Appearing in "Said the Joker to the Thief"
Races and Species:
- Patrol car
- Armored car
Synopsis for "Said the Joker to the Thief"
Carnage has just thrown a body from the office of Extreme Violence Video Games. Witnessing this brazen killing is Eddie Brock, who turns into Venom and quickly scales up the side of the wall to face his longtime foe. To his surprise, Carnage is not physically on the scene, having sent the tendrils across the internet to kill Sherman Oakes, a programmer for the company.[Continuity 1] On the computer screens, Venom watches in horror as Carnage slaughters security guards at Ravencroft Institute. He quickly realizes that the serial killer is somehow able to transmit his other across internet connections, allowing him to kill indiscriminately from a remote connection.
At the Ravencroft Institute, John Jameson's security forces try to contain Carnage after the security systems failed. He offers the suggestion of killing Carnage to Ashley Kafka and her colleague Camille Pazzo. Neither woman finds this solution acceptable, as it is cold-blooded murder. Kafka figures they can contain Carnage if they cut off his access to the computer systems, telling John that she will take responsibility for anything that might happen. She regrets ever making the deal with Extreme Violence Video Games, that created this whole mess, but insists that they can do it. John reminds her of his duty to keep the general public safe and gives her an hour to get things back under control before he gives the order to eliminate Carnage. Kasady overhears Ashley suggesting they get in touch with Sherman Oaks at Extreme Violence and he tells her that he has personally killed the one man who could have shut them down. While in New York City, the police are closing off the area around Midtown Manhattan where Sherman's body has been dumped. Among those stuck in traffic is the taxi cab carrying Kristin and her lover Clive Gooch. Kristin is disappointed that Clive is more interested in getting to their destination than expressing his delight to see her. He even asks her if she has any money to spare. Landing on the roof of a nearby squad car, Venom recognizes Kristin and realizes that he doesn't have time to make sure she stays safe as he has to deal with Carnage. He quickly wills his symbiote to assume the appearance of a police uniform and steals the squad car in order to get to Ravencroft. Tired of being stuck in traffic, Clive pulls Kristen out of the taxi deciding they can get to where they are going faster if they take the subway.
As Venom speeds off to Ravencroft, he recalls how he learned about the Carnage video game while he was in Chicago and realizes that his nemesis must be using this video game in order to escape captivity somehow.[Continuity 2] He tries to get clues to what is happening by listening to the radio and is unsurprised to hear that there is a media blackout around the facility, rationalizing that the staff at Ravencroft don't want to panic the general public with the possibility that Carnage may have escaped. While at the penthouse apartment of Extreme Violence co-owner Fordham Rhodes gloats over the coming success of the Carnage Unleashed video game to his girlfriend Alana. She wonders what his partner, Sherman Oakes, will think when he learns that Fordham has been embezzling money from the company. Unaware that his partner has just been murdered, Rhodes figures that Sherman will never know the truth because he doesn't handle the books. With beta-testers of the new PC port for the games growing impatient with the release of the game, Rhodes is frustrated that nobody has been able to get Cletus Kasady to log in so gamers can experience playing against the notorious serial killer. While back at Ravencroft, Ashley Kafka and Camille Pazzo fail to regain control of the facility. Ashley figures their only shot is to have Camille go in and talk Kasady into relinquishing control of the facility. Pazzo is afraid because every time she interacted with him in the past was behind the safety of a holographic projector. That's when John Jameson tells the women that their hour is up, however, he is giving them the opportunity to speak with Kasady and convince him to shut down. However, if Carnage refuses to stand down, John and his security forces will kill him. Ashley once again protests this move, but John insists that it is his only option as his duties trump their ethical stance on taking a life. At that moment, Carnage tries to rush John and the others. Quick thinking, he orders his officers to open fire, seemingly destroying Carnage in a barrage of heat rays and grenades.
Back in New York, Kristen arrives at Clive Gooche's home in the East Village. Even though the place is a total dump, it is everything the naive woman was hoping for. Clive convinces Kristin to give him the money she has been saving up to buy an amp for her guitar so he can get what he needs. He then leaves Kristen with her music as he goes out to conduct his business. Meanwhile, at Ravencroft, John has his soldiers stand down and they begin draining the power from their heat rays. Camille questions if this is a good idea, but John assures her that Carnage is dead. As Ashley realizes the full scope of Carnage's computer access, one of the guards informs John that they cannot find a trace of Carnage's body. That's when Ashley realizes that Kasady had gotten access to the holographic projectors and was using them to make it appear as though he was out of his cell. At that moment, Carnage confirms that her assessment is correct by creating a number of holograms of himself, leaving the Ravencroft staff to wonder which is the real Carnage, and which is a hologram. As the security staff opens fire, the real Carnage grabs Camille Pazzo and leaps out a nearby window. Landing in one of the facility's security vehicles, Carnage escapes with Pazzo as his hostage. He is delighted that she is coming with him, as he wants to continue their talks about how mind.
As Eddie Brock rushes to Ravencroft, he crosses paths with Carnage, who uses his stolen vehicle to crush the squad car. However, Brock manages to survive by changing into Venom and manages to grab hold of the rear of the vehicle. Climbing up, Venom then attacks Carnage and as the pair fight it out the vehicle careens across the road out of control, endangering other vehicles on the path. Carnage keeps Venom distracted by droning on about how great a battle like this would look in his new video game, that Brock doesn't notice when the vehicle swerves near a passing train. Unfortunately for Venom, he was leaning over the edge of the vehicle at the time and is struck by the train and is pulled off the vehicle in the process. This allows Carnage to escape capture. Resuming his discussion with Dr. Pazzo, Carnage explains that the Carnage Unleashed video game reflects his worldview, pointing out that it is the perfect representation of his vision of total chaos. However, he is unhappy that he has been denied royalties, he intends to pay a visit to Fordham Rhodes in order to "straighten out" the situation. While in the East Village, it has been hours since Clive Gooch left Kristin alone and she begins to wonder what is taking him so long to get home. While at Grand Central Station, train engineers examine the front of the train that collided with Carnage. However, they see nothing and figure they imagined the whole thing. In reality, Venom had camouflaged himself to blend in with the front of the train. When the coast is clear, Venom drops his disguise and stumbles off to recouperate, intended to resume his hunt for Carnage once he regains his strength.
- All mentions of technology were considered "state of the art" when this story was published in 1995. However, modern readers should consider all of these to be topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, particularly all references to the graphics capabilities of the computers, and that the internet connections are all made via phone lines with dial-up modems.
- Venom was temporarily in Chicago following his experiences in Venom: Separation Anxiety #1–4.