7 Elements: Carnage USA

April 15th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

The whole 4 Elements article concept is David’s baby. The four ties into the four in 4thletter and 4thletter comes from David’s name because he’s an egomaniac, an Eggo maniac and possibly a Lego maniac. You can also say that the four comes from there literally being four elements, but I’m pretty sure there are like a hundred of those things, so that’s definitely wrong.

This is David’s site and all, but Carnage USA is my comic. It’s a comic specifically made for ME. Me. Gavin Jasper. And since I’m Gavin, which starts with the seventh letter of the alphabet, that means I need to talk about the 7 Elements.

Carnage USA is the sequel to last year’s Carnage, both by Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain. Carnage was the story that returned Carnage from his grizzly death of being torn in half in space by the Sentry back in 2005. It acts as a loose sequel to the character’s most mainstream adventure Maximum Carnage while introducing yet another symbiote anti-hero in Scorn. By the end of the story, not only is Cletus Kasady alive and reunited with his blood-red costume, but he’s also on the loose and nobody knows where he’ll end up next. All we know is that he has something bad on the horizon.

The plot of Carnage USA has Cletus venture to Doverton, Colorado, where he goes to a slaughterhouse and kills the entire stock of cows. The symbiote grows off the meat and expands to the point that he’s able to infect and assimilate the entire town through plumbing. A handful of the Avengers (Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye and Thing) are sent to go deal with it and find a town of frightened human puppets before Carnage takes them too. Spider-Man gets away and the government goes to plan B… while trying real hard not to move to the dire plan C, which is to blow the county to kingdom come.

This miniseries helps support the idea that in comics, there are no bad characters, but bad writers. For such a mainstream villain who got his own popular videogame back in the day, Carnage’s death was met with little backlash. For years he’s been seen as nothing more than 50% shallow Venom mixed with 50% shallow Joker. Nobody’s ever really tried to write something decent with him and whenever he got the spotlight with his own one-shot, it was usually a bunch of gory dreck that didn’t do anything for me.

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4thletter’s Guide to Carnage USA #1’s Cliffhanger

December 15th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

This week marks the release of the first issue of Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain’s Carnage USA. This 5-issue series is a sequel to last year’s Carnage. Originally set to be called Astonishing Spider-Man/Iron Man, Carnage told the story of how Cletus Kasady and his alien costume came back from having the Sentry tear them in half in space back when New Avengers was first starting up. Cletus was shown to be alive, albeit with a robotic bottom half and proceeded to give both heroes a headache while unintentionally creating a new hero with a living costume.

As a guy who never cared for Carnage and had no desire to see him come back, I consider the miniseries shockingly good. It’s definitely worth checking out. The end showed that Carnage was biding his time for his next move while keeping his mindless and loyal pet Doppelganger on a leash. That leads right into Carnage USA where the serial killer has manifested his powers in a scary way that makes him more megalomaniacal than he’s ever been shown. He tussles with a couple members of the Avengers and the fact that this is the first issue should tell that it doesn’t work out so well for the good guys just yet.

It’s the final page that sells me on the series. For the sake of spoilers, I’ll blot out the bottom part in the preview, but click to see the full glory.

Hey now! Someone call the doctor because it’s been well over four hours! Zeb Wells obviously wrote this entire comic for me specifically. I’d imagine that there are a lot of people confused by some of the names here, so as the world’s foremost expert on all things Venom, I thought I’d give a quick who’s who.

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We Care a Lot Part 9: The Hybrid That Crashed and Burned

April 9th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

At this point in this series of Venom articles, I think it’s right to note that whether you like the comics, hate the comics, like the character or hate the character, you have to admit that the whole symbiote idea is, deep down, really original and full of potential. Really, look past the bad stories and you’ll see a comic book concept that has so many places it can go. It’s like Kryptonian DNA or Multiple Man’s powers. Years later they’re still coming up with new tricks for them all. The sky’s the limit.

Yet, their ideas for characters outside of Venom were never all that creative. Carnage, blood stuff aside is just “Venom but pure evil.” Scream is little more than “Venom as a woman with Medusa hair.” Where are the ninja symbiote hosts? Where are the quadruple amputee symbiote hosts with spider legs sticking out of their torsos? The Siamese twins? At least our topic today, Hybrid, had enough creativity in his concept to be slightly more than “Venom but a black guy.”

I don’t blame you for not knowing who Hybrid is. He’s only had a very limited amount of appearances. While he isn’t the most exciting Marvel character to fall into obscurity, there are some interesting things that set him apart from his symbiote brethren. For one, human host Scott Washington is actually an established character. That’s a bit of a rarity, isn’t it? Eddie Brock showed up after Spider-Man got rid of the costume. Cletus Kasady appeared specifically to set Carnage’s origin in motion. Donna Diego was a complete afterthought to the extent that they didn’t even give her or her symbiote self a name until way after the fact. Even Pat Mulligan, who I’ll get to way down the line, was introduced in the same arc that made him Toxin.

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Let a Man Lay Back for a Bit…

January 7th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Between enduring the holidays and following it up with Ultimatum Edit, I’ve been a bit exhausted. That’s why I haven’t been doing any updates. Luckily, hermanos has been doing well enough. Esther too, though hermanos has to overshadow her posts with comments that are twice as long. Jerk.

Oh, hey! The new What If issues came out over the past month. Not a great batch this year, but there were two really good issues in there. One is What If: Newer Fantastic Four, which is a sequel to the Mike Wieringo tribute, also featuring the Mini-Marvels conclusion to World War Hulk. Even better is the issue that came out last week, based on Doctor Doom holding onto the Beyonder’s power from Secret Wars. Beautiful art and a perfect ending.

When I finish the We Care a Lot series, I think I’m going to redo the Top 100 What If Countdown. Enough has come out since then to justify it.

We Care a Lot is on a slight hiatus. Nothing too drastic. After all, I need to get my installment about Hybrid up for Black History Month. It’s just that I’ve been spending the past week or so getting ready for another series of articles.

You see, hermanos just did his whole rap countdown. It wasn’t comic-related. So if he’s doing his series of non-comic countdown articles, then damn it, so will I!

It’s coming.

One last thing, I’m going to be checking out all three days of New York Comic Con. Which of yous guys can I expect to see there?

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