Sinking Fast - Maximum Carnage Part Six
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Don Hudson (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Jim Hoston (colorist)
The Plot: The "Carnage Cult" causes chaos throughout Manhattan, as Venom, Cloak, and Black Cat recruit Morbius’ help. Morbius leads the heroes to The Deep, a new nightclub targeted by Carnage. Spider-Man joins the fight and is shocked to discover MJ in the crowd. As the building collapses, Carnage and his followers escape. Spider-Man convinces the others to stay behind and aid the victims. After everyone is safe, Spider-Man tells Venom that he’ll do anything to stop Carnage.
The Subplots: Carrion watches Carnage and the others from a distance as they terrorize New York.
*See _________ For Details: Spider-Man witnessed the “terrifying cruelty brewing just under the surface of this wretched city” in Spectacular Spider-Man #201 (a J. M. DeMatteis chapter, of course). MJ is “off somewhere steaming” following an argument with Peter about stopping Carnage (NOT a Howard Mackie chapter, despite my fuzzy memories, as a commenter has reminded me). When Venom rescues MJ from Carnage, he declares things even with Spider-Man, who saved his ex-wife in Amazing Spider-Man #375. Venom allows Spider-Man to join his team, even though he “broke” his word in Venom: Lethal Protector #1 by going after Venom when he thought he had returned to crime.
Review: It’s chapter six of this fourteen-issue arc, and the plot still consists of the two teams gathering characters, in-between the fits of mindless violence. It’s obvious that the creators are trying to make this a “how far will he go?” storyline for Spider-Man, but it’s so over-the-top, any moral debates seem ridiculous. Spider-Man’s not even the focus of the story, since so many of the pages have to be dedicated to the various characters playing the opposing sides of the battle. I wouldn’t even mind a Spider-Man/Morbius team-up against Carnage, but his addition to the story has little impact when it’s already packed with characters (and all of the guest stars still haven’t arrived!). There’s also some tacked-on angst at the end, as Spider-Man berates himself for having (gasp!) lethal thoughts and pretends that he isn’t good enough to join Venom’s team of “dark” heroes. “So this is what it’s finally come down to…even scum like Venom can’t trust me.” Yes, Spider-Man’s such a horrible person for pursuing convicted killer Venom after he saw news reports linking him to more murders. That’s certainly a good reason to put on the hairshirt, Spidey. Sheesh. That’s right, folks. “Maximum Carnage” is ridiculous.