Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #380

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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, Black Cat (who had to quit due to injuries), Captain America, Iron Fist, and Deathlok.

In Detail...

"Soldiers Of Hope"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #380
Aug 1993 : SMURF 380.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 11 of "Maximum Carnage"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Randy Emberlin
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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 Reprinted In: Maximum Carnage (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Carnage, Carrion II, Doppelganger, Shriek, Venom

Carnage is inside the Statue of Liberty torturing his "dad" Venom with a combination of fire and sonics. Morbius and Nightwatch appear, having followed the Doppelganger and Demogoblin from Manhattan. As you can imagine, Carnage does not like uninvited guests, so he tries to kill them. When dawn breaks Nightwatch retreats with Morbius as the sun greatly weakens him (Morbius). A strategic retreat is preferable to fighting them alone. Carnage sends his "kids" to look for "mommy" while he resumes his fun.

The remainder of "Team Spidey" is unaware of their teammates' location and begin searching for them - and Carnage. Spider-Man questions why he's still involved. Mary Jane is furious at him for putting himself at risk, especially since Captain America could replace him. Peter agrees with her, but feels that this is the only decision that he could make.

Instead of finding Carnage, they find Shriek, whose ability to transfer her psychic energies to those around her has caused the riots. They attack her all at once, and she manages to hold her own until Cap knocks her out with his shield. They begin to quell the rioting and looting as best they can.

Spider-Man in particular finds that his involvement is worthwhile when he is able to stop a crazed mother from throwing her children off the roof. His sudden appearance reminded her that her children play with Spider-Man toys and fights off Shriek's influence. Spidey feels justified in risking his life because neither Cap nor anyone else would have been able to save the children in time.

Doppelganger and Demogoblin find Shriek webbed to a lamppost and free her. They become engaged in a lengthy battle with the Cap, Iron Fist, and Deathlok. When the tide turns to the villians, the citizens that have broken her hold, stand up to them. This turn of events is broadcast over the radio, reminding MJ that Peter was right.

At this point, Shriek informs the heroes that her influence has been – up to this point – minimal. When she concentrates, she is able to work a crowd into a frenzy. The heroes manage to fight off her influence, but the remainder of the crowd succumbs to her powers.

The heroes stand back to back and prepare for the impending attack from the crowd.

In General...

More padding for this crossover. The events here and in the previous chapter should have been compressed into a single issue. Very little happens of note, except the scene in which Spider-Man's presence saves the children. This is well done and provides a specific motivation for him to continue the fight.

Rather than rehash the "I accidentally created Veonm and Carnage" story, Michelinine has provided a different motivator for Spider-Man, and I am pleased.

That is the high point of the story. The fight scenes are boring and the over-the-top dialog bothers me.

Overall Rating...

1 web. For the reason stated above. Bagely's art is good, but the fight-fight-moral-fight approach is not working.

Footnote...