Tag Archives: Symbiote

The Case of the Venomous Offspring (part 1)

RCO001_w_1463374424-1-1-1-1We’re gonna eat your brains! Sorry. But when it comes to the “Father of Symbiotes,” I feel almost giddy! Why, you ask? Simply put, this is my jam, baby! I mean, look at my pen-name, Symbifan. I like to think of myself as an authority on the subject of Venom and all of the other Marvel symbiotes. (God knows I’ve spent enough money on comics over the years!) All of that said, welcome back to the Unspoken Decade and boy, do I have a story for you! So, without further ado…….

rco005_1463374424-1We begin our tale in sunny San Francisco. (Venom had recently left New York as per his deal with the Amazing Spider-Man.) But not all of the city is bright and cheery. Like anywhere else, some of it is dark and dangerous. Down in one of those places, an alley to be exact, a local thief is angered that his mugging of a young woman has born little money. He threatens to take his payment in other ways. As he flashes a knife, he comments with glee how he loves seeing fear in his victim’s faces! That’s when he hears a monstrous voice from behind him agree! Venom attacks the thief with savagery and brutality! It takes no time at all before the criminal is pinned by his throat to a wall by the Lethal Protector! Voicing disgust, he sends tendrils of symbiotic goo down the man’s throat until his eyes roll back into his skull! Presumably dead, Venom drops the street filth and turns to the victim. The anti-hero picks up the fallen purse, apologizes for this whole ordeal, and pats her on top of her head before leaping away. The woman promptly screams and runs away in terror! (That’s some gratitude for ya! You try to help a girl out! I mean, he had a mohawk in the 90’s! He kind of deserved to die, right?)

rco007_1463374424-1-1Eddie Brock and his symbiotic other then make their way through the city, via webline. Once they’re sure they’re out of sight, the symbiote camouflages itself as street clothes and Eddie Brock emerges. He rounds the corner from the abandoned alleyway and joins the rest of the San Francisco populace. He enters a motel and inquires about a room, but it seems that he was sighted after all, as two police officers enter after him, guns drawn and ordering him to put his hands in the air! (And wave ’em like he just don’t care! Woot! Woot! Sorry, I’m in a mood while writing this. A mood….to DANCE!) Instinctively, the symbiote slithers up his hands and webbing fires from both of his fists! Webbing both weapons, he swings both officers into opposite walls, knocking them out! Now fully covered by his symbiote from head to toe, Venom politely cancels the aforementioned room. The terrified clerk shakingly complies.

Meanwhile, on the isle of Manhattan, Peter Parker goes about his work within the walls of the Daily Bugle newspaper office. It’s here that he learns of Venom’s run-in with the San Francisco Police Department. Thinking back, he remembers how the Venom symbiote was on Earth in the first place because of him. He also remembers how it was Eddie Brock’s hatred for him and his alter-ego that called the abandoned symbiote to him, thus creating Venom. He feels that everything that Venom has done or ever will do is his responsibility. (Talk about a martyr complex! Geez! Am I the only one who gets annoyed at how much we, the readers, are reminded of Uncle Ben’s words? Broken record much? Ugh!) That said, Spidey decides it’s time for a trip.

rco015_1463374424-1-1The next day, Eddie takes a stroll through a local park when he suddenly becomes aware that the local homeless are being harassed and beaten by well-dressed goons! (Well, they are dressed nice. But one does have a mohawk. What is it with that? Did thugs in the 90’s have a certain dress code they had to follow that encouraged these early 80’s punk hairstyles? Inquiring minds want to know!) Enraged, Brock demands that they leave the people alone. In reply, “Mr. Mohawk” pulls a handgun! This does him little good, as Venom crushes the weapon easily! He starts systematically fighting his way through the villains, but a red-clad boot comes seemingly from out of nowhere and slams into Venom’s back, knocking him flying! Spider-Man is here!

The two begin duking it out until Venom finally gets through to the wall-crawler that these aren’t police officers, as he suspected, but rather criminals that he’s fighting! Spidey wastes little time in joining Venom in battle when the men begin shooting! When the dust clears, Spider-Man finds himself alone. Venom is gone. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location, a sinister man watches this all on the local news with keen interest. He lifts a phone and commands someone on the other end to assemble “your men.” (Hmm. Who is this mystery shady character? What is his agenda? Does he wear boxers or briefs? No? Not important? Okay, moving on….)

rco016_1463374424-1Where is Venom? He walks, as Eddie Brock, with the homeless people he has just saved. Where are they, you ask? Beneath San Francisco. In a hidden sanctuary within the sewers! They explain there is a whole secret society here and, if the council approves, he is welcome to live here. But before he can answer, huge mechanized suits of armor drill their way through a nearby tunnel wall! (Only in comics, ladies and gentlemen!) Brock shifts into Venom and stands in front of the crowd of innocents. The men within the armor waste no time and attack! Venom is lifted by powerful robotic arms and shot with lazers! Hating the heat, the symbiote fights back! The vigilante begins to win the day too until sonic weapons are used! Hating loud noise even more, Venom begins to weaken! (Hey! Superman’s weakness is a rock, okay! Don’t be so judgmental.)

The armored monster then raises two large fists above its head in unison and brings them crashing down on our hero! The force of the blow not only damages Venom but the ground beneath him! Both hero and villain crash through the floor and fall through to a hidden chamber! When both come to, they look in wonder as it appears that they have not only fallen through the ground, but back in time itself!?

rco023_1463374424-1To be continued…..

…..right now! Issue two begins with the armored villain and Venom continuing their brawl within the strange antique city. A second bad guy, a complete copy of the first, falls through the opening and comes to the aid of the other goon! The suspicious man from last issue, Treece, is mentioned to be their boss! Some of the villagers come to Venom’s rescue with weapons of their own. This angers the goons and they retaliate with lazer blasts, killing several of the people! Venom flies into a murderous frenzy, smashing the head of one and impaling the another through the chest! Soon, all that remains is smoke and death.

rco004-1It is later revealed that this part of the underground city is not accessed through time travel, but is rather a city from the past that fell during the big quake of 1906 and was paved over and forgotten. It was later discovered by a homeless man and has been a secret sanctuary for those less fortunate ever since. (Aww! No time warp? And I was all ready to dance in my Dr. Frank-N-Furter costume! Get it? You’re not “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fans?! This younger generation with its cell phones and video game consoles….sob….)

While this is going on, elsewhere in San Francisco, Spider-Man hacks a police computer database and finds the home address of Eddie Brock’s father! What’s he up to? Later, Eddie Brock is taken before the council. It takes little time for them to reach a decision. Their ruling? He cannot stay! Even though he saved several of their lives, they are afraid of him. Upset, he calls upon his symbiote and becomes Venom once again. Shooting webbing, he swings back up to the surface world. Meanwhile, Peter Parker knocks on the front door of the Brock residence. Asking about Eddie, he is answered by a door slammed in his face!

rco012-1-1Venom does some searching and soon finds the corporate headquarters of this Treece. Easily breaking in, he crawls along the ceiling, and while examining the building’s rooms he discovers a scale model of the park that he saved the homeless from earlier that day. The model depicts the park, only newly renovated as a gift to the city. This type of renovation would require all of the city’s “undesirables” to be removed from above and below! But before he can examine further, security guards burst in and open fire! (Damn! Look at all of that drool in the photo above! Talk about giving away your position! He’s gotta be leaving a huge slimey trail! Reminds me of a giant slug cosplaying as a ninja! HA! I amused myself!)

rco014-1They state aloud how they followed his drool trail to locate him. (Ha! Told you! And it’s not just because I’ve read this miniseries a million times. I’m just that smart.) Venom tells them, as they are doing the work of others, they may be innocents and are allowed to leave with their lives. They answer with even more gunfire! Venom falls! They foolishly approach, thinking their prey deceased. Venom then leaps to his feet, firing the bullets his “other” has just absorbed right back at them! Those who aren’t gunned down are beaten mercilessly by the Lethal Protector!

Meanwhile, Peter approaches Mr. Brock Sr., this time in his Spidey gear, through an open window. He demands to talk. As this is going on, Venom finishes with the guards and turns to leave through a window. He is then blasted out of the air by a group of heavily armored people! In front of them stands a mysterious blonde man! The man says, with a sinister smirk upon his face, that The Jury has come to destroy him!

To be continued…..

rco017-1Third issue. We begin where we left off. Only now, the armored men have attacked our hero! He is struck down by a sonic weapon, shocking the symbiote to its core! Eddie Brock manages to stumble across the right words and asks why he’s being attacked. The blonde man replies that he is Orwell Taylor, and that during one of Venom’s escapes from The Vault, a prison for supervillains, he had murdered this man’s son! He has since studied Venom thoroughly in order to take him down for good! He even assembled friends of his deceased son that either served as guards within The Vault as well, or with him in the military! He calls them The Jury! (Boy, this sure seems like a lengthy explanation since Venom is nowhere near death and quickly regenerating. I’m reminded of Disney’s “Incredibles” and the villain’s joke about “monologuing.”)

rco004_w_1463374524-1Venom uses this opportunity to lash out at his captors, his strength fully renewed! (See?! What did I say?!) He battles The Jury with great skill and quickly leaps to freedom! Meanwhile, Mr. Treece surveys the damage done to one of his offices by your friendly neighborhood symbiote. He is not pleased. He makes it clear to one of his cronies that Venom must not find out the true purpose of the park rejuvenation project.

rco012_1463374524-1At the home of Mr. Brock Sr., Spider-Man is told only that he cut ties with his son long ago and to leave immediately. (Nice guy, huh? Ah. Reminds me of my own dear papa. Maybe I should become a supervillain turned anti-hero. Now if I could just locate an alien symbiote….)  As Spidey turns to leave, he is approached by the housekeeper. She tells him that she wants to help.

Elsewhere in San Francisco, Venom is having a moral dilemma. He did kill the man’s son after all – isn’t he in the wrong? Is there no hope of his becoming a hero? Deep in thought, neither he nor his “other” sense the oncoming assault from The Jury! And attack they do! Well-coordinated and high-tech blast after blast either hit our hero dead on or miss him by a fraction, all along the length of Golden Gate Bridge! Two of The Jury members strike out at the same time, with their armored fists, sending Venom sailing through the air! Looking off the side of the bridge, they see no signs of him. Deciding to attack him further at a later time, they flee, leaving Venom clinging to the undercarriage of a car, camouflaged and relieved!

rco016_1463374524-1The housekeeper begins her tale of young Eddie Brock. She tells how Eddie’s father only loved one person in his life, Eddie’s mother. When she became pregnant, he was happy, until she died during childbirth. Raising the child alone and secretly blaming him for his mother’s death, the man became more and more bitter. Nothing the child could do, be it sports or schoolwork, pleased his father. When Eddie landed the job as a reporter and broke the story of his career, still nothing. When Eddie lost his job, after the story ended up being false, his father cut all ties. (Great guy! I wonder who gave him parenting advice, Charles Manson’s father?!) Spider-Man takes his leave as the old woman finishes. He wonders, is he actually not only getting to know his enemy better, but is he also beginning to understand him?

rco018_1463374524-1Venom detaches himself from the car, reverts to Eddie Brock mid leap, and lands on the sidewalk some distance away. As he walks incognito, he suddenly becomes aware that a metallic orb is hovering in the air behind him, following his every move! Before he can react, it drops to the ground beneath him and lets loose an intense sonic shriek! The loud sound starts to cause the symbiote to retreat away from its human host! (Have you ever found it amusing that when stuff like this happens, the human host has just enough symbiotic goo left to cover his or her naughty bits? Hey, if the rest of it retreats, where does it retreat to? I think a proctologist might be involved.)

rco019_1463374524-1A man boasts from behind that the orb was a sonic grenade, and then raises a rifle to finish the job. Venom tries to reason with the man, arguing that Eddie understands why The Jury is doing this, that the man he killed was a good man. But if he were to die, many good people would perish beneath the sewers. This makes the man hesitate. He does so long enough that Eddie can call the symbiote to cover him and then quickly reach out to crush the weapon! He then defends himself against an onslaught of blasts from the armored fists of one of the other Jury members! This battle doesn’t last long, though, as a missile explodes, knocking Venom’s foe unconscious! Looking up to the source of the projectile explosive, Venom sees a hovering helicopter! Someone is actually helping him!

rco021_w_1463374524-1A megaphone from within the copter announces that his savior offers him sanctuary and a proposition. Curious, Venom shoots up a webline and boards the craft. Once inside, he is met with a screen, on which is a black-haired man with a goatee. The Man introduces himself as Roland Treece, and he wants Venom to act as his head of security! Venom asks if this includes the park project. He is assured it does. Obviously smelling a trap, Venom agrees. (We all know that this is gonna go sideways for the V-Man, don’t we? The question is how.)

Our hero is taken to a secluded compound in the Mojave Desert. (Sounds bad already, huh? I’m guessing he’s gonna be forced into slave labor. A symbiote could make a lot of tennis shoes in an hour, after all!) Anyway, one of Treece’s men points Venom in the right direction, stating that the boss will meet him inside. Done playing games, Venom encircles the man’s throat with a symbiote tendril and forces him ahead as a hostage. It does him little good as the man breaks free when the walls surrounding them burst into flames!

rco023_1463374524-1-1A voice tells Venom that he can blame him for this predicament if he wishes. He introduces himself as Carlton Drake of the Life Foundation. He states that Treece, a board member of his, told him that Venom could possibly be of help to him. Venom roars that he would never help the likes of him! Drake replies that he isn’t interested in Venom….but his offspring!

To be continued….

This article is dedicated to my nephew, Blade Miller. He has grown up beyond even my greatest expectations and is a big Marvel symbiote fan as well. I love ya, kiddo, and I couldn’t be more proud of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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!

Maximum Carnage: A Symbiote Fan Reflects (pt. 1)

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Greetings, fans of the Unspoken! It’s your pal, the Symbifan, back at it again with an article on one of my most favorite Marvel story lines called (You guessed it!) Maximum Carnage! Now, ever since I was a young comic fan, the Marvel symbiotes have fascinated me (Can’t tell by my moniker, can you?!), and in the 90’s, there was definitely no shortage of symbiote-related stories to read. But, in my mind, one has always stood out. That’s right! The “big daddy” of all alien parasite tales. A story so epic, that it had to be told in 14 parts! Well then, without further ado, let us begin.
spider-man-unlimited-01-01The story begins as the serial killer, Cletus Kassidy AKA Carnage, is being transferred from the Vault to Ravencroft for psychiatric treatment. Now, these yahoos at Ravencroft actually believe that Cletus is just your average psychopath in need of some meds and maybe a little therapy. They also believe his supposed “living costume” was merely part of a fantasy he created for himself. Wrong! Cletus, merely biding his time, cuts his wrist with his cuffs, and blam-o….instant symbiote! Kassidy becomes Carnage once again and begins slaughtering everyone he can get his creepy tendrils on! Meanwhile, Spider-Man, in his civilian identity of Peter Parker, has no idea any of this is going on as he attends the funeral for his friend and sometime enemy, Harry Osborn. In fact, he doesn’t catch wind of any of it until he overhears a radio broadcast while picking up Chinese food. (Ah, saved by a craving for General Tao’s chicken!)

 

carnage-and-shriek-meetCarnage, on the other hand, has stopped disemboweling guards long enough to meet a new partner in crime in the fellow lunatic Shriek. Shriek talks Carnage into letting her in on the massacre he is soon to unleash upon New York. As they escape together, they swing throughout the city and seemingly locate the object of Carnage’s revenge….the Amazing Spider-Man!

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But upon closer examination, they find it to be none other than Spidey’s “evil double” Doppelganger! After a brief skirmish, Shriek decides she likes the little monster and they decide to form one heck of a dysfunctional family! Carnage leaves the two on a rooftop to await his return as he attends other matters. Later, Spider-Man, in search of Carnage, swings by and is immediately attacked by the evil duo. The fight goes back and forth until Spidey, finally unable to face the two alone, gets hit hard in the ribs, presumably shattering them. He falls from the rooftop and loses consciousness in an alleyway. The first part ends with Carnage revealed perched within J. Jonah Jameson’s window at the Daily Bugle. (Ready for a good old-fashioned kidnapping anyone?!)

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At least, that’s what I thought. Turns out Carnage just wanted  Jameson to tell his “pals,” Spider-Man and Venom, that he wanted to have a little….chat! Meanwhile, Spidey’s ribs are killing him! So of course it’s a perfect time for some street punks to try and make a name for themselves by murdering our favorite arachnid!

web-of-spider-man-101-01There’s only one problem with that little plan….three words: Cloak and Dagger! That’s right, the super-duo has entered the scene. And boy, are they not taking any prisoners. They easily dispatch the gang and use their powers to teleport Spidey to an abandoned church. While there, Shriek and Doppelganger decide it’s time to bring down the house (or church) around them! All five of them then square off, and the battle begins. For the most part, it seems as if the good guys might have this one in the bag until Carnage arrives! This definitely turns the odds in favor of Team Carnage. So much in fact, that Spidey’s ribs are reinjured and Dagger is seemingly killed!

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The big baddies then get into a squabble about who’s going to finish off Spider-Man until they decide upon a temporary retreat. But their exit does not go unnoticed. The Demogoblin watches from a nearby rooftop. (Hmmm. I wonder which side he’ll  choose? Stupid question!)  Anyway, this issue ends with our favorite symbiotic anti-hero, Venom, catching wind of the massacre on the news from his new city. (Methinks things just got more awesome!)

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The next part of our tale leads us to New York’s Laguardia Airport, where a very strange passenger has just completed a long flight from San Francisco and appears to be talking to himself. (Hey, who doesn’t now and then?) The truth of the matter is that he’s talking to his “other,” and by “other,” I of course mean his symbiotic other half! Together they are known as Venom! It turns out that the stranger is no other than Eddie Brock, and as he gets more agitated he suddenly “Venoms out” in the middle of the terminal! Wasting little time (no kidding, right?!), he swings off in search of Carnage!

amazing-spider-man-378-002anpymgold_kindlephoto-9667518Meanwhile, Spider-Man tries in vain to calm Cloak’s broken heart about the death of his partner at the hands of Shriek. But alas, nothing can sooth the poor guy, and he teleports away. While this is going on, Team Carnage is on a nearby rooftop, beating the crap out of each other to see just who is “top dog” in this outfit. Carnage of course wins and all is immediately good in the hood. (Warms your heart, doesn’t it? I mean, a family that slays together, stays together!)

amazing-spider-man-378-011anpymgold_kindlephoto-9749695While Carnage and his “family” resume their murder spree, Spidey returns home to bandage up. While there, he catches the news and deciding that he can’t just lie around, he heads back out. This, of course, is the perfect time for the poor guy to run into the deranged creature known only as Demogoblin! The two battle a bit until Spider-Man is dropped by a new weapon of Demo’s, a pumpkin bomb containing a type of “living darkness” that seems to make the hero lose all hope! It isn’t until the intervention of a passing priest that Spider-Man finds faith in himself in the nick of time. And by the nick of time, I mean right before an actual pumpkin bomb goes off right next to him and the priest! Demogoblin takes this moment to escape, and Spidey limps back home. At this time, Venom finds our favorite red psychopath in the park and attacks! The only problem? Carnage has back up!  Time passes and Spider-Man arrives home. He attempts to unwind with the wife when a tapping is heard on the apartment door. Mary Jane (In her bra and panties with a loose robe just barely thrown over her! I mean, have some class, lady!) answers the door and a very injured Venom drops in (literally)!

amazing-spider-man-378-023anpymgoldAs Venom is helped to the Web-Slinger’s couch, Mary Jane leaves in a huff (Women! Am I right, fellas?!) because she’s been on this kick about Peter putting his life on the line as Spider-Man. This leaves Spider-Man to do what any rational man in his situation would do…..seek advice from an old flame?! Wait a minute! What?!

11_kindlephoto-16288753Anyway, this “old flame” just happens to be Felicia Hardy AKA the Black Cat. As Spidey talks about his fears of teaming up with his one time nemesis, Venom, Felicia has some shocking advice to give: do it! But while this has been going on, the Demogoblin has at last found Carnage and Co. and attacks! But Carnage has a few tricks up his symbiotic sleeve. He talks old Gobby into joining them!

12Meanwhile, Black Cat takes this moment to have a chat with Venom about “playing nice” with Spider-Man and herself. Spidey backs her up, and Venom agrees. Team Spider-Man is starting to come together! Speaking of Team Spider-Man, Cloak locates Carnage and the other villains in their temporary lair! Seeking justice for Dagger, he lashes out. However, he soon finds himself to be no match for all four of them and begins to falter. Luckily, this is the moment Spider-Man, Venom, and Black Cat come to the rescue! (Yay!) The heroes start to get the upper hand in the fight until Carnage has the roof brought down around them! (They really don’t like roofs, do they?!)

21_kindlephoto-16346926Cloak teleports out but Venom and Black Cat are severely injured. As Carnage escapes, Spider-Man must make a hard decision. Does he help his allies, or does he peruse the villains before more lives are lost?

01-02The next issue reveals that Spider-Man has in fact made up his mind. He has decided to stay back and help out his teammates. The only problem is that they didn’t want to be saved! First Venom cusses him out and even attacks him, stating that his life meant nothing compared to that of the innocents that will now surely perish at the hands of his villainous offspring. No shocker there. Venom and Spidey never see eye to eye. The kicker is when Black Cat agrees! (Ya just can’t please some people!) Anyway, both leave our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man alone with his thoughts and head back out in pursuit of Carnage and his cohorts. We then look in upon Carnage and his group. It seems as if there’s more dissension in the ranks as Carnage and Demogoblin go at it about how to more effectively maim and kill the poor people of New York. Shriek, being a good “mother/wife” calms the situation and they all head back out on their merry way.

17_kindlephoto-4562316But, what’s this? Someone is actually following these psychos?! At this time, Peter Parker looks for advice in his Aunt May. She basically tells him not to compromise his ideals. That he has to be true to himself. (Sweet, huh?) But, at this time, Peter’s “father” is listening in and, after Peter leaves May, gives his own advice: fight fire with fire. Some people are beyond help and monsters exist inside of everyone. (Great advice coming from a robot! Remember these “suddenly back from the dead” parents were actually Live Model Decoys created by the Chameleon under orders from Harry Osborn?! Ahhh. Comics!)

Back to the action. As Spidey swings around, he decides to take his Aunt’s advice rather then his robo-daddy’s. But, just as he does, it is revealed that the good people of New York have formed violent mobs around the city! Spider-Man witnesses one of these mobs in action and of course tries to help out the victims. But, just like with Venom and Black Cat, most don’t want his help! They actually dog-pile on the Webhead and start wailing on him! It is then, perhaps thinking of his “father’s” words, that Spidey lashes back! He then proclaims, flames and destruction behind him, that he’s done being Mr. Nice Guy! Epic scene really, with tons of emotion. (And the Oscar goes to…..)

21_kindlephoto-4631113The next issue takes us to a scene of ultimate….well….carnage! The city lies devastated and corpses line the street! (Upbeat, huh?) But, as we look on as New York burns, the mysterious figure from earlier looks on as well.

web-of-spider-man-102-01He is called Carrion, and he is on the trail of death! As Charon floats away, we are taken to another scene nearby. We are witness to a woman in terror as a gang of lethal looters attempt to attack her. But a savior gets to them first! He is Morbius the Living Vampire. He’s on the hunt for the blood of an evil-doer, and he finds it here in abundance. After feasting upon their blood, Morbius finds himself being watched by what remains of Team Spider-Man. Venom makes an offer Morbius can’t refuse and….bam….instant new ally!

web-of-spider-man-102-0203Meanwhile, Spider-Man, now determined to treat these killers like the the lowly dogs they are, heads out on patrol. What’s Mary Jane doing while her husband throws himself in mortal danger again and again? Dancing at a nightclub called The Deep, of course! Karma has it, though, that Carnage and Co. randomly choose this particular club as a new killing field! Chaos erupts within the club as people are torn to pieces! The madness doesn’t last long, though, as Venom, Cloak, Black Cat, and Morbius intervene with a vengeance! Both groups instantly begin beating the holy hell out of each other as Mary Jane hides in horror! Spider-Man then joins the fray, with his new attitude accompanying him! Carnage is soon forced to call for a tactical retreat. Spider-Man looks to Venom and informs him that, for now on, they’re finishing this at any cost!

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The final installment of the first half of the Maximum Carnage storyline begins where the nightmare that is known as Carnage started…..St. Estes Home for Boys. Ol’ Webhead has decided for his team to regroup here and perhaps shed some insights into how to defeat the mass murdering monster. (Carnage fans will of course remember that this is the orphanage where Cletus Kasady AKA Carnage grew up. If not, shame on you!)

amazing-spider-man-379-001anpymgoldWhile there, the weaknesses of a symbiote are discussed: sonics and fire. The best place to get a sonic blaster is the Fantastic Four headquarters. (They have the most amazing toys! Reed does have a lot of time on his hands to create them, seeing as he spends little to no time with his wife! Did I just go there?! Slam! ) As for fire, how about the mutant known as Firestar?! Cloak teleports out to retrieve her as the others head out to the home of the FF. While this is going on,  Carnage and his band of miscreants are at last confronted by a team of elite police officers!

amazing-spider-man-379-009anpymgold_kindlephoto-33546829This is the moment that the mysterious Carrion chooses to show his allegiance in this war. He does this by touching the officers, causing them to decay almost instantly! Another recruit for Team Carnage! But, what’s this? At an undisclosed location, the cybernetic hero known as Deathlok is preparing to stop this insanity! Deathlok then strikes with maximum force, but the odds are not in his favor. He is soon defeated. Team Spider-Man is unaware of any of this as they break into the FF HQ. (This kind of occurs with ease! I mean, isn’t Reed Richards supposed to be a genius?! Makes the whole outfit look bad! Oh well. Moving on.)

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The sonic blaster is retrieved, and the heroes return to safety. It is there that Cloak arrives with Firestar!

amazing-spider-man-379-022anpymgold_kindlephoto-33600261 Yep, things seem to be looking up! (That is until the next scene, where Deathlok is shown near-crucified to a building engulfed in flames!) Well, that’s it, loyal fans of the Unspoken! Next month, I will return with the second (and last) installment of my look back on the Maximum Carnage epic! Until then, enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember: Nothing wakes you up better after a turkey feast then rereading an awesome 90’s comic! Ta!

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