As we round home on our story Carnage and his gang of freaks have kidnapped Venom and have really handed our heroes their asses. Captain America has just arrived, and Iron Fist has rescued Deathlok from the precarious situation Carnage left him in. Will the additions of these heroes turn the tide? Can Spider-Man and Venom get on the same page for once and save the day? Let’s find out!
Part 10: “Sin City”- Web of Spider-Man #103
We open with Carnage and co slaughtering their way through the streets. Doppelganger carries Eddie Brock in one set of arms and the Venom symbiote in another. Carnage notes that he’s found the perfect place to take Brock.
Captain America, Spider-Man and Firestar, at Avengers headquarters, try to pinpoint Carnage’s location. Their spirits are clearly improved with Cap’s presence. Cap notices something screwy going on with the computers (how in the world did the WW2 vet notice this and Spidey didn’t?). He runs a system diagnostic and discovers a power drain being caused by Deathlok, who is hacking into the Avengers systems to try to pinpoint Carnage, as well (can’t you just step outside and listen for screams? It’s not like he’s hiding). They also find that Deathlok is getting into their system with the aid of Iron Fist, using his Rand Corporation tech. Cap invites them to assist with the coming battle. Spidey swings home to regroup (really???) before they head out.
Black Cat, Cloak and Morbius continue on Carnage’s trail of… carnage… but are one stop behind again, arriving too late. Or so it seems. They are ambushed by Demogoblin, Carrion, and Doppelganger. Carnage and Shriek are busy up in the Statue of Liberty’s torch, where they have started a fire and have Venom hanging over it in chains. The fire not only hurts Eddie, because, you know, fire hurts, but it’s of course a weakness of the symbiote. Because they are bonded, they are not only feeling their own pain, but each other’s. Shriek throws in the occasional sonic blast to rub it in while Carnage cuts on Eddie. Not fun.
Mary Jane is brooding in the apartment worrying about Peter when he shows up. They start to talk about how she can’t stand the danger he puts himself in when the radio mentions a riot and attempted breakout at the local police precinct which is now a hostage situation with the surviving guards/officers.
Back at the battle between Black Cat’s group and Carnage’s ‘kids’, things are not going well for the heroes. Carrion moves in to kill Black Cat, but Morbius shoves her out of the way and takes the killing touch.
Cloak separates them, saying Morbius still lives. Black Cat tries to buy them time but is horribly over-matched and in very serious danger when, out of freaking nowhere, she is whisked to safety by Nightwatch, a new character that you would be kind in saying is a total, complete rip-off (visually, at least) of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. Morbius and Cloak resume their attack, now joined by the newcomer.
Over at the police precinct Spidey sneaks in and beats the crap out of the rioting inmates.
Back at the fight, Nightwatch’s appearance has shifted the momentum, and Carnage’s gang is forced to flee. Nightwatch and Morbius give chase while Cloak stays to tend to the badly beaten Black Cat. She decides she’s had enough, and “I’ve been a punching bag all too often lately, pal… so I’m going home to lick my wounds and seriously rethink my career options.” Cloak says he has ‘more and more reason to believe I can only find the illumination I seek.. within my own familiar shadows.” He teleports to the church from way back in part 2 (where Dagger was killed).
Back at Avengers HQ, Firestar and Captain America are joined by Iron Fist and Deathlok and the returning Spider-Man. They set off to stop Carnage once and for all.
Thoughts: Hoo boy. First things first, I’m not sure what’s up with the art in parts of this issue. I don’t know if it’s an inking issue or if it was a problem from the printing process, but certain pages are really ugly. It’s not an issue with Saviuk’s pencils, which are solid as ever. I digress. A lot of the illusion of progress in this issue. Really all that happens is Carnage and Shriek start to torture Venom and Nightwatch replaces Black Cat on the Cloak/Morbius team. And Nightwatch… ugh. What a lame character. It’s bad enough he’s such a blatant rip-off of such a popular character that it’s impossible to see him as anything else, but he has absolutely no reason to be in this story (noticing a trend?). He doesn’t really do anything and adds nothing. And by the end of the issue we’re pretty much where we were at the very beginning: Morbius and his team chase after Carnage, Venom is a captive, and Spidey and Cap’s ad-hoc Avengers team is getting ready. The scene with Spidey going to the police station is completely unnecessary, as is the constant trips home to ‘regroup’. Other than his ribs being busted, he seems fine. His costume isn’t even shredded. Not sure why he needs to keep going home other than to argue with Mary Jane (who is so unlikable in this story).
Part 11: “Soldiers of Hope”- Amazing Spider-Man #380
“Outdated slang won’t keep us ALL at bay, Shriek!”
Up in the Statue of Liberty torch, Venom is still being tortured by Carnage. Shriek is no longer with him, but he has been joined by Carrion. Suddenly Demogoblin and Doppelganger are thrown through the wall by Nightwatch and Morbius.
Spidey’s team flies around in some Kirby-esque hover craft, looking for the source of the madness and chaos that’s been afflicting everyone. Spidey is worrying about the arguments he and MJ have been having when Firestar spots the epicenter of the chaos: Shriek. She is amping everyone up to the nth degree and the rioters are going freaking nuts.
The heroes attack her, and in a super 90’s moment Shriek tells Firestar she’s impressed before firing at her and shouting ‘NOT!’ Deathlok and Iron Fist leap at her, and Deathlok has my favorite line in forever: ‘Outdated slang won’t keep us all at bay, Shriek!” She makes quick work of Deathlok and Iron Fist before Cap nails her with his shield, knocking her out of commission. Cap says they were lucky she was alone, which makes Spidey wonder just where in the heck Carnage and pals are, anyway.
Back at the Statue of Liberty, Carnage perches on Venom’s back and taunts him while ‘the Carnage kids’ fight Morbius and Nightwatch. We learn that Nightwatch’s cape is sentient, because of course it is. Morbius starts to falter when the sun begins to rise, so Nightwatch grabs him and beats a hasty retreat, leaving Venom behind.
Back in the streets, the rioting is hitting its zenith, but we see a series of sequences where the mere presence of the heroes is enough to cause people to realize the error of their ways and kind of come to their senses. Just looking at Deathlok or Iron Fist is enough for people to stop looting and killing each other. Makes sense. A woman is about to be sexually assaulted by two guys when Firestar flies by and lights up the alley they are in. This is enough for them to realize what they were about to do and the woman forgives them. This is in 4 panels. Spidey keeps a woman from throwing her children from the roof of a building.
The bad guys regroup and the fighting starts again, both sides seemingly pretty evenly matched. A brief interlude shows the Black Cat, wearing a sling on her arm, looking out over the city from her balcony. She thinks to herself that she wants to help but her in her condition she would just get killed, and admits to herself that she doesn’t feel it’s worth dying for. A second interlude shows us Cloak at the church, praying. He says he’s felt strange since Dagger’s death, and he somehow just knows that the key to winning is linked to the church and must stay there until he learns what it is. Back at the fight the civilians Shriek had rioting a moment earlier come to our heroes’ aid and start yelling at her for bringing out the worst in them and praising the heroes for bringing out the best. Blech.
We see Mary Jane and Peter’s friends watching the news and she has a moment of ‘oh man, maybe Peter’s right after all’. I hate it during the marriage era when they clearly didn’t have a story arc for MJ so they just relegated her to ‘worries about husband’, ‘mad at husband’, ‘mad she’s worried about husband’, or ‘dances because she’s mad about being worried about her husband’. MJ deserves better than what we got from Marvel in this era, and it’s often what’s pointed to when people question why Marvel wanted to do away with the marriage years later.
Shriek reacts to the touchy-feely crowd with disdain. She kind of laughs this huge crowd off, saying she’s been doing what she’s been doing naturally, as a second instinct. She doesn’t even really try. But when she does want to try, she is much more powerful than we thought. When she pours it on the energy is literally coming out of her entire body, and you can see it even hurts Demogoblin and Doppelganger.
The wave of energy slams into everyone. The heroes all look like they are being turned, with Firestar yelling “N-N-Noooo!”, Iron Fist trying to use his training to focus, Spidey and Cap seem to be just kind of trying to resist, and Deathlok is talking to the computer half of his brain, trying to block the incoming ‘data’. But I guess none of that was necessary, because on the same page we see Shriek was just making everyone else enraged and directs the mob towards our heroes.
Thoughts: This is really the ‘Shriek is a badass’ issue. The Carnage stuff is pointless, as Morbius and Nightwatch are definitely NOT who we are reading this story to see. With Venom being tortured and Black Cat and Cloak voluntarily sidelining themselves, we have a whole new team of heroes joining the web-head. 10 and 11 chapters in. Jeez.
The scenes where the heroes presence fixes the rioters is hilariously stupid. My favorite is the black guy dressed like he just got out of karate class, with a nunchuk in each hand, wailing on people like ‘make fun of ME, huh?’ who sees Iron Fist and within like ten seconds is bowing like “my bad”. Any time the writers try to get across a message like ‘love trumps hate’ or ‘violence isn’t the answer’, they do it in the most over-handed, after school special way. The padding is getting pretty ridiculous at this point; you could probably have told this story in 9 or 10 parts and not lost anything. Bagley’s art is nice, at least.
Part 12: “The Light”- Spider-Man #37
“Your darkness will not spread beyond this point, Carnage- for the time has come- to face the light”
The issue opens with news coverage of the mayhem between the heroes and the Shriek-induced mob. We see Peter’s friends and family are watching it together, and Peter’s ‘dad’ starts ranting about evil festering and blah blah I hate the ‘parents’ story so much blah blah blah when MJ lays into him. She’s been inspired by seeing her husband and his allies standing up to the madness outside (this used to happen all the time in the early 90’s with MJ; she would get all riled up about being worried about Peter and how his need to be Spider-Man was a problem and then he would do something cool or save her or a friend or something and it was all ‘my hero’. The only thing consistent about her was her inconsistency.
We transition to the Statue of Liberty torch, where Venom is pleading with Carnage not to hurt him anymore. Carnage, reveling in the weakness being shown, torments Venom, telling him he’s going to keep him alive for weeks before he kills him. He pulls out the stolen Fantastic Four sonic gun, to which Venom reacts in fear. However, when Carnage fires the weapon it appears to be full of Venom symbiote, which comes out of the gun and back onto Eddie.
Rejuvenated, Venom frees himself and attacks Carnage. He says he sent a piece of the symbiote into the gun and sabotaged it. He clocks Carnage and beats a hasty retreat, thinking that while he talked a big game against Carnage, the torture took a massive toll, and he has to lay low and heal up. As he swings away we see Carnage, still in the torch, in the whiniest moment he has in the story. It seems beneath him.
From there we take a brief interlude to Cloak, still in the church. He can’t figure out what is drawing him to this church, which is the site of his biggest failure. He pleads for help finding his way.
Out in the streets, Captain America and Deathlok are working to subdue people without hurting them. They seem to be doing all right. Shriek and her ‘children’ watch from a nearby rooftop, where she gives a little background on herself. We learn that she was ‘tormented and abused’ as a child by the people she trusted most in the world, and no matter what she did they just wouldn’t stop. And that’s why she hates ‘do-gooder’ types. They’re always saving the world, but where were they to save her? She pushes the crowd harder, and they swarm Captain America and Deathlok.
We then see Firestar and Iron Fist trying to fight the mob in their own ways: Firestar creates barriers of fire to keep people back, and Iron Fist basically… meditates? He emits a state of calm that stops a gang of people in their tracks, but only for a moment. There are simply too many people for this method to work for long. He begins to give in to the negative emotions, firing up his fist. Spider-Man swings in and gets him away from the crowd before he starts beating them all to death. He asks Iron Fist how he did what he did and if he could teach the others. Iron Fist says he could, but it would take 8 or 10 years.
At this point Spider-Man has hit his breaking point. He starts beating the hell out of an innocent chimney yelling about how everything is hopeless. This is inter-cut with flashbacks to his… sigh… ‘father’ telling him to fight fire with fire and that Aunt May and Uncle Ben were wrong to fill his head with fairy tales about goodness and decency, and that ‘you’ll find a devil inside all men’. Spider-Man says his father was right, but then remembers Aunt May telling him to listen to his heart, which stops him.
At the same time, we see Cloak in the church. He says he’s lost and is pleading for help when a white light starts to emanate from inside his Cloak, so bright it fills the church. A huge smile breaks on his face.
Back on the street, Carnage confronts Shriek and the rest. He’s furious, for some reason, that they went off to kill without his permission. He wraps her in tendrils and slams her onto the rooftop. In response, Doppelganger shoots its razor webbing around his neck and tries to take his head off. Carnage stabs it with tendrils, then kicks it off of the roof. It lands in the alley below without slowing its fall.
He immediately makes a 180 and then says no point dwelling in the past, and asks if they’re going to start acting like a ‘family’ again or is he going to have to take them apart? Demogoblin begins to quit, when they are confronted by Spider-Man and his allies, who have taken the opportunity given them by the distraction Carnage inadvertently caused to clear the streets of civilians.
The two teams face off, the villains having forgotten their fight to focus on Spidey an co, when a white light spills onto both sides, revealing Cloak and the somehow alive Dagger!
Thoughts: I thought Venom’s method of escape was pretty clever but really hated the whole “I was winniiiiing” thing. The idea of Shriek pushing people our heroes refuse to hurt at them as a weapon is cool, but it seems like it’s more of an excuse to frustrate the heroes rather than putting them in any kind of real danger. Carnage attacking Shriek for not asking his permission to kill people is pretty weak, until you realize he’s just taking out his frustration from losing Venom on someone he knows is weaker than him. A-hole. Dagger’s return is not exactly shocking, but I remember thinking it was awesome as a kid. Tom Lyle’s art is pretty solid, although some of the figures appear really stiff.
Part 13: “War of the Heart”- Spectacular Spider-Man #203
“Spider-Man- who conceived the idea and dispatched the others to see to its completion- called it, only half-jokingly… a ‘good bomb.'”
Dagger’s return fills the streets with blinding light, stopping the combatants in their tracks before the battle can begin. Shriek is incredulous; she killed this woman. Spider-Man and his allies stop to get an explanation (and Carnage and pals don’t flee or use this opportunity to attack; they just stand around like morons).
Dagger explains that Shriek’s attack caused her powers to feed back and consume her, transforming her into pure light. The energy was too much and she exploded, her essence unraveling. She drew her fragmenting consciousness into Cloak, drifting through the dark dimension his body serves as a portal to. Her ‘deep connection’ to Cloak gave her the strength to pull herself back together.
Shriek is freaking out, and when Carrion tries to calm her down she blasts him and charges Dagger. Dagger evades her attack and hits her with some of her light knives, which, as the narration puts it: “It’s as if they enter her on a subtler level, knifing through mind/heart/soul… shining a spotlight on fragments of memory, shards of emotion, that have lain buried for more years than she can remember.” So… they’re like… therapy knives?
Dagger tells Shriek that while she was in the dark dimension echoes of Shriek’s pain were everywhere. She touches Shriek, and the light that comes from both of them is blinding. When it abates Shriek is in the fetal position, crying. Dagger offers her help coming out of the darkness, but Shriek rejects her offer and lashes out again. Spider-Man saves Dagger from the attack, and bringing her back to the assembled heroes, tells them ‘I think it’s time.’
Carnage, Demogoblin and Carrion check on Shriek, who, despite obviously being shaken, maintains that she still hates ‘those white hats’ and is still with them all the way. They turn to start the fight, but the heroes have apparently run away. Well, all but one.
Outmatched, Spidey starts by attacking Carnage, evades an attack from Carrion and counters with one of his own, dodges a blast from Shriek and kicks Carnage. He’s doing pretty well until Carnage hits him with a tendril and then they all lay on him. He takes their best shot and is still surviving, if not in the best of shape. Shriek begins to really lay on him, hitting him with her sonic blasts and emotion manipulation. But Spidey is a guy that’s faced his inner demons over and over again, and is able to hold out long enough for the calvary to arrive in the form of the stupidest, most ridiculous, most out of left field nonsense ever: a good gun.
Holy shit this is stupid. The good ray forces the Carrion virus from Malcolm McBride, leaving him human again and unconscious. For a moment Demogoblin breaks free from the plot device gun and tries to flee, but Spidey webs his back and yanks him down to the street where he collapses.
Shriek seems to be enjoying the rays, saying it won’t hurt if he stops struggling against it and that it’s their chance to be saved; to find redemption. Carnage refuses to give in, as these concepts are so foreign to him he views them as nonsense that fools buy into. The ray apparently overloads, which causes a massive explosion of light that can be seen from blocks away.
In the aftermath Shriek is unconscious, Malcolm McBride regains consciousness as himself for the first time in… years?… a long time, and Carnage appears to be dead. Cap tells Spidey not to blame himself; it wasn’t his fault that his idea led to Carnage’s death, it was Carnage’s resistance and refusal to bend from his own insane ideals that were to blame.
As the sun sets Spidey sits in Central Park, reflecting on the nightmare few days he’s just been through when Venom creeps up on him. He is furious that Spider-Man cheated him of his chance to kill Carnage and seems to be about to attack when he collapses, weak from the tortures he’s endured. He’s whimpering about how Spider-Man stole this moment from him; stole his revenge, when a figure begins to rise from the pond: Carnage is still alive! (and for some reason was just chilling in a pond in the park, which just happened to the one Spider-Man was sitting by!) Spider-Man is horrified; Venom elated. The fight is still not over.
Thoughts: Any cool moments, like Spidey’s stand against overwhelming odds, are totally overshadowed by the Plot Device Gun, which for some reason is called a ‘good bomb’ despite it not being a bomb. After everything these monsters have done they’re defeated by a good gun???!??! That Spidey had the idea for and it took the rest of the heroes to get to Rand Industries to get it made??? And they got it made in minutes!?! HOW?!?! Who made it? Where were the blueprints? Why did Captain America and Firestar go? What good would they have done? And why would Cloak and Dagger leave? Dagger just demonstrated that she can fight these guys! I mean, sure, she’s exhausted after the thing with Shriek, but shit, Spidey has been fighting with broken ribs non-stop for days and he stays behind! Bunch of lazy a-holes, if you ask me.
I can’t stress enough how much I hate this stupid gun. I would love to talk to someone that worked on the story that knows the origin of this ‘idea’.
Part 14: “The Hatred, the Horror, and the Hero!”- Spider-Man Unlimited #2
“Poor baby! We fully intend to end your torment… permanently! We will rip you out of this cheap imitation of our symbiotic other– and then we will strip off your skin, layer by layer- until we find the twisted TWIG which masquerades as your backbone! It isn’t enough to kill you! We will shatter every illusion you’ve ever had of yourself! We will rub your nose in the bile of total humiliation!”
-Venom, to Carnage
The big finale. We open right where part 13 left off, with Carnage attacking Venom and Spider-Man. Spider-Man leaps out of the way, heavily favoring his broken ribs. Venom launches into a vicious attack on Carnage, who is suffering from the effects of the… sigh… alpha-magna illuminizer, aka the good bomb…. gun… ugh. ANYWAY, Venom is beating on Carnage pretty badly, and taunting the crap out of him while he’s doing it (see quote above). Carnage, now actually afraid for the first time since he got the symbiote, runs away.
Spider-Man tells Venom they need to get Captain America and the others, but Venom blasts him one on the other side of his ribs, and it appears he broke at least one of those, which takes Spidey down while he chases off after Carnage to finish the job. Spider-Man limps off in search of a phone to reach Captain America and the others and to get insurance cards from Mary Jane so he can go to the emergency room.
At Ryker’s Island an inmate sits in his cell, smoking a cigarette and complaining about his lawyer. Suddenly Carnage smashes through the wall, wondering what this guy is doing in ‘his cell’. He complains that if he had simply killed Brock like he planned none of this would be happening. Suddenly Venom kicks him from behind and continues taunting him. Carnage fires some knife-like bits of his symbiote at a guard and Venom jumps in the way, saving the guard but allowing Carnage to beat a retreat.
Yet again, Peter goes home to talk to his family about never giving in and being a hero and blah blah blah. Later that night (you now Carnage is still alive, AND FREE, and close to defeat, and you go home and spend hours there? I know you’re hurt but come ON, man) Mary Jane awakens to find Peter suiting up again. Instead of ragging on him like normal about putting himself in danger and blah blah, she admits that yes, she hates it, but she understands why he does it and tries her best to accept it, and that she’s going to try harder in a ‘go get ’em, Spidey!’ type of moment. He swings off to find Carnage and stop him for good.
We catch up to Carnage at the orphanage he grew up in, curled in the fetal position on the floor while his addled mind conjures spirits of his early victims. Venom crashes through the wall (he’s more Kool-Aid than man at this point) and starts kicking his ass again, spouting awesome one-liners like ‘the only thing you’re fit to rule is the kingdom of never-ending PAIN!’ and ‘Too bad Venom don’t play that!’ (ah, the ’90’s). He appears to be strangling Carnage with his own symbiote (that’s badass) when Spider-Man shows up out of nowhere and kicks him in the back (where did he come from? How did he know where to find them?) He says he doesn’t condone murder ‘not even of a lunatic like Carnage’.
Of course, they start to fight, and Venom tells Spidey he doesn’t understand: they helped create Carnage, and feel responsible for the awful things he’s done; he’s their dark side, a distorted version of everything they believe in. Spidey’s like ‘no shit dude, that’s how I feel about you’ and Venom is honestly confused. Nice writing, there. Of course in this moment they realize that they’re really bad at this and Carnage got away again.
A brief interlude shows Black Cat calling the Parker home to check on Peter. When Mary Jane tells her he went out after Carnage again she is conflicted. She’s worried about him and wants to help, but is genuinely scared, as ‘that would be suicide!’
Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Venom, sort of teamed up again, swing around looking for Carnage. They see a lot of people fleeing the cemetery, and follow to find him digging up his mother’s grave. He’s looking for someone who has never let him down, “dear old Mom! She’s right where I left her after Dad killed her for trying to kill me– or am I thinking of someone else? Not that it matters! I know that she won’t turn away! She can’t!”
So Spidey and Venom team up against Carnage, who is clearly playing with a few dozen cards short of a deck at this point. Venom smacks him towards some fenced off generators, which are in a cemetery for some reason. He teases Carnage that it’s a good thing he didn’t knock him into them, cause in his current condition he would have ‘gone up like a flash’. No, he tells him he wants to prolong his suffering as long as possible as payback for all the pain he’s caused. At this point Spider-Man pops between them with some of the stupidest crap ever spoken by the character. He says that Kasady never had a chance because of the abuse he suffered when he was young, and that, I shit you not, “In his own fashion, he just may be the most innocent of all!” Yeah, Spidey. The guy that just killed like half of New York City- for FUN- is the most innocent of all because his childhood sucked.
It’s so stupid that even Carnage calls bullshit on it, saying ‘that psycho-babble is good for the occasional plea bargain, but it bears little relation to reality!’ I mean, I know I’m not supposed to agree with Carnage, but… anyway, he grabs Spidey and throws him to the ground (where he lands between the headstones of Harry and Norman Osborn, of all people), then leaps in for the kill. He’s stopped at the last moment by the newly arriving Black Cat.
Instead of attacking her, Carnage runs again. He grabs his mother’s coffin and attempts to flee, but is stopped by Venom, who again beats the snot out of him. One of his shots really connects, and Carnage comments that it knocked the cobwebs out of his brain and he can think clearly again. Unfortunately for him, Venom tackles them both into the mysteriously placed generator, and a huge explosion follows (…how?).
Spider-Man and the Black Cat pull an unconscious and badly burned Kasady from the fire, but Venom is not to be found. As Black Cat points out, due to Brock’s ability to use the Venom symbiote to blend into any surrounding, if he doesn’t want to be found they’re not going to find him. The Avengers arrive with a stasis container (hey, look! Thunderstrike is on the team! Yay 90’s!) and take him away. Black Cat notices that Kasady’s mother’s coffin is empty, to which Spidey replies:
“The old empty coffin trick, huh? I wonder what Kasady was planning! Maybe Kasady didn’t leave enough of his mother’s body to bury… or he could have had a bizarre reason for wanting it empty! Ah, we could do this all day… with a guy like Kasady… there’s no guarantee of a logical explanation!”
… the fuck?
Then Cat mentions that even though Carnage is in custody she doesn’t know if she’ll ever feel truly safe from him. ‘Monsters like that always have a way of returning!’ Spidey tells her to have faith, and that some monsters stay dead and buried forever, and their ghosts only haunt you if you let them. He says this while he’s walking away from the reader (and presumably Black Cat. Like he just started talking while walking away), framed between the headstones of Harry and Norman Osborn, which is pretty funny because at the time it was like him moving on, but both of those guys are alive and well nowadays.
Thoughts: This issue is a little weird. It’s almost like it hits a lot of the bullet points that past issues have hit repeatedly: Venom wants to kill Carnage. Spider-Man doesn’t. They argue. Carnage gets away. Spidey’s got hurt ribs. Spidey goes home to Mary Jane. They talk about him being in danger. He swings off. Heroes stumble on villain/vice versa. They fight. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s a little weird. The art in the issue is nice, with Mark Bagley on the front end and the eternally underrated Ron Lim on the back half. Everything wraps up a little too quickly; I would have preferred the fight wrapped up at the end of the first half and have the second half be about the recovery and aftermath, which felt needed.
Whoo. There you have it. All 14 chapters of Maximum Carnage. It’s very dated in places, and some of the characterization is outright awful, but the high points are high and the artwork is solid to very good throughout and it’s got a ton of characters, so for any 12 year old out there, or for anyone that has an appreciate for 90’s super hero comics, this is a must-read. If you’re a fan of Venom or Carnage (it is the quintessential Carnage story) it’s a must-read. It’s got a totally sweet video game that made it to the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo that is a must-play. So, it has a lot of faults to it, but at the end of the day it is one of a number of stories like it from the same era that are fondly remembered. 90’s comics! Woo!
Thanks for reading!