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- We'll recruit the toughest, the most vicious bunch of fighters we can find -- and we'll crush Carnage's gang like the cockroaches they are! But, remember -- KASADY IS MINE!!
- -- Venom
Appearing in "Over the Line!"
Synopsis for "Over the Line!"
Maximum Carnage continues from Spider-Man #35...
Following their recent battle against Carnage and his allies, Spider-Man helps the Black Cat out of a collapsed and burning building. Venom is in there with them, but with his symbiote's weakness to fire, all Eddie Brock can do is use what little strength he has left to pull himself out of the blazing inferno. Once outside, Venom's strength begins to return, much to Spider-Man's relief, even though Brock doesn't buy it. Venom then asks what became of Carnage, and becomes furious when the wall-crawler tells him that Carnage managed to escape while he was busy saving the Black Cat. Venom tries to start a fight with Spider-Man until the Cat orders him to stop. She is upset that Venom is willing to pick a fight with Spider-Man than trying to pick up the trail. Venom is about to argue this but realizes that the Black Cat is right. She then scolds Spider-Man, telling him that she doesn't need him to protect her, and that Venom was right about stopping Carnage above all else. When the Cat suggests that they get going, Spider-Man refuses to continue working with Venom, as it would continue to compromise his morals. Although he promises to do everything in his power to stop Carnage, the Black Cat and Venom are unimpressed and leave to deal with their mutual foe on their own. Once left alone, Spider-Man staggers in pain due to his broken rib.[Continuity 1]
Not far away, Carnage and his associates Shriek, Demogoblinand the Spider-Doppelganger continue their random acts of murder. Demogoblin has become tired of the randomness of their actions and demands that they formulate some kind of plan. As this goes against Carnage's belief in total chaos, he viciously attacks Demogoblin, telling him that there is no plan. Reminding him that the whole point of their massacre is to sew chaos. Demogoblin continues to protest this course of action until Shriek separates the two. She reminds them that they have been all been alone for too long that they need to stay together so that they can continue what they all crave: murder and destruction. Surprisingly, both Carnage and Demogoblin relent and agree to put aside their differences, at least for now. Still, Carnage becomes angry when Demogoblin starts talking about their purpose and is ready to start fighting again. Shriek then seductively convinces Carnage that he needs to teach their "children" his ways in order for them to fully understand his message. With their differences settled for the time being, Carnage and his twisted "family" resume their massacre across Manhattan.
Later, in Forest Hills, Peter Parker pays a visit to his Aunt May. Try as he might, he can't hid the fact that he is in pain. When May asks him what's wrong, he tells her that it's personal, but assures him that it is much bigger than a marital spat with his wife Mary Jane.[Continuity 2] May wishes her late husband, Ben Parker, was here as he was able to guide Peter through his problems.[Continuity 3] As May says this, the man claiming to be Richard Parker, Peter's father, comes down the stairs to listen in on the conversation.[Continuity 4] Peter agrees but realizes that all of his decisions in life have been made based on how Uncle Ben raised him, and that regardless of what the problem he has always done what was decent regardless what others thought of him. However, Peter isn't sure he can still live by those standards because the world has changed so much since Ben died. May reminds Peter that he must always listen to his heart and that there is no easy way to do the right thing. She's confident that Peter will always do the right thing no matter what, then kisses him on the cheek.
Inspired, Peter is on his way out the door when he is stopped by Richard, who tells his son that he overheard what May was saying. He tells Peter that he used to be an idealist like his brother, who saw the good in everyone. However, after twenty years in a Russian prison, he no longer feels that way after he saw the devil face-to-face.[Continuity 5] He tells his son that deep down, the devil is inside every man. After all the atrocities he saw in prison, he knows what a human being is capable of. Richard maintains that his brother was one of the good people in the world, but figures the day he was fatally shot he probably looked at his killer trying to understand why someone would do that. Richard finishes his advice by telling Peter that when the devil comes it is often without rhyme or reason, and the devils of the world will consume you if you let them. Lastly, he tells his son that in order to stop that kind of evil you've got to fight fire with fire before it swallows you up. Peter tries to understand what Richard went through, but he doesn't see life that way. Richard pleads to his son, tells him that he has to change his ways because he doesn't want to see his own son get broken the way that he and his wife had while they were political prisoners. Unsure what else to say, Peter tells Richard that he has to go. Richard slumps down and closes his eyes to think, unaware that Aunt May heard every word and is deeply concerned.
While Peter was getting advice from his family, Carnage and his minions have been running wild in New York City. They had been murdering people in the streets at random. Their only opposition is an NYPD helicopter, which is easily shot down by Demogoblin and crashes in a fiery wreck. Venom and the Black Cat arrive too late to stop the slaughter. Venom is furious that they missed Carnage by mere minutes and insists this senseless slaughter must end. That's when they are joined by Cloak, who has recovered from his strange affliction following the death of his partner Dagger.[Continuity 6] Cloak is welcomed back into the fold, but Venom reminds both of his allies that Carnage is his, and his alone. Meanwhile, Carnage and his "family" have stopped in a restaurant to slaughter the patrons. It's then that Demogoblin points out that news of their coming has spread and people have fled the streets and that they should do something to root people out of hiding. Surprisingly, Carnage agrees with Demogoblin and they walk off to figure out what to do next. As they walk away, the form of Carrion emerges from the sewers and begins to follow after them.
Elsewhere, Spider-Man is swinging across the street, resuming his own search for Carnage and his crew. He is haunted by his father's words and wonders if Richard may have been right. Suddenly, his spider-sense begins to go off and when he rounds the corner, the wall-crawler is shocked to discover a full-blown riot happening in the streets. Spider-Man saves one man from a beating and learns that people have started going crazy every since Carnage and his gang started their massacre. Suddenly, the web-slinger is swarmed by an angry mob. When he tries to talk reason, the web-spinner is swarmed. He soon becomes fed up and fights off his attackers. Having lost his temper, Spider-Man decides that if everyone in the city wants to act like savages he will treat them in kind, saying that he will do whatever it takes to stop the city from going down in flames and will give no mercy to anyone who stands in his way.
Maximum Carnage continues in Web of Spider-Man #102...
- ↑ Spider-Man broke a rib fighting Carnage in Spider-Man Unlimited #1.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Uncle Ben was murdered by a burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- ↑ This man is an impostor, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388. The real Richard Parker died while on a mission for the government, some twenty years earlier as explained in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
- ↑ "Richard Parker" actually claims to have been held in a Soviet prison during the Cold War. However, this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- ↑ Dagger was seemingly killed by Shriek in Web of Spider-Man #101. She will resurface alive and well in The Spectacular Spider-Man #203.
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