At the final day at Comic Con, the Marvel’s comics panel laid out a lot of information about what was coming up before Marvel NOW! kicks off. There were some small hints at Spider-Man #700, but the biggest announcements were about Punisher War Zone and and the Minimum Carnage Storyline. The Punisher news was a bit bittersweet though.
Marvel had teased a war coming this October only to reveal that it was going to be The Avengers vs. The Punisher. The storyline will sadly be the finale for Greg Rucka and artist Marco Checchetto. The five-issue minsieries will rap up the overall story for the duo and bring Frank Castle’s war to the Marvel Universe. While it was announced at Comic Con, it wasn’t explained largely until Marvel.com published an interview with Rucka. The events will spring from the revelations in Punisher #15 and #16.
The question is, of course, what do you do with a ‘Problem Named Castle?’ Without giving too much away, let’s just say that events in PUNISHER #15 and PUNISHER #16 go big enough that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can no longer hope the ‘Castle problem’ will take care of itself. At a certain point, they have to take responsibility for allowing Frank to have run as he has for so long. That point is now, and the time has come to do something about it.
Rucka says that Frank has planned all of this for some time. He has weapons and he knows when to use them, but his greatest weapon is his mind. He wouldn’t really say who Castle would be facing, but he hinted at Spider-Man due to the Omega Effect storyline. He did say that a confrontation with Wolverine is something he’s had in his mind since #1. Rucka also ominously siad that one Avenger can “neutralize Frank with three words alone.”
Rucka said that Frank kind of knows he may well lose, but he’s not going out easy. He wrapped up with praising Marco’s art and this little bit of info:
Against almost any Avenger, head-to-head, he’s going to be going down. One of the things I’m most excited about for this is showing the different takes on Frank and what he does, and the different approaches and arguments about how to effectively solve the ‘Castle problem.’ I don’t want to presume it as arrogance, but the Avengers, when they decide to act, they think they’re getting into one thing, and they discover it’s something very different.
The other big thing was some more info about the Minimum Carnage story Marvel had been teasing since Carnage USA. The Savage Six storyline in Venom by Culen Bunn will lead into Minimum Carnage. The event will kick off in October also, and take place between the Venom and Scarlet Spider books. Carnage will escape his imprisonment at the end of Carnage USA and go into the Micro-verse, Venom gives pursuit. Minimum Carnage: Alpha, a one-shot written by Cullenn Bunn and Chris Yost with art by Lan Medina, will kick off the story. It will then move into the Venom and Scarlet Spider books. Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost spoke with CBR about how the stage is set in the two books:
Cullen Bunn: As far as Venom goes, “Minimum Carnage” kicks off right after my first solo arc. For various reasons, Flash is more afraid than ever of the monster he might become. He’s seen a hero (Daimon Hellstrom) who has “gone bad,” and he’s filling the burden of a growing darkness in his own soul. An encounter with Carnage at this point isn’t just throwing salt on that wound. It’s like pouring on the acid. Flash has a lot of guilt over his mistakes anyway. Carnage isn’t Flash’s mistake, but he’s certainly a threat Flash feels responsible to deal with.
Chris Yost: Prior to “Minimum Carnage,” Kaine is coming off a storyline called “The Second Master,” the effects of which are that Kaine is even more unsure about this whole “super-hero” thing, probably leaning toward the side of “bad idea.” He’s dealt with Roxxon, seen all manner of evil, and had to deal with the Rangers, a team of super-heroes who patrol the American southwest — and that didn’t go over so well. So now isn’t the best time to run into Carnage or Venom.
The two also talk about the overall theme: second chances. Bunn addresses the question on if Cletus Kassady is Carange and the reason Flash Thompson/Venom and Scarlet Spider come together:
Bunn: Cletus Kasady is still Carnage. But the initial murders that set this story in motion are not committed by Carnage at all. Carnage isn’t the only brutal killer in the Marvel Universe, but there are those who believe he is the absolute best (or is it worst) mass murderer in existence. And those same individuals just happen to be in need of someone with his credentials.
Yost: I like Carnage because he’s a force of nature and he’s totally insane. Unpredictability is incredibly fun to write, and good to throw into your characters lives to see how they respond. But in this case, Carnage actually shares a character trait with both Venom and Scarlet Spider. They’re all searching for something very similar: a second chance.
You can check out the full Rucka interview on Marvel here and the Bunn/Yost interview at CBR here. It will be said to see Rucka and Marco depart from Punisher, but the opportunity to see the Rucka’s Punisher square off against The Avengers is too exciting. It will be interesting to see how it all wraps up. If Minimum Carnage is half the story Carnage USA is, it will be worth checking out. To see how they pull of a tiny Carnage in the micro-verse will be pulled off seems very promising. A Venom/Scarlet Spider combo isn’t too bad either. What do you think?
Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell
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