Carnage is one of Marvel’s most controversial villains. Some fans love him and the chaotic, brutal energy he brings to a story. Other fans, however, see him as nothing more than just a cheap cash-in on Venom’s popularity. Eddie Brock’s villainous alter ego had been a huge hit in the early ’90s, and Marvel was eager to capitalize on him. Unfortunately, this meant making him less of a villain and more of an anti-hero. Carnage was created by David Michelinie, Erik Larson and Mark Bagley, and was intended to be a darker version of Venom, a complete psychopath with no morals.
Cletus Kasady was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #344 (1991) as Eddie Brock’s cellmate. When the Venom symbiote eventually freed Brock, it left behind a spawn. This new symbiote formed with Kasady, creating Carnage. Over the years, he would rack up one of the highest body counts in all of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery. The character has appeared in cartoons, video games and is even set to be featured in Sony’s upcoming Venom movie starring Tom Hardy. The character has been portrayed in vastly different ways in each interpretation, but the one thing that’s certain is that when Carnage shows up, he’s going to live up to his namesake.
15. THROWING A BABY OUT A WINDOW
When Spider-Man first encountered Carnage in Amazing Spider-Man #361 (1992) by David Michelinie and Mark Bagley, he quickly discovered that he couldn’t fight the villain on his own. Despite his reservations, he teamed up with Venom, who was still bonded to Eddie Brock and hated Spider-Man for ruining his life. The two reluctantly joined forces and tracked down Carnage together.
When they found him, Carnage was actually able to hold his own against the two adversaries. They were fighting in an apartment building, and when one of the neighbors noticed the fight, Carnage did the unthinkable. He grabbed an infant and threw it out a window just to cause a distraction and make his getaway. Luckily, Venom caught the infant, but the act still chilled Spidey to the bone.
14. TURNING THE CITIZENS OF NYC INTO RAGE FILLED MANIACS
During the summer of 1993, Carnage teamed up with some of Spider-Man’s most brutal enemies and took NYC by storm in an event known as Maximum Carnage. One of the members of Carnage’s “family” was Shriek, who was a fellow inmate at Ravencroft when Carnage broke out. Since the two shared a love for chaos and brutality, they hit if off right away.
Shriek immediately fell in love with Carnage, although it’s unclear if he felt the same way. He did, however, use her love to emotionally manipulate her to use her powers to amp up the aggression in the citizens of New York City. This caused riots across the city, endangering countless innocent lives for no reason other than simply because it amused Carnage.
13. KILLED A GUY FOR HAVING A FUNNY NAME
Carnage is a complete psychopath and believes that chaos is, ironically, the natural order. He’s also a completely homicidal maniac and has killed countless people over the years, often times indiscriminately. Many of his victims, however, are people who either tried to work with or take advantage of him, or people who were just unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. There is one kill, however, that was both random and pre meditated at the same time.
In Amazing Spider-Man #360 (1992) by David Michelinie and Chris Marrinan, Cletus Kassady is shown waiting for a man named Gunther Stein. When Gunther finally arrives, Cletus kills him, revealing that he choose him simply because he found his name in the phone book and thought it was funny sounding. This was the ultimate case of “adding insult to injury.”
12. INFECTING A TOWN WITH HIS SYMBIOTE
Over the decades, Carnage has developed some pretty unusual powers (compared to other known symbiotes). One of the most powerful tricks he’s picked up is the ability to create copies of his symbiote, which he can use to infect other people and bring them under his control. This gives him the ability to create a literal army of Carnage clones to do whatever he wants with.
That is exactly what happens in Carnage U.S.A. (2011) by Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain. Kasady heads to a small town in Colorado and infects almost everybody, including the children. The Avengers are sent in, and of course, find themselves infected too. Luckily, Spider-Man and Agent Venom are able to defeat Kasady, but the series ends on a downer when it’s revealed that Carnage killed several of the town’s children.
11. STALKING NOVA AND ATTACKING HIS SCHOOL
During the events of “Axis” (2014) by Rick Remender, many heroes and villains were caught in a spell that switched their internal axis from good to evil, or vice versa. Carnage was caught in the spell’s effects, and for a brief period of time, he acted as a hero. When he returned to normal, however, he decided he needed to send a message that he was evil and chose Sam Alexander, aka Nova, as his target.
In Nova #26 (2015) by Gerry Duggan and John Timms, Cletus attacked Sam but was wounded by the Nova force. After retreating, he waited until the next day to attack Sam at his high school. Nova not only had to defeat Carnage, but also convince him that he wasn’t Sam Alexander to keep the monster from continuously stalking him and putting family and classmates in danger.
10. ATTACKING ROBBIE ROBERTSON’S WIFE
In one of the stupidest moves ever, the new director of the Ravencroft Institute decided to cut down on the microwave fields holding Carnage in his cell. Not surprisingly, the villain immediately takes advantage of the lowered security and escapes. He then heads to the Daily Bugle in Amazing Spider-Man #430 (1998) by Tom Defalco and Joe Bennett.
He ends up in the same elevator as Martha Robertson, wife of Robbie Robertson, the Bugle’s editor in chief. When Carnage learned her identity, he attacked her, and wrote his name on the elevator’s wall in blood. While he didn’t slaughter Martha, he did traumatize her and Robbie for the same reason he does everything else: just because he can. Luckily, Carnage was quickly caught by Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer (who briefly bonded with the symbiote, but freed himself and trapped Carnage in an inescapable energy shell).
9. TORTURING VENOM
Venom and Carnage have never had a good relationship. Despite technically being parent and offspring, there’s no love lost between the two. It doesn’t matter which host is merged with the Venom symbiote, they always hate Carnage, and Kasady probably hates Venom more. In fact, Carnage showed just how much he hates Venom during the Maximum Carnage storyline in Web of Spider-Man #103 (1993) by Terry Kavanagh and Alex Saviuk.
After knocking Venom unconscious during a battle, Carnage actually decided not to kill his hated enemy. Instead, Carnage decided to chain Venom up and dangle him over a fire while he sporadically blasted him with a sonic gun (sound and flame being the symbiote’s two biggest weaknesses). Obviously, Venom wasn’t a great person at the time, but he still didn’t deserve the level of agony he went through.
8. INFECTING THE SILVER SURFER
While Cletus Kasady is one of the most reprehensible people to ever walk the Earth, the symbiote he’s bonded too isn’t all the great either. In Amazing Spider-Man #430 (1998) by Tom Defalco and Joe Bennett, the Silver Surfer just happens to be visiting Earth at the same time that Carnage escapes from prison. When he encounters Spider-Man fighting the villain, the symbiote had an unexpected reaction.
The symbiote recognized the Surfer through some sort of race memory, and was terrified of the former herald of Galactus, who had once brought the devourer of worlds to a planet of symbiotes. Seeing the Surfer, the symbiote detached from Kasady and ran away. Aside from being cowardly, it was also revealed that Kasady has stomach cancer, and the only thing keeping him alive was the symbiote, which abandoned him at the first sign of trouble.
7. COVERING DEAD BODIES IN FAKE SYMBIOTES
Toward the end of Maximum Carnage, (1993) the heroes develop a weapon that counteracts Shriek’s powers and sends feelings of love into their enemies. When the weapon is used against Carnage and his “family,” it quickly incapacitates them. Once everything clears up, Iron Fist discovers that Carnage is seemingly dead, which devastates Spider-Man. As bad as Carnage is, Spider-Man still can’t bring himself to be ok with killing the monster.
Of course, Carnage isn’t really dead. He turns up again for the finale to fight against Venom and Spider-Man, revealing that he created a duplicate of his symbiote and covered another dead body with it. He would repeat this trick again in “Spider-Man and Batman” (1995) by J.M. Dematteis and Mark Bagley. First, defiling dead bodies is gross, but even worse, tricking people into thinking that they’re murderers is truly reprehensible.
6. KILLING AN ENTIRE RESTAURANT (PROBABLY)
In Deadpool vs Carnage #1 (2014) by Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin, the story opens with a Kansas police officer stopping by a diner and saying out loud that if he ever crosses paths with the recently escaped Carnage, he’d shoot him down. This was a bad idea because, it turns out, Cletus Kasady was actually sitting right next to him at the bar.
After killing the cop, some local tough guys try to take Carnage down, which obviously doesn’t work out for them. In all honesty, these guys were kind of dumb for trying to fist fight a supervillain. The families that Carnage stops while they’re trying to run away, however, are a different story. It’s never explicitly stated if Carnage killed everyone in the diner, but a later news report says that he killed “more than a dozen people.”
5. INFECTING SPIDER-GIRL’S BABY BROTHER
The MC2 Marvel Universe took place in an alternate reality where the children of the Marvel Heroes were either teenagers or grown ups, and had taken on superhero identities of their own. The stories were mostly focused on May “Mayday” Parker, the daughter of Peter Parker and the future Spider-Girl. In this reality, Peter and Mary Jane eventually had another child, a boy who they named Ben.
When Spider-Girl encountered the Carnage of this world in Amazing Spider-Girl #9 (2007) by Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz, the symbiote is no longer bonded to Cletus Kasady. After it escapes from custody, it first bonds with May’s friend Moose, forming a new Carnage. Eventually, it kidnaps baby Ben and bonds the baby to a miniature version of the symbiote, creating a baby Carnage, who’s somehow both adorable and terrifying at the same time.
4. FREAKING OUT THE JOKER
In one of the many crossovers between Marvel and DC, Carnage met the Joker in Spider-Man and Batman (1995) by J.M. Dematteis and Mark Bagley. The plot kicked off with a common comic book trope: some doctor thinks she can cure the two villains, but of course, she actually can’t. She places a microchip in both Carnage’s and Joker’s brain, which will supposedly control them, but the symbiote deactivates Kasady’s chip, allowing to wait for the right moment to break both himself and the Joker free.
Freeing a villain as evil as the Joker would be bad enough, but things got worse when the two tried to team up. Instead of working together, Carnage discovered that the Joker is into theatrical mayhem, and the clown finds Kasady’s methods to be disgusting. Only someone truly evil could accomplish grossing the Joker out.
3. ATTACKING HIS ADOPTED SON
While Carnage may have formed a family of like-minded villains during “Maximum Carnage,” it definitely wasn’t a healthy family unit. The family dynamic was based around Carnage being the “dad” and Shriek being the “mom.” It was weird and messed up, but that’s how Carnage likes things. When he caught Shriek taking the family out murdering without him in Spider-Man #37 (1993) by J.M. Dematteis and Tom Lyle, he attacked his “wife” right in front of their “kids” (Doppelganger, Demogoblin and Carrion).
The simple-minded Doppelganger had formed a genuine attachment to Shriek and tried to protect her, which was a big mistake. Carnage made quick work of the beast, stabbing and slashing him before kicking him off a roof. When Spider-Man and the other heroes show up, both Carnage and Shriek seem to immediately forget their brutally beaten “son.”
2. TRYING TO DESTROY ALL REALITY
Despite being made for kids, Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994) was actually able to introduce a fairly accurate version of Carnage. When the symbiote teamed up with Baron Mordo, it ended up getting sucked into an interdimensional portal. It disappeared until the series finale, Spider-Wars, where it was revealed that another dimension had opened the portal, releasing the symbiote. Here, it bonded with this world’s Spider-Man, creating Spider-Carnage.
This villain’s plan wasn’t just to spread chaos, however. By using the interdimensional portal technology, he figured out a way to destroy all of reality, across the entire multiverse. Luckily, Madame Web and the Beyonder put together a team of Spider-Men to stop him, and the series’ main Peter Parker uses an alternate reality Uncle Ben to talk sense into Spider-Carnage and stop his plan.
1. TRYING TO MURDER HIS OWN OFFSPRING
While “Maximum Carnage” showed that Carnage doesn’t perform well in a simulated family setting, Venom vs Carnage (2004) by Peter Milligan and Clayton Crain showed that he isn’t any better at being a biological parent either. Venom tracks down Carnage when he senses that Kasady’s symbiote is about to reproduce, and was concerned because this would be the 1,000th symbiote in their genetic line and could suffer from psychosis (because apparently the Carnage symbiote was nice and stable?).
The new symbiote bonds with a cop named Patrick Mulligan, who himself is a new father, forming Toxin. Carnage then spends the rest of the miniseries trying to kill Toxin, feeling an irrational hatred for his own offspring. Luckily, Toxin survived and eventually bonded with Eddie Brock, which kind of makes Toxin his own grandfather.
Carnage is set to appear in Sony’s Venom, starring Tom Hardy as the titular symbiote and is currently scheduled to be released in October, 2018.
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