Minimum Carnage: Alpha

Posted by bulletproofsponge 11 October 2012

This is part one of a six part story that crosses over between Venom, Scarlet Spider, and this little Carnage book. As Spidey fans, we all love it when the Spider-Man looking characters all appear together in a story. This is exactly that, except for the appearance of Spider-Man himself probably..

The Story
The first page shows our main character - Cletus Casady, being freed by someone we don't know. Three hours later, dozens of men are killed in Colorado's Maximum Security prison. We then have Agent Venom on the case, scared as hell, but not showing it to the men he is leading.

Venom, tries to put the pieces together as he does his best to figure out what took place in the prison.



Two hours later, we have a few ordinary cops complaining about not having any chance finding Carnage driving a car. In case you didn't know, they were conducting a police check on the road. Strangely enough however, they did find Cletus Kasady, calmly driving a car. The cops try to stop him, but are killed by a seemingly invisible person.

Meanwhile, Venom is still cracking his head, looking at the security footage at what appears to be an invisible killer. It isn't long however until he notices that the killer is not invisible, but is in fact very tiny. He also gets his explanation as to why Carnage was not destroyed. Apparently the symbiote has bonded itself into Cletus' DNA and cannot be killed. This news alarms Flash for a second.

After checking with a source about really tiny killers, Venom is led to his next clue - a project called Prometheus Pit in Houston.

Two days later, we see Kaine, swinging around as Scarlet Spider. He notices a building on fire and goes in to rescue survivors. He get a little shocked however when he sees body parts lying on the floor. Not wasting any time however, he grabs the only survivor and leaves. The survivor is terrified of Kaine, or rather the Scarlet Spider.

Later at the hospital, Kaine learns that the man witnessed the attack by a character who looked like the Scarlet Spider. The terrified man also says that the killer was going after his wife.

In a Space Center somewhere, a Dr Ketola is being interviewed by Katy Kiernan (girl from Venom) regarding her efforts to rekindle the efforts of a Dr Phillip Prometheus. In between the interview, Kasady pops in, asking about the Prometheus Pit as well. He is stopped by the Scarlet Spider, who tries to kill Carnage immediately. Carnage is taken aback at Spider-Man's new style. It doesn't take him long however to realize that he is not fighting the real Spider-Man.

Though the element of surprise was on Kaine's side, he is taken down pretty quick by Carnage's new tiny friends. The tiny guys then mind control Dr Ketola to activate the Prometheus pit. We find out that Carnage had an agreement with the tiny guys and he was promised a new world of new people to kill.

Carnage then throws the reporter into the pit and jumps in himself, soon disappearing. ( I think Dr Ketola might have gone in as well ) Before Kaine can get back to his feet, he is stopped by Agent Venom!


Thoughts
I might have missed something in the Scarlet Spider series, but does Kaine not care about his secret identity? In the hospital he was hanging around without his mask! Other than that, everything in this issue seemed perfectly sane.

The artwork was great. I loved how Kaine was able to identify that the murder committed by Carnage was not ordinary, being a murderer himself. Obviously, my favorite scene in this whole issue is the full page inserted above, where Carnage mistakes Kaine for the real Spider-Man.

Kaine is making it really clear that he is not Spider-Man at all! Thumbs up for Kaine!

As far as Venom goes, he is just an extra character to me. Unlike, Kaine, who is probably good deep down, but tries to be bad, Venom tries really hard to be good. At the end of the day however, we all know that as noble as Flash may be, he is carrying a time bomb as a fully evil living suit!





Venom #19-22 Review

Posted by Spiderfan001

The conclusion to Rick Remender's epic run!



The Story - Venom #19 - Savage Six Part 2: Family

Flash Thompson stands revealed as Venom before Betty Brant, who slaps him in the face.  Flash is eventually able to get Betty to calm down and agree to stay with him until the danger passes.  Swinging towards his sister Jesse's apartment, Flash tries to call his mom, who is unable to answer as she is being attacked by the Human Fly.  Flash arrives at his sister's apartment, leaving Betty on the balcony.  Flash finds that Jack O' Lantern has already murdered Jesse's husband and has taken her.  He also finds several of Jack O' Lantern's devil baby dolls, all rigged to explode.  Flash quickly grabs Betty and swings out the apartment before it explodes.

Landing on a nearby rooftop, Flash spots Jack O' Lantern flying overhead with his sister and leaves Betty to go after him.  During the course of their battle, Jack is able to throw Jesse off a building.  Flash is able to save her, but while he was doing so, Toxin was able to snatch Betty.



Venom #20 - Savage Six Part 3: The Truth

Flash arrives at his mother's apartment, only to find that she is gone.  He is then ambushed by Death Adder and the two begin to fight throughout the apartment complex.  After a hard fought battle, Flash is finally able to snap Death Adder's neck.  Flash then finds the Human Fly with his mother (still alive) in the clock tower.  After ripping the Fly's wings off, Flash gets him to reveal Betty's location.

At an abandoned shipyard on Staten Island, the Crime-Master reveals his true identity to Betty: Bennett Brant, Betty's once dead brother!



Venom #21 - Savage Six Part 4: Best Laid Plans...

Bennett Brant explains to his sister how he was resurrected to carry on the legacy of the Crime-Master and how much he wanted to reunite with her.  He is then interrupted by one of his henchmen, who informs him that Venom has arrived.

Meanwhile, Flash battles Megtak in the Crime-Master's lair.  Megatak is eventually devoured by Toxin, who wants Venom for himself.  Flash is eventually able to set Toxin on fire and rescue Eddie Brock from the flames.  However, the Toxin symbiote is able to pull Eddie back at the last moment, burning him alive.



Flash then finds Betty, Crime-Master and Jack O' Lantern.  Jack attacks Flash, but is quickly knocked into a vat of chemicals.  Flash then heads for Crime-Master, who blasts Flash with a sonic gun and then a flame thrower.  As Crime-Master prepares to finish him off, he is shot in the back by Betty, and is instantly killed.  Flash takes Betty out of Crime-Master's hideout to a nearby rooftop.  There, Betty tells Flash that she loves and forgives him for all that's happened but that she never wants to see him again.

Later, at a Secret Avengers meeting at the Lighthouse Station, Flash prepares to tell the team about what has transpired.

Venom #22 - Father's Day

Following a series of murders committed by Jack O' Lantern, Flash sets out to take him down once and for all.  Flash eventually finds Jack's hideout in the sewer, where he and Jack duke it out (Jack wants revenge on Flash for the death of the Crime-Master, his "father").  Flash defeats Jack and decides to let him live, refusing to give in to the rage that consumed his own father for so long.



Thoughts

With these last four issues Rick Remender completed the most successful run any creator has ever had on a solo Venom title.  Remender made Flash Thompson a hero we could all root for, even as he screwed up royally at every turn.  Cullen Bunn has some mighty big shoes to fill.

The Savage Six arc was one that definitely kept you on your toes.  We're so used to seeing Venom fail that I genuinely wasn't sure whether any of Flash's friends or family would make it out of the story alive.  Eddie Brock's fate came as a surprise; I liked his new role as a symbiote hunter and was disappointed by his apparent death.  The revelation that Crime-Master was Betty's brother was a cool call back to the classic Amazing Spider-Man #11 and one I wasn't expecting.  His death at the hands of his sister was dark and fitting.

Venom has always been a good looking book and these last four issues were no exception.  Lan Medina did a great job on the Savage Six, both with dynamic fight scenes as well as smaller character moments.  Venom's fight with Death Adder looked particularly impressive.  Similarly, Declan Shelvey does a great job on issue #22; his artwork being a perfect fit for Venom's dark tone.

Remender ends his historic run on Venom exactly the way we wanted him too; with rich characterization and high stakes action.  If you haven't yet checked out his run, it's definitely worth picking up in trades!  


AvX #10-12 Review

Posted by Spiderfan001

Before we get started with the finale of Avengers vs. X-Men, I just want to get the obvious out of the way and say that issue #9 was awesome!!!  We need Jason Aaron on a Spider-Man ongoing ASAP.



Round 10

Cyclops goes on a rampage through K'un Lun looking for Hope and easily defeats any Avengers who stand in his way.

At Utopia, the power of the Phoenix force is clearly getting to Emma Frost, who is forcefully making every mutant on Utopia bow before her.  When Magneto objects to Emma's treatment of her own kind, she makes him bow as well.
As Cyclops lays waste to more Avengers, he is attacked by Hope and Kung the Thunderer, who are riding the reincarnation of Shao Lao, the dragon whose ancestors are said to have defeated the Phoenix force (it's sentences like this that make me realize just how goofy comics are).  Although Shao Lao is able to hurt Cyclops, he is still too young to stand a chance against the Phoenix, and Cyclops quickly gains the upper hand.  Hope manages to absorb some of Shao Lao's power as she flees from Cyclops and eventually runs into Scarlet Witch, Beast and Iron Man.  Angered, Hope decides to attack Cyclops, and the combination of the dragon's power and her close proximity to Scarlet Witch's chaos energy allows her to chaos fist Cyclops to the moon (again, goofy).  As the Avengers congratulate Hope for turning the tide, Cyclops realizes he needs Emma...

Meanwhile, on Utopia, Magneto calls out to Charles Xavier, telling him that Cyclops and Emma have lost control and asks for help.


Round 11

Captain America recruits the Hulk for the final fight against Cyclops and Emma.

The mutants who have fled Utopia, led by Rogue, are able to find safe haven with Charles Xavier and the Avengers.  They tell them that they're ready to help bring Cyclops and Emma down.

Xavier has a mental confrontation with Cyclops while the Avengers and X-Men attack both he and Emma.  Eventually, Cyclops grows so frustrated that he decides to take Emma down and absorb the entirety of the Phoenix force.  Xavier tries one last time to talk Cyclops down, but Cyclops has none of it, and kills his former mentor.  With this last act, the Phoenix force is able to fully consume Cyclops, who becomes Dark Phoenix.



Round 12

The Avengers and X-Men do battle with Dark Phoenix Cyclops across the globe as he slowly tears the Earth apart with his power.  The fight doesn't go well, so Cap gives Iron Man the okay to put his plan into effect.  As Dark Phoenix flies into the atmosphere to set the Earth aflame, he is intercepted by Nova who sends him plummeting back to Earth, right in the vicinity of Hope and the Scarlet Witch, who use their combined powers to take Cyclops down.

With Cyclops defeated, Hope absorbs the Phoenix force and starts to undo all the damage Cyclops did.  She then returns to the Avengers, and with the help of the Scarlet Witch, they are able to scatter the Phoenix across the world, where its energy creates more mutants, bringing them back from the brink of extinction.

Later, in a ruby quartz cell, Captain America explains to Cyclops just how much trouble Cyclops is in.  Cyclops takes full responsibility for his actions and expresses satisfaction at what they ultimately resulted in.  As Cap and Wolverine leave for Xavier's funeral, Cyclops explains that with the Phoenix, there always has to be destruction before the rebirth.

Thoughts

Avengers vs. X-Men has finally wrapped up, and for my money it was one of the most interesting and exciting events Marvel has done in a while.  For me, the breakout character in this series had to be Cyclops, who as it turns out was right about the original intentions of the Phoenix.  There's an argument to be made that, had the Avengers not interfered and Hope gained the power of the Phoenix in the first place, everything would have worked out well for everyone.  But then you have to keep in mind that in the end Hope needed the help of the Scarlet Witch to reactivate mutantkind, thus making the intervention of the Avengers necessary.  Cyclops is then a tragic pawn of fate; he had to fall from grace so that Hope could take the reigns from him and save mutantkind.  It's a cool story and it's made Cyclops into one of my favourite characters.  I'm glad Marvel delivered on their promise that this would not be a clear cut good vs. evil story.  It should also be said that the artwork in this series remained amazing throughout, with Marvel committing some serious talent to each issue. 

There were a few hiccups; had Marvel not annoyingly leaked Charles Xavier's death to the press, I would not be able to tell by Oliver Coipel's rendition of the scene if Xavier had actually died or had just been knocked unconscious.  And it would have been nice if Xavier played a bigger role in the story in the issues prior to #11.  As it stands, it feels like he showed up just so the series could have an obligatory big character death.  Also, why did we need the Hulk recruitment scene at the beginning of #11?  The Hulk is already an Avenger, and furthermore doesn't do anything for the rest of the series.

On a side note, one can't help but grin at the irony of Wolverine giving the eulogy at Xavier's funeral.  Y'know, because Wolverine's never committed atrocities while under the influence of an outside force before...  Oh wait...

More like this please.


      
   


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