Monday, October 8, 2012

Extra! Extra! Minimum Carnage (Alpha)

Hi all!

Triple threat!
For this week's Extra! Extra!, I'm switching it up a bit! I picked up my pull list this weekend and am working my way through it, but I read one particular issue that I have been excited for and, for once, WASN'T disappointed! As you can tell from the post's title, I'm talking about Minimum Carnage: Alpha, a crossover event between the Venom and Scarlet Spider titles, featuring one of my favorite comic villains (I know, I have bad taste), Carnage.

First, a history lesson! The first comic book I remember reading as a kid was an issue from the 14 issue Maximum Carnage arc. I had picked it up because I loved the cover (as I do most of the Maximum Carnage covers). I'd had comic books before, but I don't remember actually reading them (more than looking at the pictures) until this issue. I was probably five or six, possibly a little older (I doubt I read it during it's initial release). Since then, I have always been fond of comics, though only recently (the past four years or so) been heavy into collecting them.

That's a lot of Carnage...
Maximum Carnage lacked any kind of depth, but it was constant action and awesome Super Hero fights between some of my favorite characters -- especially Spider-Man, Venom, and Carnage. Since then, I've collected most of Carnage's appearances (I'm missing some items relating to Toxin and alternate universes) and have followed Venom and Spider-Man heavily.

From Carnage USA
I was pretty bummed when I found out Sentry had ripped Carnage in half and left him floating in outer space (and it wasn't even in a Spider title!). Fortunately, it was very much a "comic book death" -- Carnage came back last year in a self-titled short series and then made another reappearance in Carnage USA.

Unfortunately, both of those short runs were pretty bad. The writing was nothing special, though it hit some interesting plot elements, and the art was AWFUL. I HATED the art for both runs, and Carnage had always incurred some of the most vibrant issues (which I'll talk about next Monday!).

I'd heard about Minimum Carnage a little while back and was excited to see Scarlet Spider (which I've been enjoying), Venom (which is meh, but is Venom!), and Carnage mix it up. I wouldn't mind a guest appearance from Spidey down the line, but for now I'm excited about the trio. None of them are stable characters, and the protagonists are NOT altruistic (or overly successful) heroes.

Onto issue Alpha! The first thing that makes me over the top excited is the art! Finally, a vibrant carnage comic down in the style of modern issues, no left overs from Dark Avengers! I assume the series will stick closely to the art I've been enjoying in the Scarlet Spider and Venom on-goings.

The first (and only!) thing I dislike is what they did to Cletus Kasady:
Kasady - 90s

Kasady - Now

How can you screw up a red-headed serial killer with a middle-aged dad?

The advertised plot involved carnage somehow shrinking and causing a ruckus  Personally, that sounded terrible and I assumed I was getting this issue simply because it was Carnage. Turns out, it might be more interested than I initially suggested -- we're going to the Microverse!

I LOVE Carnage's updated look!
As it turns out, Carnage has been freed by some Microns; they plan on using Carnage to wage a one-man war for them in exchange for setting him free in a universe more-or-less devoid of Super Heroes. Agent Venom is brought in to hunt him down, while Scarlet Spider gets involved after running into some of Carnage's handiwork, actually running into the villain in this issue when he learns the identity of his next victim: a scientist working on something called the "Prometheus Device."

The issue is quickly wrapped up when Carnage flees into a portal to the Microverse and Venom comes across Scarlet Spider at the scene of the fight. Venom and Scarlet don't know each other, so next issue may have some interesting conflicts there.

As a plot, it's actually more interesting than most of Carnage's other stories, even during his origin and fame of the 90's.

But, still, the biggest thing for me is that Carnage has a distinct style again and actually LOOKS like Carnage! Here's hoping this only gets more interesting as he begins to terrorize a brand new universe...

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