A mysterious company, employing high-tech armoured soldiers, attempt to kidnap Shriek! Doppelganger (Spider-Man's six-armed, crazed duplicate) and an unknock woman tries to stop them but the woman ends up losing her arm and Doppelganger is killed!
Spider-Man and Iron Man are drawn into the car chase across the city but, cannot prevent Shriek being taken to a Research and Develoment facility where she begins to feed the returned Carnage symbiote hatred and fear!
Eight Months Ago: The body of Carnage floats in space after being ripped apart by The Sentry (New Avengers #2) until it crashes into a Michael Hall satellite that sends it back into Earth’s atmosphere…
In Ravencroft Institute, Doctor Nieves demands that her patient, Shriek, is treated properly. New management has other plans…
Now: Spider-Man has identified a woman caught up in the attack on the armoured car, the woman driving the car, as Doctor Nieves. He visits her in hospital, feeling responsible as she lost her arm in the melee, where he learns that she was trying to save Shriek from being taken. Spidey explains that Iron Man has offered her the best in prosthetics but she already has one from the people who moved Shriek and who took over Ravencroft. Nieves is not at liberty to say who “they” are due to a federal contract. As Spidey leaves the hospital, Iron Man calls… He has been experimenting on a sample taken from Royal Blue and it reminds him of a symbiote! The tendril reacts violently to the sound of Spidey’s voice!
As Nieves is taken from the hospital by Mr Hall’s people, she experiences some horrific visions as a result of the biofeedback from her prosthetic.
Spidey arrives at Iron Man’s lab where he explains that Nieves has a new prosthetic. Iron Man knows Hall is responsible.
At Hall Industries R&D, Nieves demands to see Shriek, who is currently linked to the Carnage symbiote, feeding it negative emotions. Strangely, Nieves’ prosthetic becomes attached to the viewing window…
Tearing to the scene, Iron Man explains that it seems Hall is applying science he’s not truly understood. The two heroes are intercepted by Hall’s mass-marketed, armoured defence team: Royal Blue, Firebrick, Paris Green, Burnt Orange and Gun Metal! Iron Man tries to claim the alien technology back but the crew argue that it was salvaged as wreckage from space.
As they fight, Nieves’ situation gets suddenly worse! Her prosthetic becomes uncontrollable and she kills the doctors with her! It leads her to Carnage, where it begins to slam into the holding bubble! It breaks through and makes contact with the symbiote!
Outside, the defence team blast the heroes down long enough to respond to their emergency call to the R&D… where Carnage has a new host!
It was inevitable that Carnage was going to get a new host as there was no Cletus Kasady last issue but it is a surprising choice. I have no problem with this though as this idea often re-energises the motives of the symbiote villain. The transformation scene, quite rightly, oozes violence, threat and demonstrates the ultimate fact that the symbiote is a horrific alien thirsty for a host to consume.
It also helps that Zeb Wells continues his modern take on 90s nostalgia with a very planned plot, reconciling threads 6 years old. Wells explains how Carnage came back to Earth, how the symbiote has been converted to technology and demonstrates the poisonous effects of that through the prosthetic. There’s a great mockery of corporate heroes, clever banter between Spidey and Iron Man and throwbacks to Ravencroft and Shriek.
My main criticism for the issue lies in Wells’ ability to bring all of this together. Structurally, the plot rides perfectly, but there is information in the preview page that wasn’t anywhere in #1 and I’m not yet convinced that Nieves has had enough reader exposure yet.
Clayton Crain’s work is completely absorbing, telling the story clearly and capturing the moods of science, horror, technology and the alien with painted poise and precision. There remains a little inconsistency across the book but he maintains the best work I've seen.
Another good issue. Wells has thought things through, Crain is pulling out some fantastic work and Carnage is reborn with complete violence!