- Being true to what I am is the most important thing! I realize it now! And if I ignore it -- everything else in my life, including my relationship with Mary Jane, will be nothing but a hollow sham! M.J. was wrong! This is worth the risk!
- -- Spider-Man
Appearing in "Soldiers Of Hope"
- Venom (Eddie Brock)
- Captain America
- Iron Fist
- Deathlok (Michael Collins)
- Mary Jane Watson-Parker
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Pumpkin Bomb
- Venom Symbiote
- Carnage Symbiote
Synopsis for "Soldiers Of Hope"
Maximum Carnage continues from Web of Spider-Man #103...
At the Statue of Liberty, Carnage and his "family" continues to torture Venom, as he remains suspended over an open flame.[Continuity 1] Suddenly, Demogoblin and the Spider-Doppelganger are ambushed by Morbius and Deathwatch, who have come to rescue their ally. Meanwhile, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Fist, Firestar, and Deathlok are flying across Manhattan. With the entire island succumbing to madness, they are all focused on stopping the source of the insanity, as they are the only ones left who can stop it. When Deathlok and Captain America both agree that they must stop it no matter what, it gets Spider-Man thinking. The wall-crawler worries about his wife Mary Jane, who has had an issue with him being involved in the battle, even though she recently gave her blessing to stop Carnage's rampage.[Continuity 2] That's when Firestar spots the source of the madness, Shirek, who has been amplifying her powers to drive the city mad.
At that moment, in Soho, Liz Osborn, her step-brother Mark Raxton and the Parkers watch the news coverage of Carnage's massacre across the city. With the madness has spread to midtown, they all worry what will happen when it reaches their area. As Richard suggests that they board up the windows, Mary Jane finally comes down from her apartment.[Continuity 3] Mary Jane tells them that she has realized that brooding over her husband won't help her through this dark time, and she needs to be with family. While back Midtown, Spider-Man wonders what he is doing in the middle of this battle. This distracts him from Shriek's attacks, but he is saved by Firestar. When Shriek clips Firestar with one of her blasts, she is then attacked from above by both Iron Fist and Deathlok. They too are blasted, followed by the wall-crawler. However, she has her back turned when she is struck by Captain America's shield. With Shriek knocked out, the heroes recover from the battle. Captain America points out that Shriek was defeated because she was facing them on their own, leaving them to wonder where Carnage and the others are.
Back at the Statue of Liberty, Venom watches as his would-be saviors have the tables turned on them. Carnage watches with glee, gloating over the work of his "children". With the tide of battle turning, and the sun starting to come up, Deathwatch is forced to retreat with Morbius so they can live and fight another day. With the battle over, Carnage orders Demogoblin, the Spider-Doppelganger, and Carrion to go look for Shriek while he goes back to torturing Venom. While back in the city, the heroes begin breaking up the angry mobs and people trying to commit crimes and acts of violence. Without Shriek's constant influence, these people suddenly realize what they are doing and stop themselves. After Spider-Man talks a woman out of throwing her children off the side of the building, he realizes that it is important for him to be here right now. If it wasn't for him, the children would have died. No matter the trouble it may cause trouble in his marriage, the wall-crawler insists that his wife is wrong. That's when Demogoblin and the others arrive and find Shriek webbed to a lamp post. When they attempt to free her, they are opposed by Captain America, Iron Fist, and Deathlok. They fail to stop Shriek from getting free, and are forced on the defensive in order to save innocent people from getting caught in the crossfire. Seeing his allies in trouble, Spider-Man leaps in to lend a hand.
Meanwhile, uptown, Felicia Hardy is still recovering from wounds sustained in battle.[Continuity 4] Looking out at the city from her balcony. She briefly considers going back out as the Black Cat. However, she figures with her broken arm and blurry vision, she'd only get herself killed. Although Peter Parker may be willing to sacrifice his life for what he believes in, Felicia doesn't think she ever could. While at the Holy Ghost Church, Cloak also finds himself debating his ability to help in the battle against Carnage. He knows he could help his friends, but he has felt strange ever since Dagger was seemingly killed.[Continuity 5] Back at the scene of the battle, Shriek is shocked when the people who were once under her spell turn on her and joins the heroes. Watching this recent development in Soho, seeing what happened, Mary Jane realizes that she was wrong telling her husband to stop being Spider-Man. However, things quickly turn against Spider-Man and his allies when Shriek unleashes her powers full blast. Although the heroes manage to resist the blast of insanity, the regular people around them are not so lucky. With people back under her control, Shriek orders them to kill Spider-Man and the others.
Maximum Carnage continues in Spider-Man #37...
- Venom has been a captive of Carnage since Spectacular Spider-Man #202.
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here. At the time of this story, Mary Jane asked Peter to take a break from being Spider-Man in Spider-Man Unlimited #1. She was upset that he reneged on his promise until he saved her life against Carnage and his minions in Web of Spider-Man #102.
- The people posing as Richard and Mary Parker are impostors as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388. The real Richard and Mary are dead, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
- The Black Cat was seriously injured in a brawl in Web of Spider-Man #103 and took herself out of the battle against Carnage.
- Dagger seemingly died in battle against Shriek in Web of Spider-Man #101, however she will resurface in Spectacular Spider-Man #203.
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