Comics : Spider-Man Unlimited #2

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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 escaped from Ravencroft and embarked on a city-wide killing spree, picking up some followers along the way. Spider-Man did the same in an effort to stop the massacre. One of his allies was Venom who likes to think he protects innocent people.

The heroes thought that he had died. However as Venom and Spider-Man have learned, Carnage doesn't die easily.

In Detail...

"The Hatred, The Horror And The Hero Pt 1"
Spider-Man Unlimited #2 (Story 1)
Aug 1993 : SMURF 380.575 : SM Title
Summary: Spidey / Venom / Carnage melee
Arc: Part 14 of "Maximum Carnage"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Jim Sanders, III, Sam DeLaRosa
Cover Art:  Ron Lim
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 Reprinted In: Maximum Carnage (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Carnage, Venom

When Carnage attacks Venom, Spider-Man wisely leaps out of the way. His injured ribs are reminding him that they need medical attention. He correctly assumes that Carnage faked his death by covering one of him victims in a mock symbiote suit.

Venom has been looking for revenge since he escaped the Statue of Liberty; Carnage is reeling from the effects of the device that they used to force him to address many suppressed memories. He watches them punch, claw, and strangle each other while on the sidelines, unable to do anything. Carnage eventually disengages and runs away.

Spider-Man suggests that they contact Captain America and the others before the effects wear off. Venom adamantly states that he is done with them as they lack the stomach to do what's necessary. His parting gift is a broad sweep of his arm that cracks the other side of Spider-Man's ribcage. Injured on both sides and on the verge of passing out, he has little choice but to let Venom go and call Mary Jane to meet him.

Carnage's first stop is Ryker's Island where he initially bonded with the symbiote. Venom follows him there, slaps him around a bit, and loses him when he has to protect a guard from some of Carnage's projectiles. He resumes his hunt immediately after.

Peter is patched up and has a brief visit with his friends and family to provide the cover story that he was taking pictures for the Daily Bugle. Later that night, he resumes his search for Venom and Carnage – with Mary Jane's approval. He eventually finds Carnage – and Venom – at Kasady's second stop: the St. Estes School for Boys. It was here that Carnage was tormented and abused as a child. Spider-Man separates them to prevent them from killing each other. While he gives Venom the standard "I can't let you kill a killer" speech. While their attention is diverted, Carnage escapes.

Meanwhile Felicia calls Mary Jane inquiring if Peter made it home safely. She's astonished to learn that he's still out looking for Carnage. She wants to help but realizes that it would be suicide.

Spider-Man and Venom agree to work together again to stop Carnage while he's still feeling the effects of the machine. They eventually find him at a cemetery trying to dig up his deceased mother. A brief fight between Venom and Carnage is broken up by Spider-Man trying to prevent another death. Carnage grabs him by the throat and throws him a short distance away, right into the grave markers for Norman and Harry Osborn. Intent on killing Spider-Man before Venom kills him, Carnage forms a blade with the symbiote and leaps toward him. At the critical moment, Black Cat appears and kicks Carnage to the side.

Unaffected, Carnage returns to his mother's grave and grabs the coffin. Before he can leave, Venom attacks him again. Their fight leads through a chain-link fence into nearby generators, causing a massive explosion, capped with a nice "SPA-QWOOM!" sound effect.

Spider-Man and Black Cat pull Carnage from the flames, but are unable to find Venom, who is actually a few hundred feet away. Seeing that his job is done, he hops into the back of a passing truck and leaves.

On the recommendation of Captain America, the rest of the Avengers arrive and collect Carnage, placing him in a stasis chamber.

At this point Black Cat points out that "Mama Kasaday's" coffin is empty. Spider-Man is a little surprised, but sets that aside as there will never be a logical explanation for it. Cat voices her concern that Carnage will return. Spider-Man looks at the graves of the Osborns and states that not all monsters return.

In General...

I'm not sure how Carnage could have faked his death and still be feeling the effects of the device. It doesn't seem possible given the events of the previous chapter. When did he have time to do this? Perhaps when Shriek and Dagger were fighting, Carnage found a stranger to kill and hid him until he needed him? But "Team Spidey" allegedly cleared the streets prior to that, so I have no idea where he got another victim. This is poor coordination between the creative teams.

This entire crossover was – at best - a five or six part story that was expanded to fourteen for no reason beyond "summer crossover". They could have accomplished this by using the entirety of issue #1 of this series to establish everything necessary and finished in one of the regular titles. If there was actually enough story to justify it, perhaps a one-shot to complete the crossover. The story simply drug on too long, attempting to milk this for all it's worth. Which would now be approximately $7 USD if you can find it in the bargain bins at your local comic store.

Overall Rating...

1 webs. To quote the late great Roy Orbison "It's over. It's over. It's ooooover". You'll have to imagine him singing the song. If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend you that you do. This concludes the musical portion of the review.

This issue consisted mostly of a prolonged fights between Venom and Carnage. Venom mentioned several times that he wants to rip out Carnage's lungs or his spine. The rest of the dialog was pitiful as well. After a while the witty banter (such as it is) wore thin.

Having Carnage revisit his past (Ryker's, St. Estes, and 'Mommy') was a good idea, but it was done in a pointless manner. Several missed opportunities here.