DeMatteis scripts and Bagley pencils this joint Marvel/DC production. It's a squarebound book with a lot of gloss and no ads, but still surprisingly few pages given its $5.95 price tag.
Carnage and the Joker are both subjects in an experiment to neutralise insane criminals by embedding neural micro-chips in their brains. Carnage is taken to Gotham, and is followed by Peter. Klaus manages to resist his chip with the help of his symbiote, and he escapes taking The Joker with him. Carnage and Joker get on fine at first, but then they have a bit of a falling out and it's up to Peter and Bruce to sort everything out again.
There's no fancy cross-dimensional transport in this story. The basic premise is that Gotham and New York are in the same universe. Batman knows about Spider-Man, and even knows about Maximum Carnage. Spider-Man similarly knows about Batman, and he makes a joke about waiting for Superman to call. I thought Spidey and Supes had already teamed up a couple of times, but maybe Peter was just yanking Bruce's chain.
The art is just fine. The plot is a little thin, but I guess you always get that in one-off crossovers. It's surprising how the pages spin past and the book is done before you know it. The book has a generally dark feel as befits the psychotic villains, but there are a couple of lighter moments in there too just to show that they're not taking things too seriously.
The book draws some nice parallels between Peter and Bruce, and between Carnage and Joker. All in all it's pretty much what I expected though, and it's really nothing more than "Open Day" at the local asylum for the criminally insane.
It's not an earth-shattering book but it is professionally done and it does have 'Cool Appeal'. I'm gonna be generous and give it four webs.
Harrison Demchick says...
Personally, I expected more from this. It was written by my favorite writer (J.M.DeMatteis), penciled by my favorite artist (Mark Bagely), and starring my favorite character (Spidey, of course!). And, all in all, it was a really good story. But it fell apart in the end -- the reason being that Batman beat Carnage. With his bare hands.
This, for all intents and purposes, should have been impossible. Carnage is stronger, quicker, and more agile, than Batman. He has those tentacles from the symbiote, a lot of stamina, and more! Batman's just a normal guy with talent! He should have been mincemeat in a matter of seconds! Spider-Man wouldn't stand a chance against Carnage alone. Unless he was to outsmart the villain. If Batman outsmarted Carny, that'd be a good ending. But beating him in hand-to-hand combat? That's just ridiculous!
Umm... oh, yeah, you're right. I guess I was too busy laughing at the 'in' jokes to spot the fatal flaw in the plot!
Kevin Aird says...
Dear Jonathan Couper,
There is one thing which I thought I would mention about the Batman/Spider-Man crossover (the first one) being a major Carnage fan myself. Supposedly, Batman was able to punch out Carnage because Clete was getting scared of dying (because of Jokers bomb) and that made his symbiote come off of him. First time I heard something like that considering when Spidey still had the first symbiote (and I'm sure he got scared sometime) his costume didn't just fly off him leaving a nekkid Peter Parker. Anyway, Carnage being scared to die is absolute bull because as shown in Venom: Carnage Unleashed part 4, Venom doesn't kill Kasady because that's what Clete wants. He wants to get out. So Carnage being scared to die and Carnage wanting to die are two contradicting points. Do you know what i mean?
Sorry, I thought I should just say that. Keep up the good work.
Yep, it seems to be the general concensus that - good as Batman is, Carnage really should have taken him apart.