Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage

Since I was catching up on all the movies, I thought I would pick up a collection of comics featuring my favorite villain of the Spider-Man universe. I didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised when I read this outrageous and epic battle through fourteen issues. Cletus Kasady aka Carnage is stuck in Ravecroft prison until his DNA manages to grow the symbiote suit back due to a strange mutation. He disposes of the guards and encounters Shriek, a fellow psychopath who immediately has a romantic attraction to the ruthless killer. Peter Parker mourns the death of his best friend Harry Osborn but keeps the awful secret that Harry was really the Green Goblin. Mary Jane worries for Peter but is helpless to stop him when he hears of the chaos in the city. The two crazy supervillains begin to wreak havoc across the city killing and maiming anyone in their way coming across until they meet Spider-Man sharp-toothed, bestial doppelganger. Spider-Man heads out to stop them and encounters his six-armed doppelganger and Shriek first, breaking his ribs in the fight. Carnage heads to the Daily Bugle to threaten J. Jonah Jameson to get the news out. 

Coming to Spider-Man's rescue are the first heroes to be featured, Cloak and Dagger. Using Cloak's ability, they transport Spider-Man out of danger but Shriek and the Spider doppelganger follow them back to the church. Carnage joins the battle, and Shriek kills Dagger. Venom hears the news and heads to New York City from San Francisco. Spider-Man returns home to rest his ribs but finds Mary Jane very upset. He has to go back out as he hears of more murders but encounters Demogoblin. Venom tries to take on Shriek and Carnage alone but ends up defeated in Peter Parker's apartment. Demogoblin joins Carnage's dysfunctional family. When Venom recovers, Spider-Man reteams with Cloak and adds Black Cat to his hero team, though Venom's ruthless tactics make Spider-Man wary of cooperating.

The four villains continue to spread mayhem as Shriek works her hypnotist magic to make the citizen of New York lash out with anger. Spider-Man is too injured to carry on so Venom, Black Cat and Cloak add Morbius the living vampire to their crew. Mary Jane is so frustrated with Peter that she goes out to party at the club but Carnage and his gang crash in. After Spider-Man joins the fight to stop them, Carrion, a villain with a deadly touch, joins Carnage. Spider-Man becomes preoccupied stopping the citizens from tearing each other apart. Deathlok comes down from space to fight Carnage's group and ends up defeated. Spider-Man, Venom, and others head to the Fantastic Four's headquarters to steal a sound ray to fight Carnage with a weapon that can defeat him. 

Using Jameson and the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man lures Carnage back to the orphanage he was raised at but their attack only does so much when a cut can bring his suit back to life. Iron Fist helps Deathlok recover and after a brutal fight, Captain America steps in to help Spider-Man. The artwork is amazing and these elaborate fights are fun to look at. Sometimes things can be confusing but I'm a huge Spider-Man fan so him taking on the most vicious villain is something to behold. With Firestar added to the team, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Fist and Deathlok go at Carnage. Morbius and Nightwatch also jump into the action as Venom is captured and tortured at the Statue of Liberty.

The heroes try various methods to stop Shriek's hypnotism over the citizen of New York but it isn't until Dagger returns with the help of Cloak and brings her light to the battle, that the heroes can stop Shriek. Venom infiltrates the sound ray gun and uses his symbiote's strength to escape. Spider-Man believes he's defeated Carnage but another trick leads to the final battle. Carnage fight Spider-Man and Venom in the last book and Eddie Brock sacrifices himself to defeat Carnage by throwing his body into the villain and knocking them both into the power plant. The Avengers seal up Carnage and Venom disappears as Spider-Man is finally able to return to Mary Jane. I don't often read superhero comics but with the Spider-Man films hitting theaters, I was happy to pick up a fun collection featuring my two favorite villains of my favorite superhero. I think I will check out more comics with popular superheroes when I have the time. I like the arcs that play out in a graphic novel so that I get a beginning and an end with some hints at a greater world but not the necessary previous reading. 

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