Comics : Toxin #5

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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...

Pat Mulligan is having a hard time coming to terms with his alien symbiote. As an ex-police officer, Pat has a strong sense of right and wrong but Toxin on the other hand is a little less knowledgeable and it needs Pat to set it straight. Already Toxin has taken down King Cobra and two members of the Wrecking Crew, The Wrecker and The Piledriver, on his way to dealing with Razor-fist, a villain with swords for hands who is recruiting New York's twisted children to help him cause death and destruction in the city.

In Detail...

"Good Luck, Mulligan, Thanks For The Formaldehyde"
Toxin #5
Oct 2005 : SM Guest
Summary: Razor-Fist (Spider-Man Appears)
Arc: Part 5 of "6"
Editor:  Jennifer Lee
Writer:  Peter Milligan
Pencils:  Darick Robertson
Inker:  Rodney Ramos
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Articles: Toxin

Toxin and Pat have now come to an arrangement. Toxin gives Pat two full hours to spend as Larry, one of Toxin's disguises so that Pat can spend time in the park with his family without them knowing it's really him. It seems like Gina, Pat's wife, is starting to fall for Mild-mannered Larry not knowing that it's really her husband who has left her. The flip side of the arrangement is that Toxin also gets two hours in which to do what it wants. Toxin puts Pat to sleep for that time but must wake him up at the exact moment that the two hours are up. The only rules put on the symbiote is that it can't commit arson, larceny or homicide, but of course you cannot trust an alien symbiote and one day, waking up, Pat discovers that Toxin has stolen some electronic goods.

One night Pat awakens in a darkened restaurant where he finds 28 bodies, most of which have been murdered in violent ways. Toxin tells Pat that it stumbled on this bloody scene just as it's two hours were up and that it did not in fact cause any of it. Pat doesn't believe the alien but before he can do anything about it the police show up causing him to hightail it out of there. Back at the apartment Pat confronts the alien but Toxin demands it be given a chance to prove that it is innocent by holding Pat's time with his family as Larry over Pat's head.

It is shown that it was Razor-fist who organized the murders in the restaurant using children to help him kill everyone. He admits that he has an altogether nastier plan for the city and we learn that Officer Perkins is actually a follower of Razor-fist, one of the only adults. Meanwhile Pat's having to deal with his father Jimmy telling him to back off from Gina. That she's still married to his son, not realizing that Larry is really Pat in disguise.

Apparently, Toxin is tired of not getting the fear and respect from the city that he believes he deserves, so he is holding the city for ransom. If he is not given enough money he will be organizing a "Slasherday", a day which will end in a massacre for many New Yorkers. Pat decides to jump into action to stop this but Toxin has other plans. It seems that it is Toxin's turn for its playtime and it demands it or it'll get angry and it will not let Pat see Gina and Eddie for weeks. Putting seeing his family above saving innocent lives, Pat agrees to give Toxin it's free time.

Spending it's free time as it sees fit, it heads back inside the apartment and reads more of Pat's diary, where Pat calls it a monster in one passage, which sends Toxin into a rage and it smashes the laptop. Trying to cover it up, he runs out and steals a handful of Dells but before it can get them home, Spider-Man stops it and tries to explain that what it's doing is stealing and that's wrong (Toxin believes that it is only 'shopping').

Spider-Man defeats Toxin (we don't get to see the actual fight) and Pat comes to to find himself hanging upside down in some web with Spider-Man asking him what's been going on. Over a cup of really bad coffee (Toxin likes it really strong with hot curry and stinky cheese) Pat says that Toxin isn't really bad and that it only wanted to replace the laptop he broke but Spider-Man isn't buying it. He tells him to get control of it and to finally bring down Razor-fist. Pat tells Toxin after Spider-Man has left that it's time to end the distractions and really get down to stopping "Slasherday" from happening. Pat needs Toxin's help one more time to tell Gina, as Larry, that he has to go away for awhile and that he can't see her anymore.

At the same time we find that Razor-fist has kidnapped Officer Meadows on account that Perkins suspects him of knowing the whereabouts of Toxin. Razor-fist threatens Meadows that he'll save him from the torture he will inflict on him if Meadows will just tell him where he can find Toxin. Meadows finally breaks and gives Razor-fist the address but instead of killing Meadows quickly, he decides to give him to the Piranha Tots, a group of knife wielding, prep school clad children.

We finish the issue with Jimmy deciding to stop by Pat's place with some groceries only to discover that the door has been knocked in and Razor-fist waiting in the shadows. He was there to kill Pat but he'll settle for Pat's father instead.

In General...

Pat is still trying to get a handle on the alien symbiote but he is not doing a good enough job and now with this arrangement in place, Toxin has two free hours to spend any way it wants to. Instead of spending his time tracking down and putting a stop to Razor-fist before it's too late, Pat is spending most of his time seeing Gina and Eddie as Larry, and the alien is spending it's time running around the city without constraints doing whatever it wants to. It takes Spider-Man to finally make Pat get his head back on track.

When Spider-Man confronts Pat and the alien symbiote, he tells them that he really needs Razor-fist brought down but that he, Spider-Man, is just too busy right now to do it himself. In all my years of reading Spider-Man comics, this is a first. Spider-Man has never contracted outside work to deal with criminals, he's mainly just done it himself. Why all of a sudden is Spider-Man too busy to take down someone who has already killed 28 people and has threatened the city that it'll happen again?

Overall Rating...

This issue was just laughable without actually being funny. There was just too many corny scenes in this story to count making it difficult it finish. The whole Razor-fist turning a Saturday into a Slasherday was ridiculous. The 'Piranha Tots', meant to be twisted and creepy, just come off as foolish and stupid. Plus the 'coffee-talk' with Spider-man over the gross coffee the way Toxin likes it was pointless. Spider-Man leaves and gives us the title of the issue by thanking Pat for the cup of Formaldehyde. I have no idea how the writer was allowed to write this comic the way he has but thankfully there is only one more issue in this series to get through.

I mentioned it last issue and I'll mention it again. The best thing in this series are the covers.