Venom (Vol. 2) #26

Background

Carnage has moved beyond Houston and is now in the Microverse! Despite Kaine’s best efforts, Carnage made off with Katy Kiernan and took his mysterious benefactors back to the Microverse to serve their mysterious needs. Venom arrived shortly after the crazed villain’s departure and a brief struggle ensued between him and the Scarlet Spider as Thompson lost control of his symbiote. The two manage to put the incident aside and head after Carnage into the Microverse. However, Venom lands in a lush tropical world, meeting up with a mysterious, heroic group, while Kaine landed near a hooded stranger and a giant monster about to kill both!

Story 'The Madman and the Microverse'

  Venom (Vol. 2) #26
Summary: Venom teams up with Enigma Force, Scarlet Spider meets the Redeemer
Arc: Part 3 of 'Minimum Carnage' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Executive Producer: Alan Fne
Publisher: Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief: Axel Alonso
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
Editor: Tom Brennan
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Cover Art: Marte Garcia, Patrick Zircher
Lettering: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

Carnage and his group of evil Microns (who, the summary in the issue opener informs us, are part of a war for domination of the Microverse) are outside an area known as “the Body Banks”, factories that used to create perfect men/women/creatures, but are now abandoned or used by “rogue skin merchants”. Seems these Microns want to kill the Redeemer and Katy assumes they plan to use Carnage to make themselves a perfect army. Carnage anticipates this and tells Katy he’s going to surprise her with his next move.

Meanwhile, Venom is aboard the spaceship of his rescuers from last issue, the Enigma Force. The group consists of Arcturus Rann, Princess Marionette, Quark, Bug, and Flare (a fairy, who like the previous group, insists he is a “Corrupter”). Princess Marionette always seems skeptical of Venom, and when Bug gives him a friendly pat on the shoulder, we get a better idea why: Touching the symbiote causes Bug to feel as if he was “rotting from the inside out”. While Marionette and Flare want him gone, Arcturus informs them that the Redeemer wants to see Venom. However, before they can go any further, they are attacked by ships from Marquis Radu’s armada!

Before we get more explanation there, though, the scene cuts to Scarlet Spider, who is in the middle of a battle with the giant monster seen at the end of Scarlet Spider (vol. 2) #10. His mysterious, robed ally offers no assistance as Kaine kills the beast. Seems that after all the talk, Kaine was the one to find the Redeemer! But his true role, apparently, is as a healer.

Back at the Body Banks, Carnage has cut through most of the rogue Microns, stating that one of him is enough to do what they need. Seems he didn’t take too kindly to Katy trying to warn him earlier, telling her this is what happens when she tries to use her reporter tricks and feminine wiles to “poke” his emotions. The last of the rogue Microns arrive, with Verus stating she knew he was too unstable to aide them. She threatens to rip the “Corrupter” off his body, to which Carnage replies by ripping the snakes off her head (apparently they were mechanical). Carnage leaves one Micron arrive so he can take them to the Marquis.

The scene again cuts back to Venom and the Enigma Force, who are fighting off a boarding party from the armada that passed through. Venom is impressed by the way the Enigma Force fights, noticing how it’s clear they have fought together for years and fight for a cause, much he used to with his fellow soldiers. The enemy soldiers hit him with a sonic blast from their guns, sending the symbiote into (yet another) blind rage.

Back with Kaine, the Redeemer laments the war and genocide that is happening and that he used to be a part of during his time as a warrior. Kaine gives him his usual bleak view on life (that everbody is plagued by bloodshed and loss and that no one can change it). The Redeemer states that his view was changed when he opened himself up to the Enigma Force and that he feels if he can change, so can the universe (dream big, guy!). Apparently Marquis Radu is a “student” of a former conqueror and the Redeemer plans to “heal” him. Judging by the panel, Radu happens to be on the same planet, on what appears to be a walking…tank/base. However, before they can go any further, the duo is attacked by a newly arrived Carnage, whose symbiote seems to leaking…

General Comments

Ehhhh…the more this mini-series goes on, the less impressed I am with it. This is the third part out of six, and we’re only now getting some answers. Unfortunately, some of those answers are in the summary page, which seems like a flaw to me. If you’re going to give a summary/recap of a previous issue, then you probably should have explained that information EARLIER. But, hey, I don’t write comics, I just read ‘em (and then subsequently review them).

So we finally get an idea about this group of “rogue” Microns, but what about the Enigma Force? This sort of “cosmic” stuff falls outside my usual comic knowledge (which is, Spider-Man and then unrelated stuff like The Walking Dead), so I don’t know what their history is or if they have one. But the way the Redeemer talked about them, the Enigma Force seems as though it may be something else as well. Is it this group or is it actually some kind of…force?

I’m hoping that with 3 more issues to go, we’ll get a bit more answers here as to what’s going and why. I have a feeling that the Marquis is also host to a symbiote, thus why he needs to be healed and why the Microns seem to have such an aversion to them. But I would still like to know HOW they found out about Carnage and were able to get to Earth from the Microverse AND return exactly where they needed to.

I also see why so many readers have an issue with Carnage. Everything he does is just going to end with some speech about murder and how everything else is boring. But then again, I still like seeing him back. He’s good for a small series every now and then I think, but Marvel may be giving him a bit of over exposure. I think that I need to just assume that if Carnage is involved, we’re going to be getting more fighting/dumb action and less reasoning/story development. Which is too bad, because they probably could do more, but Carnage is more of a “style over substance” type thing.

Also, I only have very limited exposure to this Venom series (I recently read the first trade-paperback), but is most of the series about him losing control of the symbiote? In just the few issues I've read it seems to be a fairly common occurrence. Heck, it has happened in two of the three parts here so far! But then again, is Scarlet Spider mostly about Kaine talking about change? Again, I just read ‘em, I can’t judge too harshly what with having very little writing experience.

Overall Rating

I want to give this a bit more, but I just feel like we're thrown a lot of different stuff here and just left to assume that we're going to pick up on it. Then again, there's still quite a bit left to go, so I don't want to act like this is the end of the story here and we're left hanging. Maybe over the next few bits of the story arc here we'll get a few more details to clear things up. Personally, I'm waiting for Kaine and Venom to meet up again because I feel like their dynamic could be an interesting one. Wonder if Flash will see Scarlet Spider unmasked...