So let’s see: we have Spider-Man's clone, along with Spidey’s number one fan bonded to one of Spidey’s greatest enemies and a serial killer also bonded to the “offspring” of said enemy, stranded in a microscopic universe and caught in the middle of a conflict that’s seems reminiscent of a certain George Lucas franchise that Marvel’s parent company just so happened to have recently purchased. How much weirder can Scarlet Spider and Venom’s “fish out of water” tale get? And will there be anymore Star Wars references? Read on.
Act four begins from where part three ended, with Kaine battling and attempting to kill Carnage. And although Kaine get several good punches in, Carnage stabs him with several tendrils.
The scene then cuts to The Homeworld Microship Endeavor, where Flash is trying to regain control of his Venom symbiote. Arcturus Rann tells his team not to kill the symbiote or Flash, as the Redeemer wants them both alive, so Flare (the blue fairy member of the team) soothes the Venom symbiote with her singing, reverting Flash back to his Agent Venom form. However, just as this happens, the Endeavor comes under attack by an enemy ship. As they the Endeavor is about to be breached and boarded, Flash, exhausted from the previous fight, falls into unconsciousness, his thoughts drifting to Betty Brant.
Meanwhile, Kaine is continually slashing at Carnage with his stingers. However, the Redeemer continues grows weaker and the cliff he's standing on suddenly collapses. Kaine sees this and leaps after him, leaving Carnage, Katy Kiernan, and the assassin Radius behind. At that moment, soldiers of the Marquis Radu arrive, taking Carnage and Katy prisoner.
Flash awakes to find himself captured, along with the Enigma Force/Micronaut members, and are soon face-to-face with the Marquis Radu. The Marquis says he's on the verge of victory now that he has the two symbiotes in his possession just as Radius and the Marquis troops arrive with Carnage and Katy. Carnage attempts to break free from the guards and attack the Marquis, but the Marquis quickly defeats Carnage with a single body slam to the ground. The Enigma Force is taken to their cells while Flash and Carnage are taken to "the banks."
The Marquis then tells Katy, because she's a "historian from the Macroverse" what his plan entails. He explains that the Microverse is held together by the real Enigma Force, who is, essentially, God. Long ago, the Microverse was invaded by the symbiotes and nearly destroyed their world by attempting to consume and bond with the Enigma Force/God. However, the Engima Force/God barely managed to stop the symbiotes and expel them from the Microverse into our universe. Thus the Marquis brought Carnage to the Microverse to kill God, as he couldn't do it himself as that would be against his religion (um...what?) And once the Enigma Force/God is dead, the Marquis can become the new God (again…what?!).
Back in the Obsidian Wastelands, we see that Kaine and the Redeemer have survived. The Redeemer reveals to Kaine that he's the living embodiment of the Enigma Force/God and is dying because the symbiotes' continued presence is slowly poisoning the Microverse. And because the Microverse is what holds our universe together, then it also means the end of the entire universe as well.
The issue ends with Carnage and Flash being brought to 'the banks" which turns out to be a gigantic room full of capsules with people in suspended animation. Flash realizes that he and Carnage are going to be used to infect those people and thus create the Marquis' own symbiote army.
As you tell from my recap, one half of this issue is devoted to action and the other half to plot exposition, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise which half was more effective. Being that this is his comic, Kaine has the best moments, particularly during his fight with Carnage. His internal struggle between not wanting to give in to “the monster” within himself, to maintain his desire to be a better person with his “second chance” at life and yet knowing Carnage must die was very effective. Not to mention that, the implication that the Redeemer may have been bringing about Kaine’s more murderous nature to stop Carnage adds another layer to this, for lack of a better word, enigmatic character. It also serves to show how similar Kaine is with Flash, as the later is a character who is also struggling with darkness as well, albeit a separate malevolent alien entity moreso than his own psychological demons.
However, I just could not take the Marquis Radu seriously as a villain. Sure, he kicks Carnage's ass with a single wallop, but anybody can tell you that's an easy and cheap way to try to sell a new character. Also, while the Marquis Radu's master plan is completely and appropriately nuts, it also doesn't make a lick of sense. I mean seriously--he says he cannot kill God on his own because that goes against his religion, yet abducting a super-powered homicidal maniac to create an army of super-powered homicidal maniacs to do it for him doesn't? Yes, I know he's supposed to be insane, but that whole "I'm not committing a sin if I get someone else to do it for me" loophole is just ridiculously absurd even by "mad despot with a god-complex" standards. If he just simply said that only the symbiotes were capable of doing this and left it that, it would've have been sufficient.
And maybe it’s just me, but I just find odd that, for a 6-part Scarlet Spider/Venom crossover, we’re now four parts in and both Kaine and Flash have spent more time apart than actually working together during this story. You would think that for a team-up story, these two would actually…well, team-up.
Still, there’s plenty enough to like here. Reilly Brown and Khoi Pham’s art over some exciting and attention-grabbing visuals, particularly during the fight between Kaine and Carnage, and the design of Marquis Radu. Characterization and dialogue are decent and consistent, and the story is engaging enough. So for those who have already been following along with “Minimum Carnage,” they still might enjoy this issue despite the flawed second half.