Carnage will make his cinematic debut in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, one of Marvel Comics’ scariest and most maniacal characters. In the film, the Lethal Protector will face his most violent and dangerous enemy, as well as several other figures. So it’s time to get to know more of the psychotic symbiote!
Carnage is a symbiote, a member of an alien race called the klyntar, and the son of Venom, one of the most recognized villains in the Marvel universe. However, unlike his progenitor, Carnage takes great pleasure in murdering people, a personality trait he learned directly from his first host.
Cletus Kasady and Carnage have already done a lot of damage in the House of Ideas and are increasingly popular thanks to recent comic book events like Absolute Carnage and King in Black.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list with everything you need to know about Carnage – his powers, history, and even appearances in TV series and games!
Who’s Cletus Kasady?
Carnage was created in the comics by David Micheline, Mark Bagley, and Erik Larsen in The Amazing Spider-Man #344, February 1991. Initially, the character was just Cletus Kasady, a dangerous psychopath and serial killer imprisoned on Ryker Island. Cletus was pretty terrifying even before he got his hands on his symbiote.
Ever since he was a child, Cletus Kasady displayed sociopathic behavior. He was responsible for the death of his grandmother and had his father kill his mother. After his father was convicted, he was sent to an orphanage, where he continued his killing spree.
Cletus becomes increasingly violent and visceral and even burns down the institution in an act of rebellion. From then on, the great assassin was born, making several victims throughout his life to relieve the endless emptiness of his existence.
Upon reaching adulthood, Cletus became a terrible serial killer. He was captured and tried for his crimes and sentenced to serve eleven life sentences in the Ryker Island prison. However, thanks to the symbiote, he managed to escape and continue his acts of terror.
Carnage is Venom’s “Son”
Once locked up in prison, Cletus Kasady found that he had an illustrious cellmate: Eddie Brock, who had recently been defeated by Spider-Man and separated from Venom. Still, the black symbiote returned to save his host and free him from prison, leaving behind a tiny piece of his own goo.
The klyntar is an asexual species, and at some point in their lives, they spontaneously reproduce. This is what happened during the rescue of Eddie Brock. Venom left behind his offspring in his haste to escape, which instinctively sought an organism to be its host. This is how the newborn symbiont joined Cletus, becoming Carnage.
Upon coming into contact with the tiny “piece” left behind by Venom, the alien symbiote was transformed into Kasady’s body – gaining a greater taste for blood and violence, as well as being given a deep red color. And so, Cletus was able to escape from prison and begin his reign of terror.
Not all members of this alien race are evil. In fact, the evil members arise because of the symbionts’ bonding with unbalanced and evil hosts. Therefore, nothing good could result from the union of Venom’s son with Cletus.
When Venom started to become an anti-hero in the comics, Carnage became his main enemy. The new symbiote had a special hatred for his “father,” always chasing him and bringing him severe trouble. A fine example of this is the Maximum Carnage arc, initially published in 1993 in several Spider-Man comics.
Carnage (who had been imprisoned at the Ravencroft Institute) breaks free along with other villains – such as Shriek, Carrion, and Demogoblin – to attack the people of New York City. This forces Venom and Spider-Man to team up to fight and defeat him.
The assassin spent years tormenting other heroes and creating original symbionts that functioned as his “children.” But his big break came in 2019, with the release of the Absolute Carnage saga. This is all due to Donny Cates, a screenwriter who took over the Venom comics and created rich cosmic mythology for the symbiote.
Carnage plays a big part in all of this by becoming the “priest” of Knull, the God of Symbionts who was coming to Earth (and finally arrived in King in Black, Marvel’s current saga). During the event, we see Cletus chasing and killing several human hosts of symbionts, spreading chaos and Knull’s word on our planet.
Carnage as Knull’s Avatar
Carnage not only killed hosts of other symbionts but also absorbed these symbionts to become even more powerful. This is how he ends up gaining new forms, becoming increasingly stronger. Finally, he gets a complete makeover by absorbing Venom himself, becoming more skeletal, and gaining wings and horns.
During this period, it was as if the villain was Knull’s “avatar” on Earth, the perfect emissary to spread the message of the God of Symbionts. But it is here that the villain himself meets his end, being killed by Eddie Brock. Yet, despite the “death” of his body, Cletus’ consciousness was “saved” in Klyntar’s mind-collective.
Carnage Powers and Abilities
As Venom’s “heir,” Carnage shares almost all the powers that his “father” does. His symbiote is malleable and can transform into anything the host chooses (Cletus Kasady or anyone else). He also regenerates very quickly and can connect with other symbionts through telepathic communication.
However, the character has some unique features that are not derived from Venom – for example, he can mentally control anyone infected with his symbiote. He is also able to absorb other symbionts, as we saw in the Absolute Carnage saga.
In Venom comics, it is pretty common to see a symbiote “giving birth” to new symbiotes, performing “self fecundation” processes to create offspring and allow the Klyntar species to continue. With Carnage, it was no different, and he gave birth to other symbiotes that became well known among fans.
Among his spawns, we have the symbiont Scorn (who bonded with Tanis Nieves) and Raze (bonded with Jubulile van Scotter).
But, the most famous of Carnage’s offspring is Toxin. Toxin is more potent than his “parents” and the first symbiote to become a hero. He is Carnage’s son and Venom’s grandson. He took up residence in the body of Patrick Mulligan, a New York City police officer. His powers include the organic web, spider-sense, and he can create axes and blades.
Carnage Appearances in Series and Animations
Carnage has become a persistent presence in the Spider-Man series and comics. Even though he is not as popular as other villains such as Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus – or even Venom himself – he always pops up to cause some trouble (although he is never as violent as in the comics).
The character has appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the classic animated series from the 1990s, where he became a formidable foe for the Neighborhood Guy.
He has also been in the recent Ultimate Spider-Man and making an almost unnoticeable special appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man, aired from 2008 to 2009.
Carnage Appearances in Games
Carnage is a recurring villain in the gaming world, either in Spider-Man games or in major adventures with various Marvel teams. In addition, he has appeared as a boss in several games. Still, He has also become a playable character in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and Super Hero Squad Online.
In mobile games, he has become a sensation. The character is included in titles such as Spider-Man Unlimited, Puzzle Quest, Marvel: Contest of Champions, and even the famous RPG Marvel: Future Fight, where he even has a skin inspired by the events of Absolute Carnage and the more recent character arcs.