We start with this fairly cool image of the heroes standing amidst a press of attacking rioters.◊
Well it would be cool if it made sense. Where did the M-16 come from? This was the end of the last issue◊
no gun in sight. And in none of the rioting scenes did we see assault weapons.
So we start with talking in the Parker's apartment. So Peter's Oedipus complex continues. His mom's name is Mary, she's a red head. MJ tells dick to stop being so negative. Venom's still being tortured in the statue of liberty. Venom uses some trickery to bust out and escape.
Cloak is emoing out in the church begging a statue for guidance. They're really trying to push Deathlok considering how much they're having him relate with Captain America. I'm sorry it's hard to take seriously. We do get more about Shriek's backstory about how she was abused as a girl and not allowed to show emotional pain.
Considering she's the cause of the mass destruction, and has been elemental in holding this group together as well as having a more filled out, albeit trite character than Carnage the book should be renamed Maximum Shriek. Firestar is conflicted about trying to hold back the mob but not wanting to hurt them. Iron Fist does some kungfu meditation or something and his calmness stops their violence. Doesn't work he is about to lose it and finally Spider-man makes an appearance in this issue to stop Iron fist from doing something he regrets.
Spider-Man angsts that it's hopeless flashes back to his pa angsts harder, flashes back to aunt May and has his eureka moment. Carnage pissy that Venom broke free lashes out on his "family" specifically Shriek, but when Doppelganger tries to protect her Venom goes to town on him, possibly killing him, hard to tell from this.
During this tiff Shriek loses mind control over the crowd, they disperse and the Heroes actually stop the bad guys from splitting up so they can do their team on team fight, as compared to letting them fight more split then taking the smaller cells down with overwhelming force. and we get the pay-off of Cloak's emo wangst as Dagger re-emerges from his infinite ebony void and everyone's like: OMGWTF?
The return of Buscema
This deserved a 1 page spread right?◊
Dagger explains what happened and how she survived. I'd summarize but it's pretty much bull shit. Shriek flips out Carrion tries to calm her so she punts him with a sonic blast. Dagger starts to school Shriek Carnage holds his stable back from making the save, but cloak also holds back the good guys, saying that Dagger needs to do this alone
Dagger tries to get Shriek to ask for forgiveness, it's a no go, Spider-Man's Danger Sense(?) alerts him and he saves her. So while Carnage talks to shriek about being a good girl and staying on the side of evulz most of the heroes leave except for spider-man who's stopped selling the shattered ribs. And we get another one page spread that's pretty awful.
This one's more bad due to the way the colors are done.◊
So Spidey does better in this handicap match than he has any right to, but he does start to have the tide go against him. But the good guys make the save with... fuck me dead◊
a "good bomb" Ugh◊ Really?◊
So this gun fires happiness beams that touch people's better nature. I'M DOING THIS AS HARD AS I CAN
Seriously this is the worst ass pull I've read in a while. They some how make or repurpose a gun in the time that Spider-Man holds Carnage off minus the travel time.
It cures Carrion of his weirdness, defeates Demogoblin, but Carnage fights it with his emo powers. And if he keeps fighting it'll pull the heroes into his madness.
WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?!
So he's never felt love or friendship, well except for Shriek but that doesn't count so yeah, anyway the city blows up apparently with FA-KA-THOOM!
They find carnage's body covered in symbiote goo, his resistance to the happy gun seems to have killed him. Nothing suspicious that they don't check under the mask, nope totally must be him. Spider-Man is reflecting by himself in Central Park that he should call MJ.
Spider-Man has come to terms with Carnage's death because as was explained it was an accident resultant of Carnage resisting the good vibrations. Then again if a hero tries to bring someone in and in the resultant fight accidentally kills the guy it's still an accident brought about by resistance, but fuck it. Venom pops up says he's mad he didn't get to kill Carnage but he's really in no shape to do anything other than fall on Spider-Man. And HOLY SHIT OH MY GOD CARNAGE IS STILL ALIVE! WTF OMG MPC SMD STV FPTP!
THE THRILLING CONCLUSION
We open with a, say it with me folks: Full page spread!◊
these wouldn't bother me if not for the often poor art. Though the first half of this chapter is done by Mark Bagely so I won't complain much, he's by far the most competent member of this staff.
You'll notice Spider-man is back to selling the broken ribs. Venom and Carnage are both severly weakened but are fighting, it's not a bad fight as there is some character stuff going on. Namely we find out that Carnage is at heart a prototypical bully, hates any fight he might not win and is a coward who lashes out at those who can't defend themselves. Venom is lovingthat Carnage is on the ropes and seems to be getting happiness powers as he's no selling the torture. Carnage bounces off screaming that he can't die.
Spider man says he's going to get Captian america, as he goes for it Venom back hands his ribs breaking some that weren't already. Spider-man passes out in pain. Spawn and Moodious are doing their dark hero schtick on a roof top.
So Spider-Man goes off to the hospital. So much for like getting the team together to hunt Carnae and Venom, I know he's hurt but if nothing else we should have seen a scene of him calling Cap instead of just saying he would. It's a little thing but as is it looks like spider-man went: "fuck it" and took care of himself. A practical thing to do as he's beaten to shit but still.
Carnage busts into the Ryker's island cell he'd been in when he'd been turned to Carnage. Venom stops him from killing a convict and some guards.
Peter goes back to his apartment and talks to his parents and family. Explains he got hurt covering the riots. Though the kind of amusing part is he's shirtless just wearing a coat over and no one's like: Holy crap Peter for a science nerd and a photographer you have the build of a pro athlete. Too small for linebacker but definately a strong safety. While he talks to his dad about how you don't have to go to the dark side we get cuts to Venom and carnage continuing their fight. Talks about the importance of Hope and love and other positive virtues. Talks about how there are heroes and every day people alike who do the right thing. Of course the great heroes shown are:
- Red Tornado
- Spider-Woman (maybe)
- dude I don't know
- chick I don't know
- big dude I don't know
MJ wakes up with Peter exposing the footage to the light so his pictures of the riots get destroyed because it's wrong to profit from devastation. Then again it's important people know what happened and how bad it was, so you could then give the pictures away, just saying.
MJ realizes he's going off to fight carnage and tells him she hates that he has to but understands why. Spider-man shoots off after kissing his wife to find Carnage and Venom.
While this interlude did some nice things in setting the aesop of the tale (hope and such) and showed some nice character moments putting it here while Carnage and Venom are rampaging kinda feels off. Especially since there's no indication that other heroes are on the case. Like it wouldn't be bad if we knew the rest of the crew, or even parts of it were doing patrols but that's never established.
We hit the part where the artist changes for this double length issue. Carnage is in his orphanage being tormented by his own psychosis. One of his hallucination asks what has Carnage pussing out he mutters Venom the hallucination asks him to speak up and... this artist has no restraint.
How do their mouths get that big? I know the mouths on the suits are always◊
exaggerated but this is obscene. Notice how big Venom is now? he's always a big guy but jeeeeeesus. Imagine how much you'd have to dose on steroids to get that oversized.His hands are bigger than his head!
I will say this, in a weird way it's less stupid than Liefeld style because it's clear that who ever is drawing this is being stylistic and not trying to make it look even slightly real. Carnage is out of his gourd right now and Venom is not just being more aggressive he's actually being kinda crafty, counter attacking, using the powers of the suit more fully than Carnage who's just lashing out with blades.
Spider-Man stops him from killing Carnage. Venom gets mad etc. Venom and Spidey fight carnage escapes dear god this scene again. Though spider-man does point out to venom that how Venom feels about Carnage is how Spider-Man feels about Venom. That stops Venom cold in his tracks for a few seconds.
Black cat is in her apartment wangsting that she wants to help but to do so would be suicide.
So now Spider-man and Venom are teamed up again to stop carnage. Is this groundhog day?
Carnage goes to a cemetery to dig up his mom for some counciling. Not a bad idea it does make him look tragically warped instead of just goofy killer crazy like he's been most of the time. Spider-Man stops Venom from killing Carnage again.◊
This artist has NO sense of scale. It's kinda amazing. It does kinda fight this stage though because Venom is just demolishing Carnage and seems much more predatory at this point.
Though as soon as I point that out Carnage flips Spider-man 50 feet through the air by the neck. He follows this up with an attempt to gut spider-man but with fortuitous timing Black Cat makes the save.
Carnage tries to escape with the coffin gets punched by Venom. Venom tackles Carnage into a power transformer which was next to the cemetery because you know, plot convenience. One big explosion later the find Kasady down but not dead, no sign of Venom though. And the Avengers finally arrive.
So there's a scene that's kinda funny just because, you know comic books. Spider-man responds to fears of a return of carnage: Some monsters stay buried.
He's walking between Norman and Harry Osborn's grave stones. And thats the end.
I'll give my final thoughts on the series as a whole in the next post, I do want to say a few things about the climax specifically.
It was really stupid for the most part. The end fights between Carnage and Venom were actually good because shit was happening but the lead up with the happiness gun was fucking stupid. The whole Shriek being able to transmit negative energy to make people killers was dumb and pointless. So yeah there's your Maximum Carnage. Oddly I greatly prefer the original carnage.