Spider-Man and Cletus "I used to be Carnage" Kasady are in the Negative Zone. Spidey has teamed up with Dusk and Kasaday now has a thing for Blastaar, the Living Bomburst. Yep, you heard me. That's why I do these reviews: so you don't have to waste time reading this crap.
Blastaar, determined to hunt down these rebels that he's been searching for (and what exactly is the basis behind this conflict, anyway?) kicks things off by nuking an entire planet. Unfortunately for him, the rebels weren't on it, and this man - or whatever - does not take failure well, venting his anger by charbroiling the nearest general. Kasady agrees to help hunt the rebels down, but something else is drawing him.
Spidey and Dusk, meanwhile, are trying to decide how best to protect Dusk's people, get ambushed by a squadron of Blastaar's Imperial probe dro - er, sorry, harrier droids. The two make mincemeat of the metal mercenaries with the aid of their spiffy costumes. Deciding the only course of action is to "take the fight to [Blastaar]... now!" Dusk floats off with Spidey right on his tail. After all, "recently he lost his main reason to live." Kasady, meanwhile, just found his, in the form of another symbiote that somehow ended up on this world. Once again, he is Carnage.
The two heros arrive at Blastaar's base and begin trashing some robot guards, trying to get through the defensive perimeter before Blastaar can rip through the distortion area and reach earth, destroying the planet they're now on in the process. But Spider-Man is interrupted by Carnage, who quickly gets the better of him. Blastaar, meanwhile, has nearly accomplished his goal before Dusk manages to talk him down, claiming that since their planet is so close to the nexus of realities, destroying it would destroy reality itself. The Living Bomburst isn't totally insane, and after a quick word of confirmation from his own flunkies he shuts down the machine.
Carnage, however, is totally insane, going beserk at the thought of not murdering trillions of people. He flips the machine back on and the two plunge back into the maelstrom. Spider-Man plunges after Kasady and the two fall back through the distortion area to earth, seemingly losing their new costumes in the process. But as Kasady is led away by the waiting police, a few tendrils of symbiote matter are clinging to his chin...
Could it get any worse, he asked himself last issue? Yes, as a matter of fact it could.
How, you say? Well, for starters, we never learn what this battle is all about. We never learn how Spider-Man or Kasady got home. We never learn anything about why Spider-Man wound up in a new costume or where this new symbiote came from (are the damned things really that common? Can you say "contrived," boys and girls?). And frankly, I don't even care. This was 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
The action was completely cookie-cutter and the exposition was non-existent, but here is what really got me riled up: Peter's "despair" over MJ's death was one of the phoniest things I've ever read. In the past, this man nearly beat a purse snatcher to death after a friend of his had been killed. He came this close to beating Norman Osborn's head in after he murdered Gwen Stacy. He was so traumatized by the revelation that his "parents" were genetic constructs that he nearly lost his mind, trying to withdraw from his entire life in a futile effort to escape the pain and fear. WHERE IS THAT PASSION HERE?! This man just lost his wife and other than a few offhand remarks it barely seemed to faze him. And don't try to tell me he's in denial. If I had to judge Peter's reaction to MJ's supposed death based solely on these two issues, I'd have to wonder if he cared all that much. Very, very bad writing here. You're capable of better stuff than this, Howard Mackie.
Do not waste your time on these two issues under any circumstances.
The comic book equivalent of a rectal exam. It gets one-half web because I can't give it zero.