In last year’s Minimum Carnage, the crazed serial killer/symbiote duo that is Carnage fought against Venom and Scarlet Spider. At the time, Kaine was the aggressive, darker of the Spider-Men, and he demonstrated that when he stuck Cletus Kasady in the eye, giving him an impromptu lobotomy. Writing the Carnage problem off, Scarlet Spider went about his business and Venom detained Carnage. However, the series ends with a very ominous note: That without the (even barely) human side of Cletus Kasady, the symbiote is now completely free to act on its own. Spooky!
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Alex Alonso|
|Senior Editor:||Stephen Wacker|
|Associate Editor:||Tom Brennan|
|Cover Art:||Clayton Crain|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
|Colorist:||Jay David Ramos|
Our story begins in an “Undisclosed Containment Facility”, where we meet Ted Connelly. Ted’s just an average guy who’s been imprisoned for insider trading and he’s in a maximum security prison because the governor wants to deal with overcrowding by putting the regular guys in the cells that “have a habit of never staying occupied”. Seems like a plan that would end with a lot of small timers being murdered, but who am I to judge? Sure enough, there’s an explosion signifying a prison break and the guards jump into action, throwing Ted into his cell.
We’re “treated” to a few bathroom jokes as Ted explains how his situation has him constantly terrified. A few moments later, the guards write off the explosion as a gas leak, as all the prisoners are accounted for. One of the guards mentions that despite their quick response time, Carnage could have killed them all in half the time. We’re quickly explained that Carnage is being held here and that despite his lobotomy, there’s something evil in his stare. Back in the present, a guard taunts Ted about how easily Carnage could get out (as we get a bit more bathroom humor thrown our way). Suddenly, his eyes glow blue…
The guard begins talking to himself saying he will release “him” and inputting the code. Carnage begins to “suit up” and Ted begins to have a breakdown. Carnage is free and in the span of a few panels manages to kill no less than 7 people, one of them of course being Ted. We cut to the control room, where it is revealed that the Wizard is behind this escape (he also casually mentions how Ted’s thoughts were interfering with his mind control. A little story touch I liked).
Seems the Wizard isn’t too big a fan of the government’s treatment of Venom. He’s decided if you’re going to harness evil, you have to make it even worse! The Wizard begins taunting the guards, we want to go help the people trapped with Carnage. One guard tries to distract him with his own taunts, while another guard (the first one’s son) tries to plead with him for mercy. They exchange some dialogue about how the Wizard plans to rebuild the Frightful Four with his own son and use Carnage as part of that team. He then quickly kills all three guards, making most of the scene seem rather pointless.
With all that out of the way, the Wizard turns his attention to Carnage, but quickly realizes that his mind is gone and his plan may not turn out exactly as he hoped. Carnage begins to attack him and thankfully for the Wizard, refrains from outright murdering him like he did every single other character we’ve seen. Before he can finally kill him though, an unseen third person arrives, blasting the symbiote off of Cletus temporarily. In comes, Klaw, Master of Sound, and the Wizard’s first recruit (clever!).
As with most mini-series, this is all set-up for the rest of the story. We’re introduced to a few characters, the basic plot, and a bit of action to get us interested.
Overall, it’s a decent enough start. Kevin Shinick probably could have toned down the bathroom humor, but other than that, it was an interesting read. I’m not sure what the story potential could be for 5 issues, so I’m rather interested to see what the plan is and where things will end up. Will we have a fully “revived” Carnage? Will this be the end of the character? He was quiet for a good 6 years and now Marvel seems to have a whole new interest in him. I really can’t say much more because the story is just starting and I’m not entirely sure what the end game is.
The art in this issue is pretty good. Fellow Spider-Fan reviewer Cody pointed out that it has a sort of Lienil Yu-style to it, which I think definitely does come out in several pages and more-so as the book progresses. The splash panel of Carnage being attacked by Klaw reallllllly looks like he drew it. Something we both also noted (though this is very minor) is that Carnage isn’t drawn with that trademark red and black coloring anymore, and is now all red. I miss it!
Also, and this may just be me being too concerned with detail, but in the same splash panel, it looks like Cletus isn’t being drawn with the robo-legs he now has. I don’t know if that’s just the angle or me being overly concerned with detail, but I’m just noting it.
A fine enough start. It’s hard to say too much until things get under way. Though I think this could be one that goes south pretty quick.