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!