Its Title Speaks for Itself: Magnus, Robot Fighter by Emily Scott

Sometimes, you hear the name of a comic book title, and it piques you interest, even if it doesn’t give you many clues what the comic is actually about. Maybe specifically because it doesn’t give you a lot of clues. Sometimes it’s an enigma. Sometimes it’s a comic literally called Enigma. And then sometimes, just sometimes, you get asked to write about a comic called Magnus, Robot Fighter, and you don’t need to know anything else about it. Why would you? It’s called Magnus, Robot Fighter. Even if you, dear Legions of the Unspoken, have never heard of this comic before this moment, I’m guessing you are more inclined to read about this unfamiliar title than if it were called, well, just about anything else.

And if this comic contained nothing of value but a man named Magnus fighting robots, I would not have been the slightest bit disappointed. I would have felt I received exactly what I was promised.

Mangus Chop
Well, that was cool — oh, there’s more?

Magnus fighting robots, though, is not all you get in his comic. Far from. Sometimes Magnus doesn’t fight robots. Sometimes Magnus feels conflicted about fighting robots. Sometimes Magnus refuses to fight robots. Sometimes Magnus talks to robots instead of fighting them. Sometimes Magnus fights people who want him to fight robots. And it’s terrific. Seriously, it’s really terrific reading about Magnus both fighting and not fighting robots. I cannot speak for the other incarnations of the character, but Jim Shooter and the folks at Valiant Comics do a bang up job of paying homage to the character’s origins with its retro futuristic look and feel while crafting conflicts and ideas and questions that we still wrestle with today.

Magnus, created by Russ Manning, first appeared in 1963 in a title from Gold Key Comics, which was published until 1977. Shooter obtained the rights to Magnus in 1991, along with two other Gold Key characters, Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom and Turok, Son of Stone, both of whom make appearances in Valiant’s Magnus and received their own Valiant titles. The character would later have titles published by Acclaim Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Dynamite Entertainment, all with their own takes on Magnus with one very important consistency: dude fights robots.

Valiant_Magnus_01-00fc
Look at that. He is so good at fighting robots, he can karate chop one of their heads off, without looking at it, as an afterthought on his way to fighting the next one.

At the start of the first issue, Shooter quickly catches up readers not already familiar with Magnus, who is relatively new to the hero business. 1-A, the robot who raised Magnus as a foundling, recounts the story of how and why he decided to mold the human into a robot killing machine (not an actual machine, of course, although it does make one wonder why 1-A wouldn’t just make one of those instead of dealing with diapers and puberty). 1-A gains sentience some 400 years before the events of the comic, due to a power surge during a battle in the Martian uprising. (Every part of that sentence is cool.) The same surge causes one of his fellow robots to become violent and murder their human commander. 1-A has a good, long think about the possibility of another robot gaining free will and turning on humanity, and so he decides to make Magnus to be the savior of his people.

An inquisitive reader might wonder what 1-A does for the rest of those 375 or so years, whether Magnus was his first attempt to create a robot fighter, whether his motives might be more than they seem, and so on. These issues will be addressed later on in the comic, but for now all we know is that 1-A trained Magnus to fight and destroy robots, but he does not consider the act to be murder, nor does he consider himself or other robots to be alive, despite his many centuries as a sentient being acting of his own free will.

Magnus Leg
An inquisitive reader might also wonder how 1-A can build a giant underwater house and train a human meat bag to karate chop steel but can’t, say, FIX HIS OWN LEG.

 

 

We also learn from Magnus that an ever increasing number of robots have been gaining free will due to repeated power surges from a malfunctioning “tech-rob,” and their numbers could be as many as ten million. All of these rogue robots have kept Magnus’ punchin’ hands busy, but they have also given his brain a workout, causing him to speculate that with so many robots now having free will, they surely couldn’t all be hellbent on murdering humans. Of course, a robot name 0-1X chooses this moment of introspection to send out a message to all the robots who now have free will to tell them that they could easily succeed if they joined together to become hellbent on murdering humans. (“Blood rivers crushed from human meat will flow through the streets” are his exact words, a sort of beautifully poetic description for robots massacring people, which, if you ask me, just lends credence to 0-1X’s assertion that robots deserve to be treated like the sentient beings they are.)

In an attempt to keep the peace, Magnus heads back to North Am, the dystopia he inhabits where the upper crusts live softly and obliviously in huge, vertical “milespires.” He and his girlfriend Leeja Clane, a senator’s daughter with a touch of telepathy, are immediately attacked by a kamikaze robot, and Magnus momentarily and understandably forgets about the idea that not all free will robots are out to get them.

Magnus Squee
I like that dying robots make the same sound effect as tween girls when their ship becomes canon.

The president of North Am wants to negotiate with 0-1X and the other free will robots, but Senator Clane and Magnus have other ideas. Senator Clane receives a visit from 0-1X, who approaches him because the president is losing the support of his people and Clane’s popularity is on the rise after speaking out against negotiations. 0-1X pleads with Clane to work with him because many will die if they fight, and unlike humans, who can reproduce, each robot life is irreplaceable. While this is an interesting perspective on the value of the individual life and the opposite of what we tend to hear in the man vs. machine debate, Clane gives the response to negotiating that you would expect from the politician gaining popularity for coming out against negotiation. 0-1X returns to his fellow rebels and tells them that, “Human leaders are careless with the lives of their kind,” a notion I’m sure not going to argue with.

Meanwhile, with Leeja tagging along, Magnus decides to search for the rebels in the part of North Am where the dregs of society live, the Goph Lands, otherwise known as the ground. They find the rebel meeting, and Magnus confronts 0-1X and asks if he genuinely believes himself to be alive. 0-1X senses that Magnus is sincerely struggling with the choice between starting or preventing a war, but before their conversation can productively progress, the soldiers accompanying Magnus for back up prematurely burst in and start shooting up the place, as the goon squad so often does. Leeja is badly hurt in the ensuing struggle, and with no further adieu, the robot war is underway!

Magnus Damn It Timbuc
Damn it, Timbuc.

Magnus very quickly becomes very busy fighting robots as they engage in guerilla tactics to take down North Am, but even if he is able to burn through them like a hot robo-knife through whatever they eat instead of butter in the year 4001, it is still ugly, dirty, and unpleasant work, as the header image to this article demonstrates. The robots don’t particularly care for being punched to death, nor do they particularly care for being dissected while still sentient to figure out what gives them free will. Magnus demands that one such robot be released from such treatment, still struggling with the morality of his profession. Another free will robot gives his comrade the gift of mercy and attempts to flee, but when he realizes Magnus is present, he destroys himself rather than be destroyed.

Magnus Torch
Seriously, what is up with these robots being so graphically poetic about humans dying?

The incident clearly leaves a sour taste in the mouth of Magnus, who is unable to muster any enthusiasm for the war at a dinner Senator Clane holds to celebrate Leeja’s recovery. After telling off his fellow diners, Magnus hesitates long enough for a rogue robot, who had just attempted an attack on them, to escape. That robot, W-23, shows up at his apartment because of a common trait: they both dislike that it is their duty to kill the other. During their conversation, Magnus notices that W-23 has a slight vibration, the lone trait that differentiates a free will robot from those still under human control and the key to robot genocide. Magnus has no desire to report his discovery but correctly surmises both that other humans will notice and that 0-1X will launch an all-out offensive once he figures it out himself.

On cue, a metric fuck ton of robots show up, and Magnus is attacked. He fights his way to 0-1X and attempts another conversation, but 0-1X believes it is too late for talk since the longer they wait, the more likely it is that humans will discover the vibration. Clane shows up with some North Am soldier robots and orders Magnus arrested for letting 0-1X escape. Magnus is all like, “Nah, bro,” and heads off to the Goph Lands, where they again try to arrest him. W-23 helps Magnus escape, and the human tells the robot he must convince 0-1X to stop his attack.

W-23 may have a tough time reasoning with 0-1X, though, since the free will robots are doing a pretty splendid job taking over North Am. While they engage in their final push to take over the mainbrain, North Am’s super computer, and with it control of North Am’s thirty-two billion robots, the human leadership gets a status report detailing just how dire the situation has become: over three million defense robots have been destroyed, two human commanders slightly injured, and four human commanders fainted! The horror! With defeat looming as an ever increasing inevitability, Clane tells the president he should gives the robots what they want, but the president tells him that it’s too late. He gives Clane his job and says he plans to fuck off to the moon to wait the whole thing out. His retirement, unfortunately, is short lived.

Magnus Bugger Off
Hasn’t he ever seen a cop movie? He’s supposed to get shot in the face right BEFORE he retires, not after.

The humans use every robot they’ve got to stop the free wills, and they are able to stave off defeat with the help of Magnus, who reenters the fray to prevent humanity’s destruction. He still refuses Leeja’s pleas to help weed out the rest of the free will robots and says he would rather go live in the Goph Lands than kill again. Shockingly, she refuses to join him.

During the final battle, W-23 helps 0-1X escape to a wildlife preserve that the free wills have been using as a base. He tells W-23 that they will be hunted one by one till no free will robots remain and shows him the hidden remains of T-1, a think-rob who became the first free will robot, powerful enough to override any human command. 0-1X wants to use circuitry from T-1 to improve his own mind and avert their demise, but it is a risky endeavor, since tampering with the mind of a free will robot has previously resulted in their losing their autonomy.

The procedure seems to be unsuccessful (or, as we later learn, was intentionally sabotaged by W-23), and W-23 moves on with a new makeover courtesy of a passing scavenger named Elzy. He renames himself Tekla and models his new form after Leeja, believing humans (and, let’s be honest here, Tekla, Magnus in particular) will find it pleasing. Tekla intends to become the new leader of the free will robots and hopefully prevent their extinction, but just as Magnus, done with fighting for North Am, pledges his help, they receive an unexpected surprise:

Magnus Swerve
I sure hope those are just the four humans who fainted…

Turns out Elzy, with no knowledge of who she was helping, gave 0-1X a jolt to revive him, after which he has no trouble taking over the mainbrain and all of North Am’s billions of robots. With humanity now basically helpless, Tekla makes the case to allow the humans to live. 0-1X agrees, but only on the condition that Magnus surrender. If he does not, he will put a billion humans to death, a thousand for every robot killed. Clane sends out a plea to Magnus to turn himself, and even though he claims to no longer care for his own species, he decides to see things through at the request of someone he does still care about: 1-A.

Magnus What is Love
I will never be able to hear that question and not immediately think, “Baby, don’t hurt me.”

Magnus fights some more robots, but in the end he is able to dispatch 0-1X pretty easily with a decapitating karate chop. He destroys the mainbrain for good measure, prevents Timbuc from killing any more rogues, and once again offers Tekla his assistance with the other free will robots, but Tekla does not think the others will so readily accept help from 01-X’s killer. Magnus also gets a message from 1-A, instructing him to continue his hunt of the free will robots, on a device 1-A implanted in his head so that he could receive and understand robot transmissions, but it seems Magnus has developed some free will of his own.

Magnus Metal
Wow, Magnus, that’s really (pun completely intended) metal.
Magnus Man
Magnus….Robot Adjacent

OK, now the story’s really over, right? I mean, what is Magnus, Robot Fighter without a guy named Magnus fighting robots? Fear not, Legions! Just because Magnus is done being North Am’s resident robot killing thug, it does not mean there are no more robots to fight. And humans to fight. And robots and humans to prevent from fighting each other. You get the idea.

In all seriousness, this was a comic I wanted to continue long after I’d read enough to write about it, which isn’t always the case, even for comics I really enjoyed. The art is beautiful, and the writing is sharp. The subject matter doesn’t feel tired, even though a lot of its content has been told in different ways in different formats many times over. The comic is far from brainless but also contains a plethora of the simple pleasure of seeing a guy repeatedly put his fists through robots’ faces. What more could you want?

A robot named Grandmother who contains and nurtures the entirety of the nation of Japan and later turns into a fire breathing, alien fighting lizard spaceship? Well, Magnus got you covered.

Magnus Japan
Pictured: Japan.

A female lead who fakes her own death during the robot uprising and uses her family’s political background to help a newly liberated robot society establish itself? And also become a badass and save her ex-boyfriend and the world? All while wearing one of the least practical outfits I’ve ever seen a lady in a comic book wear, which is really saying something? Magnus got you covered.

Magnus Impractical
It would legitimately be more practical to just be topless.

There are dinosaurs and samurai and lasers and I don’t even know what else because eventually I had to pick a stopping point so that I could tell you about the cool things in this comic. Just make a list of cool stuff. It’s probably in here. Unless your list contains Jason Voorhees or Leatherface, who may not be in Magnus but who are in Jason vs. Leatherface, which you can soon read all about in Dean Compton’s much anticipated return to The Unspoken Decade. Until then, Legions!

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SBTU Presents: The 1991 Marvel Holiday Special!

 

 

 

Hello Legions of the Unspoken!  We’re proud to once again be a part of the Super Blog Team Up, this time taking a look at Christmas stories!  Dean and Emily set down and had a nice long chat about the 1991 Marvel Holiday Special!  Take a listen, and then take a gander at what the other SBTU folks have cooked up for you during this special time of year!

 

 

Check Out the Other Players in the Super-Blog Team Up!

Super-Hero Satellite-4th Annual Holiday Special

Chris is on Infinite Earths-Christmas with the Super-Heroes

Between the Pages-The Ghost of Supergirl Past

The Retroist-Christmas Knight

The Crapbox Son of Cthulhu-Impact Winter Special

Maximum Carnage: A Symbiote Fan Reflects (pt.2)

carnagem

Welcome back, fans of the Unspoken! Tis the season to be more loving and giving. So, what better way for me to show you my love and be more giving than to give you my last installment of the Maximum Carnage epic?! What’s that, you say? Get on with it? Well then, let us begin.

02-03This part of the story begins with J. Jonah Jameson actually looking concerned about his hometown and stating how someone needs to do something. When he enters his office, lo and behold, a chance to do just that appears because Spidey and Co. are there and have something they haven’t had in the past seven issues…a plan!  They want ol’ Triple J. to publish an article with an invitation for both teams to finish this at Carnage’s home sweet home, the orphanage he grew up in.

Jonah, being the epic ass he is, immediately begins badmouthing everyone there and saying how he won’t help out in the slightest. (Oh how quickly we change our minds, eh fellow Symbifans?!) This is until Venom’s long, Gene Simmons-like tongue darts from his mouth, making a slurping noise! Jonah has an immediate change of heart.

08 Later, while in the midst of his murderous spree, Carnage spies a newspaper and impales the man reading it. Reading it himself, he of course takes the bait! (Not there the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, is he?!) He immediately heads there. Upon arriving at the rather decrepit old orphanage, Carnage takes his cohorts on a type of trip through memory lane. As he reminiscences about past horrors, he gets too wrapped up in his own thoughts, leaving himself vulnerable as Spider-Man and Co. make their presence known! But before the battle begins, we’re taken back to the place where our “friendly neighborhood cyborg” AKA Deathlok is still pinned to a skyscraper! (Seriously, the dude is STILL there!) But, thanks to the iron fist of….well….Iron Fist, he is broken free and taken to safety.

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We now take you back to our battle already in progress. All hell has broken loose! Heroes and villains alike are being thrashed everywhere you look! Venom takes this time to blast Carnage with the Spidey Gang’s “liberated” sonic blaster but to no effect! The same can’t be said for Firestar’s microwave blasts, though! (She’d be great for gas station burritos! …and now I’m hungry.) Anyway, Carnage falls! He is beaten! Venom moves in for the kill but is stopped by Spider-Man. As this occurs, Shriek takes this moment to kind of “pimp slap” Cletus, clawing his face. This draws blood and Carnage is back to full power!

01-02Yes folks, Carnage is at full strength and boy is he pumped! After teasing the good guys a bit at their failure to put him away (childish, right?!), the battle begins anew! During this, Shriek actually begins monologuing about how her power, amped by the chaos that is Carnage, has actually been driving the day-to-day citizens into crazed mobs! (She actually says this all out loud like a mad scientist in an old comic book! The funny part is that she even catches herself doing this and laughs at how she’s  “talking to herself like some comic book character!” Oh, the irony!) But I digress. Spidey begins to wonder if perhaps this is what is making most of his team act so violent. During the battle, Venom and Spider-Man notice that Carnage shies away from Firestar’s microwave heat blasts.

14_kindlephoto-107253095Venom tells her to pour it on and finish him once and for all. The shocker? Spider-Man agrees! Reluctant, Firestar begins her attack. It starts to work. The threat of Carnage is about to end! That’s when Spidey comes to his senses and makes her stop. This enrages Venom and he knocks Spider-Man flying. He advances on Shriek but the sonics of her blasts prove to be too much for his symbiote. He falls. Shriek and Carnage then beat the holy hell out of Venom and swing off to torture him more at their leisure! Meanwhile, Team Spider-Man lies broken and bleeding. Spidey prays for hope. That’s when hope arrives…in the form of Captain America! (Hold for applause!)

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As Spider-Man, Firestar, and Captain America regroup at the near-empty Avengers HQ (Those Avengers! Never around when you need ’em!), Spider-Man’s ribs are finally put on the mend with the help of some Stark tech. While checking the computer files on Carnage’s “family outing,” Cap realizes that the Avengers computer network is being hacked by an outside source! Pulling the culprits on-screen, they discover it to be Deathlok and Iron Fist! (Now, You mean to tell me that Tony Stark has the technology to heal Spider-Man’s ribs but his computer isn’t somehow protected against hackers?! Gosh, the people of the Marvel Universe should really feel safe! Good one, Tony! Sheesh!)

web-of-spider-man-103-0203Anywho, all involved decide upon an alliance, but first, Spidey decides to check up on his wife. (About time, Mr. Parker!)  As this is transpiring, what’s left of Team Spider-Man are on the hunt for Carnage and Co. plus the captured Venom. The trail, however, turns cold until Carnage’s “family” attacks from the rear!

web-of-spider-man-103-16_kindlephoto-116577682Morbius is nearly destroyed by Carrion’s touch, and Black Cat is beaten down by the combined might of Demogoblin and Doppelganger! Things would have turned deadly real quick if not for the timely intervention of the new hero, Nightwatch! While this is going on, Venom is at the mercy of Carnage and Shriek within the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Sonics are fired on him again and again as he is chained above a roaring fire! (And all of us symbiote fans know just how much symbiotes love loud sound and flame!)

Spider-Man has arrived home to his distraught wife. The loving reunion doesn’t last long, though, as the radio comes to life with a news report about an attempted breakout at the police precinct with hostages caught within! Spidey arrives on scene and does his thing with experienced grace and determination. Meanwhile, the battered superheroes leave to lick their wounds and rethink their methods. How will good triumph over evil with almost all of Team Spider-Man injured?! Easy. Spidey arrives with new back up! Things are starting to look up!

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When we last saw Venom, he was being turned into a living s’more by Carnage and Shriek. Now? He’s just being roasted alive by Carnage alone. (Seriously, this is like the Deathlok thing all over again! Someone, help the poor guy out!) But, while Carnage toasts Venom literally, Morbius and Nightwatch suddenly crash through the Statue of Liberty’s torch! They have Demogoblin and Doppelganger on the run!

amazing-spider-man-380-001anpymgold_kindlephoto-133376001We then cut scene to Spidey and his new crew. They speed through the New York skies, trying to find any sign of Team Carnage. They don’t find all of them, just one of the most dangerous…Shriek! Somehow, this little minx has managed to sneak off on her own and is using her considerable power to create utter chaos in the good citizenry! The heroes strike with precision and force, and, truth be told, it’s almost a stalemate until….Wham! (Not the band. The sound effect. Sorry, Deadpool.) She’s knocked out by a certain iconic shield thrown by Captain America! (Were you expecting someone else?!) Shriek is captured!

We then cut back to the action within Lady Liberty. Nightwatch and Morbius aren’t doing that badly as a team! As Carnage watches on, protecting his hostage, Demo and Doppel are being whupped! That is, until the sun starts to rise outside, and all good vampires (even living ones like Morbius) have to retreat for the day. Nightwatch grabs the blood-drinker quickly and flies away to safety.

amazing-spider-man-380-009anpymgold_kindlephoto-133541005Meanwhile, with Shriek incapacitated, Spidey and Friends begin to calm the angry mobs. Yes, things are finally looking up! That is until Demogoblin and Doppelganger arrive on the scene and free her from capture! But the heroes are ready this time! Having superior teamwork on their side, they begin to triumph! Even the populace, tired of being used, start to get in on the action! They actually throw things at the villains! This enrages Shriek and she turns her powers up to eleven! Even the heroes are having trouble resisting it! But they eventually do, just in time to see themselves surrounded by the same New Yorkers they just freed!

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The next part takes us back to the horrific scene within Lady Liberty. As Venom continues to roast, he finally begs for mercy! (Can this be true? Can the “Lethal Protector” really be a total wussy?!) Cackling with glee, Carnage raises his stolen sonic blaster to cause even more pain. Venom sends tendrils of his symbiotic other down the barrel, causing it to malfunction! He then snaps his manacles, smashes Carnage a good one in the face, and swings to freedom! (We didn’t doubt ya for a minute, V-Man!) At that moment, in a familiar church, the missing Cloak sits vigil, awaiting….what? Even he isn’t sure of the answer.

But back to Spider-Man and the rest of the heroes. Team Spidey is definitely losing this one, folks! For every crazed New Yorker they subdue, ten more rise to take their place! As Shriek watches with her new “family” from the rooftops, she soon decides to join in herself.

07That’s when Carnage himself appears! Angered that the lot of them have been maiming and killing without him, he attacks the ringleader….Shriek! This makes Doppelganger angry and he strikes out at “daddy dearest”! But alas, Carnage is too strong for the little guy and beats him within an inch of his life! (Jerry! Jerry!) To add insult to injury, he then kicks the limp form from the rooftop. It lands on the unforgiving concrete below! (Talk about tough love!)

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Demogoblin then decides he’s sick of this little gang himself and turns to go.  There’s only one problem with that. While this was all going on, Shriek lost mental control of the crowd below! This is also when a blinding light hits the villains. Turning, they see (drum roll please!) Dagger has returned!

22Both sides of this war stand transfixed by the light that is Dagger! No one moves. That is until Shriek…well, shrieks in outrage that the victim of her proudest murder is not deceased after all! ( You know, that’s just gotta suck! I mean, ya try and murder some people…) Shriek files into a frenzy, attacking Dagger with all she has. What does Dagger do? She shows her the light! She actually starts to heal Shriek’s tortured mind! (Hippie!) It starts to work too until, at the last moment, Shriek gets even more crazed and lashes out with a furious blast! Spidey is there to rescue her this time, however, and gets her to safety.

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It takes mere moments for the villains to recover and turn to strike. As they do, they notice that the heroes have fled?! Only Spider-Man stands as the last line of defense! Carnage laughs maniacally as he leads the charge! All of them then take turns beating the hell out of our hero! Spider-Man just keeps pulling himself back to his feet! (Now that, folks, is the very definition of a hero! Sorry. Something in my eyes….sniffle.) That’s when a blast of energy hits Shriek from behind.

14_kindlephoto-179254406Turning, they see Deathlok strapped to a high-tech weapon of some sort! Spider-Man has dubbed it the “Good Bomb.” It releases amplified calming alpha waves from the hero’s minds! Sounds lame, I know, but the effects are fantastic! Carrion is hit so hard that he returns to his human form! Demogoblin sees the error of his ways and turns to flee in terror but collapses instead! Shriek drops to her knees in horror! But Carnage? He resists the power of the machine for so long and so hard that his heart stops! He drops, defeated. Team Carnage is finished at last! The villains are taken to the proper authorities and the heroes disperse, understandably exhausted. Spidey sits in Central Park, lost in thought. That’s when an angered Venom appears! It seems the V-Man is ticked because he was tortured with no help and was robbed of his chance to defeat Carnage himself. Or was he? Carnage pulls himself from a fountain near the two heroes, alive and kicking!

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And now, the finale of Maximum Carnage! As I said, Carnage is alive! How? We don’t know for sure. Spider-Man theorizes that, in a moment of desperation, Carnage created a copy of his symbiote and placed it on a nearby victim. (After 14 parts to this story, let’s just roll with it!) However this happened, he’s back and wastes no time in attacking both Spidey and Venom at the same time!

spider-man-unlimited-02-01It’s mostly between Venom and Carnage with Spider-Man caught in the middle, trying to talk some sense into the both of them! (Yeah, great plan, Spidey! I’m sure they’ll listen to reason, shake hands, and enter police custody after singing a round of White Lion’s “When the Children Cry.” Damn, just dated myself!)  Back to the action! Carnage, still disoriented from the weapon from earlier, takes a real beating at the hands of Venom, so he retreats. Spider-Man then tries to reach out to Venom. Venom then “reaches out” himself…with his fist, shattering both sides of Spidey’s ribs before perusing Carnage! (Ugh! Again with the ribs!)

This time, though, he does the smart thing and goes to the damn hospital. While there, he meets up with his wife and goes home to rest up a bit. While this is going on, Carnage is losing it! I mean, more than usual! He even crashes through the wall of the cell he once shared with Eddie “Venom” Brock, where the nightmare that is Carnage began, to find some solace! He finds none as Venom crashes in after him, beats him down again, and forces yet another retreat!

spider-man-unlimited-02-14_kindlephoto-186982734Meanwhile, more rested, Spider-Man is ready to head back out. MJ then approaches him. Now, you expect another argument but, surprise, surprise, she actually gives him a kiss for good luck! (Kind of late in the game to give your approval here, Mary Jane! I mean, 14 issues!)

Carnage, on the other hand, is in the fetal position within the orphanage he grew up in, surrounded by the ghosts of his past! (Man, that weapon sure messed him up, huh?!)  This doesn’t last, though, as Venom finds him once again! But when the beating becomes near-lethal, Spider-Man interrupts! As Venom and Spidey have words, Carnage retreats for the third time! (Jeez! Someone stop this madman! Am I right, readers?!) This forces yet another uneasy alliance between the two. They swing off in pursuit. Where is ol Carnage this time? Why, digging up the corpse of his mother at a nearby graveyard of course!

spider-man-unlimited-02-30This time he is attacked by both Spider-Man, Venom, and the returned Black Cat! But, even though Spidey gets in the way again and again, Venom hits Carnage so hard, he starts to regain his senses! This is about to take a turn for the very worst! Or is it? Venom, sensing the danger, crashes Carnage and himself through the fence of a nearby power company! The result is a massive explosion! That’s about it. Carnage is defeated at last, Venom lives to fight another day, and Spider-Man, looking to the gravestones near him, decides it’s time to put this whole mess behind him and go home.

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Dedicated to my mom, Pam Bowen-Metz, who has always believed in my writing talent, even when I didn’t. I love you, mom! Thank you for 38 years of continued support!

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The Gimmick Era Has Never Been Covered So Well.

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