This is “From a Different Point of View,” a feature where I talk about a series of comics with other people. Since the pandemic began, I have been speaking with readers twice a week about notable comic book crossovers, stories or miniseries. We started with Secret Wars and then we did Knightfall and now we start with Maximum Carnage!
Each time, I will share a part of our discussion.
The last time we checked into Maximum Carnage, we were talking about Spectacular Spider-Man # 201, Maximum Carnage Part 5, “Over the Line”, by JM DeMatteis and Sal Buscema, with lyrics by Joe Rosen and colors by Bob Sharen, edited by Danny Fingeroth and Rob Tokar.
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Carnage has escaped custody and been unleashed in Manhattan, along with Shriek, Doppelganger, and his latest addition to the team, Demogoblin. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has teamed up with Venom and Black Cat to try to stop them (as well as Cloak, whose partner, Dagger, was apparently killed by Shriek), despite Mary Jane begging him to stop to keep up. except.
The heroes had recently suffered a defeat against the villains and Venom and Black Cat are upset that Spider-Man stayed behind to help them instead of chasing Carnage alone. Black Cat and Venom then parted ways with Spider-Man and Spidey … did they go to Aunt May’s house in Forest Hills?!? Then his father gave him a dark speech about how the world is evil and you have to do everything you can to survive. Peter, shocked, returns to the fight, questioning all his beliefs. Once there, he sees that a riot has broken out in the streets of the city apparently disconnected from the chaos of Carnage. Spider-Man is NOT happy about this, and he’s already laughing, so …
What happens next?
Brian Cronin: And now, that ending
Brian Cronin: Woo boy
Brian Cronin: That ending.
Intrigued, Strange: Looks like that damn lucky Parker has finally hit mass murder
Brian Cronin: Like I said before, once DeMatteis was committed to the idea that it was all about how good / light wins in the end.
Brian Cronin: Darker / wicked
Brian Cronin: REALLY leaned towards him.
Taking.: This really feels like Kingdom Hearts.
Sean Whitmore: If I remember correctly, NOTHING comes from Spidey’s vote here.
Sean Whitmore: His version of “no mercy” joins Venom again.
Intrigued, Strange: I’ll say a lot of people might find it cheesy, but once Captain America shows up, everything feels less claustrophobic.
Intrigued, Strange: even in later chapters when they were overwhelmed
Writer: You also have to wonder if Pete killed any of those people that were piling up on him.
Taking.Spider-Man is never good at keeping his promises.
Intrigued, Strange: not as oppressive as the first numbers
Writer: Spawn Firestar to kill Carnage for, like, a minute in the next issue of Spectacular
Brian Cronin: Yes, honestly, this is not out of place as similar screams
Brian Cronin: In old issues.
Brian CroninLike when Aunt May doesn’t appear in one of Conway’s first issues.
Sean Whitmore: I think even there you have to convince him first.
Brian Cronin: And Peter is looking to find her.
Brian Cronin: And ignore some people in trouble while trying to find her.
Brian Cronin: And he says, “That’s it! Spider-Man is cutting himself! No more!”
Taking.: Yes, like when he swore to kill the Green Goblin after Gwen’s death.
Brian Cronin: Great example, Tom.
Writer: That last page is a very good page.
Brian Cronin: Tying the fire from the first page is brilliant, visually.
Writer: And the little “halo” around Spidey from the backlight
Sean Whitmore: I think the last time I read a “Spidey Goes Dark” story was the first arc of that Spidey / Deadpool series.
Sean Whitmore: Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
Intrigued, Strange: I remember not liking the idea during the run of the Dan Slott moment where peter ignores someone in trouble because he is trying to reassert control over his body, but as you point out to Brian, there are examples of this kind of thing
Intrigued, Strange: I know it was an accident, but that time Spidey accidentally kills someone during the Spider-man Wolverine team, it always felt bad for the character, but is leaning toward trying to make the character’s world darker.
Brian Cronin: Yes, Spider-Man vs. Wolverine was a tonally muted period.
Taking.: I think the title “Over the line” refers to how Peter yells about “trying so hard to draw a moral line.”
Taking.: It’s a reference to Peter not being Mr. Good Guy anymore.
Brian Cronin: Yes, I think you are right, Tom.
Taking.: If only Venom was here, then it might feel good about Peter saying he was “right”.
Sean Whitmore: Venom begins dancing with the corpse as Lestat
Flavio sette: Accidental deaths are … complicated. After the crisis, Batman had a few minor moments like that, but those were in stories that aren’t particularly important, so you can always just ignore them, which I do. But with Spider-Man / Wolverine, I actually kind of like it.
Brian Cronin: I think death was not terrible, but the whole song had tone problems.
Intrigued, Strange: I think it’s so random and doesn’t really take place beyond the story.
Flavio sette: Let me rephrase: having a character who refuses to kill, accidentally killing someone is tricky.
Brian Cronin: Lots of “Stupid Spider-Man, what a fool you are to think you could get involved in these things.”
Flavio sette: And I remember the cool callback to Spidey’s SM / W costume in the wedding edition. I dug that callback.
Brian Cronin: And then they cut Ned’s throat
Brian Cronin: To mess with another writer’s story.
Brian Cronin: Everything was strange.
Taking.Not to mention how Spider-Man acts like he never fought someone like Wolverine, when he faced monsters like Lizard or Vermin at the time.
Writer: He had also fought the real Wolverine before.
Taking.: Along with all the X-Men. And won.
Brian CroninWell folks, we’ll see what “No Mercy” means to Spider-Man on Monday.
Brian Cronin: I bet your ribs hurt.
Sean Whitmore: Can’t wait, everyone can tell me which Liz Allen subplots I’m missing
Intrigued, Strange: Actually, mentioning Venom, I was never sure if this story was taking his nihilism to the fire? or I was forgiving him. Venom’s arc is very choppy here. I know we’re in an awkward situation. Venom is a great anti-hero character.
Flavio setteYes, I haven’t read that number yet, so I’m in the dark once more!
Flavio sette: Flying blind over here !!
Writer: I don’t think they really bothered with Venom bows at this point.
Intrigued, Strange: yeah, it’s just there to make it more extreme or whatever.
Brian Cronin: Yes
Writer: And I say it as someone who read all his minis until 1997
Brian Cronin: Hah
Next time, we’ll see how well Spider-Man’s reaction carries over to the next issue (hint: not very well). If you have any thoughts for Maximum Carnage, feel free to share them at [email protected]!
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