Amazing Spider-Man #359-360
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #359, Amazing Spider-Man #360
On a tip from Ben Urich, Peter Parker (in his Spider-Man costume), is investigating what he calls "'legal' criminals", people that made money swindling people in the S&L scandal.
But Spidey is noticed, and the "legal" criminals nonetheless have an array of high tech weapons to send after him.
Spidey gets away and delivers the photos to Urich. He then goes to a 1950s nostalgia dance with Mary Jane. Felicia Hardy (the Black Cat) and Flash Thompson go with them. At the same time Peter and MJ are walking home from that, Cardiac is attacking the S&L guy that Peter photographed earlier.
He destroys the guy's home, including all his fancy statues, and his car. The next day, Urich speculates in front of Peter that Cardiac is using the Bugle's exposes to find his targets. And Peter feels bad about that, so he waits at the location of the target of the next article, which is in this case a company that built a defective robot toy. When he gets there, he confronts Cardiac.
In their fight, Cardiac winds up knocked out on a conveyor belt, about to get his head smashed in, while at the same time a security worker falls off a ledge. Spider-Man has to decide who to save. That's the cliffhanger between issues. I'm sure you'll be relived to hear that he manages to save both. Cardiac then proves to Spider-Man that the toy company has actually been testing on human subjects. He then escapes. Spider-Man grabs some evidence and then also leaves.
When Cardiac gets back to his building, he has to repair his arm.
Peter traces the toy company back to Stane International, and goes there to investigate. When he arrives, he meets Cardiac again. To head off Spider-Man trying to stop him again, Cardiac tells Spider-Man his origin.
Spidey says that he still can't condone murder of a Stane exec. But they team up against Stane's exo-skeleton security forces.
Cardiac isn't able to get to the Stane exec that he wants to kill, but it turns out that the police have been called and they shut down the factory for developing munitions in a populated area. It turns out they were tipped off by Joy Mercardo, who sneaked a peek at the research Peter was doing to link Stane to the toy company.
As i've said before, out of all the possible crime to deal with, it's hard for me to believe that Spider-Man would waste time on Cardiac, given that he tolerates the actions of the Punisher. The topics raised by Michelinie would make for good revenge fantasy stories in a book like Punisher (or Foolkiller, etc.), at least until we get to the "toy company testing on human subjects" part, which is really more directly in the comic book world. But casting Spider-Man in the role of having to defend the "legal" criminals makes it less satisfying, and it's also a plot that we've seen a hundred times before, a classic "can't... must" scenario. Once we get to the Stane portion it's a more standard plot. I can't help feel like always placing Spider-Man in a role where he's kind of scolding the more vigilante-oriented heroes hurt his cool factor among 90s readers. But i guess it's good to have someone that was fighting against that tide, and it's not like Spidey's sales were hurting.
Part of the sales success was due to certain villains, and speaking of which, Carnage fully debuts in these issues (and the next arc will focus on him). First we see Cletus Kasady escape from prison.
And then we see a glimpse of him as Carnage.
Note that he's chosen his victim randomly, or maybe i should say arbitrarily. That's going to be the distinguishing difference between Carnage and Venom. In addition to being evil, Carnage is a creature of complete chaos, with no logic to his attacks.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 340,977. Single issue closest to filing date = 417,500.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: When Spider-Man gets back from the toy factory, Mary Jane is also returning home. She was spending time with Liz Allan, who is upset about Harry. Since Liz just lives downstairs from the Parkers, i've listed her as a Character Appearing even though she isn't seen on panel.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBen Urich, Black Cat, Cardiac, Carnage Symbiote, Cletus Kasady (Carnage), Flash Thompson, J. Jonah Jameson, Joy Mercado, Liz Allan, Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man
Cardiac is one character from the 90s I kind of like and wouldn't be offended if he came back.
Speaking of offensive it's time for the great most bestest Spider-Man villain of all time to shine!
Posted by: david banes | January 22, 2016 3:31 PM
Agreed, david. I love Cardiac.
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 22, 2016 3:51 PM
Gunny Stein. Why do I remember still that name?
Posted by: Haywerth | January 22, 2016 4:13 PM
Because it's a memorable, horrifying moment?
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 22, 2016 4:55 PM
Okay I totally forgot I gushed about Cardiac the other times he appeared so no more of that. Still he just stuck out to me he seems like a good blend of Kirby Marvel, 80s Marvel and a touch of 90s too. I mean sure there was never Maximum Cardiac...and Maximum Carnage was a good thing?
Okay I'll tone it down now. I'll go into detail on Carnage when he really pops up.
Posted by: david banes | January 23, 2016 3:42 AM
"if he came back."
Uhhh... he did cum back. He had an entire arc devoted to him during the Superior Spider-Man title. He then returned after for the closing Goblin Nation arc where he helps Spidey take back the city.
Whoops I spoiled a recent comic storyline, feel free to delete this post.
Posted by: JC | January 23, 2016 3:11 PM
It's okay I saw someone already brought it up in another issue but I had forgotten. I tend to just assume most characters created in the 90s just fade away.
Posted by: david banes | January 23, 2016 3:41 PM
If you like Cardiac its worth a read, it highlights the similarities btw the vigilante methods of Cardiac with those of the Octavius Spidey. And Cardiac has his share of moments to shine.
Posted by: JC | January 23, 2016 3:49 PM
Corporate crime, a new high-tech cyborg ally/rival, and Stane International--yep, Michelinie is still writing Iron Man, isn't he?
I actually like his Spider-Man run moderately well, but there was always another book he'd fit much better...
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 25, 2016 1:35 AM
I'm not much of a Cardiac fan, but I like that he goes up against Styx and Stone in an upcoming issue. They make for better Cardiac villains than Spider-Man villains.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 25, 2016 6:15 AM
Spider-Man's role in the Marvel universe at this time does seem to be acting as a kind of "conscience" for the edgier heroes of that era (along with acting as a mentor figure for newer heroes like Darkhawk). I agree, though, that it often comes across as misguided on his part. This will ultimately culminate in Maximum Carnage, where Peter's methods look even more ineffectual.
As for Spidey's "cool factor" during this time -- well, just see my initial comment on Fantastic Four #347-349.
Posted by: TCP | January 25, 2016 10:12 AM
Personal anecdote: My dad was in the habit of buying "hot" (but not too expensive - no New Mutants 87 for us) comics in the early 90's and he got ASM 359-363. I told him about Cardiac's origin story and he thought I was talking about Carnage. Which gives me a brainstorm - what if the character with Carnage powers had Cardiac's motivation instead of the knockoff Joker nihilism. It sure would've been more of a challenge to overexpose Carnage given the "corporate crime" angle doesn't lend itself to public mass-murdering sprees.
Posted by: iLegion | April 25, 2017 9:26 PM
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