Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shatterblog!: Triumphant Return, plus Minimum Carnage Review!

Hey folks, I'm back! After about two months of no written content from me, I am back in the game. Sorry for the long hiatus, I have been having a lot of trouble writing anything recently for some reason. However, I can't disappoint you fine people, plus it annoys me how many views the other blogs are getting in my absence. For my first post back, I am going to review Marvel's October/November cross-over even Minimum Carnage. 

This event takes place over two One-Shot issues, the first being Minimum Carnage: Alpha and the last being Minimum Carnage: Omega. Between those, in order, are Scarlet Spider #10, Venom #26, Scarlet Spider #11, and Venom #27. This event, clearly playing on the famous Maximum Carnage storyline, tells the story of Carnage escaping from prison and entering "the Microverse", an entire, life-filled universe occupying the space between the atoms of our world. It's a pretty out there concept, but if you get on board with it you're in for a pretty fun read. Anyone who has been reading Scarlet Spider and Venom's current runs (let me be clear, I have not) will know that they are not quite typical heroes. Venom is struggling with control of his symbiote, trying to do good and help the Avengers. Scarlet Spider is a murderer turned hero, trying to help people and deal with his violent tendencies. I wouldn't go so far as to call them anti-heroes, but both had runs as villains of the real Spider-Man, so things are pretty intense.
Here is an example of over-drawn Carnage
The art style varies from book to book, with the regular artists working on Venom and Scarlet Spider, and another artist working on the Minimum Carnage One-Shots. Despite being inconsistent across the books, the art remains good looking throughout. I personally don't prefer the more simplistic are in Scarlet Spider, but I would not call it bad, just slightly less great than the others. On the other hand, there are panels where I feel Carnage himself is over-drawn in Venom and he looks a bit absurd. The Minimum Carnage books are somewhere in between, leaning a little more toward Scarlet Spider. Overall I definitely prefer the work on Venom, but all three are good-looking comics.
Excellent selection of art styles. Left to right: Minimum Carnage: Alpha, Scarlet Spider #10, Venom #26.
The writing is excellent, with all the major characters being fully realized. Having had no previous knowledge of the current Venom or Scarlet Spider books, I quickly caught up with how both characters think and act. I think the collaboration between writers of the regular series on the crossover issues played a big part in that. Some minor characters, especially a reporter who appears throughout, could have been a little better developed. Her motivations for getting involved especially didn't get explained as much as I would've liked. However there aren't any major story holes, and I was easily able to understand what was going on even without having read any of the preceding books. The story was entertaining for sure, with a lot of really solid action scenes. As with any story involving Carnage, I would advise children and anyone bothered by senseless blood and violence to stay away. However, for anyone who enjoys Venom, Scarlet Spider, or who loved the Maximum Carnage story this is a great read. While Maximum Carnage remains one of my favorite comic stories and cannot be toppled by a 6-part crossover, it is an excellent story. I will not go into specifics about the ending at all, but I would love to see a the consequences of this series. Overall, 8.5/10.

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