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.
This was bad timing given what’s going on out there right now, with New York being one of the hardest hit areas. Back when I started the book, and yes I remembered the novel’s plot at least (plus it’s right there on the back cover) our current viral supervillain wasn’t bringing up any more concern than the flu, and now it and the reaction to it have us all locked away scared. So here’s a story enforcing that. Sorry about that.
Carnage is loose and with a dangerous chemical in his possession and Spidey needs to stop him. We’re only 13 chapters in so I’m betting it won’t happen today. We have enough time for things to get worse, so let’s see how worse it gets.
This one felt a bit short. It seems nearly every chapter forms one scene, but sometimes you get that scene from a few different angles. This one just establishes how Carnage learns about the feed the homeless event the Daily Bugle is sponsoring, by attacking a bunch of rich people gathering to bring some extra clothing and monetary donations to the event, which of course the novel says is only to get their name in the papers. At least the guy we’re focused on for this chapter donates privately to a shelter. At least he did until this chapter.
When the chapter starts we see the party through the thoughts of one man. At first I wasn’t certain what the point was, possibly still remembering the useless backstories of Op-Center. However, as we learn about what they’re doing there, that one woman he was hoping to finally get to know better, and a bit about the people hosting the party, Carnage drops in. The scene immediately turns to chaos as he starts killing and asking what the celebration was for, deciding to go to the event, but having enough “time to kill”, which I’m sure he means in more ways than one. The authors use the calm of the party and the thoughts of any other day to act in sharp contrast to what happens once Carnage arrives. People given casual history are now dead, the woman our focus was hoping to get with is just looking at her friend, the dead hostess, while another character our focus knows by name is brutally murdered by Carnage. The seemingly meaningless history is actually giving us just enough connection to these one-chapter characters to be horrified when Carnage starts tormenting and murdering. It’s actually rather effective. Our focus also sees the case on Carnage’s back, to remind us he has it and maybe hint to what he plans to do with it.
What started as an unnecessary moment actually turned out to be good storytelling and I like that. What happens next time? The image for the next chapter shows Jonah and Peter, so maybe we’re just setting up JJ’s part in what’s about to happen? We’ll find out next time.