Are you ready to get tiny? Writers Chris Yost and Cullen Bunn are, when they launch a new crossover called MINIMUM CARNAGE in the pages on VENOM and SCARLET SPIDER for Marvel Comics later on this Fall. As revealed at SDCC 2012, the crossover pitting the heroes against the insane symbiotic Carnage will run for two months through both titles, plus an Alpha and Omega issue. We chatted with the creators about the series, how this changes their main characters, and got some big - well, little - hints about where it might take place:
MTV Geek: Okay, fellas… Given the teaser image, and title, are we looking at six issues of the world’s smallest symbiote wrecking havoc, or is something else going on here?
Chris Yost: BOTH! It is in fact six issues of bloody, horrific tiny-ness... but there's an agenda. There's sinister things at work, pulling the strings of Carnage, Scarlet Spider and Venom.
Cullen Bunn: In many ways, "the world's smallest symbiote wreaking havoc" sounds about right, but that's really only scratching the surface of a much, much bigger and more... cosmic... story. This crossover's gonna have mass slaughter, super heroes beating the crap out of each other, prison breaks, freedom fighters, messiah figures, inter-dimensional travel, and an apocalypse that Venom and Scarlet Spider must stop.
Geek: Backing up a bit, where are our main characters when this kicks off? What’s going on with Venom, Scarlet Spider, and Carnage?
CY: After the events of CARNAGE, U.S.A., Cletus Kasady is in jail. Because that always works. Scarlet Spider has just saved Houston from the threat of Roxxon Energy and Mammon (see Scarlet Spider 7-9), and in general has taken on the status of Houston's protector.
CB: At the beginning of this story, Carnage meets a new group of allies who make him an offer he can't refuse. They'll break him out of prison and set him up in a place where he'll never have to worry about those pesky super heroes again. All he has to do is, in essence, kill an entire universe. Of course, he agrees.
Venom is brought into the story as the hero assigned to track Carnage and bring him down with extreme prejudice.
Geek: That’s clearly a big enough cast, but what about supporting characters? Are we going to see any of Carnage’s enemies – or allies – in the mix? And whither the main web slinger himself? Is he sitting this one out?
CY: This story breaks new ground for all three characters. Our guys - both hero and villain - are going to be meeting new characters, going places they've never gone before... it's going to be HUGE. Except in stature. It's going to be epic and somehow minuscule all at the same time.
CB: Spidey's definitely sitting this one out, but there's definitely a significant supporting cast in the story. Katy Kiernan, a tabloid reporter who is joining Venom's supporting cast, plays a role in the tale, although she's not going to be happy about it.
In addition, there's a group of heroes and villains--including some new and some existing characters--who'll be helping and hindering Venom and Scarlet Spider. I'm pretty excited about this, because these are characters who haven't had much interaction with the Spider-universe.
Geek: What’s it like when Venom and Scarlet Spider come together? They’re clearly both very damaged characters, but almost with opposite psychological profiles…
CY: We've found a way to not do the old, 'heroes have a misunderstanding and fight, only to put aside their differences and work together' thing. There's a unique connection between these two characters that is going to be pretty fun to explore... After they fight.
CB: They don't greet each other with hugs. This is a bromance that's gonna start off on rocky ground. And I'm not sure these two will ever be the best of friends. In Minimum Carnage, you'll get to see how each of these heroes approaches similar problems in vastly different ways. In order to succeed, they'll have to work together, but even when it comes to the final solution, they aren't gonna see eye-to-eye.
I love that these two approach being "heroes" so differently. Flash wants to be one. Kaine really doesn't.
And they don't see the threat of Carnage the same way, either, and it shows in how they both tackle this adventure.
Geek: Also, where does this take place? Venom has been ranging all over, but Scarlet Spider is pretty well cemented in Houston – is this a southwest set tale?
CY: It starts in Colorado, takes a blood soaked turn to Houston... then ventures to parts unknown. Well, we know. A tiny corner of the Marvel Universe neither Kaine nor Flash have been to.
CB: Houston is an important locale, sure, but it's by far the most mundane setting that will appear in the story. By the end of the first issue, things really start to get crazy.
Geek: What’s it been like for you two coordinating on this project? How have you been approaching the crossover elements, and individual issues?
CY: Cullen and I worked together on the Fear Itself aftermath books, and it's been great to work with him again on this. He's a total professional, and to my delight, knows more about the obscure corners of the Marvel Universe than I do. His love of licensed Marvel Comics is great. As to the writing, we hash it out over phone calls and emails, write up outlines, pass them back and forth... it's incredibly collaborative.
CB: Chris and I worked together on Fear Itself: The Fearless and Battle Scars, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into working with him again. It's been a blast, because I think we both really love not only the characters from our individual books but also the supporting heroes and villains who will appear in the crossover.
The collaboration has basically been a lot of phone calls and numerous e-mails going back and forth. Some of the e-mails contained detailed outlines. Some of them are really brief, with subject lines that read something like "Do you think this would be cool?" We're scripting the Alpha and Omega issues together. For our individual series, we're each tackling our own characters, but keeping the other heavily involved so it all comes together seamlessly.
Geek: I know you can’t spoil plot points, but emotionally, where will this leave Flash and Kaine at the end of the six issues? How will this lead into what you have planned next (if they survive, of course)?
CY: For both men, in different ways, coming face to face with Carnage is like meeting the Ghost of Christmas Future. It changes you. Kaine will walk away from Minimum Carnage with a different attitude, one that's not going to serve him well.
CB: Flash comes out of this story with a real fear of his own symbiote... And a real fear of what he could become. He sees how dangerous the symbiotes can be. Carnage is a nightmare, yes, but there's something more terrifying that haunts Flash after this adventure. He also sees the dangers of a killer instinct, both in Kaine and in Cletus. After this story, Flash wants to make some changes in his life... And his approach to being a hero.
Geek: Anything else you want to tease for fans?
CY: Aside from telling a rollicking good Venom/Scarlet Spider/Carnage story, Minimum Carnage is going to reintroduce a whole universe of awesomeness to readers. It's no small job, but putting this kind of microscope on some old Marvel concepts has been a little slice of heaven.
CB: I'm getting a chance to work with characters who take the top-spot on my bucket list of characters. It's been a blast to write... and I think it'll be a lot fun for readers.
MINIMUM CARNAGE launches with an Alpha issue in October, runs through Scarlet Spider #10-#11, and Venom #26-#27, before wrapping up with an Omega issue in November, from Marvel Comics!