Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #10

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This story is part of an Arc: "Minimum Carnage"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: Oct 2012.

Background...

Carnage has come to Houston! After mysteriously breaking out of the Thunderbolts Prison Compound, deranged serial-killer Cletus Kasady and his symbiote pal made their way to the Scarlet Spider’s neck of the woods in search of “the Prometheus Pit.” Seems Carnage is being aided by some micro-sized terrorists, and in return for breaking them out, he’s going to do them a favor. Carnage arrives at the NASA LBJ Space Center, and after having a small scuffle with the red-clad web-slinger, injures head-researcher Dr. Ketola and kidnaps reporter Katy Kiernan (ally to Agent Venom). Carnage escapes to the Microverse via the Prometheus Pit, just as Agent Venom arrives on the scene. And SS is none too pleased to see him…

In Detail...

"Inner Space"
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2) #10
Dec 2012 : SM Title
Summary: Scarlet Spider fights Venom, pursue Carnage together
Arc: Part 2 of "Minimum Carnage"
Writer:  Christopher Yost
Pencils:  Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown
Inker:  Chris Sotomayor, Tom Palmer
Cover Art:  Marte Garcia, Ryan Stegman
Lettering:  Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Edgar Delgado, Julio Soto
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Tom Brennan
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Review

The scene opens where Minimum Carnage Alpha left off, with Scarlet Spider surrounded by the victims of Carnage’s latest massacre. His inability to stop him has left Kaine filled with rage, a level to which he hasn’t felt since the days of Ben Reilly. Unfortunately, this also happens to be when Venom arrived on the scene. The two…“heroes”…share a tense stand-off (stingers-to-head vs. guns-to-head). While Venom tries to talk Scarlet Spider down, SS is initially resistant to the idea. Venom (recognizing Kaine as “the other Spider-Man”) manages to calm him down by telling him they are both after Carnage. Scarlet tries to get some answers, but before Flash can provide anything the symbiote takes over, transforming into the more “classic” Venom.

Kaine struggles against him, realizing that he’s actually scared to die now. This gives him the push he needs to fight back with just as much ferocity, though Venom still seems to maintain an upper-hand. Thankfully, Flash manages to regain his control and notices the injured Dr. Ketola. She informs the duo that she rebuilt the work of a man named Prometheus, and that Carnage has now headed to the Microverse, a whole universe full of life that exists between subatomic particles. Venom is ready to head off, but Scarlet gives him a rather strongly worded “no”. He doesn’t care much what Carnage does, so long as he leaves Houston alone (and Venom’s use of the word “responsibility” does nothing to sway him), and heads off. Venom asks Ketola to fix the machine so he can go after Carnage.

In the Microverse, Carnage is enjoying his Spider-free environment. He informs Katy that he plans to keep her alive (for now) so she can be his witness. Unnoticed by any present, his symbiote seems to “leak” out across the ground. The assembled group of Microns start to worry about their new ally, realizing that he might not be too reliable, or even sane for that matter. However, the concerns are quickly brushed aside as Verus (a Medusa-eque looking type) contacts their equally mysterious leader. He informs the rogue Microns that they have located “the Redeemer”. When Verus tries to warn their leader about Carnage, he brushes off her concerns and tells them to do their job.

Back in Houston, the Promethus Pit has been fixed, however, it’s unknown whether Venom will even arrive in the same location as Carnage. Before Venom can enter, Scarlet Spider returns, drawn back by the idea that Carnage will also come back one day. The two enter the Pit, while making comments “an idiot” and “a great man” who talks a lot about responsibility.

Venom arrives on a planet brimming with life. His symbiote seems to react similarly to Carnage’s, leaking out across the ground. However, before he can investigate it any further, he is attacked by a group of fairies, who call him”Corrupter”, before blasting him with sonic screams. The sound tears the symbiote up, but he is quickly saved by yet another group of Microns, led by Arcturus Rann and Marionette. And it just so seems they need his help.

Scarlet Spider, on the other hand, has arrived on a fairly desolate planet, with only a strange hooded figure before him. The hooded figure gives him advice on hate keeping Kaine from reaching his full potential, but he seems uninterested in accepting the advice. While SS has a ton of questions, the hooded figure responds that he has no answers and has only come here to prepare. For what? Why, to die! And cue the giant monster and issue’s end!

In General...

You know, this wasn’t too bad. Granted, this was the obligatory “hero vs. hero” issue of the team-up/cross-over, but thankfully not much time was wasted on that. The issue still managed to get things moving along, but it does leave a few questions: Who are these “rogue Microns”? Why are they “rogue”? Who are they against? How did they get to Earth, how do they know Cletus Kasady, and why did they need the Prometheus Pit (besides bringing in the Scarlet Spider)?

It does seem a bit convenient that Venom would land right near this OTHER group of Microns, especially considering that Dr. Ketola states that the Microverse is infinite. There are still several issues to go in this cross-over, so let’s see if maybe one of the upcoming ones answers some questions.

While I am so far enjoying this story, it does fall into the same problems I had with Fear Itself- we’re taking up space from the usual issues and stories by tying in other series, which puts whatever character arcs, story developments, and the like on hold while some outside event is addressed. I mean, I love when we see the costumes busted out and some action is dished out, but I want to see some stuff we already have established get addressed. And I realized, that’s something about this book I want to see change: All the character development so far has been about Scarlet Spider, but not the man behind the mask. I want to see Kaine’s life too. I want him to establish a civilian identity I can care about as well. But this isn’t the time for that. This is cross-over time.

This series so far is a summer action blockbuster in comic form: It’s a lot of fun to look at, has some great action and suspense, but story wise falls apart if you start analyzing it. However, I came for fun, I got fun.

The art though threw me off. I had someone else look at the book too and they also noticed the glaring change that occurs right after Venom’s transformation. I think it’s a change in the inking/coloring rather than the actual art, but either way it’s a bit jarring, and goes from a vibrant and dynamic feel to a rather flat, uninteresting look that seems fit for a comic from a decade or two ago.

Overall Rating...

Again, nothing ground-breaking and nothing to build on any other Scarlet Spider stories, but as far as dumb fun goes, this might be the most entertaining of the new Carnage stories so far.