Absolute Carnage has the eponymous Marvel Comics villain returning bigger and badder than ever before, commanding his own cult of zealous followers. As Cletus Kasady launches a new bloody killing spree, the notorious serial killer is targeting anyone who has ever bonded to a symbiote to obtain a codex implanted in the host body's spine. However, of all the high-profile and obscure individuals in Carnage's path, Ghost Spider, Gwen Stacy is conspicuously absent from Cletus' hit list.
Now, we're taking a closer look Carnage's deranged mission and Spider-Gwen's own history with symbiotes to see why she appears to be safe for the horror-tinged comic book crossover event.
Written by Donny Cates and illustrated by Ryan Stegman, Absolute Carnage features the return of Cletus Kasady, who's more terrifying than ever before and serving the dark god of symbiotes Knull. Leading a blood-thirsty cult, Carnage hunted all the previous hosts of extraterrestrial symbiotes from the planet Klyntar, for the codexes implanted in their spines. With each codex that Carnage acquires, he grows stronger, gaining the impressive powers and abilities of each codex's original host.
Since the arrival of the Venom symbiote on Earth with Spider-Man after the events of Secret Wars, many of the Marvel Universe's iconic heroes and villains have bonded to a symbiote at one point over another, through events including Venomized. As the body count from the empowered Carnage and his cult begins to rise, Spider-Man and Venom scramble to protect other heroes and safely extract their codices while staying one step ahead of Carnage to prevent his plan to gain more power and awaken Knull from coming to fruition.
Gwen Stacy and the Symbiote
Created by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi in 2014's Edge of Spider-Verse #2, the Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 was bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker and became the Spider-Woman of her version of New York City. After teaming up with the heroic web-slingers to defeat Morlun's family during Spider-Verse, Spider-Gwen returned to her world where she encountered twisted versions of familiar Marvel characters, including an incarnation of Matt Murdock that serves as Earth-65's Kingpin, who forced Gwen to work for him in exchange for keeping her secret and a constant supply of radioactive isotopes to maintain her powers.
After discovering her friend Harry Osborn had been using a serum to transform into the Lizard, Gwen was given a symbiote developed by Elsa Bloodstone combining the isotopes and serum to form Earth-65's incarnation of Venom. After bonding with the symbiote, Gwen became uncontrollably violent, especially when Murdock provoked her by having Rhino attack her father to bring her in line. After defeating Murdock, Gwen reined in the symbiote's darker impulses and took full control of it while continuing her burgeoning superhero career.
Why is Gwen Safe from Carnage?
While Gwen has made several incursions into the main Marvel Universe to attend college there, she has seems to be safe from Carnage's latest rampage. While this may be partially due to her constantly teleporting between the two parallel worlds, Gwen is likely off Cletus Kasady's radar for a very specific reason: the version of the symbiote bonded to her did not implant a codex in her spine for Carnage to harvest.
So far, all the codices that Carnage has been hunting are extraterrestrial in origin, from the faraway planet Klyntar. As the main universe's Peter Parker surmised upon studying Gwen's Earth-65 symbiote, her symbiote is entirely the product of a science experiment from her Earth, combining the genetic serum that had transformed users into Lizard and the radioactive isotopes that had empowered the spider that first gave her her powers. As such, Carnage could be unaware of Ghost Spider's presence or, at the very least, largely uninterested in her, due to the difference in her symbiote's origin.