Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
I know we don’t want to think about viruses right now during the pandemic. Heck, I’m trying to figure out why people are watching movies about viral diseases ravaging the countryside right now but yet it’s happening. I guess that’s my mindset. However, we are stuck in a story in which a serum that turns people violent and could end up as a plague is currently in play. Also we have a mass murderer who is bonded to a symbiote that basically oozes itself like blood, so this is not painting a pretty picture.
And now that same symbiotic murderer is loose in New York thanks to stupid people being stupid (which is oddly not as redundant as it sounds) and it’s up to Spider-Man to save everyone again. Last time Spidey learned the doctor responsible for the serum was finally caught and now he’s ready to finally get some answers.
The first thing of note is that the city of New York in this continuity really doesn’t care care of their cells. Urine smells, brown stains; I understand not having sheets on the bed but you can’t clean the darn thing between residents? Catrall is getting worse treatment than Carnage did and Casaday was in a box surrounded by electric fire.
Most of this chapter is just Spider-Man getting caught up to things the reader already knows about the vial and Catrall’s actual plan, but with one scary piece of information. Carnage apparently tracked him down and tortured him to find out what’s in the case…and now the chaos addict has the serum that causes untold chaos! If you know anything about Carnage you should be concerned. Also, feel sorry for poor Catrall because he’s understandably losing his mind right now. Real good thing there are no sheets. Despite telling us mostly what we already know, the chapter is admittedly already pretty short given it’s six and a half pages long, but the presentation of that information is well done, as we see the effect all this has had on Catrall as the more he admits to and clarifies the more he starts to lose it. I wish Spidey had given him some kind of heroic reassurance. You know: “Don’t worry, doc. I’ll do everything I can to stop Carnage. I actually have a good history of success against him. And I’ll take that stuff to Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to be disposed of properly. I’m sure he has access to that kind of radiation. Probably would keep it under the bed if his wife let him.” Something like that, which unfortunately we don’t get.
There’s also a reference to a show starring George Reeves. So The Adventures Of Superman exists in the Marvel Universe? It’s just meant as a cute nod to the distinguished competition, but there were other superhero shows they could have used. Greatest American Hero, maybe?
Still, as a reminder to the audience and catch-up to the hero (depending on how long between reads someone might be…we’re doing it once a week and still took a week off) it serve its role and shows us how Dr. Catrall is handling it. Now the question becomes how will Spider-Man handle Carnage and the vial? Stay tuned and we’ll find out.