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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carnage Unleashed
Those of us who have been around for a few years will remember the "Maximum Carnage" story line in the early nineties (some of you may even remember the Megadrive game!) Maximum Carnage was a huge Marvel crossover that effectively pitched Venom and Spider-Man against the super-evil "Carnage" symbiote. That 14 issue epic is available in Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage TPB...
Published on 23 Jan. 2013 by Lurchibles

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MINIMUM Carnage? Ah, clever! Oh, dear...
Like the majority, I raved over Family Feud and Carnage: USA. Thanks to terrific plotting, great characterisation & gorgeous artwork, Zeb Wells & Clayton Crain had produced two absolutely essential mini-series, restoring Cletus Kasady to his rightful place as a colourful character, and force to be reckoned with.

When MINIMUM Carnage was first announced, I was...
Published on 25 Mar. 2013 by R. Wood


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MINIMUM Carnage? Ah, clever! Oh, dear..., 25 Mar. 2013
By 
R. Wood "ryecroftwood2" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Minimum Carnage (Paperback)
Like the majority, I raved over Family Feud and Carnage: USA. Thanks to terrific plotting, great characterisation & gorgeous artwork, Zeb Wells & Clayton Crain had produced two absolutely essential mini-series, restoring Cletus Kasady to his rightful place as a colourful character, and force to be reckoned with.

When MINIMUM Carnage was first announced, I was really looking forward to it, particularly after Carnage: USA. When I heard that Venom (currently Flash Thompson) and Scarlet Spider (currently Kaine) were going to be the main-stars, my excitement level went through the roof! After all, both the new Venom and Scarlet Spider titles have proven to be some of the best series in recent years, mostly due to Flash and Kaine's reinventions as complicated, dark, flawed & tragic anti-heroes trying to prove themselves in their new roles. And throwing them together with Carnage (fresh off his own revitalised success) SHOULD have produced something worthwhile.

And perhaps it would've been...if it had been left to Zeb & Clayton. I was REALLY itching for a THIRD collaboration between the pair (having enjoyed Family Feud & Carnage: USA so much). A trilogy of Carnage stories from the duo would've not only been perfect, it would've been ideal. But alas, I'm getting ahead of myself...

After the events of Carnage: USA, Kasady's symbiote was `presumed' destroyed, and Cletus himself was taken into custody. Not surprisingly, he's back as Carnage, and escapes prison with Agent Venom on his trail. This time though, Carnage's rampage takes him to Houston, Texas - the home of the Scarlet Spider! - and Kaine's NOT happy! But this showdown is interrupted by a strange-turn-of-events. One that's going to make the proceedings even weirder...

Maximum Carnage was a GOOD story. One that could've been GREAT, if it hadn't run on for so long, hadn't been so repetitive, and been approached with more discipline. For MINIMUM Carnage (clever spin on the title!), this crossover spreads over the Venom AND Scarlet Spider comics (Venom #26-27, and Scarlet Spider #10-11), and the Minimum Carnage One-Shots (Alpha & Omega). SIX parts as opposed to FOURTEEN, which is much more sensible. Creative duties this time are shared by Chris Yost (current Scarlet Spider writer) and Cullen Bunn (current Venom writer). Various artists throughout the issues consist of Ian Medina, Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown & Declan Shalvey.

The end-result? JUST LIKE Maximum Carnage. An excellent concept, all-the-right ingredients and a potential classic on their hands, which is executed well-below-par. What could EASILY have been as fantastic as previous Carnage Mini-Series instead turns out as something that is way too radical for its own good.

The biggest problem with Minimum Carnage is the plot. Some would say you really shouldn't expect a rich plot featuring Carnage, and I would argue vehemently against that. Carnage IS a perfectly three-dimensional character and great stories CAN be produced with him (such as the Wells/Crain mini-series and those tales by David Michelinie/J.M. DeMatteis).

The idea here that Carnage makes a deal with a mysterious, sinister `third-party' is plausible, as are the circumstances that bring Venom & Scarlet Spider together. But when the crossover enters the `Microverse' territory...it pretty much ruins the whole thing. Aside from the Microverse concept being a dud, the idea is stressed far too much in its attempt to make it work. You're introduced to an overload of lifeless new superheroes & supervillains (where the odds are you WON'T see them ever again), on a bizarre stage that becomes far too much to handle. I can understand the relevance of it all for Chris Yost & Cullen Bunn's story, but for the majority, it's just far too confusing and really, really boring.

Comparing Yost & Bunn's writing to (say) Zeb Wells', the differences are plainly obvious. Family Feud and Carnage: USA succeeded because they were plausible, coherent and went for the `less-is-more' approach. If Wells had written this, he would've taken some of the great ideas/concepts - i.e. Carnage allying with others, turning on them, third-party wanting to clone an army out of him, Venom & Scarlet reluctantly teaming-up/infighting, talking about Spidey etc - and grounded it all in a way that's genuinely deep & refreshing. As it is, Yost and Bunn have missed the boat here, and after really enjoying the new Venom and Scarlet Spider books, that's very disappointing.

As for the artwork, hit-and-miss overall. Declan Shalvey's work is too rough for my liking, and while Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown & Ian Medina provide some nice, cartoony visuals, it's something of a letdown, especially after being spoiled by Clayton Crain's beautiful painted illustrations in the last two mini-series. And I really do criticise Ian Medina's rendition of Cletus Kasady, which looks NOTHING like him at all! However, there are SOME pleasant bonuses, like the alternative covers produced by Clayton and Spider-Man legend himself, Mark Bagley! These are TRULY works-of-art!

There is some great writing amidst the whole Microverse mess. Namely the interactions between Carnage, Venom & Scarlet Spider. There're some absolutely TERRIFIC exchanges/interaction between the three, be it dialogue or no-holds-barred fights to the death (the best being Kaine's INTENSE fights with Flash & Kasady!). All their characters are expressed beautifully here, and all undergo major changes at the end. The epilogue from Scarlet Spider #12 is a great spotlight for Kaine's aftermath of the whole event, and it's all-the-more of a shame that this level of character has been suppressed by a needlessly overdone story.

In closing, Minimum Carnage DOES offer some good fun. Just like its MAXIMUM predecessor, and just like said-predecessor, it's a story that could've been so much more had it been executed properly. Buy it if you're curious. You may just find some stuff that's worth the money. Just don't expect anything rich or purposeful as Family Feud, Carnage: USA or the normal Venom & Scarlet Spider books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carnage in the Microverse, 22 Dec. 2013
By 
Pink Fluffy Bunny (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Minimum Carnage (Paperback)
This story runs through the one-shot issues "Minimum Carnage Alpha" and "Minimum Carnage Omega", Venom issues #26 & #27 and Scarlet Spider issues #10-12, all collected as Minimum Carnage. It is a fairly apocalyptic story, at least for the Microverse, where Carnage has fled, aided by some tiny villainous characters from there. Venom and the Scarlet Spider go in to retrieve him, which is just as well, as the latest loony dictator down there has decided to destroy the Microverse - assisted by the fact that Carnage and the other symbiotes are going to cause it to shrivel up and die, taking out universe with it, as the Microverse forms the `glue' that holds all matter together - by cloning the Carnage symbiote. Fortunately, our two heroes meet up with a band of freedom-fighters, some of whom will be familiar to readers of the Micronauts series from the 1980s. There is a lot of shouting, running around and blowing things up, before the crisis is averted, though the action eventually moves itself back to the big world before it is finally wrapped up. This is a big action adventure, with little in the way of character development, due to the nature of team-up epics. If you like the style of story currently seen in the Venom series, than you will likely enjoy this one, as it is in effect a continuation of that story. It is well-scripted and illustrated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun in places, but dissapointing compared to other reads, 29 Mar. 2013
By 
Mr. Daniel Wood "Lord D.C. Wood" (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Minimum Carnage (Paperback)
I was REALLY looking forward to this, especially after such awesome reads like Family Feud, Carnage USA, Scarlet Spider: Life After Death and the Venom trade-paperback. It starts our really promising and intriguing, and there's some brilliant banter between Venom and Scarlet Spider and memorably violent battles between Carnage, Venom & Scarlet Spider.

Just a shame that the whole thing is letdown by a silly plot involving the Microverse. I agree with other readers who didn't like this idea. It stopped the story from being great. If only...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was a particularly strange story seeming a little random and mixed paced, 27 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Minimum Carnage (Paperback)
I have read all the Venom stories up to this point, I have however not read any Scarlet Spider or Carnage stories before this graphic novel

It was a particularly strange story seeming a little random and mixed paced, with masses happening in a short space of time and then very little happening for a while.

There was a large amount of 'new' characters to get my head around, some I could of know if I had read the other comics, but others introduced within the 'macro-universe' this novel is based on.

There where some great characters and traits but no where near enough depth to feel attached and drawn to them. They fight for a cause, one that we never saw the history of or the future potential, both of which would have helped the reader place them in their mind more easily.

It killed a plain journey for me, 2 hours of graphic novel fun, but this graphic novel holds nothing on the first Venom novel which is a true master piece in my opinion.

However, saying all that I will still look into the back story of both 'Scarlet Spider' and 'Carnage', both characters seem very interesting and in their own settings could be exciting reads.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carnage Unleashed, 23 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Minimum Carnage (Paperback)
Those of us who have been around for a few years will remember the "Maximum Carnage" story line in the early nineties (some of you may even remember the Megadrive game!) Maximum Carnage was a huge Marvel crossover that effectively pitched Venom and Spider-Man against the super-evil "Carnage" symbiote. That 14 issue epic is available in Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage TPB (Graphic Novel Pb), and if you're unfamiliar with Carnage as a super-villain then I definitely recommend that as a pre-requisite read.

Minimum Carnage is a crossover of slightly smaller scale, collecting issues #26-#27 of Venom, #10-#12 of Scarlet Spider and the Minimum Carnage "Alpha" & "Omega" one-shots. 6 comics might be significantly less than the 14 of the previous crossover, but it has been almost 20 years and arguably we're dealing with a darker more character-focused Marvel than years past. This is definitely a case of quality over quantity.

The story begins with the "Microns" (of the Microverse) aiding Carnage in his escape from prison (Venom put him there in Carnage, U.S.A.). Naturally, violence-ensues and draws the attention of Venom & the new Houston-based Scarlet Spider. Carnage escapes to the microverse and our heroes must pursue him to ensure the safety of our universe. Sounds pretty ridiculous right? The plot is "light" at best and has some serious holes in it that appear after a little scrutiny. With this being a Carnage book though, you wouldn't be buying it for the plot anyway right?

Carnage is one of the most intriguing super villains in the Marvel Universe. A serial killer in possession of a symbiote that gives him the powers of Spider-Man, Venom and even a few that neither of them possess. He kills masses with almost complete indifference, in fact the only emotion he does show is that of sadistic pleasure. And it's because he's so incredibly powerful and mentally unstable that he's so entertaining. Carnage isn't capable of holding back or of tactical actions, he can only be unleashed.

The (relatively) new Venom and year-old Scarlet Spider are some of the darker heroes in the current Marvel line-up, which makes them oddly well suited to be dealing with such a dangerous character (as they have been known to be quite dangerous themselves!) Once again the line of what a hero must do to stop a villain is called into question, and with the histories behind these two characters it can be said they've been walking either side of the fine line since their inception.

So it's entertaining, if not especially deep. It's also absolutely packed with blood and gore. Definitely not a book for young children here, but teenagers are bound to love it. If you are a parent though, I'd really recommend doing some reading on the Carnage character before buying this book. Even though it's ridiculous most of the time, it can get quite dark.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worth it, 15 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Minimum Carnage (Paperback)
I really liked this mini event, tieing into both the Venom and Scarlet Spider series. A story in 6 parts, it includes Venom #26-27, Scarlet Spider #10-11, and the two bookend one shots, Minimum Carnage Alpha and Minimum Carnage Omega. Great story, involving Venom and Scarlet Spider going into the microverse to try and stop Carnage from wreaking havoc there. A nice, classic old Marvel feel. Fans of Maximum Carnage and Symbiote Wars stories of the 1990's will love it.
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Minimum Carnage by Cullen Bunn (Paperback - 22 Jan. 2013)
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