Curt Connors was a man at the end of his rope. The status of his grant uncertain, a sample of genetically altered blood fell right into his lap in the guise of a teenage superhero looking for medical treatment. Connors later got the permission of that hero, one Peter Parker, to run some experiments in hopes of major medical breakthroughs.
But all is not as it seems. Remember, this is the same Curt Connors who once turned himself into a human-sized lizard in the hopes of regrowing his arm. This is the Curt Connors who employed Eddie Brock, the shady biochemistry major who used his father's research to turn himself into the monster Venom.
And it looks like history is about to repeat itself...
"Little Ben" has escaped..
Connors' lab assistant, Ben Reilly, is horrified to find that his experiment has escaped containment. Reilly calls Connors to notify him, but is horrified to find the dead, dried up body of Sam the lab security guard, the cops, and a bunch of on-lookers.
On a sock-buying mission at the mall, Gwen Stacy finds Mary Jane Watson, the new "fry girl" at a Cajun restaurant. The job helps keep Mary's mind of Peter. Neighbors since May Parker took an orphaned Gwen in, Mary Jane has been uneasy with the fact that Gwen now lives with her boyfriend, Peter. But now, both know Peter's secret, and have come to an understanding. Gwen sees Peter like a little brother and the Parkers as her family and would never come between Mary Jane and Peter.
An arguing couple find "the sample", which vaguely resembles a young child, in an alley. It proceeds to stab its victims and absorb their vitality. The sample now more closely resmbles Venom, only is smaller and red.
Doctor Connors finds his lab sealed off by the police. Captain Jeanne DeWolffe is on hand to ask the docot questions, while Connors meets eyes with Ben Reilly.
The sample, which will, for simplicity's sake, be known simply as "Carnage", begins to have flashes of memories: Peter's memories. Carnage approximates Peter's webswinging and heads for the Parker house, where Gwen is waiting, keyless. Carnage attacks Gwen the way it does the others, absorbing her vitality dry and leaving her, dead. The last thing Gwen sees is Carnage's face trying to mimic Peter.
We all knew Carnage was coming. What we didn't know was that Gwen was going.
It seems that this Carnage arc is an amalgam of the original symbiote stories from the mainstream Marvel continuity and the dreaded clone saga. This incarnation of Carnage is far more interesting to me than the hack-and-slash serial killer who bored us across 14 issues in "Maximum Carnage". Again, utilizing a lot of the themes of the Venom arc, this story upps the personal stake by offing Gwen (sniff), my favorite supporting character. I honestly didn't see it coming, and since deaths seem to last longer in the Ultimate universe, it's sure to be explored.
Some say Mark Bagley's pencils aren't suited for scary visuals. I however, am not one of these detractors. His usually light-looking style on this book makes these dried-out corpses all the more unsettling. In fact, my only qualm with the art is the first page with the bright-and-cheery MJ & Gwen exchange, which looks poor in contrast with the rest of the book.
Say, did anyone even notice Peter wasn't in this issue?