There are few things quite as satisfying as bitter enemies putting aside their differences for the greater good. For Peter Parker and Eddie Brock, that greater good came in stopping Venom’s offspring Carnage. After bonding with Brock’s cell mate, a serial killer named Cletus Kasady, Carnage escaped prison and began a murderous rampage across New York City. The symbiote’s raw power coupled with Kasady’s sociopathic personality made it so neither Spider-Man nor Venom could defeat Carnage alone. However, even with their powers combined, Carnage proved to be a deadly enemy.
It wasn’t just his brute strength and animalistic tendencies that made Carnage such a formidable foe, though. Because Carnage spawned from Venom, the new symbiote inherited more powerful versions of the same abilities that its parent took from Spider-Man. On top of that, Carnage has access to a number of powers and abilities that Venom simply doesn’t. This is in part due to Carnage being gestated on the alien atmosphere of Earth, but he’s also picked up an extra trick or two since his debut. With Carnage rumored to make his film debut in Sony’s upcoming Venom movie it’s the perfect time to remind readers of everything Carnage can do (that Venom can’t).
15. CARNAGE IS MUCH HARDER TO SEPARATE
Where Venom and other symbiotes bond with their host’s nervous system, Carnage entered Kasady’s bloodstream through a cut and bonded with him at the cellular level. This makes them nearly inseparable and grants both Kasady and the symbiote a number of physical benefits. In fact, their connection is so strong that they are generally considered to be one entity. Kasady often refers to the two of them as “I” instead of “we.”
Carnage has many of the same weaknesses as Venom, but instead of being separated by forces like fire, Carnage has the ability to retreat into Kasady’s bloodstream. The trick has even allowed Carnage to fully regenerate after seemingly being destroyed. Due to a mutation connecting Carnage with Kasady’s blood, the symbiote is able to regenerate and reemerge after he cuts himself.
14. HE CAN SEE OUT OF EVERY INCH OF THE SYMBIOTE
Given the fact that Carnage was originally intended as a replacement for Venom, it should come as no surprise that in many ways he’s simply Venom 2.0. One thing that always gave Venom an edge over Spider-Man was his immunity to Peter’s Spider-Sense. This, along with Venom’s own incredible extrasensory perception abilities made it so that Venom was often able to stay just one step ahead of Peter.
In that same spirit of one-upsmanship Carnage was also given the ability to “see” out of every inch of the symbiote. He’s also got an increased reaction time and near perfect reflexes which are faster than both Spider-Man and Venom’s equivalent powers. This makes Carnage nearly impossible to sneak up on or in some cases even hit.
13. HE CAN GO 24 HOURS WITHOUT RESTING
Like any other symbiote, Carnage enhances Kasady’s normal physique to superhuman levels. It goes without saying that he can run much faster than any average human, but it’s his endurance that’s truly exceptional. Due to his cellular bond with the Carnage symbiote, Kasady’s muscles produce far less fatigue toxin than the average human body.
Because of this, Kasady is able to physically exert himself at peak performance for about 24 hours before feeling any of the negative side effects.
Long after his prey has worn out, Carnage will still be fueling Kasady’s bloodlust with nearly limitless amounts of energy. The most terrifying part about this ability is that, thanks to Carnage’s agility and enhanced senses, trying to run or hide simply isn’t an option.
12. HE CAN REGENERATE HIS ENTIRE BODY
All symbiotes provide some level of healing factor to their hosts, but Carnage is on a whole other level. On numerous occasions Carnage has effortlessly protected Kasady from what should be lethal injuries. We’ve seen the symbiote replace Kasady’s limbs, missing internal organs and even his head in mere seconds.
This means Carnage’s healing factor could arguably surpass the likes of even Deadpool and Wolverine.
The symbiote’s most impressive healing feat, however, came on the pages of Venom #27 by writer Cullen Bunn and artists Declan Shalvey and Lee Loughridge. While bonded to Flash Thompson, Venom fought and decapitated Carnage only to see his entire body reform almost immediately. The speed and reliability of this regeneration lets Kasady throw himself at his opponent without any risk involved. Combine that ability with his ruthless nature and never-ending energy and you have a killing machine that just keeps going and going.
11. HE’S STRONGER THAN VENOM AND SPIDER-MAN COMBINED
It was obvious Carnage was a heavy hitter from his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #361 by writer David Michelinie and artists Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin and Bob Sharen. Carnage wiped the floor with Spidey in their first encounter and left a message in his blood to let readers know he was the new edgelord in town.
Spider-Man was so concerned by this new enemy that he attempted to get his friends in the Avengers involved, but they were all tied up in their own world-threatening adventures. It became clear just how strong Carnage was when he was able to take down both Spider-Man and Venom together with ease. While simply bonded to Kasady, Carnage can reportedly lift somewhere around 80 tons, but (for reasons we’ll explain later) that’s not even close to his limit.
10. HE’S IMMUNE TO ALL EARTHLY ILLNESS
Saving Kasady from deadly wounds isn’t the only thing Carnage does to protect its host. The symbiote’s impressive healing factor also extends to Kasady’s immune system. Because of this, Carnage is completely immune to any Earth-borne disease, illness or infection. So anyone hoping Kasady might take a sick day is going to be sorely disappointed.
The increased resistance also applies to anything that could harm or impair Kasady’s bodily functions.
Any sort of drug, poison or chemical would require an extreme dosage to have the desired effect. This severely limits the options of anyone trying to neutralize the threat of Carnage without actually having to go toe to toe with him. The symbiote will protect its host at all costs, as long as Kasady remains bonded to Carnage, he’s practically invulnerable.
9. HE CAN LAUNCH FULLY FORMED WEAPONS
During its time bonded to Spider-Man, the Venom symbiote learned how to form itself into webbing to allow its host to swing around the city. When Brock became Venom’s new host, this ability evolved to include forming tendrils and weapons for use in battle. When it came time to adapt this ability for Carnage, the creative team of David Michelinie, Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley decided that projectile weapons was the way to go.
Carnage is most commonly seen forming himself tendrils to restrain his victims or large axes to slice at them. However, when it comes to long range attacks, he’ll often launch barrages of spikes or spears at enemies instead. The only drawback to this ability is that the weapons disintegrate after a few seconds if Carnage doesn’t reclaim the pieces.
8. HIVE MIND
In one of the few times Carnage and Kasady were separated, the symbiote was taken by Michael Hall of Hall Industries to be experimented on. Before reuniting with Kasady, Carnage bonded to Doctor Tanis Nieves and gained the ability to create duplicates that could be controlled by itself or Kasady.
In Carnage #4 by writer Zeb Wells and artist Clayton Crain, Carnage used his newfound ability to absorb a private security team/Power Rangers rip off called the Iron Rangers. Hall put together the team’s suits using tech from Iron Man’s armor and bits of the symbiote. Carnage was able to reclaim these pieces to use the team’s bodies to transform into a blue, Voltron style monstrosity. When Iron Man tries to regain control of the tech using a virus, Carnage is actually able to start infiltrating Tony’s armor, requiring him to abort.
7. HE CAN INCREASE HIS SIZE AND POWER
As if he wasn’t deadly enough in his “natural” state, Carnage somehow has the ability to get even stronger. In certain instances Kasady is able to expand the symbiote’s mass and relative power by consuming large quantities of matter. In Carnage, U.S.A. #1 by Wells and Crain, Kasady decides to take over a small meat-packaging town in Colorado.
The first step in that attack finds Kasady breaking into one of the meat-packaging plants to consume thousands of cow carcasses and at least a handful of workers.
From there, Carnage is able to start spreading himself through the town’s pipes to start taking over its citizens one by one (more on that in a second). Carnage briefly lost this ability when Otto Octavius developed a specialized chemical to neuter the symbiote during his tenure as Spider-Man. He would later regain a weaker version of the power thanks to a magic book called the Darkhold.
6. PSYCHIC CONTROL
Like all symbiotes, Carnage has the ability to psychically interact with its host. However, Carnage also has the power to implant thoughts in people’s minds and even take control of their bodies. In Carnage: Mind Bomb #1 by writer Warren Ellis and artists Kyle Hotz and Marie Javins, a therapist named Matthew Kurtz believes he’s made a breakthrough treating Kasady. That is, until he literally gets a tendril drilled into his head and loses his mind from Kasady’s influence.
In Carnage U.S.A. #1, after he’s taken over most of the aforementioned Colorado town, a team of Avengers arrive to deal with the situation. Captain America, Hawkeye, Thing and Wolverine are all immediately taken under Carnage’s control because he wanted to keep things between him and Spider-Man.
5. HE IS NO LONGER WEAKENED BY SONIC ATTACKS
For almost the entirety of Carnage’s existence he’s had two weaknesses that all symbiotes share: fire and sound waves. However, Carnage lost one of the few vulnerabilities it ever had after being empowered by the elder God Chthon’s magic. Remember that ancient Darkhold book we mentioned earlier? Well, in addition to returning some of Carnage’s old mind control abilities, it also gave him a pass on the whole “weak to sonic blasts” thing.
Granted, he technically traded it for a weakness to Chthonic magic, but realistically, how often is that going to come up? So now the only way for the average, non-magical person to defend themselves against Carnage is to carry around a flamethrower. Good thing Elon Musk finally gave us an affordable option, huh?
4. SOMETIMES VAMPIRIC?
This entry is interesting because some fans have argued over the years that this is little more than an error. But in issue #2 of New Avengers by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists Danny Miki, Mark Morales and Frank D’Armata, Carnage is described as a vampire.
When Bendis introduces Carnage, he’s described as a “Homicidal, Vampiric, Alien Symbiote.” On the very next page Jessica Jones reaffirms this saying, “Don’t let him touch you! He feeds off people!” The controversy comes from the fact that no other mainstream Marvel comic depicts Carnage as being Vampiric, but Bendis’ own Ultimate Spider-Man series did. This has led many fans to accuse Bendis of crossing his wires during the writing of this issue vs. it being a canonical power.
3. CLONING PEOPLE (SORT OF)
Speaking of Ultimate Carnage, before we move away from Ultimate Spider-Man let’s discuss that universe’s version of Carnage for a second. In USM, instead of being an alien race, the symbiotes were created by the fathers of Peter Parker and Eddie Brock. Carnage was created when Doctor Curt Conners mixed some of Peter’s Blood with the original Venom suit.
Ultimate Carnage was only able to sustain itself by feeding off other people (like a vampire!) and eventually killed Gwen Stacy.
When Gwen later returned, Iron Man explained that Carnage had created a perfect clone of Gwen including all of her memories to serve as its host. Readers later learned that the clone had actually been made by Ben Reilly and Otto Octavius using DNA from both Gwen and Carnage (for some reason).
2. HE CAN REDUCE HIMSELF TO A CELLULAR LEVEL
In his most bizarre feat ever, Carnage once shrunk down to a molecular level to travel through wires. Sick of being held captive at Ravencroft Institute, Carnage concocts a convoluted escape plan that actually works thanks to his insanely OP abilities.
In issue #1 of Venom: Carnage Unleashed by writer Larry Hama and artists Andrew Wildman, Joe Rubinstein and Tom Smith, Kasady agrees to sign over the rights to his life to a video game company on the condition that he be allowed to have a computer in his cell. It’s completely disconnected from all other computers, except one at the game’s development studio’s headquarters. This is so Kasady is able to partake in the beta for the game inexplicably based on his real-life killing sprees. Kasady use the one-way connection to attack the game’s developer and force him to hack into Ravencroft and set him free.
1. KILL INDISCRIMINATELY
This isn’t a power or special ability, but one thing that truly separates Carnage from Venom is a moral compass. Eddie Brock’s hands are far from clean, but even at his worst he’s not a cold blooded killer. Carnage is already a force to be reckoned with thanks to all the abilities discussed in this article. That being said, what really makes him such a volatile threat is his callous and unpredictable nature.
Co-creator Erik Larsen has said that when creating Kasady he intentionally modeled the character after the Joker, and it shows. Though it can at times be an asset to his fighting, Kasady’s erratic and volatile behavior often works against him. The fragility of his mind makes him easy to exploit and allowing opponents to get a rare leg up. Where Venom was able to mature into an anti-hero, Carnage can only ever be a force for destruction.
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