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 started discussing Amazing Spider-Man #378, “Demons on Broadway,” Maximum Carnage Part 3 by David Michelinie, Mark Bagley and Randy Emberlin, with colors by Bob Sharen and letters by Rick Parker.
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Carnage has escaped from custody and gone on a rampage in Manhattan, along with Shriek and Doppelganger. Venom has just arrived from New York City. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is rattled from an earlier battle where he tried to stop the villains with Cloak and Dagger and Dagger was seemingly killed! Mary Jane tries to convince Peter to give being Spider-Man a rest during this situation, but Peter can’t do that and he heads back out to hunt down Carnage.
What happens next?
Tom A.: Why is the Doppelganger so loyal to Shriek anyway?
Brian Cronin: Good question, Tom. I am going to say it ties into her mutant powers.
Flavio Sette: Gotta love Carnage creating Wolverine claws. It’s ’93, so symbiotes and mutants sell like hot cakes, let’s mix the two for a weird little joke!
Brian Cronin: Like maybe she emits some sort of soothing thing to his brain.
Flavio Sette: She did save his life.
Flavio Sette: Shriek stopped Carnage from killing him.
Brian Cronin: Bagley is so smooth with the Carnage design.
Tom A.: Or maybe it’s the Peter Parker side of him thinking she’s hot.
Brian Cronin: But even before then, he was drawn to her right away.
Flavio Sette: Doppelganger does rub up against her a lot.
Brian Cronin: It’s kind of depressing seeing these pages that are just the villains slaughtering innocent people.
Sean Whitmore: Doppel’s trying to eat her, he’s just bad at it
Flavio Sette: Heh
Flavio Sette: Yeah, those civilians getting slaughtered, that scene is… yeah.
Sean Whitmore: Lotta off-panel violence going on
Flavio Sette: But first, a question about Peter’s healing abilities.
Flavio Sette: ‘Cause “heals three broken ribs overnight” feels like something that’d be beyond his powers.
Tom A.: Lots of heroes have “enhanced healing” as a secondary power that rarely gets brought up to justify how they heal so fast without having a bunch of visible bruises and all that.
Tom A.: I think Spencer made a joke about it in Superior Foes, it applies to villains too.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, it wasn’t until the 1990s that these healing abilities were really codified
Flavio Sette: Yeah, but, really, that fast? Like a few days to a week, maybe. But overnightt?
Brian Cronin: It was just this sort of unseen thing.
Sean Whitmore: Throw a rock, hit someone with a healing factor nowadays
Brian Cronin: Well, are his ribs BROKEN or are they bruised?
Brian Cronin: Broken, yeah, that’s too fast.
Flavio Sette: They were cracked, at least.
Sean Whitmore: Plus, Peter never does fully heal
Brian Cronin: True, we hear about the ribs all crossover long.
Sean Whitmore: He’s still got hurt ribs in the last chapter of this thing
Tom A.: Basically, they heal as much as the plot requires.
Brian Cronin: Yep
Flavio Sette: Christos Gage had an interesting bit in an issue of Stormwatch PHD where he has a character allude to super-powered being as having enhanced durability to explain how they can get whacked around by other super-powered beings.
Sean Whitmore: They heal enough that he can have fights
Brian Cronin: Just like how Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense alerts him not to when Demogoblin turns to attack him, but only when he is literally about to be burned.
Flavio Sette: And Adam Warren had Caitlin Fairchild postulate in an issue of Gen 13 that Gen-Active people are immune to the effect of concussions.
Brian Cronin: The powers work however the plot needs them to work.
Sean Whitmore: That spider sense is flakey when it wants to be
Flavio Sette: Yeah, that’s the way it always. The spider sense works when the creators want it to work.
Flavio Sette: (Why it was probably a bad idea to give Spider-Man that power in the first place, ’cause it does make you think “why does he ever get hit by anyone slower than him?”)
Tom A.: So Demogoblin at this point is no longer bound to Jason Macendale, right?
Brian Cronin: Correct, the Demogoblin is its own entity here.
Sean Whitmore: And he’s off on this weird kick that never fully made sense
Sean Whitmore: Where he THINKS he’s super Christian?
Sean Whitmore: But he also tries to kill a priest
Sean Whitmore: And the later dies saving some kid from being killed in a collapsing building
Tom A.: Because Christians are known for teaming up with serial killer monsters that like murdering random civilians.
Flavio Sette: I dig the visual storytelling there in the beginning of the scene with Spider-Man and Demogoblin. No thought balloon where Demogoblin goes, “ah-ha, someone’s following me”, nope, it’s all told through the art.
Sean Whitmore: Yeah, that was a nice bit
Brian Cronin: Yeah, really well done
Flavio Sette: Honestly, a lot of the copy in that page feels superfluous.
Tom A.: How convenient that Venom could hear that radio report from the taxi.
Brian Cronin: I love that Demogoblin is just flying around the city for…reasons?
Tom A.: I think Demogoblin is looking for the Doppelganger?
Flavio Sette: Every now and then I just skip thought balloons or 3rd person captions just to see if it interferes with the story, and it so rarely does.
Sean Whitmore: Too bad Demo didn’t hear that radio report!
Flavio Sette: Well, Demogoblin did show up last issue, where he decided to seek out Carnage and his team.
Flavio Sette: So I guess he was looking for them?
Tom A.: And too bad no other hero in all New York City heard that radio report.
Sean Whitmore: Demo’s looking for Doppelganger for reasons that are immediately dropped once he finds him.
Sean Whitmore: Then he sticks around afterward for…reasons
Flavio Sette: The one time New Yorkers are cheering Spider-Man on he gets hit with a pumpkin bomb that makes him doubt himself.
Brian Cronin: Demogoblin is way too turned on by Spidey’s self-doubt
Flavio Sette: It’s almost like they’re fucking with him. Pretend they hate him whenever he’s feeling confident and pretend to love him when he’s crappy to make him feel guilty for not doing more.
Flavio Sette: The entire city of New York playing mind games with Peter Parker.
Sean Whitmore: “Yes, doubt for me, baby…”
Brian Cronin: And then, of course, when Spider-Man is able to save the priest, he is hurt and the Demogoblin COULD probably finish him off here, but the villains in this crossover constantly just give up when they could press the attack instead. It’s so odd.
Next time, we see what happens when Venom has his first fight of the crossover!
If you have any thoughts about Maximum Carnage, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org! Maybe I’ll work your comment into a bit, as well.
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