Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage Review

With modern comic writers redefining the struggle between heroes and villains, it’s easy to focus on what’s happening in the present. But some stories are timeless and that’s certainly the case with 1993’s Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage arc, written by Tom DeFalco and J.M. DeMatteis. The graphic novel sees the return of Carnage, who’s assembled a group of killers to go on a murdering spree across New York. Spider-Man is pushed to his limits and here is my review.

The story begins with Carnage breaking out of Ravencroft prison with a woman named Shriek. They soon come across a mutated duplicate of Spider-Man called Doppleganger and decide  to ‘adopt’ it. The trio start slaughtering innocent people and it attracts the attention of Spider-Man. The web-slinger is overwhelmed and Carnage, Shriek and Doppleganger escape. Spidey gains allies in Cloak and Dagger and they track down Carnage. During the battle, Dagger is badly wounded by Shriek.

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Meanwhile, Eddie Brock has discovered Carnage is back and vows to kill his offspring as Venom. Venom is unable to defeat Carnage alone and a wounded Brock ends up on Peter’s doorstep. This leads to an uneasy alliance between Spider-Man and Venom, with Black Cat getting involved as well.

As Carnage welcomes Demogoblin and Carrion into his ‘family’, Spider-Man recruits Firestar, Cloak, Morbius, Deathlok and Captain America to fight the villains. The group becomes divided by Venom’s desire to stop Carnage at all costs and Spider-Man’s refusal to shed any blood. To me, that’s the most entertaining part of the story. Even working together, Spider-Man and Venom are bitter enemies and they can’t agree on how to stop a greater evil.

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Shriek uses her powers to turn the people of New York into a bloodthirsty mob, but it doesn’t stop Carnage from turning on his ‘family.’ In the distraction, the heroes get a device from Stark Industries which projects feelings of hope into the villains and it overwhelms them.

Spider-Man, Venom and Carnage engage in a final battle, with Venom beating his spawn to a pulp before tackling him into an electric generator. Carnage is knocked unconscious and taken into custody.

DeFalco and DeMatteis are great storytellers, giving each character a consistent voice. Spider-Man is his moral and righteous self, while Carnage is insane and eager for slaughter. At times, I found myself rooting for both Spidey and Venom because both had valid points. The world would be a safer place if Carnage was dead, but it’s Peter’s story so he would be the one to come out on top.

The art is 90s appropriate, with pulpy pages, hilarious mullets and exaggerated facial expressions. The story stumbles in places, but if you’re a big Spidey fan I would recommend reading Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage.

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It’s available from Amazon now.

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Author: thecomicvault

Short story writer, comic geek and cosplayer hailing from Manchester, England. Find my pop culture ramblings on The Comic Vault.

7 thoughts on “Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage Review”

      1. RE:…IF YOU MAY KNOW?….i feel as a marvel/DC reader since 1983! carnage is the most violent murderous of any villian beyond any sinister 6 member, beyond when venom came first beyond both green goblins any of the goblins even demogoblin…even the tyrants i like carnage is more even than my top 3 marvel, top 3 dc tyrants….thanos, apocalypse, galactus….and darkseid, doomsday and bane…but later way later in modern comics they had anti-venom but then carnage gave birth to the most evil as TOXIN toxin is beyond carnage and venom or any evil wise but still carnage is great! i am trying now after spending beyond money i have on loads n loads of hulk figures as i’ve loved hulk since 1979!! then punisher and batman later deadpool! love thanos though…but the maximum carnage 14 issues spreads across 5 spider-man different comic series’ meaning, web of…, amazing…, unlimited.., spider-man, spectacular…i just cant now as i type spend loads on the 14 issues! or $25 for the tpb!! with it all inside 1 book…i do not know if the cover artwork is inside the tpb?? that is why i want the 3x pricey than tpb is for the 14 issues of maximum carnage the nice cover artwork!!! but cant tell even googled if the issues covers are in the tpb book?? otherwise what a waste of cool cover artwork!…trying hard to figure/find out!…if any one know SOON if the 14 cover artworks are inside the tpb version i’d be grateful to know before i buy! thanks!

        Like

    1. i feel as a marvel/DC reader since 1983! carnage is the most violent murderous of any villian beyond any sinister 6 member, beyond when venom came first beyond both green goblins any of the goblins even demogoblin…even the tyrants i like carnage is more even than my top 3 marvel, top 3 dc tyrants….thanos, apocalypse, galactus….and darkseid, doomsday and bane…but later way later in modern comics they had anti-venom but then carnage gave birth to the most evil as TOXIN toxin is beyond carnage and venom or any evil wise but still carnage is great! i am trying now after spending beyond money i have on loads n loads of hulk figures as i’ve loved hulk since 1979!! then punisher and batman later deadpool! love thanos though…but the maximum carnage 14 issues spreads across 5 spider-man different comic series’ meaning, web of…, amazing…, unlimited.., spider-man, spectacular…i just cant now as i type spend loads on the 14 issues! or $25 for the tpb!! with it all inside 1 book…i do not know if the cover artwork is inside the tpb?? that is why i want the 3x pricey than tpb is for the 14 issues of maximum carnage the nice cover artwork!!! but cant tell even googled if the issues covers are in the tpb book?? otherwise what a waste of cool cover artwork!…trying hard to figure/find out!…if any one know SOON if the 14 cover artworks are inside the tpb version i’d be grateful to know before i buy! thanks!

      Like

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