Spider-Girl has run into a few of her father's old sparring partners since she first donned the webs, most recently Hobgoblin. Yet nothing she has faced before can compare to the return of Carnage. And worst of all, Carnage might be someone she knows....
Homecoming is fast approaching and a few students from Central High are planning a surprise for Midtown High: hanging an effigy from their goalpost. The students are shocked as a blood red knife erupts from "Smiley's" chest. "Forget the effigy," Carnage says, "Let's use real corpses!" Carnage quickly corners one girl as her friends run for their lives, but just as he prepares to strike, the voice of its host tells him to stop. "We need help and there's only one person we can trust," the host says, barely in control. "We must find her."
Right now, "her" is stuck in the sewers under New York with the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew that was transporting the Carnage symbiote. Contessa Valentina Allegro de Fontaine orders her men to spread out, then tells Spider-Girl in no uncertain terms that her help is not required. May is a little bit torqued by this, but receives a call from Davida before she can respond telling her about Courtney catching Moose with another woman. May agrees to meet them at Cafe Indigo.
As the police and Agent Weadon's group try to track down the symbiote-nappers, May arrives at Cafe Indigo. Courtney tells her and Davida the whole story, but admits that she was more upset by the sight of Moose's father dying than the other girl ($5 says it was Moose's sister or cousin or something anyway.) May tries to console Courtney, but suddenly her spider sense goes haywire and Carnage bursts through the window. He picks up two of the Midtown High students, calling them by name, but is stopped by the host once again, which gives May time to throw hot coffee in his face. The host says that May is the only one who can help, but Carnage takes control and tries to attack her. May leaps aside and Carnage, whose host tries to restrain him again, leaves. But not before admitting that "the scientists broke us into itty-bitty pieces" (which probably explains the "Specimen 297" thing.
At Agent Weadon's hideout, the decision is made to bring Spider-Girl in for questioning as her webbing was found in the sewers. Kaine and Darkdevil tell the group that they'll find Spider-Girl, though conveniently forget to mention that they have her phone number. The three meet, and Spider-Girl fills them in on what happened. Kaine says that the symbiote was being studied for its medical benefits, an operation that "someone with a lot of clout" must have authorized. That someone turns out to be the President, who is conferring with a shadowy figure who says that his "best agent" is on the case.
The next morning, MJ accompanies May to school to talk to Principal Slattery about the guidance counselor position. Back home at the Parker homestead, Peter has just finished changing Ben when his spider sense erupts. Before he can escape, Carnage crashes through the window with a chilling request: "Can you please pass the baby?"
Later, May and MJ walk home to find the house trashed. Peter and Ben are gone and a message is scrawled in human blood over the fireplace: "HELP ME."
Now this was a good issue. You have Carnage with an uncooperative host, which has pretty much been the only time the character was interesting (remember when it possessed Ben Reilly back in the day?) Add into the mix the "who is it" question--the host clearly has a connection to Midtown High--and the fact that he is going after the Parkers, and you have one doozy of a story. Not sure what Carnage or its host might want with Little Ben, but no good can come of this.
Other subplots get their due, as MJ appears destined to become a guidance counselor at the high school and Courtney gets a chance to react to seeing Moose. The one curious moment comes with our glimpse into the MC2 White House. The shadowy figure speaking with the President alludes to "his agent," but is this truly an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., or is something more sinister going on. Hopefully we'll get to learn more about this in upcoming issues.
DeFalco & co. earned their money with this one. Looking forward to next issue.
A Carnage story I actually liked? It must be pretty good. Four webs.