This one seems to have been bought off the rack. Maybe I got smart. “Hey, Bags, you’ve had some serious work to do lately, this cover can just be big heads.” So, JJJ vs. Carnage.
Let the record show that this was the first reference to that song I’d ever seen. I had not heard the song, and I don’t think I did for many, many years. But now… that’s weird, right? Venom’s a bar away from saying he and Spider-Man will be making love. Spidey keeps on recapping on the following page, telling Venom he thinks they should call the Avengers, but Venom says they’d try to arrest him, and Spidey promised to let him go free. Meanwhile, at The bugle, an unusually shaken Robbie is describing Carnage to a police detective when…
Venom being such a jokester feels weird now, but it was certainly his MO back then. This raises a question I’m not sure I’ve ever considered: What do normal people think is the deal with Venom and Spider-Man? A big monster that is also clearly wearing a Spider-Man costume and kills people running around… isn’t that… weird? Has Spider-Man ever tried to explain to the public “Hey, I’m not with that guy?” Seems unlikely, but… awkward. As the Spider-guys swing away, a guy asks Robbie if they should update JJJ’s obituary. The guy kind of looks like comic book writer/editor Paul Levitz, which I assume is why Michelinie has Robbie call him “Levitz.” Spidey asks Venom to tell him about Kasady, and doesn’t learn much except he didn’t like to exercise and he did like heavy metal music before they hear screams below. Carnage stopped on his way to kill a young woman, and Spidey has to stop Mr. “I protect innocents” from threatening her friends because they can’t say which way he went.
The hilarious, stereotypical mustache guy is well on board, producing a knife and about to kill a fellow concertgoer when Spider-Man webs the blade out of his hand. The distraction allows Venoms ot smash up from under the stage and yoink JJJ to safety, but then Venom’s lassoed by Carnage and slammed to the ground. Through the ground, into Penn Station below, which seems… implausible, to say the least. The hole’s not even that deep. But, regardless, Carnage is kicked into said hole by Spider-Man, and just sees all the commuters as new targets.
Carnage fires little darts of his symbiote at them, almost hitting Spider-Man. Venom throws a big punch, but Carnage catches it, and then runs his symbiote up into Venom’s, where they begin to tear each other apart until Spider-Man separates them. In doing so, he accidentally knocks Carnage onto the 3rd rail, electrocuting him. But it doesn’t even slow him down.
Venom swats Carnage from behind, giving Spider-Man a chance to free JJJ and make him actually leave this time. Then he notes the control panel for the PA system, and hops off to it. He knows sonics hurt Venom, and hopes that goes for both of them as he kicks everything to the max.
Spider-Man is saved by Mr. Fantastic and The Torch, showing up with a new sonic cannon. Reed explains they were waiting for the signal they got from Spidey pushing that button, letting Venom know Spider-Man never planned to honor their deal.
Good bit between Spidey and Jonah there. And so, Carnage’s first rampage comes to an end, and Venom is back on the board. But, the cover said the countdown to Spider-Man’s 30th Anniversary began this issue, and by that, they mean this:
Who could they be? It’s pretty obvious, huh? But how could that work? The answer is silly.