This is “From a Different Point of View,” a feature where I discuss a comic book series with other people. Ever since the pandemic began, I’ve been doing twice-weekly reader chats about notable comic book crossovers, storylines or miniseries. We started with Secret Wars and then we did Knightfall and now we’re starting with Maximum Carnage!

Each time around, I’ll share a chunk of our discussion.

When last we checked in on Maximum Carnage, we had just begun discussing Spider-Man Unlimited #1, “Carnage Rising,” Maximum Carnage Part 1, by Tom DeFalco, Ron Lim and Jim Sanders III, with letters by Chris Eliopoulos and colors by Nel Yomtov. Edited by Danny Fingeroth, with Rob Tokar as the assistant editor. We talked about how the opening of the crossover was similar to Knightfall, which debuted the same exact month as Maximum Carnage, and both crossovers kicked off with an escape from an insane asylum. In Knightfall, it was Arkham Asylum, while here, it was Carnage escaping from Ravencroft after he revealed that his symbiote was still attached to him within his blood.

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Carnage slaughtered a number of Ravencroft guards and then freed another resident at Ravencroft, the murderous mutant, Shriek, who offered to be Carnage’s partner in slaughter. Peter Parker, meanwhile, was attending the funeral of his closest friend, Harry Osborn, and promising his wife, Mary Jane, that he would take a break from being Spider-Man for a while, as she was worried about his safety (she was also smoking cigarettes like crazy).

Carnage and Shriek then “adopted” Spider-Man’s doppelganger from Infinity War. Peter sees the news about Carnage’s escape from Ravencroft and breaks his promise right away. Let’s see what happens when he encounters Shriek and Doppelganger while looking for Carnage!

Brian Cronin:: The whole Shriek/Doppelganger vs. Spider-Man fight is a pretty straightforward deal.

Brian Cronin:: With the twist that, for some reason, they do much better against Spidey than you would expect.

Sean Whitmore: I love this fight scene against the doppelganger. Ron Lim can be a little stiff at times, but this is very dynamic.

Flavio Sette: It sure is weird that the crossover titled “Maximum Carnage” opens with Spider-Man fighting, not Carnage, but a character who’s just been introduced and the Doppelganger, a minor character from last year’s crossover.

Brian Cronin:: At least Ron Lim is the guy who DREW last year’s crossover!

Brian Cronin:: So he knows how to nail Doppelganger.

Flavio Sette: That he does.

Tom A.: Maybe brining in the Doppleganger was Lim’s idea.

Brian Cronin:: Good call, Tom. That makes sense.

Brian Cronin:: Or rather, DeFalco thinking Lim would enjoy it.

Flavio Sette: I figure they just went for the more monstrous Spidey villains.

Brian Cronin:: Yeah, but Doppelganger is still a surprisingly minor character.

Brian Cronin:: That said, Kavanagh developed him a bit and Kavanagh was obviously heavily involved in this crossover.

Flavio Sette: DeMatteis has mentioned on Twitter that he had a hard time writing Carnage because he didn’t care for the character, so I’m looking forward to reading his first issue of the crossover.

Sean Whitmore: Spidey knocking out Shriek with his finger was my go-to baseline for his strength for yeeeears.

Brian Cronin:: Good point, Sean.

Brian Cronin:: Spider-Man’s rib injury here is oddly important in the rest of the story…

Brian Cronin:: It’s fascinating that the end of the issue specifically trades off on the aforementioned first Carnage storyline.

Brian Cronin:: Like HEAVILY so.

Tom A.: So the police warn Jameson that Carnage might go after him, but don’t actually send any cops, they just call his secretary?

Brian Cronin:: Defund the Marvel police!

Flavio Sette: Ha!

Flavio Sette: “New York City cops, New York City cops, they ain’t too smaaaaart”.

Tom A.: How many villains have broken in to Jameson’s office at this point?

TimidCreature: Was the Sega Maximum Carnage game released at all to tie in with this series?

Brian Cronin:: Yep!

Brian Cronin:: They literally adapted the storyline, which was a rarity for the time.

Flavio Sette: I think it even used panels from the issue.

Brian Cronin:: Instead of just taking the name and the characters, like most other “Adaptations.”

Flavio Sette: Can you imagine how awesome a Knightfall arcade game would’ve been?

Sean Whitmore: Jameson should have a separate waiting room for all the villains who break in to see him

Brian Cronin:: If you play as Azrael, you can’t do anything until Level 9.

Sean Whitmore: ”Sorry, Scorpion, you’ll have to wait, Hobgoblin’s in there now”

Sean Whitmore: Ha!

Flavio Sette: And if you play as Robin you have to sit out the action and watch from the sidelines.

Sean Whitmore: If you play as Robin you can’t beat Bird

Brian Cronin:: EVERY other character can beat Bird.

Brian Cronin:: But not Robin.

Tom A.: And Azrael can beat Bird in one punch.

Flavio Sette: Sal Fiorini as an unlockable character.

Brian Cronin:: While it’s oddly tied into the previous Carnage story, and the whole lack of cops is silly, it IS a strong cliffhanger for Part 1.

Flavio Sette: Mrs McIlvane, armed with a duster!

Brian Cronin:: It even directly notes that Venom is going to have to get involved.

Sean Whitmore: Man, it SHOULD have been a game. Even Death of Superman got a game.

Tom A.: Yup, I haven’t read the next issue yet, and I am genuinely interested in seeing how this plays out.

Brian Cronin:: So I think that, on the whole, this was a fine Part 1. I think more happened here than Knightfall Part 1.

Flavio Sette: I don’t really know how I feel about this issue, really.

Flavio Sette: I’d probably have to look at in context.

Flavio Sette: How well it sets up the following issue.

Flavio Sette: Stuff like that.

Flavio Sette: But yeah, the main theme is introduced, plots are set up.

Flavio Sette: Most of characters haven’t showed up yet, though.

Brian Cronin:: A quick moment of, if not silence, at least commemoration of inker Jim Sanders III, who passed away three years ago.

Brian Cronin:: Jim had been sick for a long time, and the Heroes Initiative helped him a lot over the years.

Flavio Sette: Good to know they were there for him.

Brian Cronin:: I had corresponded with him a bit over the years and he was a nice fellow.

Brian Cronin:: Sad to lose him so young and it’s sad that his comics career didn’t last that long, for a guy who had inked some MAJOR artists

Brian Cronin:: He was Todd McFarlane’s inker on Incredible Hulk.

Brian Cronin:: Lim’s inker here.

Brian Cronin:: And both Bryan Hitch and Erik Larsen at times.

Flavio Sette: When did he ink Hitch?

Brian Cronin:: Really early Hitch, like Sensational She-Hulk.

Flavio Sette: Hmm.

Brian Cronin:: Back when Gerber was writing it.

Flavio Sette: So yeah, next issue… I don’t know what happens, ’cause I haven’t read it yet!

Brian Cronin:: Ha! I like it! It will be a true mystery!

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