Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Don Hudson (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: After Captain America catches Iron Fist and Deathlok hacking into the Avengers' database for info on Carnage, he invites them to join Spider-Man and Firestar on his team. Elsewhere, Carnage and Shriek torture Venom while Black Cat, Morbius, and Cloak face their followers. With the help of Nightwatch, the villains are forced to retreat. Later, Spider-Man stops a Carnage-inspired uprising at a police station.
The Subplots: Before heading to the police station, Spider-Man stops to check on Mary Jane. She’s increasingly concerned for his life and says she can’t condone his behavior anymore.
Web of Continuity: Captain America is the only Avenger in the city at the moment. Firestar was recruited for her fire powers when the heroes learned the Human Torch was unavailable.
*See _________ For Details: When Spider-Man’s team tripped the Fantastic Four’s alarm in Amazing #379, Captain America was notified of their presence, leading to his involvement in the fight. The team faced Carnage in Spectacular #202, but Firestar couldn’t “sink to his depths” and kill Carnage.
I Love the ‘90s: Carnage declares “This blood’s for me!” while torturing Venom.
Review: It’s the same “plot” as the previous issues, only now even more random heroes are thrown into the mix. Spider-Man’s not even on the most interesting team, as the “darker” heroes Cloak, Black Cat, Morbius, and Nightwatch have a brutal fight with Carrion, Doppelganger, and Demogoblin that consumes much of the issue. What does Spider-Man do? Hang around in front of a computer screen with Captain America, spend a page comforting an increasingly hysterical MJ, and beat up a few prisoners awaiting arraignment before rejoining Cap’s team, which now has the perfectly logical additions of Deathlok and Iron Fist.
Humanizing the endless video game action is a brief acknowledgment of Firestar’s moral issues, and the five hundredth scene of MJ agonizing over Peter’s safety. Firestar’s no-killing dilemma is rather absurd in the face of Carnage’s massacre, especially when the heroes themselves are caught in a life-or-death battle. If she had issues with killing Carnage in cold blood, that’s reasonable, but not using her fire powers, the only real weapon the heroes have against the maniac, while he’s in the process slaughtering innocents and threatening her own life… that’s insane. In no way would this be “sinking” to Carnage’s level. As for MJ, it’s a shame that the creators of this era only seem able to give her “cop wife” stories. Readers liked MJ because she wasn’t uptight about Peter’s life as Spider-Man, and didn’t fall into any of the traditional love interest stereotypes. That doesn’t mean that she’s made out of steel, but she certainly deserves to do more than just cry and worry in each issue.