Appearing in 1st story
- Chthon (Invoked)
- Manuela Calderon's mother (Mentioned) (Deceased)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Invoked)
- Carnage Symbiote
- Toxin Symbiote
- Venom Symbiote (Mentioned)
- Godstone (Returns)
- Miniaturized Sonic Cannons
- War in Afghanistan (Mentioned)
Synopsis for 1st story
Engaging Toxin alongside his horde of symbiote-possessed cultists, Carnage remarks that he preferred life as an orphan, since it was uncomplicated. Manuela remarks that Carnage looks different, wondering why and asking where the other symbiotes came from. Jameson leads them into the Chthonic Temple, where Barry Gleason is stealing the Darkhold. Outside, Carnage wonders if he should address Toxin as his father or son, since the symbiote's host is Eddie Brock. Brock retorts that he's Toxin, calling himself the Poison that will eat Carnage's soul. In the temple, Agent Dixon and Manuela confront Gleason over his actions. Gleason states he's merely the tool of a higher power, by whose will they cannot take him. When Manuela attacks him, Gleason uses the Darkhold to summon a wall of flames, setting her on fire.
Carnage sneers at Toxin's threat, remarking that he's got an army to back him up, but Toxin dismisses the symbiote-controlled cultists as cannon-fodder. Carnage concurs, stating they're nothing more than puppets but that they're not what he was talking about as hooded symbiote-controlled cultists attack Toxin with a combination of magic, tentacles, and blades.
Separated from Manuela and Gleason by the wall of flames, Jameson and Dixon try to figure out a way around. Jameson is grabbed from behind by a hooded symbiote-controlled cultist, who states that Carnage remembers killing him and wonders why he's still alive. The Godstone reforms inside Jameson and he transforms into Man-Wolf, killing the cultist and terrifying Dixon. Man-Wolf confronts her when she calls him "Jameson", asking who that is, and Manuela replies that he is. Memory of his human form restored, Man-Wolf reverts back into Jameson, who laments that he transformed again. Manuela states that he saved Dixon by doing so, and prompts the still-frightened Dixon into agreeing. Dixon asks what happened to Gleason, and Manuela reveals he escaped with the Darkhold, leading them to a spiral staircase.
Outside the temple, Carnage says that he never believed he was destined for great things, and that the only thing that made him a somebody was killing people, at least until he met the Carnage symbiote. Toxin sneers that he's still nothing but a punk in a monster skin, and Carnage has the cultists torture him, remarking that Eddie is in trouble.
Manuela, Dixon, and Jameson emerge in a church in Pickman County, two miles east of Grey Ridge Mine. With Gleason nowhere to be found, Dixon says they need to get back to the command centre and use the sonic cannons to completely collapse the mine. Belowground, Carnage says that the Darkhold changed him and the symbiote in ways he doesn't comprehend, that he'd come here to kill Manuela but that she doesn't matter anymore: all that matters is the Darkhold, which says that Cletus Kasady is more than just Carnage. He abruptly notices that the Darkhold is missing and flies into a rage, demanding to know where it went.
At the command centre, Jameson remarks that he's glad the paramedics managed to get Agent Hanks to safety, but wonders how the op could have gone so bad so fast. Manuela replies that Dixon made a fatal mistake in underestimating Carnage, and that she's about to make another one. Jameson replies that her plan to collapse the mine will work, but Manuela reminds him that Eddie Brock is still down there. Jameson says that Eddie is a killer, but Manuela pointedly reminds Jameson that Eddie isn't the only one trying to overcome his inner monster.
In the Chthonic Temple, Carnage rages over the theft of the Darkhold, stating that the reason he hates people is because just when you find something that makes you special, someone comes along and spoils it by taking it away. A symbiote-cultist approaches him and says he can lead Carnage to the Darkhold. Carnage grabs the cultist by the throat and threatens him, and the cultist says he can feel the book calling out to him in his head, causing Carnage to realize he too can sense the Darkhold.
In the command centre, Dixon orders Jameson to turn the sonics up to maximum intensity, but he protests, saying Eddie Brock is still in the mine. Dixon retorts that Brock is probably already dead, ordering him to bring the mine down, and Jameson complies. In the mine below, Carnage feels the earth shake and wonders if an earthquake is happening. Toxin replies that the feds are using the sonic cannons to bring the mine down on top of them. Irritated, Carnage leaves to find the Darkhold and commands the cultists to kill Toxin.
Dixon notes that Jameson disobeyed her order to turn the sonic cannons up to maximum, and Jameson replies that the army has a saying: Leave no man behind. Dixon dismisses Eddie as being just as much a monster as Carnage, but Jameson reminds her that he's a monster too, stating that Eddie is their ally and deserves a chance to live, while below ground Toxin battles the horde of cultists as the mine caves in around him.
Carnage emerges in the old church, saying the Darkhold is so close he can smell it. Manuela confronts him, stating he reeks with the stench of death from all the people he's killed. Carnage remarks he almost forgot about her, but Maneula responds she'd never forget about him and blasts him with a sonic cannon. Carnage is unfazed, cheerfully noting the Darkhold has made him immune to sonics before attacking her. As Carnage is about to devour her, Manuela presses a trigger, detonating several tons of mining explosives. As Carnage is enveloped by the ensuing fireball, Toxin grabs Manuela and leaps to safety, shielding her from the blast.
As the Toxin symbiote recedes, Eddie asks Manuela if she's OK and she says she's been through worse before thanking him. Eddie asks her to address him by his first name, complementing her on using mine explosives by saying it was gutsy. Dixon, arriving on the scene, retorts that it was stupid, commanding the accompanying agents to search for Carnage. When all they find are bits of the Carnage symbiote, Dixon angrily snaps that Carnage got away, blaming Jameson and Manuela for the plan's failure. When Dixon says Carnage would have been buried if Jameson had obeyed her order to collapse the mine, Manuela retorts that Eddie would have been killed too, to Eddie's consternation. Dixon tells Eddie to shut up before asking how they can find Carnage now, and Manuela reveals she ripped out one of the Darkhold's pages during her struggle with Gleason and that Carnage wants it. To find Carnage, all they need to do is find the book.
Elsewhere, a fleeing, out of breath Gleason is confronted by Carnage, who says that the head cultist was telling him a story before the acolytes tried to kill him, and he wants to know how it ends.
• The first terrifying arc concludes catastrophically!
• What does the Darkhold Cult want with the Symbiote Psychopath?!
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