Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #361

 Posted: 2006


Arrested for his crimes, Eddie Brock aka Venom was locked in a cell with savage killer Cletus Kasady. When he made his escape, the symbiote "gave birth" to a symbiote spawn which possessed Cletus. Altered by being born on Earth, the symbiote became twisted and together they became...CARNAGE!

Story 'Savage Genesis!'

  Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #361
Summary: First Full Carnage Appearance
Arc: Part 1 of 'Carnage' (1-2-3)
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Writer: David Michelinie
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inker: Randy Emberlin
Cover Art: Mark Bagley

Carnage invades Empire State University and kills a classmate of Peter's, chip. Peter gets the news at his Aunt May's and goes to investigate, hearing a report of a savage monster like several other witnessed killings around New York recently. Peter then meets up with Mary Jane and tells her about the situation. He recants when he first got the alien costume and Venom's creation, and how he tricked Venom into thinking he succeeded in killing Peter, leaving them on a deserted island contented to remain there. Peter tells MJ he worries that Venom may not have stayed on the island like he thought, based on the witness accounts.

Later at the Daily Bugle, Peter does some research into Venom's recent past and comes across information on his cellmate, Cletus Kasady. Spidey and Peter set out to explore Cletus' life to get a feel for how his mind works, saving the orphanage where he grew up for last.

Spidey finds Cletus in the middle of the burned out building but is quickly discovered thanks to the symbiote. Carnage engages Spidey, who soon realizes this is a whole breed ABOVE Venom's caliber with the things his suit can do. Two police sent to investigate the noise from the orphanage complicate matters as Carnage turns his attention on them and Spidey tries to save them. This lets Carnage sucker punch Spidey and get away. Upon finding a message scrawled on a wall, possibly in Cletus' own blood, Spidey wonders what kind of monster he's up against.

With the body count rising, other heroes busy with their own business and Peter realizing he can't handle Carnage alone, he comes to one dangerous conclusion; he has to set Venom free.

General Comments

Not too bad an issue. It's basically a set-up for the entire arc and as a way to get Venom back into active duty. Bagley's artwork is as awesome as ever and really compliments Michelinie's story. The sheer randomness of Carnage's actions mixed with his brutality really showcases what kind of unfeeling psycho he is. Imagine if Jack the Ripper or Son of Sam had a symbiote, or even Charles Manson. Got chills yet? Good. And, of course, the classic Parker guilt: feeling the responsibility for Carnage's actions because it was his costume that caused the mess.

My only gripe was the exposition scene. Let me explain; I understand at this point in time with so much going down, there needs to be a brief scene of exposition informing new or casual readers about the events leading up to this story, or to remind the regulars about it. That part is all well and good, but it's just the way the exposition was done in this particular story. Peter was telling MJ a condensed version of his history with the black costume and Venom, but with how it was worded was as if MJ had never heard the story before. One must assume by this juncture she had to have heard it at least once. While exposition is necessary, it should be tailored to fit the character it's being addressed to.

Overall Rating

Four webs. One minor gripe, but otherwise a good start to Carnage's bloody career.

 Posted: 2006