Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #13

Background

Carnage is back. Hey, hang on, wasn't he encased in cosmic cling-wrap by the Silver Surfer following the Cosmic Carnage Caper? Oh, that's right, he returned without explanation in the recent Venom is Back storyline, only to have Venom suck the symbiote off him, leaving him powerless. Gee, what use is a psychotic killer without fantastic super-human powers?

Story 'Living In Oblivion!'

Carnage is fighting Venom and Spider-Man in the middle of a baseball field, cheered on by blood-thirsty fans. Oh, no, wait, it's a fantasy. Cletus is in a high-security prison, without symbiote. Guess he's not happy.

Cut to Aunt May at the Parker apartment. Jill and Arthur Stacy arrive as the phone rings. Both are bearing the same bad news... Mary-Jane's plane went boom.

Peter, meanwhile, is webswinging around, saving folks, but planning his trip to go meet MJ and restore his tattered love-life. He comes across a Department of Corrections truck which has crashed and burned. Hey, what a coincidence, that truck was carrying Cletus Kasady to a maximum security prison. And now he's missing. Oops.

Indeed, Cletus is out killing folks. A couple of security guards at a hardware store, where he also takes the opportunity to strip to his briefs and paint himself red. Looks like a bad case of symbiote-envy to me.

Alternating scenes of Aunt May meeting family friends, and Spider-Man taking out Carnage (saving Kingpin's goons the bother - wanton murderers being bad for business).

Final scene of Peter returning home and hearing the news of the explosion.

General Comments

I liked it. Mackie resisted the urge to return Carnage's powers. Even without them, he's still pretty scary. I reckon that this little taste of freedom (and defeat) will motivate him to try harder - and next time, he's going to try something much more subtle, and much less pleasant.

Lee Weeks' art is pretty good stuff. It looks considered and finished, when compared to the recent Byrne offerings. The coloring and layouts are bold and satisfying.

The handling of the news regarding MJ is deft, with a nice final panel.

Overall Rating

I know there's a lot of bad feeling about some of the recent issues, but I believe that, emotion aside, there are some high-points in the current mainstream Spidey titles. There's nothing wrong with Spider-Man (Vol.2) #13, let's see more of this standard. 4 webs.