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MINIMUM CARNAGE: ALPHA by G-Man

A new crossover event from writers Cullen Bunn (interviewed here) and Chris Yost kicks off with this one-shot and Carnage, Venom & the Scarlet Spider are thrown into the mix.

Having some the darkest characters to grace the pages of Marvel all coming together in a series was always going to be messy and this one-shot kicks of the Minimum Carnage event with just that.  A high-security jailbreak sees Cletus Kasady aka Carnage reclaim his freedom as he rips his way through the guards to get out.  In steps Agent Venom aka Flash Thompson as he leads a team into the prison to assess the damage – Cletus is already on the run by the time they work their way in but we’re dropped into a much more complicated plot in this one-shot as it sets the stage for the 6-parter.

A smart introduction of Venom and mixing in Scarlet Spider, aka Kaine, with ease makes for interesting times as the real plot is revealed during an assault on a check-point by Carnage and then on a NASA Space Center in Houston, Scarlet Spider’s home turf.  We’ve got an all-out attack by Carnage and a strange band of tiny super-villains (if that is even possible) taking control of NASA’s latest experiment, the Prometheus Pit.  The pit acts as a gateway to another universe and a promise made to Cletus that he’ll have a new universe to play in following a helping hand in his escape is the real bargain that’s been set.

With Scarlet Spider caught off guard they make their escape through the pit and arriving just too late we see Venom facing off against Kaine in an early hint of the mash-up we’re on-board with.  Bunn & Yost have introduced the three main characters and the plot in a strong opener for the event.  The artwork, from Lan Medina (pencils), Karl Kesel/Cam Smith/Walden Wong (inks) and Chris Sotomayor, is kept tight and consistent without venturing into the mature title territory, handling the violence and action with some smart panel layouts – keeping things flowing as we cross the country picking up plot details as we go.  One minor quibble I had with the artwork was Cletus – he’s become as recognizable as Carnage himself but in this issue I’d have struggled to pick him out of a crowd….maybe that’s my lifelong Spidey reading coming back to haunt me…..but then I’d imagine that’s the biggest audience for the crossover.

This will continue for the next two months covering the next two issues of Venom & Scarlet Spider before finishing in the Minimum Carnage: Omega one-shot – so there’s more than enough time to crank up the crazy with Carnage and I’m sure there is more fun to be had with this arc.

6/10

G-Man


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