A new variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man #30 shows Mary Jane Watson as a host of the Carnage symbiote. Carnage is quickly becoming the most interesting supervillain in the Marvel Universe. On the big screen, it looks as though Sony's Spider-Man films are gearing up to "Maximum Carnage" - which could be even more explosive with Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the mix.
In the comics, a newly-resurrected Carnage is essentially the star of the ongoing "Absolute Carnage" event. Cletus Kasady and his insane followers are attempting to unleash the symbiote god, Knull; to that end, they're hunting down anyone who has ever bonded with one of the alien symbiotes in order to retrieve remnants of the symbiote's codex implanted within their spine. Along the way, he's happily spreading his symbiote and possessing others.
Shannon Maer's variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man #30 envisions the Carnage symbiote taking possession of Spider-Man's beloved Mary Jane Watson. It's a particularly dark twist, given Marvel only recently commissioned a range of Mary Jane covers celebrating her return to Spider-Man's life. Maer gives Carnage MJ a sinister, steely expression that contrasts with her normally emotion-filled face; it underlines the sense that she's completely out of control. This is clearly one killer who feels no compassion when she's at work.
Maer's artwork is absolutely stunning. His vision of the Carnage symbiote is slightly different to the norm; rather than looking like a fluid, it instead appears as though Mary Jane's skin has been stripped away. The body looks as though the flesh has been peeled aside to reveal muscle and marrow; the hands feel as though they're soaked in blood. The transition between the symbiote and Mary Jane's T-shirt is perfect.
Interestingly, there is precedent for Mary Jane to become a host of the Carnage symbiote. In the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, MJ became the Carnage Queen, and actually overwrote the symbiote's penchant for chaos. She converted Midtown High into a symbiote hive, creating powerful and dangerous new symbiote creatures. Unfortunately, as strong-willed as the comic book version of Mary Jane may be, the truth is that she'd never be able to restrain the Carnage symbiote. Kasady has successfully enslaved some of the greatest superheroes in the Marvel Universe in the past, ranging from Wolverine to the Thing, and even the likes of Mary Jane would be unable to resist him. It's chilling to imagine a scenario where Spider-Man found himself facing this particular serial killer.
ABSOLUTE CARNAGE TIE-IN! Spider-Man has been a huge part of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, but this is when his part gets REALLY crazy… Only Spider-Man stands between Carnage at his scariest ever and young Dylan Brock. There is so much more to it, but WE DO NOT WANT TO SPOIL IT!