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Quote1.png I've had five kids up and vanish on me this month alone. All their possessions abandoned. No sign of where they went. Just... gone. Quote2.png
May Parker

Appearing in "Suffer the Children: Part I"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Previous Appearance of The Creeps The Creeps (Death)
  • Winston Pendleton (Only appearance; dies)[1]

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis for "Suffer the Children: Part I"

A homeless teenage boy spends his days scrounging for food, busking, and being chased by store owners and the police. While sitting on the front steps of the F.E.A.S.T. Center, a car pulls up to the curb and an elderly man and woman call out to him, telling him to get into their car and they'll bring him to a place where he can get cleaned up and eat good food. Warily, the boy accepts. Taking the boy to their home, the couple ask him if he has a home and family. When he tells them he doesn't, they lament how sad that is and let him wash up, giving him clothes they say belonged to their now long-gone son. As the boy asks what their names are, the couple escorts him to what they say was their son's room before pushing him down a flight of stairs into the basement, which contains the desiccated corpse of a child wearing an X-Men T-shirt; saying he can just call them the Creeps.

Asleep at the F.E.A.S.T. Center, Andi Benton dreams she's being cocooned by the Scream symbiote, which is still healing the injuries incurred during their fight with Big Mother. As the Scream symbiote urges her to rest, Andi teasingly asks if it's going to sing her a lullaby; the symbiote retorting that it will if it has to before warning her the only songs it knows are written in blood and voiced by screams. Waking up with a gasp, Andi sees she's being watched by a homeless girl around her age, who is sitting on a nearby cot. Annoyed by the girl commenting on how she woke up, Andi irritably asks who the girl is, and she introduces herself as Guinevere. As Andi pulls on her coat and walks away, Guinevere follows her and asks questions trying to get to know her better, causing Andi to accuse Guinevere of spying on her. Not put off by Andi's standoffishness, Guinevere admits to doing so before asking for Andi's name. Smirking, Andi teasingly tells Guinevere to use her spycraft to find it out, leaving the Scream symbiote and Andi herself bemused by her sudden playfulness; Guinevere quipping that she's already starting to like "Miss Cryptic" as they go their separate ways.

On a rooftop, the Punisher watches a child play in a sandbox through the scope of his sniper rifle. Targetting Mayor Wilson Fisk as he delivers a speech at a political rally, the Punisher decides to save head-shotting the Kingpin for later and finds his prey: Winston Pendleton, a wealthy pedophile and sex-trafficker who donated generously to Fisk's campaign and uses his money and connections to cover up his crimes. Assuming that Pendleton is behind the recent uptick in missing homeless kids, the Punisher lines up the shot as Pendleton approaches the child that the Punisher had been observing earlier. Before Castle can pull the trigger, the sandbox rises up and engulfs both Pendleton and the child - revealing itself to be the Sandman in disguise. As the Punisher formulates a plan of attack, Scream arrives and attempts to snatch away his sniper rifle, Castle berating her for interfering with his hunt. Addressing the Punisher, the Sandman states that he's acting as a bounty hunter and that Pendleton will face justice at the hands of the proper authorities; Castle sneering that Pendleton's paid the cops and judges off, and that the only "justice" that will stop him is a bullet to the head. Scream pursues the Punisher as he angrily hurls himself into the Sandman, Andi noting that her old mentor Flash Thompson had also been a soldier who struggled with PTSD; but that unlike Frank Castle, Flash had managed to overcome his trauma instead of letting rage and vengeance consume him. The Scream symbiote agrees, noting that the Punisher is twisted by bloodlust and that they need to stop him before someone gets killed.

A homeless teenaged girl named Sandy remembers receiving her beloved teddy bear for Christmas as a child, the bear being her constant companion as she ran away from home and succumbed to drug addiction and a harsh life on the streets before winding up at the F.E.A.S.T. Center. Standing over the ragged and worn bear, May Parker tells Detective Henley that Sandy never went anywhere without it, and it still being on her cot with her nowhere in sight is deeply disturbing. As May states that Sandy is the third person to go missing that week, Henley asks if it's only minors who've gone missing. May lamentingly states that that month alone five street kids had disappeared without a trace, leaving their belongings behind. As Henley states that the best he can do is request that Sandy's parents file a missing person's report after 48 hours, May angrily demands to know what kind of parents he thinks Sandy - or any of the missing street kids - have. As Henley remarks that his official options are limited by procedure and protocol, May snaps that Sandy has been homeless since she was 12 and that the only family she has is F.E.A.S.T. Henley promises to do what he can to find the five missing kids, May saying that she knows he's a good man no matter what others say.

At the Creeps' house, the elderly woman helps Sandy wash off and comments that she's beautiful under the grime. As the woman escorts her to the dungeon, Sandy suddenly realizes she doesn't have her beloved teddy with her. The man assures her that she can have all the teddies she wants, and Sandy descends the stairs into the basement. Belatedly realizing she's been tricked, she turns to see the Creeps closing the door on her and gleefully declaring their intent to abduct even more children - a perverse form of empty nest syndrome.

Inside the Sandman, who has constructed a labyrinth, Scream is disgusted as the Punisher begins tossing grenades in an attempt to disperse Baker and flush out Pendleton. More interested in saving the child before she's caught in the crossfire, Scream confronts Sandman and demands to know what Pendleton did to him. The Sandman snaps that Pendleton is a pedophile and that he fears for the safety of his own daughter; the Punisher cutting him off and snapping that everyone knows Pendleton is scum but is willing to overlook it because he's rich. As Scream angrily demands to know where the girl is, Sandman buries the Punisher and reveals the girl sitting next to Pendleton - who's been buried up to his neck - and happily dumping sand on his head. As Scream takes the child, the Punisher frees himself and pulls out a combat knife, lunging towards Pendleton. Before he can do anything more, the Scream symbiote decapitates Pendleton with its hair-tendrils.

As Scream climbs out of the mound of sand, Sandman laments Pendleton's death - saying that he should have been brought to justice rather than outright executed. The Punisher commends Scream and suggests they team up, but Scream bluntly refuses. Later that evening Detective Henley observes Pendleton's severed head and notes that while he doesn't condone vigilante justice, Pendleton's death means there's one less sexual predator on the streets. Turning to see Andi standing nearby, he remarks that people who cross her seem to wind up losing their heads, Andi snarking that she has that effect on men. Acting on his suspicion that she's Scream, Henley asks if Andi is still at F.E.A.S.T. before informing her about the missing teens, assuming they're Andi's friends. Andi brusquely snaps that she doesn't have any friends, and when Detective Henley suggests she change that Andi retorts that all her friends have wound up dead. Henley states that he's asking her for a favor, and that while Pendleton's death might mean no more kids go missing it does nothing to find the ones who've already disappeared; but Andi refuses his request and storms off.

As Andi navigates the alleys - oblivious to the fact that the Punisher is watching her and has figured out she's Scream - the Scream symbiote asks her why she keeps pushing people away; Andi snapping at it to mind its own business. The Scream symbiote insists that they help find the missing children, but Andi retorts that their fight with Big Mother already drew too much attention and that they need to let the heat die down first. Arriving at F.E.A.S.T., Andi finds a note from addressed to her by name on her cot, with a crudely-drawn map inside. Following the map to Coney Island, Andi brushes aside the Scream symbiote's warnings that it might be a trap by saying they might find clues as to the whereabouts of the missing kids. Surprised to see Guinevere waiting at the top of the Ferris Wheel, Andi trades pleasantries with her, to the annoyance of the Scream symbiote - who accuses her of getting distracted. As Andi scales the spokes towards the trolley, she tells the symbiote there's only one way for them to find out if Guinevere knows anything, the Scream symbiote telling her to be careful.

At an old swimming pool in the inner-city neighborhood where he'd grown up, Detective Henley watches a group of homeless kids spray-painting graffiti and skateboarding. Noticing a cop, the kids flee but Henley manages to corner a boy he jokingly calls "Basquait." As "Basquait" refuses to snitch, snapping that it's a sin, Henley bemusedly wonders what Bible the kid's been reading before offering him some money. When "Basquait" contemptuously refuses what he calls blood money, Henley notes the boy is too young to be worried about the prospect of eternal damnation. As he leaves, "Basquait" retorts that he's already in Hell and trying to work his way up to Heaven with the guidance of someone called "Saint D." Henley tails "Basquait" until he's approached by the Creeps, but is too late to stop the boy from getting into their car - chasing it until he is exhausted.

In the trolly, Andi sits next to Guinevere and listens as she explains how she came to live at the F.E.A.S.T. Center. When Andi asks whether Guinevere's parents might be looking for her, Guinevere sneers that her parents are probably happy she's gone. When Guinevere turns the question on Andi, however, Andi shuts down and climbs out of the trolley; Guinevere confusedly asking if it was something she said. Andi assures her that it wasn't, but that she has somewhere else she needs to be. As Guinevere tells Andi not to be a stranger, Andi ducks under the trolley and transforms into Scream. As they leave Coney Island, the Scream symbiote asks Andi why she's running away. Andi protests that what she's doing is giving Guinevere a fighting chance, if not saving her, since everyone she gets close to ends up dying and she doesn't have room in her heart for anyone other than herself and the symbiote.

Arriving at a run-down church with a jack o'lantern spray-painted on the door, Detective Henley draws his sidearm and flashlight. He spots "Basquait" among the pews, but the boy hisses animalistically at him. As "Basquait" and another child rush past him, Henley invokes the Mother of God in horror as he sees the Creeps' corpses suspended from chains at the front of the church, and a group of street children sitting around a gruesome female creature with yellow skin, fangs, and glowing red eyes. Saint D - aka Demagoblin - mockingly says that she's close enough, telling the children that it's now time to prey.

Solicit Synopsis

SUFFER THE CHILDREN Starts Here!

• With Eddie Brock still missing, Andi Benton and SCREAM are the only symbiotic heroes in New York – and have managed to get themselves caught in the middle of a brutal conflict involving some of the city’s deadliest vigilantes thanks to writer CLAY McLEOD CHAPMAN, joined by symbiote superstar GERARDO SANDOVAL!

• But as the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe have their same familiar squabbles, Andi – and Andi alone – sees something else: a familiar evil from ABSOLUTE CARNAGE rearing her ugly head at the periphery of New York and targeting the city’s most vulnerable.

• And while the looming threat of symbiote dragons may be sated, Andi still hasn’t quite processed her otherworldly visions of spirals and a king draped in armor...

Notes

  • Physical publication of this issue was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it was instead released digital-only.[2]

Trivia

  • Following the cancellation of Scream: Curse of Carnage, Clay McLeod Chapman was asked whether he had planned to make Guinevere a romantic interest for Andi Benton and responded in a teasing manner that he would never tell.[3]

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
  2. Marvel Comics Reveals Additional Release Dates for New Digital-First Titles. Marvel (27 May 2020). Retrieved on 27 May 2020.
  3. Chapman, Clay McLeod (9 July 2020). Clay McLeod Chapman on Twitter: "@KaleeshArbiter https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=YFk2_5RkwlA&feature=emb_title. Twitter. Retrieved on 9 July 2020.
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