Michael Hall has been a little risky. He's captured the Carnage symbiote from space and begun experimenting on it, including using it to enhance his prosthetic products and his security teams' armour.
Unfortunately things have gone wrong and an attack by Doppelganger during transportation of Shriek resulted in Doctor Tanis Nieves (Shreik's psychiatrist) losing her arm. Hall replaced it with one of their prosthetics but when Nieves visited Shreik at Hall Industries, the symbiote part of her new arm decided to attack the staff and free the Carnage symbiote imprisoned there! Bonding with Nieves, a new Carnage was born!
Spider-Man and Iron Man's investigation into Hall and his technology have led them to Hall Industries (and into a fight with his armoured security forces) when Carnage ensues!
In the mind of Doctor Tanis Nieves a war rages! The thoughts, feelings and memories of Nieves are battling the thoughts, feelings and memories of the Carnage symbiote as is tries to completely take over her body!
Outside, Carnage is complete, and tearing Hall Industries apart! Hall’s armoured security team are failing to bring Carnage under control so it is left to Spider-Man and Iron Man!
Meanwhile, the corpse of Doppelganger is being experimented on inside. The alarm goes and the scientists leave. Symbiote drips from the corpse…Doppelganger’s hand suddenly becomes animated when it senses that Frances Louise Barrison (formerly Shriek) is being beaten by Hall’s guards as she refuses to go back to her cell!
Spider-Man realises that the symbiote isn’t fully bonded with Nieves yet so Iron Man steps in to try to bring it down but it sprouts two sets of wings and flies off at breakneck speed!
The reanimated Doppelganger attacks the guards beating Barrison! They shoot it as she pleads with them to stop! All of a sudden, the guards are killed by a massive sonic force – Shriek is back!
Spidey, Iron Man and Hall’s security forces are in pursuit of Carnage! Nieves realises that she will not be able to stop the symbiote and that it doesn’t want her… Those in pursuit, realise that Carnage is after Michael Hall, the man responsible for experimenting on it, and rush to save him!
Hall barricades himself inside a Panic Room, but it is Iron Man who tears the door down! Hall explains to the heroes, that the symbiote doesn’t want him…
At another of Hall Industries’ holding cells, Carnage attacks! Quickly overcoming the guards, the symbiote leaves Nieves ad returns to a man whose lower half is completely cybernetic, replacing the parts lost when he was torn in two by The Sentry, the man who the symbiote saved in space… Cletus Kasady is back!
I said last time that I was happy with Tanis Nieves as the new host but that she didn’t have enough character about her. Zeb Wells rectifies this within the first three pages of internal conflict and then throws this excellent curve ball at us! Just as I was thinking that I could get used to a new Carnage host, the old one returns and I’m truly surprised and the character becomes recharged again!
Continuing this thread of returns there are a couple of opposing ones. Shriek’s return is well-times and surprisingly emotionally charged for a super-villain. Doppelganger’s return to life just confuses me. Horrific as this character is, his reanimation is completely unclear. From death to drips to back to normal, I think it is Clayton Crain’s art that lets this piece of storytelling slip.
Asides from that Crain is on his A game, pulling out some amazing visuals. Carnage flying, Cletus’ reveal, Iron Man’s smashing through the wall and the stunning opening two pages are all brilliant and the other sequences equally capture this sense of monstrosity and desperate violence that I’ve loved about this title so far.
The pacing is spot on from Wells and, where there is usually an explaining lull in mini-series, this keeps on rocketing through. Its quick action, little dialogue and lots of symbiote! What more can you ask for?