling books at your stand last year… she was the spitting image of Druuna?’ I was dumbstruck! What woman? What stand? I, who for years have been desperately seeking Druuna, had spent four full days with her standing next to me, without even noticing her… It was at that moment that I realized that I had been looking for the impossible and that I had often met Druuna without even knowing it. The Druuna that I draw is nothing but a synthesis of all the women I have ever met at the four corners of the globe.

Serpieri 1995

What follows is a series of recounts of women he met during his travels, all of whom contained some aspect of Druuna’s persona. Through a series of intimate portraits accompanied by a block of text recalling the situation leading up to the pair’s encounter, readers are put into Serpieri’s place by way of narrative and image, not unlike a comic book, but without the traditional framing of borders or sequential images. Whether these stories are entirely factual, embellished, or fictional is irrelevant. Serpieri’s stories build Druuna not through description or depiction alone, but by engagement. Sketchbook may appear to be biography, but it shares many of the fluid aspects of time distortion and memory with Carnivora

With how the Replicants mirror the crew they impersonate, giving into the most vicious of carnal desires (as seen with Druuna eating flesh on page 40, for example), they are also partially human, and hold some aspects of care and compassion despite their all-consuming, pleasure-motivated instincts. Doc states in his final recording before hitting the breach, “The boundaries between the two universes. Two dimensions that are a reflection of each other, opposite and adverse… in a mirror one can see oneself of the worst part of oneself… two aspects of a same identity: one positive, the other negative. Good and evil. Two absolute but opposite values coexist within each of us… could it be that we gave[sic] created our doubles, the replicants, within our collective subconscious?” 

As mentioned, Jones’ study on ecofeminist themes in Morbus Gravis argues for Druuna’s place as a representative against rapid industrialization and neglect of the natural world. Serpieri’s crossing over from painting to illustration too could be represented in this dichotomy, or in how Druuna and Terry embrace their sexuality, for example. 

Serpieri has also spoken of how despite his intolerance for censorship, he had engaged in it for the series’ early volumes (Serpieri 1993). Upon reflection of this, he stated, “I don’t think the first two-three books were that hard, while the fourth, Mandragora, was certainly more daring.”(Burattini 2021, 82) Though he continued this pushback against censorship, he never felt the need to make the books gratuitous for the sake of shock. Clone, for example, had two editions, one being born of the publisher requesting more erotic scenes, even though Serpieri had thought the Forgotten Planet story arc simply didn’t demand such displays (Burattini 2021, 83). This pull between fan service, Druuna’s story, and how he (Doc) fit into the universe as an exploratory piece would be a point he would reflect upon in Anima and Came From the Wind

This mirroring of dimensions, and desires, can be seen throughout the book, like the spread on pages 10 and 11. The panels on each page adhere to slightly modified proportions, but their arrangement is more or less mirrored. Furthermore, every panel is closed except for the final. By leaving the final frame of page 10 open (aside from a slight border line along the figures) the picture bleeds out into the real world, inviting the reader to sit alongside the gawking crowd. On page 11, the background is empty aside from Druuna and the beast’s shadows, allowing the scenario to transcend off the page, uncontained. Furthermore, the reader must actively grab hold of the page to turn it, activating the next part of the scenario, and whether safety or abuse awaits Druuna on the next page is unknown. The reader is not just an observer, but a participant in the act. 

The difference between Prolets and humans is stressed at several points in Creatura and Carnivora as well. Exactly what the Prolets are, or where they came from, is never fully revealed, but they are treated as cargo – a sub-human species, except for Druuna, who is subject to various experiments. What the Prolets’ purpose is on the ship is never shown (aside from Terry’s use of them), though Druuna’s purpose is undoubtedly for study. Druuna, as a Prolet, is there to be consumed and used by the crew. Doc, it seems, is the only one who fully trusts her, understanding the plight of other human beings, including Replicants. 

Studying her, it seems, inadvertently unlocked something profound. The act of finding Druuna resulted in the crew breaching the edge of the universe, but how much Druuna is a product of this event and much she is a victim is where the nuance lies. Was it Will’s psychic connection to Druuna that brought the crew to her, or Doc’s ambition to explore the far reaches of space? What exactly a Prolet represents is debatable, though in Druuna’s case she undeniably represents inspiration and curiosity. Druuna is Serpieri’s antithesis to societal and religious taboo, as aptly demonstrated in Morbus Gravis I and II. However, the question of her inspiration, that of the women and places Serpieri has experienced, brings into question other hard topics, like othering. Again, it’s a larger discussion than this blog post could encapsulate, though scholars, including Jones, acknowledge that Serpieri’s work can be consumed as purely pornographic media, but Druuna’s protests to sexual advances, and her study from the cerebral and ethereal disciplines, should also be noted (Jones 2006).

The most important illustrations of the book are pages 56 and 57. Doc is positioned in the second panel with his back turned to the doppelganger of himself in the first panel, suggesting Serpieri’s willingness to turn away from this version of himself. There is a natural tendency to think of the future to the right of us, the present on us, and the past behind, as El Rafaie cites in her study about autobiographical comic books (Rafaie 2012, 125). Having the doppelganger Doc facing left (and by proxy backwards into the book) communicates the Replicant’s desire to regress. Doc, meanwhile, faces left, towards the end of the book, and towards the future.

On page 57 Tahinita is partially covered by Doc’s body, communicating a sort of privacy or exclusive connection between them. Who, or what, Tahinita represents Serpieri leaving behind is not fully revealed, though given her state of undress, and comparing this image to the ones seen in Sketchbook, Tahinita could be framed as analogous to one of the moments of lust which spurred Serpieri’s inspiration for Druuna, or perhaps as a moment of pain associated with the pursuit of his endeavor. 

The solemn blue scene of the young Doc sitting at his desk is liminal, a space between two points in his life. Here, Serpieri is reflecting, as demonstrated by his younger self gazing out of the page. How these images read in the context of their creator, and in the years and experiences that pass in relation to their genesis, are what spur the reader to consider the underlying narrative in this otherwise defined erotic horror saga. In the final panel of the book, Serpieri illustrates himself against a blank background. His portrait breaks frame, slightly overlapping with the portrait of Druuna above, perhaps signifying the straddling between his real and artistic personas, and calling into question where Doc’s role ends, and where Serpieri’s begins. 

Too much of a good thing 

“…I’m about to lose my mind, go completely mad, and never reach my goal. Those accursed things, those beings, are getting closer. I have very little time, but I must start from the beginning… from that woman…”

Serpieri 1993, 1

Serpieri states in Druuna X, “I have always been fascinated by the mystery of space. What lies beyond infinity? In Carnivora, I suggested that the small spaceship had reached the end of the universe. Is there anything beyond that?”(Serpieri 1993) 

On the surface, Carnivora is an unsettling horror story about an alien infestation ushered in by breaking through the edge of the known universe. On another level, it is a fascinating piece of autofiction, with Serpieri grappling with his own experience in breaching boundaries. Though Doc remains a part of the story for the next two volumes, it’s not until his return in 2018’s Came From the Wind that we once again see Doc (and Serpieri) grapple with Druuna in such a literal autofiction sense. 

You can purchase Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri’s Creatura – Carnivora, here.


Burattini, Moreno. 2021. “Druuna, L’Ultima Donna.” In Serpieri E Gli Altri Universi: Tra West, eros a fantascienza, edited by Vincenzo Mollica, 77-98. Torino: Lo Scarabeo. 

Delmastro, Elena and Alessandro Starrantino, ed. 2021. Serpieri XXX. Torino: Lo Scarabeo. 

Guarino, Roberto, Matteo Pollone. 2020. “Interview with Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri.”In Serpieri West, edited by Elena Delmastro, Alessandro Starrantino, and Santo Alligo, 17-21. Torino: Lo Scarabeo. 

Jones, Matthew. 2006. “Ecofeminist Themes in Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri’s Morbus Gravis.” ImageText 2, no. 2.

Rafaie, Elisabeth El. 2012. Autobiographical Comics. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. 

Serpieri, Paolo Eleuteri. 1993. Druuna X. New York: Diva Graphix. 

Serpieri, Paolo Eleuteri. 1993. Creatura. Translated by Michela Nonis. Massachusetts: Heavy Metal. 

Serpieri, Paolo Eleuteri. 1995. Serpieri Sketchbook. Translated by Fershid Bharucha. New York: Heavy Metal. 

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