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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 104

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at an amazingly underrated moment, mostly because it came in the middle of a fairly uncool crossover and it was a cool moment for someone other than the character who stars in the book (hmmm…I think I might have an idea for a theme). Still, JM DeMatteis and Sal Buscema combine to tell an awesome moment that I know I’ve mentioned in the past about how much I dig it.


Okay, to set up Maximum Carnage Parts 1-8 (this is Part 9, Spectacular Spider-Man #202), wow…it’s hard. Okay, suffice to say that Carnage is on a rampage in New York City during a hot summer (so people are already agitated without some supervillain going on a murderous rampage). Carnage has teamed up with some other psychotic evil-doers to form a sort of team. The Avengers and Fantastic Four are out of town, so Spider-Man is forced to team-up with Venom and some disparate heroes such as Cloak and Firestar.

During a big battle in Central Park, Firestar discovers that her microwave powers can kill Carnage.

After swatting Spider-Man away, Venom takes on Carnage’s crew solo and gets his ass kicked (actually, that is a cool scene in and of itself, really). The bad guys take him prison and take off, leaving Spider-Man and his crew to wallow in the sheer awfulness of it all.

And that leads to this great series of captions by J.M. DeMatteis leading up to an awesome double-page spread to end the issue…

SUCH a great moment for Captain America.

That is basically what he does in a nut shell – he INSPIRES.

Great work by former Cap scribe DeMatteis.


Ewwwwwwwwwwwww Maximum Carnage? No. Sorry, but no.

Great moment, I love it. If you ever in the future wanted to do a year of awful comic book moments, the non-Dematteis issues of Maximum Carnage could supply at least 64 of them.

When I was younger, I read through about half of Maximum Carnage but disjointed. My friend had all the issues but he had them all over his pig-sty room so I read 3, then 8, then 2, etc.

I never read this issue. Scrolling down panel by panel, taking in Spider-Man’s broken fight and growing despair, seeing Cap’s face surrounded by the moon? like a halo was definitely inspiring.

Sal Buscema is one of the top Spidey artists of all time, and while this is more a dialogue driven scene, he still does a great job with body language.

As to De Matteis: Well, I agree that this is a cool moment in isolation. I’ve been rereading pieces of his run recently though, and I gotta say, by Maximum Carnage, he had strung together so many of these scenes – overly intense captions and dialogue, moral dillemma, beaten Spidey, somebody saying NOOOOOO!!! – it was becoming a little stale and formulaic. The Cap page definitely makes this moment, because it’s not just a ray of hope in the scene or the issue, but a bright spot against the pervasive gloom of DeMatteis’s run at the time.

Also worth mentioning, true to the comics, the Firestar familiar in the Maximum Carnage video game could never finish Carnage off, but would always leave him instead with just the tiniest stick of HP. Loyal though it was, the awesomeness of that game was in perfect inverse proportion to the quality of this crossover, a rare example of “art” being better in its translated medium than its original form. Or was the crossover based on the game? (if so, lol)

When I was younger, I read through about half of Maximum Carnage but disjointed. My friend had all the issues but he had them all over his pig-sty room so I read 3, then 8, then 2, etc.

It probably made more sense that way than if you read them in order, sadly.

And Cass, the game was based on the crossover. I don’t know what was more bizarre, that there was a game made based on that awful crossover or that it turned out surprisingly awesome.

I hate Carnage, never dug Venom, and wasn’t a huge fan of any of the characters featured here.

But that last page with Cap reaching out to Spidey is awesome indeed. Sal kicked one out of the ballpark right there. I agree that Cap’s greatest character trait is his ability to inspire hope. What a wonderful way to end the issue.

I’ve been really enjoying these posts, and this is a great one: I never really want to try and get to grips with this storyline, having stopped reading comics just before it, and returned a few years ago – so it’s great to see moments like this extracted. Really reminds me of the awesomeness of that Cap moment in Daredevil:born again (which I think you already posted), and shows what was great about creating a comic universe where this sort of interaction can occur.


Born Again has not actually been featured yet.

I have been debating how to handle it – would a WEEK even really suffice for Born Again?

Really reminds me of the awesomeness of that Cap moment in Daredevil:born again (which I think you already posted)

My bad. It hasn’t been in the series (yet?)

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 15, 2009 at 4:31 am

I dunno about inspiring.

If I woke up to a costumed guy dressed up in the flag, I might run off screaming. ;-)

“If I woke up to a costumed guy dressed up in the flag, I might run off screaming. ”

Surely that depends on what they look like?

Now, if Luther Arkwright was standing there wrapped in naught but a Union Jack, then, yeah…

I drove to 2 different cities to get the video game the day it was released. Totally worth it.

The series wasn’t bad necessarily, although I’ve had a hard time rereading it. Shriek in particular has not stood up well over time, and the art never did much for me.

That was certainly an awesome moment!

Never having read it, and only seeing the first page as it loaded up in my browser, My thought process was as follows:

-Maximum Carnage?
-I bet Iceman shows up!

The moment with Cap was okay, but it was no Spider-friends moment…

as much as i do not care for maximum carnage. i will give cap showing up and offering a worn out and battered spider man a hand and some much needed inspiration a worthy moment of the list

Yay, it’s Cap! Let’s really show how ineffectual a loser Spider-Man is by bringing in someone he can defer/look up to! That storyline was all kinds of bad for showcasing Spidey as an actual hero and leader, and introducing Cap to it relegated him to third banana (Venom was already taking charge, and all of my friends agreed at the time that Brock was the guy leading the charge; poor Spidey got no love during this crossover).

What I want to know is, were there any “amazing friends” comments in this story?

What, Deathlok’s entrance not good enough for you? Heh.

Look how much emotion Buscema wrings out of Spidey’s face– without even changing the size of the eyes, like so many others would.

DeMatteis was an excellent Spider-writer.

It’s kind of why no matter how good the storyline is, Bucky can’t really be Captain America. A major part of the character is how much respect he instantaneously commands. It’s like when the heroes were picking a leader in Secret Wars. Wolverine tries to argue that Cap is the least of them and Thor, the millenia old God of Thunder, says simply and without doubt that he’d follow Steve into battle.

It would take years for anyone else to command that kind of loyalty.

Maximum Carnage would have been okay if it wasn’t a 12-parter. There are only so many issues of Carnage and company killing people/Spider-man trying and failing to stop them before it gets repetitive. Although I thought the moment would be Firestar’s face, knowing she can end this by killing Carnage, knowing that’ll he’ll kill again if she doesn’t, and not being able to. Hard call knowing if that inability is a strength or a weakness.

I guess I’m not as much of a comic snob as the rest of you, but I always loved Maximum Carnage. I can remember reading this issue as a kid and being blown away by the ending. And let’s not forget, the video game Maximum Carnage is easily one of the top 5 comic book video games ever.

I saw the trade paperback for this at my LCS the other week and thought it was funny that the cover image they use for the trade is from the video game box. I don’t think it appears anywhere in the actual comic run.

i liked this crossover, so much happens, in a 12 part spidey crossover today about 20% of that would happen. the whole first 3 issues would be splash pages introducing characters

BKV used Cap in similar, and also cool, fashion in the first volume of Runaways, although he added a little bit of humour to the scene.

Sorry, I grew up reading this era of Spidey comics,so I love Maximum Carnage and I don’t even call it a guilty pleasure. It was just a fun crossover.

Besides, shortly after this came the return of Peter’s parents (that turned out to be robots), Spidey went emo for awhile and then came the Clone Saga.

Maximum Carnage is a masterpiece in comparison with what would follow.

By the way, I was sad when the Spider-Doppelganger was killed in this series. Maybe he was one of those characters symbolic of everything that was wrong with the 90s…but darn it, he looked cool, and went out like a chump.

The Maximum Carnage video game was fantastic. One of my favorite Genesis games. 5 or 6 years ago I decided to read the story for the first time, since I had liked the game as a kid, and I figured it would be good, dumb, fun. Turned out it was much heavier on the “dumb” than the “fun.” Oh well, still a great game.

Sal is a very underrated Spider-artist.

“Oh baby…do it to ‘im! DO IT TO ‘IM!”

This is surprisingly good, but that double page spread wouldn’t work at all. The point of the spread is that it’s a big revelation, but the landscape format would definitely take me out of the story. It would be a lot better as a splash page.

Holy crap! Who knew the Maximum Carnage video game was any good? I feel like I missed out and the Sega Genesis was the last video game system I ever owned. I even liked the first Spidey video game for it even though my brother figured out how to beat Sandman by kicking the fire hydrant before I did. Stupid brother.

And I was sure Firestar was gonna say, “Go for it!”. But instead we get a God-Cap moment. I don’t know. I guess it’s all right though maybe a bit overdone with the moon halo and the Hope caption. But I guess in a superhero comic event called Maximum Carnage we’re not exactly going for subtlety.

I think that the Firestar moment is cooler than the Cap moment. Because she gets a lot fewer moments in which to be cool.


I’d long given up reading the Spider-Man titles by this story (hell, I’d stopped with most all of Marvel and DC by then) BUT it’s great to see Sal’s Spider-Man (as well as Cap). Nice final panel. That sums up so much about those two characters.

Maximum Carnage was in the upper half of brawlers in the 16-bit era, which isn’t bad since there were a metric ton of them. It’s no Turtles in Time / Streets of Rage, but you could certainly do worse (Death and Return of Superman, come on down!)

Plus, one of the cooler ending swerves in gaming history.

Sal when he wasn’t drawing nineteen books a month showing what he could really do.

@Ike, I agree, Sal was a great artist. Loved his Spidey and Conan works. Is he drawing anything at the moment?

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

April 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Spider-man, Firestar, Black Cat, Venom, and Carnage … not sure where the cool is here exactly …

A Sal Buscema Captain America. Buscema was the artist on Cap when I first started buying it on a monthly basis. His Cap is one of my favorite interpretations of the character, easily the equal in my mind of Byrne or Zeck.

Okay. That’s cool.

What Maximum Carnage video game were you people playing? That thing was arse.

Cap’s gotta be the king of “cool moments that happen outside his own book”, no? I guess Superman’s had his share, too.

@raghu, Sal no longer wants to pencil anymore. He’s been the regular inker over Frenz on Spider-Girl (and from what I understand, is VERY happy doing that.)

Yeah. Sal Buscema’s great, but he’s no spring chicken anymore. I remember an interview with him I once read, where said something akin to “Penciling is work. Inking is fun.” I’m sure he’s happy to have a steady inking gig.

Mark Waid, Maximum Carnage… Is this month a big April 1st?

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I wonder if the moon as halo was intentional? I just sighed when I saw that image of Cap…

Firestar’s moment was cool. Interesting that she defers to Spidey.

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