Comics : Toxin #3

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This story is part of an Arc: "6"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

The "son" of Carnage, and (ignoring continuity issues) the "grand-son" of Venom, Toxin is another one of those alien symbiote creatures. This one inherited a mixture of red-and-blue coloring, and somewhere along the line also picked up some genes that make it far less lethal-minded than its ancestors. The symbiote is now partnered with former New York cop Pat Mulligan.

Pat isn't sure what he's going to do with his new powers, and so he ran away from his wife and baby son in order to figure it out. Most recently, he's found himself battling a psychopath named Razorfist who has swords instead of hands. Razorfist has a gang of kids to help him do things like spread mayhem, cook food, and help him wipe his bum.

In Detail...

"The Answer, My Friend"
Toxin #3
Aug 2005 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: The Answer, Razor-Fist
Arc: Part 3 of "6"
Editor:  Jennifer Lee
Writer:  Peter Milligan
Pencils:  Darick Robertson
Inker:  Rodney Ramos
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Articles: Toxin

Who is The Answer? Those of you with long memories will remember the Kingpin's masked assistant who seemingly had the answer to every question. Now on the run after escaping from Ryker's Island prison, the Answer is looking for money so he can establish himself as a crimelord. Shame really, the Answer was a really mysterious character when he first appeared. Now he's just another mobster.

Meanwhile, Pat and Toxin have encountered Razorfist in his lair. Toxin is teasing Pat, by refusing to take symbiote form, leaving Pat (who is currently disguised as his alter-ego disguise identity, the mild-mannered "Larry") very vulnerable. But when Pat admits that he wants Toxin to help, the vicious symbiote returns, and Razorfist flees. Toxin lets Razorfist escape (to kill more people), preferring instead to help save the life of one of Razorfist's young "gang" of psychopath kids.

Back at Pat's empty apartment, he and Toxin are discussing morals, and attempting to come to an agreement. Toxin helps disguise Pat so that he can go to the park and watch his wife and son out walking. In return, Pat takes Toxin out on the streets to brutalise criminals. Win-win, really. There's more moralising, as Pat struggles with the dilemma of being a cop working with Toxin and his half-formed morals. Toxin want's to understand morality, and insists that Pat explain why people are bad before he will help defeat them.

Distraught, Pat (as Toxin) seeks out the Answer. In return for not capturing him and returning him to Ryker's, Pat wants the Answer to tell him what to do about his moral dilemma. The Answer suggests suicide. Pat seems happy enough with that...

In General...

First up, while I'm glad to see the return of the Answer, it's a shame to see him in such ordinary circumstances. Razorfist, on the other hand, is far less welcome to me. With his sick fascination with cutting people, and his gang of equally sick young sidekicks, it's all just a little bit "forced". It just isn't really that scary.

Overall Rating...

All this moral dilemma stuff is OK, but it's not 100% convincing. It takes a very skilled writer to handle that kind of material, and I don't think that writer Peter Milligan truly has demonstrated sufficient delicacy to carry it off. I guess we'll find out before the series is done.

For now, I'm going to give an "average" mark, and subtract half a web for ruining the Answer, who was one of my favourite "mysterious" villains!