Dark Light- Maximum Carnage Part Two
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Don Hudson (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: Following an attack by Carnage’s followers, Spider-Man is aided by Cloak and Dagger. Soon, their church hideout is invaded by Carnage, Shriek, and Doppelganger. During the battle, Dagger is apparently killed by Shriek’s light blast. The villains escape while Spider-Man and Cloak recover.
The Subplots: A distraught MJ attempts to comfort Liz Osborn. Robbie Robertson and Jonah Jameson debate whether or not to release Carnage’s message for Spider-Man and Venom. Demogoblin stalks Doppelganger, intrigued by the darkness within him. In San Francisco, Venom sees news footage of Carnage’s attack on the Daily Bugle.
Web of Continuity: Harry Osborn recently passed away in Spectacular Spider-Man #200. Shriek claims that she was exposed to Cloak’s darkness during her days as a drug dealer and is now immune. Demogoblin thinks that the “dark power” he craves can only be gained after he kills all other demonic entities.
*See _________ For Details: Carnage broke out of custody, recruited Shriek and Doppelganger, and later attacked the Daily Bugle in Spider-Man Unlimited #1.
Creative Differences: Shriek’s reference to her life as a drug dealer has been relettered. Carnage’s entrance line, explaining that he’s followed Shriek’s “path of chaos” to find the church, is a correction. Venom has an added word balloon emphasizing that San Francisco is now his home.
Review: Oh, joy. We’ve reached “Maximum Carnage.” This is a fourteen-part crossover that consists almost entirely of Spider-Man and a random selection of heroes fighting Carnage and his “family” of serial killers. It consumes three months of every Spider-title, and accomplishes absolutely nothing. In fact, the positioning of the event circumvented any real attempts to deal with the death of Harry Osborn, so aside from being pointless, it stood in the way of a story that could’ve had a point.
I will say this, the early chapters that focus on Spider-Man and Cloak and Dagger fighting Carnage’s crew aren’t so bad, as far as mindless action comics go. Everyone knows that Spider-Man has a tiny clique of superheroes he routinely associates with (Cloak and Dagger, Black Cat, and the members of Silver Sable’s Outlaws). Placing them in a giant action story against a villainous faction assembled by Carnage is pure ‘90s cheese, but it could be fun for a few issues. And, hey, Alex Saviuk might’ve been dismissed as the “boring” Spidey artist by some fans, but he does a great job on the interiors this issue.
The first problem with “Maximum Carnage” is when Cloak and Dagger drop out of the story for…Captain America, Deathlok, and Iron Fist. Any of these team-ups on their own would be fine, but these characters really have no place in a giant Spider-Man storyline. This could’ve been the Prowler’s time to shine! Secondly, Carnage has assembled some of the lamest villains to come out of the ‘90s Spider-Man comics. The only character here worth redeeming is Shriek, and that’s based on the “Shrieking” arc that J. M. DeMatteis won’t be writing for another year or so. Carrion does show up in later chapters, so the villains aren’t entirely ’90s embarrassments, but I don’t recall the creators doing much with him. Finally…fourteen chapters? Would even the most blood-crazed pubescent fanboy want to read over three-hundred and fifty pages of this nonsense?