MAXIMUM CARNAGE (1993): Spider-Man Unlimited #1-2, Spectacular Spider-Man #201-203, Amazing Spider-Man #378-380,Web of Spider-Man #101-103, Spider-Man #35-37

With the launch of the “Unlimted” line (80 page quarterly comics), Marvel had five series with Spider-Man in the title (in addition to his appearances in one-shots, miniseries, other peoples’ books, and the Venom line).  The “Maximum Carnage” event crossed over all five books, starting with Spider-Man Unlimited #1.  Was there enough story content to support 14 issues?  Definitely not.

Here’s the main story beats.

In Spider-Man Unlimited #1, we learn that Carnage was not killed when Cletus Kasady was captured and imprisoned back in Amazing Spider-Man  #363.  Rather, he embedded himself in Kasady’s bloodstream and bided his time until he was strong enough to break out of prison.

And apparently the prison was co-ed, because Casady got a girlfriend–a new character named Shriek.

On to Web of Spider-Man #101, where Cloak and Dagger help Spider-Man fight Carnage and Shriek, and Venom decides to catch a flight from San Francisco to New York to fulfill his new mission as a hero and also help take down Carnage.

The villains also join up with Spider-Man’s evil, 8-armed Doppleganger from Infinity War.

Then in Amazing Spider-Man #378, Carnage recruits Demogoblin–the demon version of Hobgoblin–and kicks Venom’s ass.

Emboldened, Carnage takes on the role of “father” to Demogoblin and also recruits Carrion.  The group of villains goes on a killing spree across New York and half a dozen comics, running into…

Firestar…

…Black Cat, Captain America, Deathlok…

… , Deathwatch, Iron Fist, Morbius, and Nightwatch.  Fortunately, all these appearances occur within the 14 comics/5 Spider-Man titles, rather than tying into even more series.  And of course, it all ends up being Spider-Man’s responsibliity anyway.

Also Shriek has mental powers that turn normal citizens into psychos.

Of course, you can’t have this many bad guys working together for long.  Carnage decides he’s better than his allies (and he is), so he turns on them and the baddies all fight.  This allows the heroes to overcome Shriek’s psychic powers and take down Carnage’s team.

Carnage and Venom have the final battle, in which Venom electrocutes Carnage but does not kill him–he stuns him, and the evil symbiote is contained to fight another day.  Meanwhile, Venom appears to die in the electrical explosion and decides that’s the best way for him to slip away.

And MJ, who started this whole arc asking Peter to quit being Spider-Man, rewards the hero with a kiss.

Creators: Yes.  Lots.
Grade: C

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