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The Best Carnage Stories for New Fans (And Where to Find Them)

One of the most fearsome villains in the Marvel Universe is Carnage, a symbiote-powered enemy that has bonded to the crazed serial killer Cletus Kasady. Created by David Michelinie and Mark Bagley, the character has antagonized Spider-Man and Venom for years, often leaving a bloody path in his wake.

With Carnage being reintroduced more powerful than ever in the latest Marvel Comics crossover event Absolute Carnage, by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, here is a selection of the best classic stories to prominently feature the terrifying villain that are accessible to new readers looking to learn more about Carnage's comic book history.

RELATED: Absolute Carnage Reanimates a Classic, Dead Hulk Character

Carnage Classic

Carnage Classic

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After Venom became one of the biggest breakout new characters added to the Spider-Man mythos in the 1980s, Marvel doubled down by introducing another symbiote-powered villain in the form of Carnage in 1992. While imprisoned in a maximum security facility, Eddie Brock's cellmate was the notorious serial killer Cletus Kasady. Before escaping, Eddie's Venom symbiote left an offspring which bonded with Cletus creating the psychotic Carnage.

Carnage Classic collects the earliest appearances of the mass-murdering supervillain, including bouts against Spider-Man, the Scarlet Spider, and the Silver Surfer as Cletus takes to his newfound super-powered state with especially murderous glee.

Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage

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While Venom operates mostly as a complicated, anti-heroic loner, Carnage has had no issues creating followers to aid him in spreading murder and mayhem all over the world and the epic crossover storyline Maximum Carnage had Carnage unleash his deadly offspring on New York City.

RELATED: Wait, Was Captain Marvel's Cat Just Killed By Carnage?

Created by a whole host of superstar writers and artists, this iconic 14-part story had Spider-Man and Venom enter an uneasy alliance to stop Carnage and his minions, with other Marvel superheroes dragged into the conflict as it continued to grow out of control.

Carnage: The One That Got Away

Carnage One Got Away

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After some time off the grid, Carnage returned with a vengeance in his most recent ongoing series, and the first volume of that story is collected as Carnage: The One That Got Away, which featured a claustrophobic hunt for the cunning killer. Written by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Mike Perkins, the story had the FBI enlist the help of John Jameson and Eddie Brock to track down Carnage after he launches a new bloody rampage.

Following Carnage to an abandoned mine, the hunters become the hunted while Eddie's other symbiote persona Toxin is poised to emerge and throws the whole confrontation into utter chaos in the dark. The resulting hybrid of horror and adventure is as tense as an Alien movie.

Deadpool vs. Carnage

deadpool and carnage

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Completely unhinged and delighting in every murder he commits, Carnage is not unlike the Joker as he revels in the bloody chaos that he constantly unleashes upon the Marvel Universe. However, one particular character who can match Cletus Kasady's pitch black sense of humor is the Merc with a Mouth himself, Deadpool.

RELATED: Marvel’s Absolute Carnage Event Extended, New Cover Revealed

Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Salvador Espin and Kim Jacinto, Deadpool vs. Carnage has the two wise-cracking figures face off in a blood-soaked, deliriously gory showdown for the ages. The collection contains the entire gleefully violent miniseries and a memorable confrontation in Superior Carnage Annual #1.

Venom vs. Carnage

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While Carnage may be the spawn of the Venom symbiote, there is no love lost between the two merged characters as Eddie Brock has often squared off against Cletus Kasady, even turning to seek help from his longtime enemy Spider-Man for desperate assistance.

The Venom vs. Carnage miniseries by Pete Milligan and Clayton Crain had the two symbiote-powered figures face each other once again, this time with the revelation that the Carnage symbiote was about to spawn an offspring of its own. And with the confrontation between the two rivals already bloody enough, the addition of a third symbiote takes the long-simmering fight to a whole new level of destructive chaos.

Carnage USA

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While he usually subjects New York City to his particular brand of murderous horror, Carnage turned his attention to America's heartland in the 2012 miniseries Carnage USA written by Zeb Wells and illustrated by Clayton Crain.

RELATED: Absolute Carnage Battles Venom in New Event Artwork

After the Avengers learn that Carnage has targeted a small, remote town to bring under his bloody will, the team attempts to stop him only to be defeated by Carnage's full fury. With Spider-Man as the last hero standing out of his usual stomping grounds, the web-slinger is in for the fight of his life against his old enemy.

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