Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trade Central Station: Spider-Man: Carnage


Well hello there folks, Tash Moore here. While I was sitting here and just looked over I saw that I still have a giant shelf of comics and trades. Just at random I reached over and found the Spider-Man Carnage trade from back in the 1990’s. This trade collects Amazing Spider-Man #361-#363. Ah the good ol’ 1990’s. Back when comics still went by the original number and the creative teams stuck around for longer than just six fucking issues. Anyway, the creative team here is one of the all time greats of Amazing Spider-Man and it’s writer David Michelinie and artist Mark Bagley and Randy Emberlin. These guys where a mainstay of Spidey when he was at creative high points of the early part of the 1990’s. So lets get on with the rant of this trade.

The prologue has Eddie Brock in jail doing pull ups and push ups. He’s sharing a cell with Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who likes heavy metal. (Wow, you know it’s a sad day when Dave Michelinie has to resort to stereotypes of people who like rock music. Using Dave’s logic since I like rock music I’ll soon try to kill my grandmother and kill/cook my dog.)  Also why would you put a killer in the same cell as a guy who hasen’t killed anyone. I guess the prison system is still ass backwards like that.  While Brock is working out the Symbiote breaks the bars of the cell and rejoins with Brock. Little did Brock know that the Venom Symbiote left behind an offspring that joins with Kasady to form…….Carnage. Admit it, you saw that coming.

So in chapter one of the story titled Savage Genesis ( a title that the late great Macho Man Randy Savage could enjoy) Carnage is free and killing people at random. Why? Because it’s fun, that’s why! One of the people that Carnage kills is a student of Peter Parker’s at EUS. Peter gets the word while he was fixing the hot water heater at Aunt May’s. Pete throws on his Spidey gear and heads over to the Campus only to find his classmate cut into little bits. Word is going around that Venom is back and killing people for no damn good reason. Spider-Man can’t believe this because he knows that Venom is still on an island in the Caribbean. ( In a battle that took place drawn by Eric Larsen, Spidey and Venom fought on the island and Spidey faked his own death letting Venom think that he was now free of Spider-Man and could live free and happy.) (What am I? A damn Marvel editor?) ( I’m still waiting on my paycheck.)

After looking into the files of Brock’s stay in jail Peter learns of Kasady and thinks that maybe this might be the guy he’s looking for since mass murder just don’t fit Venom’s M.O. Tracking down some leads Pete finds that Carnage grew up in a boys home that has since been in a fire. Spider-Man shows up (it is HIS book.) So this is the first time that Spider-Man and Carnage have it out. Spider-Man gets his ass handed to him but while saving some police who come to see what the disturbance is, Carnage makes a break for it. (He knows that we still have two issues to go.) Back home Peter knows he can’t beat Carnage also so he tells Mary Jane ( Now his wife, I told you guys the 1990’s was a weird time.) that he needs Venom’s help to stop Carnage.

In the second part of the story titled (Macho Man Randy) Savage Alliance, Spidey and the Human Torch team up to go back to that island to see if Venom will help them with the new big bad that is Carnage. Spidey and Venom have the usual “I thought you were dead but now that I see you alive I need to kill you. Oh wait there is an even bigger bad guy we need to stop at the moment. Lets put our history aside and team up just this once” moment that always seem to take place in comics. I blame the 22 page structure. Venom and Spider-Man return to NYC and find Carnage about to kill a baby. While they stop that from going down Carnage kicks both their asses then heads off to kill the lovable J. Jonah Jameson. It’s not just a Spider-Man comic until someone that is near to Peter is put in danger.

In the final act given the title Savage Grace, I can just picture Randy Savage beating up David Michhelinie each and every time he tried to write the title for each story while Mach lets out a loud “Oh yeah! Dig it!" I can indeed Macho Man. (I just wanted to make that joke.) Carnage has taken JJJ and plans to kill him in a public spot to show that chaos is what the world needs. Man, I’m starting to think that Carnage is a hippie. Soon he’ll be killing people for not saving the tress and bees and fucking whales. I’ll admit it would be cool to see Carnage swinging around town with a bandana wrapped around his huge red noggin. If only. Oh and the public place that Carnage will off JJJ? Madison Square Garden at an event called Headbanger’s Heaven. Hopefully Fuse TV doesn’t get wind of this our we could end up with a shitty new show on that shitty network!

After getting into MSG and a fight between Spider-Man, Venom and Carnage break the very foundation they land down on, New York Penn Station. Spidey and Venom throw everything ALONG with the kitchen sink at Carnage and they can’t keep him down. Hell, they even knock him on to the third rail and it does NOTHING! But before Spidey and Venom meet the end Reed Richards shows up with a new sonic (not the hedgehog.) gun that takes out both Venom and Carnage and back to jail they go. I’d like to think that Reed Richards has such a huge ego that he looked at the title of the book and said “Heh, screw this kids, I’ll be the hero of this book.” Before going back to do his taxes and NOT noticing Namor make googly eyes at Sue. JJJ scorns Spider-Man because he locked Venom back up after promising him that he could go free when this whole deal was over. JJJ says that Captain America would have kept his word. Spidey responds that Cap is a legend and would have found a perfect way to save the day. Spidey says that he’s just a man doing his best. That’s where we leave off. Great story and art and I don’t think this team gets the props they deserve at all. I loved reading this and suggest you’d do the same!

-Tash Moore

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