Electro is hired by a mysterious person to break someone out of a high security prison known as the Raft. During the breakout, Electro creates a huge explosion that is visible to Peter Parker, who is enjoying a quiet evening at home with his wife. He immediately swings into action and hitches a ride on a helicopter to the Raft. Unknown to him, Captain America is on the helicopter to investigate the disturbance.
Meanwhile, Luke Cage, Jessica Drew, Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson are caught off-guard by the breakout, and forced to hide deep within the walls of the Raft. Their mission, which is now imperative to accomplish, is to get the help of someone who Reed Richards regards as the most powerful man on Earth, the Sentry.
Electro flies away from the Raft carrying his target, leaving behind a small army of free super-villains. Spider-Man jumps into things rashly against the better judgement of Captain America. What he sees makes his spider-sense go nuts just before he is bombarded by various laser beams and such. It's then that Count Nefaria tosses Spidey into a pit of bad guys.
The bad guys rough him up and rip off his mask. Some want to leave him behind, some want to keep him as a hostage, but most want to kill him. Jigsaw snaps his forearm in half. At the same time, Carnage is looking to make a snack out of Foggy Nelson. Luckily he has Luke Cage and Jessica Drew to protect him.
Where did Matt Murdock go? He's busy fighting Mister Hyde. They most recently met in Daredevil #65, where Daredevil tanned his hide and got him locked up. What's Spider-Man doing? He's getting creamed by his old villains, until Captain America finally decides to break up the one-sided butt whomping.
After a short pep talk from Foggy, the Sentry is battle-ready. He grabs Carnage, pulls him into space, and rips him in half.
After flying Foggy to safety, Jessica Drew joins the others in an intense battle. Spider-Man has even made himself a web-sling to rest his broken arm and keep battling. Ironclad, one of the U-Foes, throws Captain America high up into the air, where Iron Man catches him. Iron Man says, "Guess we shouldn't have broken up the Avengers."
The Cap answers coldly,"We didn't. You did."
Purple Man, who is enjoying an apple, uses his mind powers to suggest something to Luke Cage: "Kill all the other "hero" friends of yours...and then kill yourself." Luke Cage looks mesmerized.
Only four pages into it, and Spidey gets his arm broken. That made me gasp. When things like that happen, I get so deep into denial that I go back and read the beginning of the book over and over until I believe that what just happened actually happened. I had a couple of those moments, when Carnage snuck up behind Foggy, when Sentry ripped Carnage in half. Crazy moments.
This book is shaping up like Batman's Knightfall, but done right. Villains escaping and pushing the heroes to their limits. It's been done before, but it's done great here. I also like the reference to Mister Hyde and Daredevil's last fight. Good research on that, Bendis (even though you wrote it).
I don't like the reference to Carnage's "vampiric powers." What the heck? I almost overlooked Count Carnage-cula, but after reading this book a couple of times, it started angering me. Badly. Bendis is just being sloppy and confusing his storylines. In his defense, though, he does work on a lot of different stories, and they are good, although controversial in regards to the Avengers. Hawkeye is dead--live with it, people.
Four and a half webs for minor sloppiness.