The 1990’s was a strange time for comics. Everything was hyped up in the stories, and the art was desperate to be either sexy or flashy. Marvel was on the verge of bankruptcy while DC was killing Superman and breaking Batman’s spine in order to make headlines and move books. As such, the 1990s was not the best era in the history of the industry but it still gave the world some memorable stories. Maximum Carnage is a prime example of this. Its plot revolves around Carnage getting loose and going on a day’s long killing spree in the streets of New York while gathering a loose knit group of like-minded bad guys along the way including Demogoblin, Shriek, an Infinity War doppelganger of Spider-Man, and the creepy Carrion. Having failed to stop Carnage at the beginning of it all by himself, Spider-Man is forced to gather allies of his own such as Cloak and Dagger, Deathlok, Captain America, Iron fist, Firestar, and even a reluctant Venom.
Maximum Carnage is a large story on a small scale. There is no threat to the world or multiverse, no settings really outside of New York, and all the characters are very much mortal compared to something one might read in Dr. Strange or the Silver Surfer. Yet, this story feels almost cosmic despite being “street level” due to the amount of nonstop action it contains. The over-the-top style of the 90’s that hurt most books of that era actually works here, pushing the plot along that much faster. At a cover price of $40 for the entire Maximum Carnage event along with a backup miniseries featuring Spider-Man
and the Punisher going up against Sabertooth, it’s a must have for any Spider-Man fan.