Comics : Superior Carnage #4

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This story is part of an Arc: "Superior Carnage"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: Nov 2013.

Background...

The Wizard has released Carnage from jail in an attempt to form a new Frightful Four, along with the Klaw and new recruit Dr. Karl Malus. However, when his initial plan failed, Wizard fused the Carnage symbiote with Malus, allowing him to use his mind control on the new creation. His grasp is tenuous at best and the new Carnage is only one mental slip away from freedom, which he plans to use to eradicate his “allies”. This situation is made worse by the fact that the Wizard is suffering from mental deterioration brought about by Black Bolt. The Wizard decides to make one final grand move of taking over City Hall, and thus the city (is that how it works? What about every super team that lives in New York?) to show his son that he is not a failure. However, when he arrives at the Mayor’s office, he finds the Superior Spider-Man!

In Detail...

Superior Carnage #4
Dec 2013 : SM Guest
Summary: Superior Spider-Man vs Frightful "Four"
Arc: Part 4 of "Superior Carnage"
Writer:  Kevin Shinick
Artist:  Dan Mexia, Stephen Segovia
Inker:  Dan Mexia, Dennis Chrisostomo
Cover Art:  Clayton Crain
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Jay David Ramos, Rachelle Rosenberg, Vero Gandini
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Alex Alonso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Sana Amanat
Associate Editor:  Tom Brennan
Assistant Editor:  Devin Lewis
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Review

This issue begins a bit differently, with Spider-Man rather than a recap by the Wizard. Spidey is once again proclaiming his own greatness, and realizes that the Wizard is just trying to establish his legacy, same as he had done months ago as Doc Ock. He also realizes that the Wizard has “hours, if not minutes” before he will succumb to his dementia (that was fast).He is not at all nervous about their plan and assumes his victory is inevitable. When the villains arrive, Spider-Man begins to explain how he can handle this team, but Carnage cuts him off, killing his two henchmen.

Spidey leaps into action, but the new Carnage manages to hit him in the shoulder with a bullet, as the symbiote doesn’t set off his Spider-Sense (….but…it’s a bullet…not the symbiote itself? Shouldn’t that…I don’t know). We get another somewhat amusing bit of dialogue as SpOck becomes offended by Carnage’s use of the word “Superior”. Demonstrating proper use of the word, Spidey hits all three villains and uses Klaw’s arm to blast open a hole in the wall for more of his henchmen. However, Carnage throws a grenade, killing more of SpOck’s men. Klaw increases the decibels (is that the right word here?), causing Spidey and whatever forces he had remaining to lose their equilibrium. At this moment, Klaw’s arm begins to malfunction, just as he had feared last issue. Realizing that the Wizard is leading all this, Spidey takes him out of the fight.

Spider-Man throws the Wizard out into the street, but is angered by the attention the press is giving to the ailing criminal. He takes him to the top of City Hall, where the Wizard attempts to take over his mind. When he does so, he finds out Spidey’s dark secret- that he is truly Otto Octavius! Thrown off by this, Spider-Man accidentally drops the Wizard from the roof. As he begins to lose consciousness, he feels his brain is deteriorating, as he obviously read the wrong mind. However, with Wizard’s mind slipping, that leaves Carnage to his own devices. Sensing his freedom, Carnage immediately turns his attention to Klaw, who’s arm is still malfunctioning.

Back outside, SpOck promises the Wizard he let him see his son if he will call Carnage off. He doesn’t plan to keep this promise, as he knows the villain will soon be dead. Before either can move, Carnage attacks Spidey from behind-don’t ask where he came from. When Spider-Man attempts to contact his team, Carnage reveals he has killed them all and cut out their tongues. When Spider-Man attempts to get the Wizard to regain control of the crazed symbiote, Klaw stops him, not realizing they’re both trying to do the same thing. They’re both too late though, as Carnage sneaks up behind Klaw and stabs him with a piece of Vibranium he stole from the Wizard’s arsenal…and that just so happens to be Klaw’s weakness. The result is the death of Klaw, in a dramatic sonic explosion! This frees Malus of the symbiote and Spider-Man is willing to write this off as a victory, assuming that all three of the super-criminals are dead. Looking to see where the symbiote has gone, he finds that it has found a new host…the Wizard!

In General...

Ehhhhh…so by reading my review above, you know I have a ton of questions. I guess one of the biggest that I didn’t even address up there is…how did the Carnage symbiote get to the Wizard? Maybe I’m nitpicking, but in issue 2 they needed a special contraption because the symbiote was tied to Kasady’s blood. So I assumed they did some kind of transfusion? I wasn’t exactly clear. And now it’s free again I guess? Maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is…it’s free and about to take over someone with an already unstable mind. And at the end of Minimum Carnage, it was implied that if this thing was left to its own devices, everyone was in trouble.

I liked the scene where the Wizard found out that it’s really Otto in Spidey’s body and I’m glad that they didn’t just immediately have him write it off as dementia. However, we saw this before with Alistair Smythe, which means there’s only a few options left for the Wizard:1) He’s going to die 2) He’s going to forget or 3) Some other option where he can’t use this knowledge. I’m betting on 2. I can’t see them killing off the Wizard in this series and I can’t see a way where they’d make him stay quiet without manipulating SpOck in some other way.

I did like how Otto realized he was in a similar plight himself not too long ago, but I’m a bit disappointed at how willing he was to lie and ignore it as well. I know the whole point is that he’s NOT a good person, but I liked the concept better when he was at least going to try and had some sense of responsibility. It seems like that whole aspect is gone from Superior Spider-Man all together.

I’m interested to see where next issue goes and what will happen to the Wizard. Perhaps we’ll get some nice closure to his story. It’s odd that in a book titled “Superior Carnage” I care much more about the plot involving the Wizard, but it’s an angle that hooked me. Perhaps there should have been more time devoted to Carnage, but I guess it doesn’t matter by this point…

Overall Rating...

Again, not too much to see here. Some fighting, Carnage’s inevitable “freedom” from the Wizard…with the twists of the Wizard discovering Spidey’s secret and now becoming the new Carnage. Let’s see how this all wraps up…

Footnote...

SLIGHT SPOILERS: So this may not be finished here. Apparently there’s been a solicit for “Superior Carnage Annual”, so whatever does happen will apparently get a bit more development after all. I just hope they change the design to be a bit less…whatever it is now.