Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage

spider-man maximum carnage tpb cover
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10

Great example of '90s comics

Bloated and drawn out

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Spider-Man Unlimited (Volume 1)/Amazing Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Spectacular Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Web of Spider-Man (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Tom DeFalco/J.M. DeMatteis/Terry Kavanagh/David Michelinie

Artist:  Mark Bagley/Sal Buscema/Ron Lim/Tom Lyle/Alex Saviuk

# of Issues:  14

Release Date:  2012


Spider-Man Unlimited (1) #1

Reprints Spider-Man Unlimited (1) #1-2, Amazing Spider-Man (1) #378-380, Spectacular Spider-Man (1) #201-203, Spider-Man (1) #35-37, and Web of Spider-Man (1) #101-103 (May 1993-August 1993).  Spider-Man’s enemy Carnage has escaped and is out with a goal of simply killing.  As the body count increases, Carnage teams with Shriek, the Spider-Man doppelganger, the Demogoblin, and Carrion to drive New York City mad!  Spider-Man finds that only by teaming with his greatest enemy Venom does he have a chance at stopping the madness.  Along with Black Cat, Captain America, Cloak & Dagger, Deathlok, Firestar, Morbius, and Iron Fist, Spider-Man must stop at nothing to end Carnage’s rampage once and for all.

Written by Tom DeFalco, J.M. DeMatteis, Kerry Kavanagh, and David Michelinie, Spider-Man:  Maximum Carnage was a fourteen issue crossover series.  The series features art by Mark Bagley, Sal Buscema, Ron Lim, Tom Lyle, and Alex Saviuk and even became the basis for a Super NES and Genesis game in 1994.  A toyline from Toy Biz was also released and Universal Studio Florida converted their Islands of Adventure into a Maximum Carnage theme for Halloween.

To put it bluntly, Maximum Carnage is ’90s as hell!  The multi-title based comic is sprawling and required a lot from readers to keep up.  The style and art of the comic are exemplary of the period and are a good example of the comic industry at the time…which isn’t necessarily a good thing.


Spectacular Spider-Man (1) #203

I will give Maximum Carnage this, it has a story that you can follow, but it takes forever to tell it.  The bottom line is that Carnage goes on a killing spree and Spider-Man and Venom stop him…and it took fourteen issues to tell it because Marvel and the writers just kept adding more and more characters into the mix.  The series you can tell is meant to highlight some of the “newer” solo characters like Deathlok and Morbius while having some standards like Captain America and Iron Fist stop by to make it look like Marvel wasn’t simply trying to make a promo book for their other series.  It is clunky and overblown but you can follow it (opposed to some series now).

The secondary storyline is a bit harder to follow if readers didn’t know what is happening.  Harry Osborn has just died and Mary Jane is pushing for Peter to quit…this leads to classic Spider-Man melodrama with broken promises and Mary Jane’s smoking issues.  You add into the mix that it was also the period where Peter’s parents returned from the grave (which was a long and tedious plot involving the Chameleon and Harry Osborn).

Maximum Carnage was almost at the peak of the comic book bubble in the ’90s.  Image had started, enhanced covers were big, books were polybagged (forcing you to buy multiple copies), and new “gritty” heroes were everywhere, and fans had to have them all.  Spider-Man:  Maximum Carnage is one of the better “maxi-series”, but it still shows why comic books hit a hard time shortly after, but now it is kind of fun nostalgia.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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