Comics : Amazing Spider-Girl #12

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

The Carnage symbiote has escaped, possessing May Parker's friend Moose Mansfield. It then took May's father hostage and kidnapped her baby brother. But now that the symbiote has divided and possessed baby Ben, how can Spider-Girl defeat both of them without risking the lives of her friend and her brother?

In Detail...

"Only the Innocent Must Die!"
Amazing Spider-Girl #12
Nov 2007 : SM Spin-Off
Editor:  Molly Lazer
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Ron Frenz
Inker:  Sal Buscema
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Review

It's all Spider-Girl can do to fend off her brother, who has been consumed by the Carnage symbiote and is mindlessly attacking her. Carnage, still warring for control with its host--Moose Mansfield--decides to jump back into the fray, but Spider-Girl manages to web up her brother and make a break for it. She remembers that the symbiote is vulnerable to fire and sonics and knows where to find a sonic weapon.

Carnage chases Spider-Girl, but before he can catch up a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicar appears, the driver calling in and alerting Agent Weadon's super team. Carnage splits the helicar down the middle and it's only the quick thinking of Spider-Girl that saves the driver from plummeting to his death. Her delay gives Ben time to claw free of the webbing and attack her again, just in time for Weadon's team to arrive. Carnage trashes them easily and prepares for the kill, until Spider-Girl tells him that the government was studying the symbiote's effects as a cancer-killing agent. Moose seizes control of the symbiote and offers it a deal: heal his dying father and he'll stop fighting it. Carnage then swings off toward the hospital with baby Ben in tow.

Spider-Girl struggles to her feet just as her cell phone rings. It's her father calling to check on her and her brother. May dodges the question about her brother, then sends her father to pick up "the only weapon I know that can stop Carnage." She then heads off to the hospital.

At Midtown Medical Center, Courtney has returned to try to find Moose and runs into the girl she saw him with earlier, who happens to be Moose's cousin. The two are talking when Carnage and "son" crash through the window. Carnage sees Courtney dawdles long enough for Spider-Girl to come crashing in after him. Peter arrives, wearing the Reverb armor (ASG #2) that May told him to fetch and is about to give Carnage a blast when he spots the symbiote-clad baby and realizes it's his own son. He hesitates, giving the baby Carnage an opening to attack. Taking one of the blasters from her father, Spider-Girl fires it at Ben and disintegrates the symbiote possessing him. Carnage takes off down the hallway with Spider-Girl in hot pursuit while Peter tries to get his son's attention. A thin trickle of blood is running out of his left ear....

Carnage, meanwhile, has found Mr. Mansfield's hospital room but hesitates while the symbiote and Moose battle for dominance. That gives Spider-Girl the opening she needs, and she fires the Reverb blaster and destroys the Carnage symbiote. Enraged that she killed possibly the one thing that could have saved his father's life, Moose screams at Spider-Girl, telling her "you're no better than Carnage! I hate you! I HATE YOU!"

Already stunned by Moose's reaction and near paralyzed by the thought that she did the wrong thing, Spider-Girl stumbles into the corner and sees Ben being examined by a doctor. "I'll need to run a full battery of tests before I can determine if your son's hearing loss is permanent."

In General...

Wow. Did NOT see that one coming. May is Peter's daughter and as such has inherited her father's near-infinite capacity for guilt, but possibly deafening her little brother? How can May live with the fact that she is responsible for Ben's hearing loss, which may be permanent? That's harsh. It's also pretty darned good storytelling. As I said last issue, the whole "Kid Carnage" bit was pretty hoaky. But I'll give Tom DeFalco credit for what he did with it in the end.

The Moose vs. Carnage storyline was also good, if a tad predictable. (Really, once Moose showed up in a story arc that dealt with Carnage's supposed cancer-fighting abilities--and once it was revealed that Carnage had possessed Moose--it wasn't difficult to figure out where they were going. Still, it was a pretty good ride even if the final destination was obvious. Carnage is a more effective character with a reluctant host, rather than an all-too-willing murderer like Cletus Kasady.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. subplot, especially the explanation for why they stole it from Weadon's team in the first place, was the weakest part of the story. Per the Contessa, it was an attempt to embarrass the United States into destroying all of the remaining specimens, but that seems just a little too high risk for a substance that can turn anyone into a super powered death machine, don't you think?

Overall Rating...

Overall, a good story arc with an ending that was more powerful than I expected. I'll give it four webs.