The tenth best-selling title of February 2018, at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, many of this comic’s 55,138 readers were probably left wondering just how the Hunt Valley headquartered supplier apparently managed to ‘run out’ of Issue Seven Hundred And Ninety Six of “The Amazing Spider-Man” in advance orders alone and subsequently require the “Marvel Worldwide” book to go to a “second printing” before it had hit the shelves. Admittedly, this twenty-page periodical provides Norman Osborn’s incarnation of Carnage with a little ‘screen time’ as the murderously merged, sadistic symbiote cold-bloodedly kills a pair of the arms dealer’s loyal bodyguards slowly. Yet half a dozen panels somewhat ponderously pencilled by Mike Hawthorne hardly explains just why this publication was supposedly selling on “eBay” “for $15 to $25” before the $3.99 cover-priced copy had even gone on sale.
Likewise it is highly debatable that “Higher Priorities” owes much of its supposed success to Dan Slott and Christos Gage’s narrative either, as the collaborative partnership’s script featuring the colourfully costumed crime-fighter and Agent Anti-Venom battling the ever crazy Goblin Nation over “a rare explosive metal” was hardly likely to ever win the duo a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Single Issue despite the robbery’s pleasing, pulse-pounding pace. Indeed, considering that the successful conclusion to thwarting Phil Urich’s dastardly theft shockingly hinges upon the fact that J. Jonah Jameson now knows Peter Parker’s secret identity may well have had many in this comic’s audience baying for the writing pair’s blood, considering that such an astounding revelation was not depicted within the “mainstream continuity of the franchise”, but rather previously penned in Chip Zdarsky’s “Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man”.
Of course that isn’t to say there is nothing to enjoy within this somewhat ‘self-contained’ story. Flash Thompson’s prominent presence throughout provides the piece with some fun moments, such as when an incapacitated Boomerang informs the titular character that having just “been busted” by Anti-Venom “I just wanna say — He did it way better”, or later when the New York-born adventurer turns his back upon his fellow wall-crawler whilst the ‘team-up’ faces the Goblin King so as to return Hugo’s recently severed forearm to the disabled guard in order to help reattach it; “Okay, Now that’s hilarious. You look like you just got stood up at the super hero prom! Heh Heh…” However, such merriments simply make this tale a competent comic rather than account for why bibliophiles worldwide suddenly acquired so strong a bout of “Goblin fever”!