Scarlet Spider and Agent Venom have gone to the Microverse in pursuit of Carnage, but have found trouble oh their own! Venom was picked up by the heroic team the Enigma Force, but after an attack by the villainous Marquis Radu’s forces Flash has lost control of the symbiote. Meanwhile Scarlet Spider has found the Enigma Force’s leader, the Redeemer, who is seeking the Marquis to heal him. But before he can do that, the duo is ambushed by Carnage, who slaughtered all but one of his “rescuers” when he discovered their plan to clone his symbiote to win dominance over the Microverse! Looks like Round 2 for Scarlet Spider vs the Crimson Symbiote!
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Senior Editor:||Stephen Wacker|
|Pencils:||Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown|
|Cover Art:||Marte Garcia, Ryan Stegman|
Kaine is in the middle of one of his now regular inner-monologues, apparently blinded by rage as a side effect of whatever the Redeemer did when he healed him. And while he’s still trying to do better, all he can think of right now is murdering Carnage. While the two fight, the Redeemer seems to be getting sick just by being near Carnage.
Back on the Microship Endeavor, the Enigma Force are battling the out-of-control Venom symbiote. Inside the alien mess, Flash is noticing how the symbiote’s mind is unfocused and consumed with hate, rage, and of course, hunger. However, the symbiote is brought under control by a soothing song from resident fairy Flare. The ordeal leaves Flash severely weakened, causing him to black out just as another explosion hits the ship.
Kaine savagely fights back at Carnage, but only manages to amuse the deranged villain. The Redeemer tries to give encouragement to him, but the planet seems to be falling apart just by Carnage’s mere presence. The Redeemer pushes Katy out of the way before the rock they are on crumbles and Scarlet Spider jumps after the healer as he falls from the cliff. Carnage is about to turn his attention to her when Marquis Radu’s forces arrive and apprehend them both.
Meanwhile, Venom has regained consciousness and is brought before the Marquis. Seems his grand plan is to use the symbiote to kill the Microverse’s god (wow) as he’s not too big on sharing his universe, even with a god (double wow). While Commander Rann of the Enigma Force attempts to keep hope because the Redeemer is still out there, Radu seems less than impressed. It’s at this point that Raidus (the sole Micron left from the party that busted Carnage out) returns with Katy and Carnage in tow. Carnage breaks his bonds easily and charges the Marquis, who simply slams him face first into the ground. He has the Enigma Force put into cells and the symbiotes brought to the body banks while he explains his reasoning to Katy (a “historian” from the “Macroverse”).
According to Radu, the Microverse is limited and its inhabitants held back by their god, the Enigma Force (different thing than the group). At one point the symbiotes managed to break through to the Microverse (how?) and just by being their caused it to break down (why?). While they attempted to bond to the Enigma Force, he/she/it “expelled” them (again, how?) from the Microverse. Now, Radu wants to be the new god to stop the chaos and war which has always been part of the Microverse. However, it’s “against his religion”, so he brought Carnage in to do it for him. Seems like a flawed plan, but ok.
Back at the Wastelands, Scarlet Spider has managed to save the Redeemer, but only for a short time- he’s the embodiment of the Enigma Force and the symbiotes are a poison. Kaine, in his typical fashion, suggests they all just book it out of there. However, if the Enigma Force dies, so does the Microverse. And the Microverse just so happens to hold the Macroverse (our world) together. Back at Radu’s base, Venom attempts to talk reason to Carnage and realizes that Radu is already building an army out of them! Now that’s an ending!
For everything this series does answer, there seems to be more questions that get raised. We know WHY the Microns need Carnage and we know why they chose Carnage for the job. But we still don’t really know how they got to him, why the symbiotes are going beserk in the Microverse, or why they end up corrupting it. The only explanation we’ve really gotten so far is “Because I said so.” Maybe I’m overly nitpicky?
As much as I enjoy the character, I am getting a bit tired of the constant reminder that Kaine was/still is a “monster”. I think at this point the book has probably gotten its core audience, so we don’t need to be constantly reminded of who he was, what he wants to be, and where he is. At this point, we can really just enjoy that last part. We KNOW he’s not a good person, but that’s part of the book’s charm- he wants to do better, but he has limits and is struggling against those. I’m hoping that once this story has passed, we can see more character development, maybe to the guy behind the mask.
For a positive, I am rather enjoying the Carnage/Scarlet Spider dynamic. When I first started, I was interested in seeing Flash interact with the corrupted version of his idol, especially as he struggles with his own dark side. However, when you have a villain like Carnage, who constantly fights against arguably the most noble hero Marvel has to offer, it’s fun to see his reaction against an opponent who holds nothing back. While Kaine’s ferocity has been something that has thrown his opponents off in his earlier encounters, here it’s only a source of amusement. And that makes their battles seem that much more desperate. If nothing else, this series has done well in that regard.
Khoi Pham did a little bit of splitting art duties here, which as least gives an explanation this time when a few pages end up looking different than the rest. I’m not sure if one of the two artists did better than the other, but I did enjoy Pham’s work on the Venom pages. Kudos as well to the inks and colors in this issue, which really brought this issue to life.
While I want to give more praise to the art this issue, the story seems leaves a number of questions. However, when Kaine can stop explaining his basic premise over and over again, the little bits of characterization here keep things interesting. Obviously this won’t be the mini-series people are talking about years from now, but that isn’t a bad thing- it’s not good enough to be memorable, but it’s not bad enough to stick in people’s minds either. It just sort of…is.