WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed #1 by Ryan Stegman, Kyle Hotz and Juan Gedeon, in stores now.
Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1, didn't simply resurrect Cletus Kasady (again), it brought the villain back with a massive god complex. Thanks to an underground cult devoted to Knull, the symbiote god, Carnage returned stronger than ever, and with a clear mission. He's here to collect the codex -- leftover traces of symbiotes -- from all the characters in the Marvel Universe who were ever, at one time or another, bonded with a symbiote.
While the main Venom series focuses on Eddie Brock, Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed essentially works as a follow-up to Carnage Born. This issue picks up right where that series ended, revealing that Kasady has been a busy sociopath -- and an even bigger threat than he's ever been in the past.
The issue is told entirely from the point of view of the Venom symbiote, who has taken on the form of a dog. As a result of it being cut off from the Klyntar hive mind, it now has the mind of an animal, and is currently acting on instinct to protect its host, Eddie Brock. At a motel in San Francisco, while Eddie is sleeping, the symbiote dog becomes aware of a threat right outside the room; frightening, zombie-like drones
with red eyes are coming after his master/host.
The symbiote wastes no time in protecting Eddie, and starts following the trail of whatever it is that has infected these attackers. The trail leads underground, where it discovers the source behind these monsters. Carnage has amassed an army filled with people who are completely under his control. These soldiers are actually all an extension of Carnage, who is implanting mind-controlling worms inside them. From there, he sends his Carnage "drones" out into the world, where they're targeting everyone how has ever bonded with a symbiote.
This is a frightening development, to be sure, but the response both the Venom symbiote and Eddie Brock have is what drives home how dangerous Carnage has become. When the symbiote recognizes the scent of its nemesis, it whimpers in fear, flashing back to the iconic shot of Carnage pulling Brock and the symbiote apart in Venom: Carnage Unleashed. It may have been reduced to a nearly mindless beast, but clearly, the symbiote still recognizes the threat Carnage represents.
Similarly, when the symbiote returns to Eddie's side with the Carnage worms it has collected, Eddie also responds with fear. He's petrified at the prospect of facing his nemesis once more, particularly without the full might of the symbiote to protect him. Both Eddie and his symbiote are terrified of him, and that speaks volumes about the villain's new status in the Marvel Universe.
At the end of the issue, we get an idea of just how big Carnage's army is, and it seems like this is only the beginning. Clearly, Kasady is keeping himself busy, and his threat is becoming even bigger than we could have imagined. And considering Venom's recent upgrade to a title that deals with gods and cosmic beings, he might very well become a villain powerful enough to imperil the entire Marvel Universe.