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Graphic Novel Recommendation: Maximum Carnage!


Here at Comic Booked, we pride ourselves on bringing our readers the latest news in the comic book world, as well as honest reviews of current books and movies. But sometimes, certain books and stories slip by under the radar or are lost in the annals of comic history. Growing up, I was strictly a Marvel fan, specifically Spider-Man and X-Men. So, I missed out on truly epic stories such as Kingdom Come, The Long Halloween, and Watchmen, to name a few.  I have corrected those mistakes, and hopefully we can help shed some light on stories that you may have overlooked as well. For our first Graphic Novel Recommendation, I chose a hero who has always been there for me, Spider-Man, specifically, the Maximum Carnage trade paperback.

The story starts out with a massacre as Cletus “Carnage” Cassidy reunites with his better half and escapes Ravencroft. Joined by a young psychopath named Shriek, they start on a path of bloody lunacy. Peter Parker has not heard the news as he is busy attending the wake of his best friend and deadliest enemy, Harry Osborne, the second Green Goblin. News travels very fast, and, while getting some late dinner, Parker learns of the breakout at the hospital. He quickly heads to the crime scene and finds Carnage and Shriek murdering at will. Joining them now is a deadly Spider Doppleganger. The trio outmatches Spidey, and he barely escapes. But Spidey is not without allies, as he is soon joined by Cloak and Dagger. The news spreads to the other end of the country, and San Fransisco’s own lethal protector, Venom, learns of the escape and heads back to the Big Apple!

Venom attacks the trio on his own but they prove to be too much, especially with Shriek’s ability to manipulate sound waves. He reluctantly teams up with Spider-Man to stop the madness, which has only just begun. As Spidey finds a new ally, Carnage finds more villains hellbent on killing as many people as possible. Even more super-powered psychos join Carnage: the self-righteous Demogoblin and the walking plague Carrion. They form what can only be considered the Patridge Family from hell! But fear not, Spider-Man is not without his allies. His team is rounded out by Deathlock, Spidey favorite Black Cat, Iron Fist, the living vampire Morbius, Firestar, Moonknight and the living legend himself, Captain America! With this many heroes teamed together, outnumbering the villains, you would think they would squash this evil madness quickly, but fate doesn’t work that way. As the heroic team begins to gain footing in their fight against Carnage’s family, New York City starts eating itself from within. People begin losing their minds as the madness spreads. Riots break out, citizens turn on each other, and the heroes have to contend with saving the masses from themselves, as well as the villainous horde.

If that wasn’t enough to put Spider-Man over the edge, his parents have finally returned after 20 years in a P.O.W. camp, and his father has words that chill Parker to the bone. Having suffered abuse at the hands of monsters for the later part of his life, Richard Parker tells his son the only way to beat them is to become a monster yourself. . When one of your teammates is Venom, you aren’t too far from becoming a monster as it is. Spider-Man struggles with his morals and that doesn’t sit well with Venom, who doesn’t see the point in holding onto weak thinking. These two are the only ones who clash within the group, and these aren’t your typical squabbles either: epic battles break out between the pair. But the villains aren’t immune to the in-fighting either: Carnage, obsessed with only murder and mayhem, leaves the others wondering what direction their family will take. And the sins of the wicked demand to be punished, or at least that’s how Demogoblin feels. With each faction fighting amongst themselves, how will they fair when they square off against each other again? And what will become of the city, a sitting powder keg waiting to explode?

14 covers of Maximum Carnage

Cover of Maximum Carnage Video GameThis 14-part series is an amazing read for any Spider-Man fan, no, any comic book fan for that matter. The internal struggle Spider-Man endures is brilliantly crafted: he must confront his own inner demons and try to figure out how to stop a monster without becoming one yourself. The battles are epic in scale and quite frequent. Issue #6 is a stand-out issue, as it is pretty much one giant battle from start to finish. Each hero stands out in this series, getting a good dose of focus and character development. The villains don’t get shunned either. For example, we learn some of the inner workings that go on within the mind of Carnage. This series pulls no punches and makes no excuses either. Carnage is cold blooded and deadly. He kills without restraint or mercy. The artwork is brillaintly done as well. Each scene jumps off the page. Between the amazing story and vibrant pictures, you will find yourself deeply engrossed.

Toy set of Venom and CarnageThe series actually made an impact in pop culture as well. A video game, featuring a soundtrack composed by rock band Green Jelly, was made for both the SNES and SEGA Genesis consoles. A line of action figures dedicated to the series, which I proudly possess, was also released. I can’t speak highly enough of this series, and, if  you’ve never read it before, or even if you haven’t read it in a few years, go out and pick it up, you won’t regret it.


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Comments (19)

As someone mentioned before, this sounds more like a TRADE PAPERBACK, not a graphic novel…

Great article, James. Reading this really brought me back to that time. I just might have to revisit Maximum Carnage!

love this arc! Bagley on Carnage!

Michael Wirth

Maximum Carnage was a great story: It still is in fact! I didn't catch it the first time around, but I picked up the trade probably about 5 years back… It still holds up.

And the video game! I may not have read the story, but I played the game to DEATH when it came out. So much fun!

Jacques Nyemb

That SEGA Genesis image does my heart good! I wanted that game SOOOO BAD many years ago!

James Victor Von Hal

Wow, yolk on my face, sorry for the oversight.

James Victor Von Hal

Thanks Eric, it is probably my favorite Spider-Man story.

James Victor Von Hal

I have all the issues, and the trade paperback. You can say I'm a fan…

James Phenomenal article…this is hands down one of my fav Spidey arcs!!!! One of the few comics I still own!!! Love it, great job sir!!!

James Victor Von Hal

Thanks Nick. This series was one of the first ones I've ever read so it stuck with me. I'd love to see Marvel do an animated movie based off it.

Maximum Carnage is one of all-time favorite Marvel Comics stories along with the Venom Saga and Spiderman Venom-Carnage story. I played, the Maximum Carnage video game on Sega Genesis we rented it from Blockbuster Video 17 years ago. I also, remember DC Comic's EPIC!!! story The Death and Return Of Superman a best-seller like Max Carnage. DC also licensed a video game on Nintendo and I think it came out on Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Anyway, I can't wait to see more Batman games like Rocksteady and Eidos's sequel to Batman:Arkham Asylum Batman:Arkham City. Activision is working on its sequel to Spiderman:Shattered Dimensions called, Spiderman:Edge Of Time. Rocksteady and Eidos are talking about developing a new Superman game which, will hopefully get the respect it deserves. I think they can make an Outstanding Superman game. I want the first game to have Supes in Metropolis fighting crime and everything. For the sequel lets take Supes into outer space to an Intergalactic planet full of evil, slavery and terror where Intergalactic Warlord Darkseid lives. How do you guys like that?

James Victor Von Hal

I would love a Superman game that nailed the physics right and let you experience flying around in all it's glory. I doubt they would do one game of just him in Metropolis fighting crime, they'd have to throw in the big heavy hitters like Doomsday, or Bizarro.

Sadly most games are not that good based off of comics, but the 90s had some classics. I still love the first Spider-Man game and Maximum Carnage. And the first two X-Men games. he recent Ultimate Alliance games have been stellar as well.

James Victor Halstad,

Electronic Arts (EA)created a game where you could play, as Bizarro Superman's Antagonist alerego. Bizarro is like Symbiote Spiderman to Amazing Spiderman, Devil Hulk to Incredible Hulk, Dark Supergirl to the regular Supergirl. Remember, the recent Superman Returns games it had villains like, Mongul, Mystikpilik, Metallo, Lex Luthor, and so on.

What I think Rocksteady and Eidos should do James Victor Von Halstead is take what EA did for the Superman Returns game an expand all the way with it for Superman:Metropolis. Since, they are 3D designing Batman:Arkha Asylum and its sequel Batman:Arkham City then Superman and all of the other superheroes should get the same treatment. For Superman's sequel we will take Supes to Apokalips where he faces different enemies including, Granny Goodness and her malicious violent female warriors and other iconic levels and villains before facing the ultimate battle showdown against Intergalactic Warlord Darkseid.

I would love Rocksteady and Eidos to use The Death and Return Of Superman storyline for the first game and have him battle Doomsday in the game. Superman has had a fight against Doomsday in DC Online Universe and it was EPIC!!! James V. Von Halstead.

They can use what they did for Batman's two blockbuster games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and put Superman in that same environment but expand 1,000,000 times over in 3D. They are already working a new Superman film so instead of, doing a movie-based game let's do a Superman game based on best-selling comic books Supes is known for.

Ohhhhhhhh!!!! James Halstead Batman:Arkham Asylum was based on, the DC best-selling Batman:The Killing Joke that came out in 1988 23 years ago if you didn't know buddy.

James Victor Von Hal

Arkham Asylum was an amazing game, and if they put that type of dedication into a Superman game, it would be amazing. I am very excited to play Arkham City, and the latest Spider-Man games they have had have all been solid games, so maybe this could be a turning point in comic book based video games!

Remember the old Avengers arcade game? That was fun.

James Victor Con Halstead, Yes Arkham Asylum is the coolest Batman game I've ever played. I've played the Batman games since, 1989 when Tim Burton released, the Academy Award Winning comic book blockbuster film "Batman" starring, Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, and Robert Wahl. I do think Rocksteady Studios and Eidos can implement Batman:Arkham Asylum's video gaming design engine into Superman's reenvisioned game. They can use as I stated, in my last post EA's Superman Returns games material and completely have it done on their scale. I can picture Superman on the scale as they did with Batman look at the comics, the characters, the designs for Smallville, Kansas where Clark Kent grew up, look on Krypton his birth origin planet, and Metropolis his now area of residence.

My idea that I posted was 100% EPIC!!! James I think you liked it alot when you read it. I liked your last posts as well. Anyway, the Spiderman games have been EPIC!!! I remember the earliest Spiderman game on Sega Genesis and a fight between Spidey and Doc Ock. Another one was Spiderman:The Arcade Game who could ever forget that one with Spiderman and a fight battle against Venom and you see him as a normal 6 foot 3 inch guy Edward Brock, Jr.. The next sequence the alien black symbiote gets on him and he transforms into Venom and gets all gigantic. What's up with that James Halstead? Anyway, others were Spiderman:Web Of Fire on Sega 32X not a good game as I thought it was. Spiderman and XMEN I recall seeing and playing that game I think. I remember the early Spiderman movie games with Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kisten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church and so on. The next Spiderman movie game which, I'm betting will be 100% better than the last 3 games with Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Sally Field and so on will be on a bigger Action-Adventure level in 3D. What, I liked with what Rocksteady Studios and Eidos did with Batman:Arkham Asylum and soon Batman:Arkham City was take The Dark Knight in a new direction in 3D. I read on Joystiq that whether you have a 3D HD television or not you will still see 3D interaction designs, backgrounds, and Batman himself in a bigger environment. I definitely see Superman and all of the other DC iconic characters in 3D like Arkham Asylum, and Arkham City.

James, Have you seen and played, Marvel's two games this year by Sega before they release Batman:Arkham City, and Spiderman:Edge Of Time by Rocksteady and Activision. The games were "Thor" and "Captain America." There is also, another superhero game a DC icon you know as Green Lantern. His game takes place two years after the blockbuster Warner Brothers film, "Green Lantern" starring, Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, and Peter Skarsgaard.

The game is called, "Green Lantern:Rise Of The Manhunters" I checked this game out at Gamestop and the graphics and gameplay man look SWEETTTTTTTTTT.!!!! It looks and feels like a new Superman game in 2011 but Superman will be back in 2013 maybe, twice. Zack Snyder is filming the next Supes movie called, either Superman:Man Of Steel or "Man Of Steel" with new Supes head Henry Cavill replacing Brandon Routh from Bryan Singer's Superman Returns film in 2006.

Anyway, I read on the web that Justice League:Mortal was scheduled for a 2013 release. George Miller I believe is directing it. That would be awesome because Marvel Studios will release "The Avengers" in the summer I believe of 2012 next year. So lets see a Avengers movie, and JLA movie back to back in 2012 and 2013. What I picked up on the Internet James was surprising man Mr. Freeze has been announced for Batman:Arkham City man and he looks AWESOME.!!!! There is a conversation and then a battle scene when Mr. Freeze aka Victor Fries asks Batman in a do what I want you to do way to help him save his wife Nora Fries. This was similar to what we saw in Joel Schumacher's "Batman and Robin" film in 1997 except, it wasn't Mr. Freeze in the film making demands. This was friendship of a crimefighter and mastermind villain agreeing to save two lives. One was the life of Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough R.I.P.) and the other was Freeze's wife Nora don't know the actress who played her but as you saw Uma Thurman (Pamela L. Isley, Poison Ivy) was jealous of her.

James Victor Von Hal

I'm so glad you liked the article, and glad you liked my other articles too. You are quite the fan of comic book video games. I never cared for the video games based off the movies. The Spider-Man one was decent though.

Your idea for a Superman game does sound pretty good, the important thing they need to do is nail the game play and physics of the man of steel. They can have the most epic of stories but if it feels like a choir trying to fly, it won't be fun.

Yeah, Mr Freeze is going to be sweet in Arkham City, that plot point about his wife was actually introduced in the 1990s cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. That cartoon was groundbreaking.

Thor and Captain America games did look good, but I have not played them yet, I don't know about the Green Lantern game. I was not a fan of the movie. The worst movie based game I played was Blade 2, it was so horrible.

I remember the Spider-Man game for Sega, the fight with Electro was insane. Thanks to Netflix I've been watching the Spider-Man cartoon for the past month and it still is pretty good, except for how they portray Carnage, they made him a caricature of himself. They messed up a lot of the story, but still an entertaining show.

Yes, James,

I've been a fan of comic book video games since, Nintendo licensed and published Batman:The Movie game in 1989. They also did a better version of the same game on Sega Genesis along with its 1992 sequel blockbuster Batman Returns. Sunsoft was the licensing game company that sponsered Batman at that time they also, did a comic book version sequel to the Batman movie in 1989 called, Batman:Revenge Of The Joker remember that game James.

James, do you remember Superman:The Arcade Game I remember it. This game was at the arcades and later made its way to Nintendo you play as Superman but before that you are Clark Kent at the Daily Planet and evil threatens Metropolis. Clark Kent goes into the phonebooth just like in the DC Comics. Superman during the battle scene comes out with different color Supermans which, was EPIC!!! cool man. I remember a giant green monster that Superman had to defeat in the game like Spiderman had to defeat the giant Venom. That was in the Spiderman:Arcade Game.

I agree buddy Superman needs the physics and gameplay that game designers need to make The Man Of Steel work from his comics into the game. I think Rocksteady Studios and Eidos can master Superman in the way he should be mastered.

Mr. Freeze looks Epic cool in Batman:Arkham City man I had a strong feeling Batman was going to face "The Ice Man" and true enough Mr. Freeze is in the game. You may have seen Penguin's trailer before Mr. Freeze's James with him shooting an innocent man threw his back and laughing about it. He later speaks to Batman after Batman tells him I came for the hostages but now I'm taking you down too. Penguin tells Batman look around all of these psychopaths have wanted to join up with me. He has a bigger surprise for Batman something he faced from his time with the Justice Laegue Of America. Solomon Grundy is his name smashing things and people is his game like The Incredible Hulk only Hulk is a good hero.

Blade 2 was horrible the game I mean compared, to the blockbuster sequel to the 1998 blockbuster original. I loved, Batman:The Animated Series when it first aired in 1993 and in 1997 DC brought us Superman:The Animated Series another EPIC cartoon series following Batman. The Superman:Animated Series was great man Darkseid of Apokolips appeared later in the series. Remember when Superman first meets him Supes say's "Who are you? Darkseid doesn't speak just looks at Superman. Superman say's I asked you a question? Darkseid blasts his Omega beams at him and Superman fights it to try and over power the mighty Darkseid but Darkseid intensifies the beams to pin Superman to the ground. Darkseid tells Superman "That is who I AM. He next say's "You will serve your allegiance to Darkseid, or you will be destroyed. James when Darkseid invaded Metropolis and took Superman hostage no one on Earth could stop Darkseid except, Orion and his father from New Genesis came together to stop Darkseid's Intergalactic dictatorship empire. Darkseid before he went through his Intergalactic portal turned around and blasted Superman's friend Daniel Turpin of the Metropolis police force. Superman saw that and was angry at Darkseid for vaporizing his friend.

Superman punched something that was hard metal but he vowed to get Darkseid back for doing that. That day came on Justice League:Unlimited when Superman told Batman to leave he was going to punish Darkseid permanently by making him a spot stain on his shoes. Superman in a different episode beat Darkseid to a pulp and almost killed him.

The Spiderman game for Sega, the fight with Elctro was all good man. The 1990s Spiderman and XMEN were both Marvelous EPIC.!!! Carnage was weakened from his original comic book roots but he was still psychotic and violent as he was from the comic book but toned down. James we may see Carnage in the Venom spinoff film that Marvel Studios was talking about doing on Venom will be redone as he was brutally degraded and killed off in Spiderman 3.

Putting Carnage in the venom spin off would be amazing. I would pay gladly to see that. Carnage has not been included enough and has been underrated and downplayed. It's an injustice. Mind you, venom was not done justice too either in comparison to the comics. I am rather excited to see how thing erupt in Venoms would and see how the make an understanding as to his character build!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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