In 1993, Marvel Comics came up with this story for its debut of their new series Spider-Man: Unlimited. It included Carnage, a character reminiscent of Venom, which was popular during the 90s. Because Venom came from Spider-Man, who was popular as well, it only made sense to keep the chain going. Thus Maximum Carnage was born.
Decades later, the Maximum Carnage storyline was ridiculed for its infamous plot points and a particular character death. Marvel also liked to pull this stunt (DC too) where a story was told across multiple comic series’: you needed to buy Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Web of Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man issues in order to gather the full story. The story began in Spider-Man Unlimited issue 1 and ended in Spider-Man unlimited issue 2, which was bound to leave some very confused kids with the 12-issue missing gap between the two.
The plot of Maximum Carnage was that Kasady, the symbiotic host that made him Carnage, ended locked up in an asylum. The symbiote that he lost regenerated itself magically in his blood. He recruits a bunch of other bad guys and they go around New York City killing people for no reason. Spider-Man teams up with Venom so they can end the Carnage together. As the chaos continues to escalate, Spider-Man and Venom find themselves struggling against the seemingly unstoppable power of Carnage and his deadly crew. In an attempt to bring an end to the violence, they form a ragtag group of allies consisting of both heroes and former villains, including the likes of Black Cat, Morbius, and Cloak and Dagger. Throughout the intense battles and numerous confrontations, Spider-Man is forced to question his morals as he pushes his limits to protect innocent lives. Meanwhile, the climax of the story presents the ultimate test of loyalty and the strength of the tenuous alliance as they desperately fight to save New York City from utter destruction.
The story was extremely popular at the time, even leading to a video game adaptation for the two biggest consoles at the time, Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) and Super Nintendo (SNES). The game followed the plot and even had stills from the comic book itself. It was published by LJN, notorious for its line of poor movie adaptations for the NES. Despite receiving mediocre reviews, the game has turned into a memorable classic. In fact if it were not for the game, few people would ever remember the comic itself.
During its initial production run, the Maximum Carnage video game was made in a red colored cartridge as a buying incentive, while later production was done in the typical colors. For those who rushed out and bought the game at full price, the special color did not mean a damn thing, considering that a quick search on eBay proves that the red color cart is more available than its predecessor.
Considering all the violence, it is a wonder that these stories were able to be approved by the comic code back in the day. Lucky for me, it is what made these stories among my favorites. Some may hate it, but I love it. You should read (Affiliate Link) Maximum Carnage and judge for yourself.
If one positive outcome came from this fiasco, it was this: Carnage to this day has become a fan favorite character that is just as popular now as he was back then.
Any thoughts on this storyline? Leave a comment.