Some background, courtesy of Kerry Wilkinson:
Back during the Secret Wars, Spider-Man got himself what he thought was a new costume. It turned out to be an alien symbiote that wanted to possess his body. Spidey rejected it, however and it was left holed up in a church tower.
Shortly afterwards, Eddie Brock, a journalist with the Daily Globe lost his job after his Sin-Eater identity story was proved to be fake by Spider-Man. Wanting to end it all, he first went via a church to say his last goodbyes. His hatred of Spider-Man was picked up by the symbiote however and the two bonded to form Venom - a crazed killer who wanted nothing more than to kill Spider-Man.
In their many battles, Spider-Man triumphed consistently - even though his Spider-Sense doesn't pick up on Venom's presence. One time when Brock was in prison, however, the symbiote gave birth to another version of itself. This new symbiote bonded with Cletus Kasady - Brock's psychotic cellmate - and together the two became another crazed killer, Carnage.
When Carnage first escaped, Spidey teamed up with Venom and the Fantastic Four to save the city and re-incarcerate Kasady. Since then, Venom has re-escaped too and, after Spidey helped save Brock's ex-wife, formed an understanding with Spider-Man that he won't cause anymore trouble and that the two of them will stay out of each other's way. Most recently of all, in one of the best Spider-Man books of all - Spectacular 200 - JM DeMatteis scripted the death of Harry Osborn. He had gone crazy as the Green Goblin, wanting to blow up most of the city's leaders. After MJ and little Norman entered the building he was fighting Spider-Man in, however, he came to his senses, even saving Peter from the explosion, before he died in front of them.
|Cover Art:||Sal Buscema|
|Reprinted In:||Maximum Carnage (TPB)|
Spider-Man swings down to save his two allies in the fight against Carnage, the Black Cat and Venom. However, after all three "heroes" are safe, Spider-Man gets an earful first from Venom, then from the Black Cat. Spider-Man and the other two costumed crusaders then part ways. Meanwhile, Carnage's team also has a misunderstanding that is patched up nicely.
Peter, with broken ribs and morale, goes to Aunt May's house for advice on how to continue on, and May tells him that no matter the situation, she knows Peter will do the right thing. As Peter leaves, advice received, he finds Richard Parker waiting to tell him that he must fight fire with fire. Peter leaves with these two different messages running through his head.
Elsewhere, the Black Cat and Venom narrowly miss Carnage's crew, but another ally returns: Cloak. They also make a plan, of sorts: recruit the toughest fighters they can and crush Carnage where he stands. As Carnage enjoys a walk with his "family", Spider-Man swings through the city reflecting that the average person has never let him down. When he looks down at the street, however, Spider-Man sees that the average person is rioting in the streets. He swings down to help some people, but ends up at the wrong end of a dog pile. Spider-Man erupts vengefully from it and screams that no one will get any mercy from Spider-Man.
Another blah issue, in terms of story, at least in the parts that didn't directly involve Spider-Man. Thankfully, the Web-Slinger carried the book, in both his civilian and superhero guises. On the art side of things, it's not much better, a major drop in quality from the previous issue in this arc.
While better than the previous issue in this arc, the art is worse, which pretty much evens the score.