Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Matthew Spencer (E-Mail)


Carnage is once again free from Ravencroft maximum security penitentiary – boarding an armoured jeep with hostage Dr Pazzo to visit the man who swindled him out of his money – the president of Excessively Violent Video Games, who now owns the rights to Carnages' likeness. Over at Grand Station, Venom has regrouped after the last confrontation, and begins his search for the madman.

Story Details

  Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3
Summary: Carnage on the loose
Editor: Eric Fein
Writer: Larry Hama
Pencils: Andrew Wildman
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Articles: Carnage, Venom

Carnage rides up along side a prison coach and forces his way aboard (Dr Pazzo in tow), taking out the driver whilst the security onboard argue on whether its worth taking a shot even if they hit Carnages' hostage. The remaining guards are quickly dispatched and the applauding prisoners ask to be freed in return for their loyal services as members of Carnages' gang. Carnage brags about his apparent charisma and mocks Pazzos' unwavering need to be in control, but she (who is the only person left to steer the vehicle) remains unimpressed.

In the East Village Clive returns to his apartment complex. As he climbs the five floors to his dorm, he morphs into Eddie Brock – apparently disguised as Clive, despite there really being no point. He reaches the door before collapsing from his injuries and exhaustion, and although Kristin is willing to help him she is suspicious of the black goo dripping off him and exactly how he knew were to find her.

The bus of convicts comes up to a blockage on the bridge over the Henry Hudson Parkway. Carnage attempts to ram his way through the broken down school bus obstructing their path, but Pazzo grabs the wheel and plunges the coach over the side of the bridge. With the bus in free-fall Carnage laughs at the futility of her noble and selfish act of self-sacrifice, grabbing her and leaping from the vehicle. He forces her to watch as the prisoners, still cuffed to their seats hit the water and submerge – taunting her on how she has just murdered them in vain, and praising her for finally acting out; her therapy is progressing and finally showing results.

Kristin searches Clives' medical cabinet, surprised to find only cotton wool, eye drops and burnt bottle caps. Eddie informs her that medicine would be wasted on him anyway – he just needs somewhere to rest up until he's healed. Kristin disagrees and rummages for a quarter in order to call for an ambulance. Eddie pleads for her not to and when she queries this, Clive replies from the bathroom door way that it's because he is a wanted maniac.

Deep within the Manhattan sewers, Carnage tries once again to swing Pazzo round to his way of thinking. Noticing how quiet she's been, he asks if it has anything to do with post-murder anxiety, and fills her in on the story of his first victim: at age six and "inspired" by Mary Poppins, he shoved his grandmother down the stairs after being dumped there by his mother one afternoon. No-one even suspected him. Pazzo snaps at him, merely enabling him further by allowing him to question her objectivity as a doctor if she's so lacking in compassion for those who were victims to their corrupted environment. As he starts climbing the wall of EVVG presidents' penthouse he again remarks on how everybody is just like him but pretending they aren't or are so deluded that they can't see it. At twenty stories high, Pazzo concedes that Carnage can believe anything he wants.

Eddie squares up to Clive asking for a one-on-one, but Clive doesn't want to hear it which only angers Brock, causing him to loose some control over the symbiote which begins to engulf him. Clive backs up but trips over the banister and falls to the ground five floors below. Kristin is mortified, and Brock tries to tell her that Clive was a junkie using her for cash. However Kristin rounds on him, screaming that he was a Methodist poet acting the part of a junkie so as to write about it in a series of poems – the money was used to pay off his journals printers. The symbiote goes back into recession as Brock concedes that he could have saved him, and because he refused an innocent man died.

Back at EVVG executive towers the Beta testers for Carnage Unleashed are raging at the president over Carnages announced absence from the fast approaching premier of the games launch. He attempts to pass the buck, condemning his contacts at Ravencroft for not answering his calls to no effect. While the argument continues it is announced on the news that head game designer (Sherman Venom: Carnage Unleashed 2) has been found murdered and that Carnage has broken out of prison. At that precise moment Carnage bursts through the window. Convinced this is all a publicity stunt for the CEO to weasel his way off the hook, the Beta testers start laying into the symbiote. Insulted to think anyone could talk to him in such a derogatory way, Carnage sends a tendril through the monitor and impales the gamer on the receiving end. Still unconvinced the remaining testers start joking about the corny "pizza-sauce" attempt at blood spaying the screen. The CEO tries to warn them about the potential danger of heckling Carnage all too late as the symbiote infiltrates all the monitors and slaughters the band of geeks, stopping with a grin to enquire exactly how many computers the modem is connected to.

Police swarm the apartment building, wearily entering in case the man who "fell" way actually "pushed". Brock tries desperately to calm Kristen down, explaining his motives in an attempt to justify his actions. However, the announcement that Carnage has been spotted at the Parvenu Tower causes his to loose control, morphing into Venom and hurling himself out of the window and into the night. Kristen screams she will have her revenge, and turns back to the broken banister in time to hear that Clive is still breathing, but will probably be paralysed for life. Venom broods on the needless amount of grievance he's been put through lately, and that the only remedy for the situation is to put down Carnage for good.

General Comments

Carnage make's Dr Pazzo choose between the lives of innocent children or convicted felons in order to psychologically break her. Venom inadvertently kills an innocent man he believed to be a junkie but who was in fact a poet undercover attempting to give his latest series a sense of depth and understanding. Carnage kills the game testers and is now holding the CEO, his wife and Dr Pazzo hostage. If only this issue had been this condensed. The only thing this issue really added to the Marvel universe at all was the identity of Cletus' first victim – nothing else could ever be used as cannon from what I've deduced. A terrible story which does nothing to pull this arch out of its rut, and the basic pencilling mixed with garish colours does nothing to inspire me to recommend this whole story. On the plus side the cover is worthy of the half-web I'm forced to award the comic – defiantly a step up from the last one.

Overall Rating

A clear insight into why Marvel was suffering poor sales during the 90's. Makes you actually appreciate some of Joseph Loebs' resent works.

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Matthew Spencer (E-Mail)