Scarlet Spider #11 “Minimum Carnage Part 4” Review

If you missed part 3 of this story, click here to read CrazyChris’ review of Venom #26!

“Minimum Carnage Part 4: Kill Carnage”

Writer: Chris Yost

Pencils: Reilly Brown & Khoi Pham

Inks: Tom Palmer

Colors: Edgar Delgado

Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Art: Ryan Stegman & Marte Gracia





THE “STORY:” Carnage and Scarlet Spider fight. Venom and the good tiny people fight. Everyone but Scarlet Spider and The Redeemer are captured by the bad tiny people. The leader of the bad tiny people wants to kill God using symbiotes. The Redeemer starts to strip.


MY THOUGHTS: First, I apologize for the much briefer than usual synopsis of the issue. It’s just that – there is not much story here. And there is really NO enjoyment for me here. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is really starting to depress me. I asked to review this title out of pure love for it. Scarlet Spider, from the start, has been a really GREAT book, without exception. And even in part 2 of Minimum Carnage (last issue), Chris Yost manage to deliver an entertaining comic despite the rather silly crossover story. But alas, it seems nothing can save us from the Microverse now. I’ve actually been putting off writing this review for hours after I read the issue, because I was left feeling rather despondent by my sheer lack of enjoyment of an issue of Scarlet Spider.

I would also like to briefly apologize for the lack of images in this review. The images I post with my reviews come from the previews released by Marvel of the first few pages of every issue. But no matter how hard I searched the internet, it appears there was just no preview of this issue for me to draw from. Thus, we’re text only this time. Hopefully by the next issue we’ll be back into a regular cycle of previews.

Now, let’s dig into it. I’ll start with the cover. Scarlet Spider, as usual, looks great. It’s no secret that I love Ryan Stegman’s art, so I tend to dig the covers that he continues to contribute to this series. But this particular cover features a very, very weird looking Carnage. When my roommate saw the cover, he said, “Carnage looks like an insect. Did Carnage take over a bug?” And that pretty much sums up my feelings about it as well. Carnage’s head just looks OFF here, and that kind of sets the tone for what’s to follow.

The interior art is fine, but not to the usual high standard of Scarlet Spider. Reilly Brown gets top billing over Khoi Pham this time out, so I assume Mr. Brown handled the brunt of the art duties in this issue. I’ve seen Reilly Brown’s work before and enjoyed it, so I think perhaps whatever way the work was divided between the two pencilers this month may have muddied the waters a bit. Certain things are unclear, and others just look a bit strange or undefined. Which is a shame, because if this issue had benefited from great art, it would have had at least one saving grace.

We open with a knock-down-drag-out between Scarlet Spider and Carnage. And while there’s nothing wrong with the fight on its face, there’s just nothing here we haven’t seen before. Their first fight in the “Minimum Carnage: Alpha” one-shot was brief, but more brutal and direct which made it more entertaining. And while we get some nice inner monologue from Kaine, it’s really nothing that stands out from his thoughts during his fight with Venom last issue about his new lease on life since he died. Thus the fight, which could have been the centerpiece of the issue and given me something to like, becomes more of a paint-by-numbers affair that’s entirely forgettable.

Then we’ve got the Venom symbiote going crazy on the tiny people, which again just doesn’t feel like anything fresh. This was a scene that really could have benefited from some awesome art to really make it sing, but since the art is muddy and fairly standard, there’s nothing to really latch onto. We’re left with a faerie singing the symbiote into submission and everyone getting captured, which is pretty anti-climactic.

Then we meet the Marquis Radu, leader of the bad tiny people, who wants to kill God. He, in fact, wants to BE God, but killing God is against his religion so he brought symbiotes there to do it, since they’ve nearly destroyed the Microverse before. Do I really have to go into why my disbelief is beyond the point of suspension when faced with a character who wants to kill and replace God but won’t since it’s against his religion? But it’s not against his religion to ship in killers who could destroy his universe to kill God FOR him? This is two-dimensional, moustache-twirling, poorly thought out villainy at its worst.

Finally we have the Redeemer telling Scarlet Spider that the Macroverse is held together by the Microverse, so they have to save it. And then he starts stripping, ’cause…he realized the hooded cloak wasn’t particularly badass? I had long stopped caring by that point anyway.

Did I mention this depressed me? Because it very much did. Here we have a high profile crossover for a young book, still in its first year, with prominent and popular characters Venom and Carnage. This should be a story to pull in new readers who are trying Scarlet Spider for the first time because of the crossover. Part 2 had good chances of that by making the most of a bad situation and proving good writing can conquer anything. But at this point, were I a new reader, this Microverse story would have soured me on whichever new book I was trying and this issue would have done nothing to change my mind. After part 3 in Venom #26 I thought, “At least part 4 is a Scarlet Spider issue so it will be entertaining even through a bad story.” And folks, that’s not what happened at all. This is very much a continuation of the quality we got in Venom #26 and really just more of the same. I’m severely disappointed in this crossover and this issue, and at this point I’m just waiting impatiently for parts 5 and 6 (Venom #27 and Minimum Carnage: Omega) to come out so I can move on to a Scarlet Spider solo story again. And that is NOT how I should be feeling about a Scarlet Spider/Venom/Carnage story. Frankly, that story should be AWESOME.


RATING: 1 micro-web out of 5. This is the extreme low point of the series to date. If every issue was this quality, I would not be reading this title. Without even impressive art to save it, I just can’t find a reason to give this issue higher than a 1, and I really tried.

To wrap up this story, don’t miss CrazyChris’ Venom #27 review next week and a tandem review from the both of us of Minimum Carnage: Omega the week after!

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(14) Comments

  1. NorthernRedStar

    O_o I thought this issue stepped the game up a bit. Besides it was worth seeing Carnage owned by Radu :D

  2. Spideydude

    This is a bad 90s story wrapped in new costumes, characters and writers. If this is meant to be a homage to those stories... they they failed.

  3. Eddie

    LOVE the exchange in the comments. You guys really bring it. I actually enjoyed the Scarlet Spider/Carnage fight, if just for Kaine's savagery. However, you are absolutely right in the fact that we've seen/heard it all before. In general, I don't care for intergalactic or "innergalactic" stories, with VERY few exceptions and unfortunately this isn't one of them. Kevin - the business angle on this is appreciated. I too, LOVE this book and really want it to succeed. This mini is not going to make anyone pick up Scarlet Spider. Lastly, imagine how great this combo would have been if Carnage had come to Houston on the lamb and ended up in a situation where the people Kaine loves in his supporting cast were in danger. Venom could have been their on assignment to check out this new Spider-hero for his handlers and there would be something significant at stake. Alas.

  4. CrazyChris

    9, I don't think the symbiotes are from another dimension according to this story. They originated in the normal universe but they invaded the microverse at some point in the past.

  5. EddieD

    Why? Why are they doing this story? Why should I care about the microverse? Why can't this story just be over already?

  6. Nightmare Freddy

    I found this issue to be an improvement to the last one. Since I have finally a little reason to care about the micro-verse, it supplemented the Symbiote origins making them aliens from another dimension and Carnage kicked ass. I think they wanted to make Venom lose control a lot, so they though logical to separate the team up for most of the story, which I don’t think was a good idea. Since I am also reading Secret avengers at the same time, I kind of hope that the event of that comic happens after Minimum carnage. At least I would have a better chance to not hear about Betty as often and the perspective to read about Flash presenting Valkyrie would be much more amusing. Nice to have two reviewers with different perspective on this cross-over, keep up the good work!!!

  7. Kevin Cushing - Post author

    @7: I was fine with Radu's smackdown of Carnage, but his power will have to be consistent from here on out. If anyone performs a quick physical take-down of Radu in the climax, I'll be crying foul.

  8. CrazyChris

    @5, if you mean Kaine joining the new Thunderbolts team with Venom, Red Hulk, Elektra, Deadpool, and Punisher . . . that actually could work because none he fits in with the overall tone but he brings a different attitude to the table. BUT, and that's a big BUT, I have no intention of reading that series as long as it is written by Daniel Way no matter how awesome the team is. @6, The serious tone makes the villains motivation even more quirky to me. To be honest, I can't tell if that part was supposed to be funny or not, and maybe that's part of why it worked for me. I know the Macroverse isn't actually going to end, but at least it is at stake within the story. That's a huge improvement over the last part where it seemed like this was all about the balance of power between the Microverse factions. Do you think building up the villain by having him knock out Carnage in one blow was effective or was it just a lazy way to make him seem like a big deal?

  9. Kevin Cushing - Post author

    @1: Of course, I've never claimed and would never claim that my reviews are anything more than my opinion. That's all any review is, since there is no real objective view of entertainment media. It's all subjective, filtered through the lens of personal taste of whoever is doing the reviewing. I'm glad you're enjoying this event, I really am. I would never want to begrudge someone else their entertainment from comics, movies, TV, whatever, even if I disagree. I just can find no way of enjoying it myself though I really want to and have tried. And as the reviewer of the title for this site, I am charged by Brad Douglas with giving my opinion. I just can't grade an issue based on "I'm sure someone out there likes this, so I'll give it a high score that I don't agree with." Sorry if you were offended, and I hope we'll BOTH enjoy the comic going forward. @4: I was waiting for the Chris review! I agree with a lot of what you have to say in general, but I still just can't buy the villain's motivations here. Honestly there is a way it could have been written that it would have been quirky/funny to me rather than WTF (in the style of a Warren Ellis or maybe Kieron Gillen, if that makes sense), but here it was just kind of dropped in a serious tone like it made total sense. And personally I still don't care about the Microverse conflict (it's not like I'm worried the Macroverse is going to end in this crossover), but it's nice Scarlet Spider has finally been given a reason to the end of part 4. And yes, the reason SS #10 was so good was that we got Venom and Scarlet Spider together for the majority of the issue. A shame they haven't crossed over in the other three parts of their crossover.

  10. CrazyChris

    Interesting. I sort of liked this one. It wasn't as good as Scarlet Spider #10 but I thought it was a significant improvement over the Venom issue. PROS - I liked the way Carnage was written. "Hell? That's not a place you go. It's a place you make." I also liked him laughing and asking for more while Kaine was kicking his ass. It was a little bit of a retread from part 1, though, I'll admit. - I actually like Marquis Radu. Of all the Microverse characters we've met so far, he is the first one to bring a sense of presence to the page and have a memorable personality. His line about not being able to kill God himself because that's against his religion, but using Carnage is okay is a little odd, but there's precedent for people trying to find loopholes in their own religions in real life and this is an alien religion so it is fair to assume it would seem even weirder to us. It makes him a more interesting character, I think. - Now that the villain's plan has been explained and we have a better sense of the stakes, there's a reason to care about the outcome of the Microverse conflict. CONS - While I like the style of the art, I think the storytelling is TERRIBLE. For example I had a very hard time following the action in the scene where Katy and the Redeemer were standing on a ledge that broke off and Kaine jumped after him. - The whole scene with Venom fighting the good tiny people was bad. I do. Not. Care. about those characters, and ending it with the fairy singing was dumb. Why didn't she do that first, before Venom was about to kill her whole team? And besides, the imagery of a fairy singing to Venom to calm him is just lame to begin with. - It was a huge mistake to plot this thing so that Venom and Scarlet Spider are separated for the majority of the story. The chemistry between the two characters, with Kaine having the attitude and Venom being the straight man, works so well that I kind of want to read an ongoing series with them together.

  11. Manu

    1/5, lol that's your op. Any Venom or Scarlet fan shdont be influenced by this review, this mini event is awesome, something different that's why is so good x)

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