The Wizard has released Carnage from jail in an attempt to form a new Frightful Four, along with the Klaw and new recruit Dr. Karl Malus. However, this plan relied on him being able to mentally control Carnage, in a warped version of what the government had done to the Venom symbiote. This is a problem because Cletus Kasady had been lobotomized by Scarlet Spider during the events of Minimum Carnage. Malus worries for their safety and tells Klaw how the Wizard is suffering from a mental deterioration after an incident with Black Bolt. With his attempts at controlling Carnage being unsuccessful due to the symbiote being part of Kasady’s blood (somehow affected by his brain) the Wizard suggests a new host: Malus himself. Wizard and Klaw subdue the doctor and begin the procedure.
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Alex Alonso|
|Senior Editor:||Stephen Wacker|
|Associate Editor:||Tom Brennan|
|Assistant Editor:||Devin Lewis|
|Cover Art:||Clayton Crain|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
|Colorist:||Jay David Ramos|
We open to Dr. Malus panicking, realizing that he is moments away from losing his mind. However, he is unable to stop the process and becomes the new Carnage. The Wizard again commands Klaw to set the creature free so he can attempt to control it again. Carnage immediately attacks the two, but is stunned when he cuts into Klaw, as he is made of sound. The Wizard recovers and puts his helmet on, creating a struggle in Malus’ mind between himself, the symbiot, and Wizard. However, in the end, the Wizard wins out and we’re introduced to the Superior Carnage!
…And he’s kind of dumb looking. Rather than the classic symbiote look, he looks a bit like a pointy-headed robot…alient…thing. However, we get a brief comic moment where the Wizard commands him to morph a coat because he’s “tired of all the buttocks and crotches on display in this town.” He gives the new Carnage access to his arsenal, while his newest “ally” whispers to Klaw that if Bentley’s mind slips at all, the symbiote will take over.
Klaw demands that Wizard fix his arm after the scuffle with Carnage and his friend obliges. However, after the procedure it doesn’t feel right and Klaw finall confronts Wizard about what Black Bolt did. The Wizard brushes it off as a “clarity” spreading through his mind. He tells Klaw how he’s doing all this to claim the city as his own and give his son something better to remember his father by. Carnage returns from the Wizard’s armory having selected everything. The Wizard begins to talk about attacking Johnny Storm and has to be corrected of his mistake again. This stuns him momentarily until Klaw says that his son won’t see him as Mayor, but as ruler of the world. Klaw’s only request is that he fix the arm properly, but Wizard brushes this off and the trio makes their way to City Hall.
Speaking of, we cut to the site itself where Mayor Jameson is dealing with new city problems. Before he can gripe too long, the villains arrive in a sonic train created by Klaw (how did Carnage ride in that?). Don’t take too long questioning it, because Carnage is here! He quickly realizes that Kasady had spent so much time on chaos when he could do more by staying focused. However, he starts morphing back to his original form as the Wizard becomes confused and lost in a crowd of escaping people. Klaw jumps to his side to remind him where he is…making it twice now that Klaw has made a grandiose statement to ground his leader. Carnage, aware of the slip, makes another threat to Klaw.
The villains make their way back to the Mayor’s office, finally ready to bring their plan to an end. As they open the doors to the office, they find the mayor is not there…but the Superior Spider-Man is!
I think this issue is a bit more of what I was expecting from a Carnage mini-series: action, mayhem, and a timely appearance by Spider-Man. I guess that’s all ANY of us would expect…sadly, I don’t think this is necessarily a good thing.
I’m not saying this was a dreadful issue or anything, but after the last one, this felt like a bit of a let-down. Personally, I’m finding the dynamic of the Wizard’s mental decline to be the most interesting part of this series. It gives a bit more background and depth to that character, and make this story more than just the typical serving of Carnage-style violence. This issue focused more on the latter, which is fine, just not as interesting.
Now, with that said, it SEEMS like writer Shinick is hinting that there may be a bit more going on here. The way that Klaw keeps making these very big claims and has to keep bringing the Wizard out of his…fugue, for lack of a better term, seems to suggest that maybe not all of this may be happening. Or at least, not in the way we’re seeing. That could be an interesting turn of events, but it could also just be straight forward and what we’re seeing is what we’re getting.
As mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of Carnage’s new design. There are some kind of cool panels later when he is attacking City Hall, but I still feel that the original design has it’s own “charm” that maybe could have been manipulated a bit. All of Venom’s hosts typically have a variation of the original design, but keep the same basic elements. This changed a bit with Flash Thompson, so perhaps that’s what they are shooting for here. Either way, not a fan. I also wish they’d throw the black back into his design. That’s the Carnage I’m used to!
The rating I rather expected for this series. Nothing too new here, but we get our mandatory Spider-Man appearance. I’m hoping for a bit more with the Wizard next issue!