Evil Geek Book Report – Minimum Carnage

Remember Carnage? After his decadent stay in Marvel Comics in the 1990’s, they eased up on him a little but couldn’t get rid of him. In case you couldn’t tell…he’s back and invading one of my new favorite series, Scarlet Spider. I was hooked immediately after reading Volume 1: Life After Death which covered issues #1-6. Now I’ve been waiting for Volume 2 to be released which has issues #7-9 and #12.1-14. But I’m still a few months away from that and found out that Minimum Carnage bridged the gap. What we have here is a Scarlet Spider crossover with the new Black OPs Venom, Flash Thompson. It spanned Venom #26 & 27, Scarlet Spider #10, 11 and 12 and was bookended by Minimum Carnage: Alpha & Omega. Written and drawn by Scarlet Spider’s regular team of Chris Yost and Koi Pham, Venom’s Cullen Bunn and Declan Shavey with additional art by Ian Medina.

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*SPOILERS AHEAD SO PROCEED WITH CAUTION

As our story starts Cletus Kasady the serial killer and host for the alien symbiote Carnage is mysteriously broken out of maximum security prison in Colorado. Carnage re-emerges in the NASA Space Center in Houston, TX on a killing spree. Our not so friendly neighborhood Scarlet Spider swings in and tries to subdue him. A slew of tiny people (actually microscopic, not dwarves) appear and whisk Carnage away. Flabbergasted, Scarlet Spider ponders what to do when Venom shows up and the two ego maniacs get into it.

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After tempers cool we find out that Carange used technology called the Prometheus Pit to travel to the Microverse. Described as, “subatomic space…a whole universe that exists between subatomic particles…it’s infinite and there’s life there”. After some debating (Spider was very opposed to the whole idea) our heroes decide to follow him into the Microverse.

The series splits into three parts here. One follows Carnage where it’s revealed that the inhabitants of the Microverse traveled to Earth to bring Carnage back with them. They plan on duplicating the symbiotes functionality endlessly and creating an army of replicas to kill the God of the Microverse and rip apart the spirituality that binds the planet together.

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Venom finds himself with a resistance group opposing the dictator behind Carange’s abduction, Marquis Radu and Scarlet Spider has hooked up with the God figure. Here he finds out that if the God dies, the Microverse and our world does as well.

The army of Carnage’s is raised and go bat shit, eventually getting transported onto Earth still Microverse sized and begin to feast on flesh in Houston. Venom and Scarlet Spider of course subdue them all as well as Carnage and Venom calls in the Avengers to lock Kasady up. Scarlet being the smart one however, stabs Kasady (not Carnage mind you) straight through the eye.  This effectively lobotomizes him,  leaving him brainless. As the shell of his body is being carted away we know the symbiote still lives and is even deadlier now that there is no brain to have to deal with…only sweet, sweet consumable flesh. Thus another big Marvel Universe event is set up for future reading.

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This crossover as a whole was mediocre. Much like Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider is grounded in realistic settings. It feels jarring and wrong to see him going on intergalactic adventures and in outer space. The story was good enough and interesting, I just think it would have worked better with a different hero. There also was not nearly enough Scarlet Spider, most of the story revolved around Venom and Carnage (it was the 90s all over again!). Carnage was portrayed as such a one dimensional character. Kill, Kill, Kill, Bloodlust, Kill. At least the Eddie Brock Venom symbiote had depth and personality, the Carnage symbiote is a one note shallow player.

Also included in this collection is Scarlet Spider #12, which doesn’t serve a purpose. The true end of this crossover happens in the issue before this, Minimum Carnage: Omega. The first few pages act as a kind of epilogue where Kaine gets drunk and laments being a hero and not being able to save Houston residents from Carnage. The rest is a story of its own accord. All of it can be enjoyed without knowledge of the events in Minimum Carnage.

I would however, like to praise the cover art for many of these issues. They’ve been some of my more recent favorites.

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At this point I wish would Marvel would just clean house. Get rid of Venom, Carnage and Peter Parker. Replace the Superior Spider-Man with Scarlet Spider as the main Spider character and exile the symbiotes on another planet and make that its own comic book. I know that’s just wishful thinking for the insane, but what can I say? A little bit of Kasady may have rubbed off on me…

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners

About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on January 22, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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