Comics : Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #37

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This story is part of an Arc: "Maximum Carnage"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8 / Part 9 / Part 10 / Part 11 / Part 12 / Part 13 / Part 14

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Crossover Crisis!

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Carnage has escaped from the Ravencroft institute with the ability to regenerate his symbiote from his mutated bloodstream. Along the way he has acquired several followers: Shriek, Doppelganger, Demogoblin, and Carrion II. They have begun a massive killing spree that has left New York in absolute terror. To make matters worse, Shriek has the ability to transfer her thoughts and emotions to anyone nearby, causing riots.

Spider-Man has recruited his own army to combat the chaos: Venom (currently a captive of Carnage), Cloak and Dagger (whose was killed by Shriek), Firestar, Morbius, Captain America, Iron Fist, and Deathlok.

In Detail...

"The Light"
Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #37
Aug 1993 : SMURF 380.525 : SM Title
Summary: Crowd control, return of Dagger
Arc: Part 12 of "Maximum Carnage"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Tom Lyle
Inker:  Al Milgrom, Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Tom Lyle
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 Reprinted In: Maximum Carnage (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Carnage, Carrion II, Doppelganger, Shriek, Venom

Spidey and his crew have apparently fought their way out of their predicament as they are now no longer surrounded by crazed New Yorkers (continuity glitch here). In the midst of the chaos, a television reporter gets a curt statement from Captain America on the situation. She is then instructed to get out of the warzone.

In Liz Osborn's apartment, the Parker and Osborn family watch the televised chaos on the television. Richard Parker, Peter's father goes on a rant about the decline of morality in the world, citing this an his proof. Mary Jane stands up to him and reminds him that the heroes almost calmed down the crowd until Shriek drove them insane again. Aunt May watches the proceedings with an approving eye. MJ states that the heroes will prevail, and that she doesn't want to hear another negative thought from Richard.

In the Statue of Liberty, Carnage continues to torture Venom. Venom begs for his life against his offspring. Carnage laughs at him and grabs Mr. Fantastic's sonic weapon that he acquired along the way and fires. Instead of a sonic beam, part of the symbiote erupts from the barrel. This frees Venom from his chains, allowing him to knock Carnage aside. This clears a path for Venom to finally escape from his captor. Carnage is angry that he was so easily tricked.

At the Holy Ghost Church, Cloak is begging for some Divine intervention. He can't understand the forces that drew him back to the church or what he's feeling at the moment. He is beside himself worrying that people are dying while he stays on the sideline dealing with this emotional turmoil.

Shriek and her "children" (Doppelganger, Demogoblin, and Carrion II) watch Captain America and the remaining heroes fight the riots that she instigated. She thinks out loud that they're fighting for an illusion. She states that as a child, she was frequently abused by "trusted people"; the heroes never saved her.

At the street level, Iron Fist employs a meditative technique he learned in K'un L'unn to project a wave of calmness over the crowd. It works for a very brief time, but the sheer numbers cause him to loose concentration. He is saved by Spider-Man when the crowd rushes him. When asked, Iron Fist explains to Spider-Man what he did. Spider-Man follows up with "can you teach me that?". Iron Fist responds "Yes, in eight to ten years". This was not what he wanted to hear and begins to punch a chimney to vent his frustrations. He then remembers something that Aunt May had told him and stumbles on the solution.

On another rooftop, Shriek has become bored with watching the rioting and prepares to leave. At this point Carnage appears and is angry that she's starting mayhem without permission and begins to throw her around with the symbiote's tendrils. The Doppelganger, who has become inexplicably protective of Shriek, attacks Carnage. Carnage drops Shriek and easily defeats him, kicking him off the roof. He is seen hitting the street, leaving an appropriate crater in the ground.

At this point, "Team Spidey" appears and informs Carnage that they've cleared the streets of all innocent bystanders while they were having a family squabble. Carnage and Shriek put aside their differences and descend to the street to have a final showdown with the heroes.

Before the next battle begins, Cloak appears and warns Carnage that his darkness will not spread any further. And then from within his cape, Dagger emerges.

In General...

Finally a well-written issue. The one minor continuity glitch aside, this chapter actually played a vital role to the overall story.

The return of Dagger was expected, but it's done correctly without any unnecessary delays.

Overall Rating...

3 webs. I'm encouraged to read the next chapter instead of dreading it. With only two chapters remaining, it's about time they started to resolve all the plot lines they've started.