Well I gave it all the way until the end of the series but the verdict is in: the latest exploits of Carnage and crew were underwhelming to say the least. I was a huge fan of the Maximum Carnage crossover back in the 90's and I was thrilled to see Shriek and Doppelganger back together with Carnage for more murder and mayhem. Unfortunately I was disappointed...
Now to be fair, my disappointment partially came from my own lack of knowledge. Since I do not regularly read Spider-man issues, I was not up to date with my Carnage history or I would have known that Cletus Kasady had been torn in half and left for dead in space. So I was expecting to see Carnage and Co. rampaging somewhere causing all manner of trouble or something equally devastating, but instead we mostly got Spider-man and Iron Man chasing Doppelganger around while Shriek got some psychotherapy from her new therapist.
But fine, they wait until more then halfway through to bring in Kasady (or half of him at least), so I was really counting on this final issue to bring in some major Carnage-style catastrophe and property damage, and instead they stick him inside some weird Mecha-Human-Carnage suit to stomp through town like a transformer and they graft some creepy ass extra arm onto Shriek and call that a storyline?? Where was the random killing for fun? Where was the disturbing family dynamic that the group used to have? During Maximum Carnage, when Carnage and his "family" last got together, even in the midst of all the killing they had a twisted sense of family togetherness, with all their father/mother/son nonsense. This time it was more like Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers brought their dog out. I just feel like they waited all this time to bring Carnage and Shriek back together and then really cheaped out on the reunion.
The one shining moment in this disappointing final issue was the birth of a symbiote with tons of potential in my opinion. When Shriek's doctor, Tanis Nieves, willing accepting the symbiote to form the new being, Scorn. I know we've seen all kinds of symbiotes in the past but this time is different. This time someone took on the symbiotic bond, not for evil or destructive reasons, but to help people and fight evil. I think that, if we see more of Scorn, this will be a defining part of her personality and a key difference between her and other symbiotes like Venom or Carnage.
Last and certainly least, Iron Man was a complete waste of ink in this series. I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on this because it really was pointless. He served no point to the story and didn't bring anything to the table that another smart hero with access to energy weapons could have brought.
Overall, a pretty disappointing series. Maybe I was expecting too much from the Carnage/Shriek reunion but I simply feel like this could have been done so much better. I am still gonna check out Carnage U.S.A. because I really do love Carnage and I would read a Carnage series before a Spider-man series, but I am going to go in this time with much lower expectations.