Carnage is a character that debuted in 1992, less than ten years after his famous “father”, Venom. Still, in the years to come, Carnage became one of Marvel’s cult villains and a character that was as authentic as he was scary. The story of the Carnage symbiote’s connection with the deranged serial killer Cletus Kasaday is one of the best Marvel has ever made and certainly explains why Carnage became so popular during his run. He has appeared in movies, animation, and video games, and with the upcoming sequel to Tom Hardy’s Venom coming to theaters this fall, we have decided to prepare you for the movie with this article.
In today’s article, we are going to give you a list of the 10 best Carnage stories that appeared in the comics. We are going to rank them from 10th to 1st, giving you information about the comics and the stories involved. This is, of course, going to be just a brief synopsis so be sure to read the comics yourselves if you want to get the full experience.
10 best Carnage comics
10. “Planet of the Symbiotes”
Writer(s): David Michelinie
Publication Date: June – October 1995
The plot begins with Eddie Brock pondering if he is capable of controlling Venom after learning of a similar problem from Riot, Phage, Lasher, Agony, and Scream. While teaming up with Spider-Man against a terrorist group, Brock realizes that Venom is pushing him to kill.
Having delved into Brock’s problems, Spider-Man tries to convince him to abandon the symbiote, saying that this affects the soundness of his decisions. Eddie frees himself from Venom with some effort, and Venom, enraged at being rejected, telepathically summons a huge ship full of symbiotes to Earth.
Symbiotes begin to merge with ordinary people, forcing them to commit murder. Eddie Brock, feeling guilty, teams up with Spider-Man and Ben Reilly again to investigate. They learn that symbiotes are extracting components from the Earth that they need to create an unknown device. The trinity attacks the symbiotes, but is captured, and Ben Reilly agrees to merge with the symbiote.
They are teleported to a planet already invaded by symbiotes. The symbiote, merged with Ben Reilly, reports that his goal is to change the usual history of his species and achieve interbreeding with other races in order to begin to feel emotions, and Venom advocates for getting closer to the carrier, and not taking over him, but that nevertheless, they will not abandon their intention to conquer the Earth.
They teleport back to Earth, where they release Cletus Kasaday. The symbiote attacks him, and Cletus becomes Carnage’s bearer again. Carnage absorbs one of the symbiotes and realizes that as a result of this, he becomes stronger.
While Carnage absorbs a huge number of symbiotes, increasing in size, Spider-Man seeks a way to kill him. At this time, Venom decides that if he does not stop Carnage, he will die himself, and with the help of his telepathic abilities, which helped him call the ship, decides to independently destroy his own army. He instills pain and despair in symbiotes and they commit suicide.
9. “The One that Got Away”
Writer(s): Gerry Conway
Artist(s): Mike Perkins
Publication Date: 2016
Cletus Kasady is sitting in a restaurant complaining to the waitress that everyone thinks he is stupid because of his accent. When he sees himself on TV, he tells them to turn up the volume and gets angry when they call him “Cleavon”. He is surprised to see that Manuela Calderon, one of the victims of St. Este’s Home for Boys, not only survived his rampage, but is also a two-time Afghan veteran and a prominent private security expert.
Outraged, Cletus transforms into Carnage and kills the waitress, revealing that he has already killed everyone else in the restaurant. At the Gray Ridge Mine, Col. John Jameson and FBI Agent Claire Dixon discuss the television show, revealing that it is a trap to be used to capture Carnage with portable sonic cannons. Upon meeting Manuela, Jameson asks her why she would tour Afghanistan three times and she responds by asking why he would return to the military and do rescue missions in Iraq.
Barry Gleason, the managing director of Gray Ridge Investments, reveals that Manuela was his idea as bait, just like the plan to catch Carnage with the mine that has now been played out. Jameson asks what happens if the plan fails, and Agent Dixon introduces him to Eddie Brock. Jameson is shocked that the FBI recruited Venom, but Dixon explains that he is now the Toxin symbiote.
When Jameson asks what a Toxin is, Eddie explains that the Venom symbiote is now related to another man who works for the government, and the Toxin symbiote is the descendant of the Carnage symbiote, which itself is the descendant of the Venom symbiote. Dixon says the FBI used the sonic cannons to arrest Eddie after he crushed a drug cartel in Philadelphia. Eddie notices that he has known the FBI had been stalking him for a week ago, and Agent Dixon replies that he is doing something useful and has the option of continuing to do so.
Manuela asks what she means, and Agent Dixon states that they used Symbiotic Suppressor technology on Toxin and that Eddie will be permanently on parole if he follows orders. Eddie notes that not everyone is hoping the operation goes smoothly, and as he walks away, Jameson realizes that if they have to rely on him, things could get even worse than expected.
Agent Dixon notes that it doesn’t have to come to this, and Manuela says it’s good to know that they are thinking about the future. At dusk, Manuela and a team of agents make their way to the mine area, while Jameson notices the installation reminds him of the goat scene in Jurassic Park. Jameson asks why they really brought him in, and Agent Dixon replies that the office has its reasons.
Dixon calls Manuela, who replies that the perimeter sensors are not showing any activity. Eddie, standing nearby, notes wryly that they wouldn’t. Outside, Carnage secretly picks up the patrolling guards and leaves one member of each team alive to not report any activity. When one of the agents asks why a girl attends a boys’ school, Manuela replies that her mother is the roommate. Agent Dixon spots Carnage’s tendrils on one of the West Grid hotspot cameras, and Eddie replies it’s getting funny.
Carnage ambushes Manuela and kills the accompanying guard. Manuela asks the teams to approach her and avoid Carnage’s tentacles. Jameson notices that Carnage is moving too fast for the cannons to follow, and Eddie asks Agent Dixon to send him inside, but has to shut up. Agent Dixon tells Manuela to bring Carnage into the target grid, and Manuela hits Carnage with a whistle before pausing for the target area.
Carnage pursues them and realizes that he will no longer let them escape, but will be blown up by the sound emitters that keep the symbiote away from Cletus. Sound vibrations loosen an embankment in an old drift tunnel, causing a massive collapse directly under Cletus and swallowing it with several agents. When Agent Dixon angrily meets Barry Gleason, who says he thought the site was clear, Eddie happily says it’s time for Plan B.
At dawn, Colonel Jameson notices that if the agents weren’t trapped, they could leave Carnage locked in the mine. Eddie asks Jameson if he’s scared, and Jameson says Carnage killed nine people in less than thirty seconds, making their rescue operation ruthless. The time for another attack on Carnage has come.
8. Carnage: Black, White & Blood
Publication Date: 2021
Carnage: Black, White & Blood is actually an anthology series consisting of four issues that recounts Carnage’s large(r) story within Marvel’s universe. The stories are sometimes standalone narratives, while sometimes they have some shared elements. The story digs into the past, explores the present and foreshadows the future, including other characters as well, such as Spider-Man and Venom. Since it would take too much of your time go through each of the stories, we are just bringing you this short overview, suggesting that you get yourselves a copy of the collected edition and enjoy it.
7. “What Dwells Beneath”
Writer(s): Gerry Conway
Artist(s): Mike Perkins
Publication Date: 2016 – 2017
Coming to Chthonic Island, Carnage is immediately captured by the Chthon broodlings – amphibious humanoids created by the sinister god Chthon to further his ambitions on Earth. Almost two days later, the Anti-Symbiote Task Force arrives to use Jubulile van Scotter’s psychic connection to Carnage to pursue him through the jungle; though they are ambushed by a horde of broodlings.
When the task force finds that Carnage is being roasted over a fire, the task force reluctantly tries to save him – since his death would risk killing Jubulile – but are surprised by Raze, who uses her symbiote to free Carnage and flee with him into the jungle. While fighting the broodlings, John Jameson succumbs to the Godstone and turns into a wolfman who flees into the jungle.
As the task force reforms, Jubulilie has a vision of Cletus’ time as Eddie Brock’s cellmate on Ryker’s Island and is afraid of him; Eddie admits he’s not a good person but tries to get better. Carnage and Raze make their way to an eerie temple in the middle of the jungle; Carnage relives Jubulilie’s memories of her family and Claire Dixon, who suffers an existential crisis because she is forced to obey Carnage’s will.
As Carnage and Raze descend into the non-Euclidean depths of the Temple, Victoria tells the Task Force that she is the daughter of Chthon and that she dedicated her superhuman long life to stopping him. The team finds Man-Wolf and manages to return him to his human form before descending into the eerie temple.
In the depths of the temple, Carnage and Raze meet Obrien – the high priest of Chthon and the only male breeding bird who tells Carnage that it is his destiny to be sacrificed to awaken Chthon. Carnage refuses, attacks the assembled broodlings and uses their blood to perform the ritual itself. As the task force descends into the temple, Eddie Brock admits that it was wrong to hold the Venom symbiote responsible for the crimes they committed as Venom and that he questions his belief in God.
While Carnage is performing the ritual to summon Chthon, the temple begins to collapse when a portal opens to Cthon’s prison dimension, K’lay; the task force arrives as Chthon is being called up. Desperate, Montesi suggests that Eddie give Jubulilie the Toxin symbiote to activate their own, but he refuses until Raze – on Carnage’s orders – kills Montesi’s aide, Yuvraj Singh.
Chthon devours the remaining broodlings and scornfully knocks Carnage aside when Kasady demands to be rewarded with apotheosis; Jubulilie assimilates the toxin symbiote into her own before absorbing the Raze symbiote from Claire. When Chthon tries to summon his army of Great Elderly and Evil Elder Gods, Jubulilie attacks him and banishes Chthon with the help of Montesi with the help of the Darkhold back to K’lay.
When Jubulilie’s symbiote appears to perish, Carnage tries to kill the task force in a fit of rage. Freed from his control, Claire sacrifices herself to protect her and dies in Eddie’s arms. while Montesi uses the Darkhold to rob Kasady of the Carnage symbiote, Kasady is extradited to the United States five days later to be imprisoned there; and the task force members say goodbye and go their separate ways.
6. Carnage, U.S.A.
Writer(s): Zeb Wells
Artist(s): Clayton Crain
Publication Date: 2012
Doverton, Colorado. A young child shoots his sister with a water pistol in front of his mother. A man named Robbie is arrested. An elderly couple sits on a porch and plans to paint the house. In a meat packing plant, a worker inspects pigs and finds them half-eaten.
Another man who appears to be eating them then says he will buy them. When the worker asks what, the man who turns out to be Cletus Kasady says “EVERYTHING!” and unleash his Carnage symbiote. Four days before the main story, Carnage, Cletus Kasady, and most of all, Spider-Man are wanted for unknown reasons, even though Kasady is responsible for his previous crimes.
A policeman, the father of the small child mentioned above, drives his car through the fence, rushes into the house and tells his wife to get away from the sink. What he’s looking for – the Carnage symbiote – is in the bathroom and holding his son hostage. Carnage bonds with the boy and attacks his father.
City sheriff Bryan O’Neil stumbles out of town and mumbles names for Cletus Kasady – even though he’s there himself. The Feds later discuss what happened when they saved O’Neil. They contact the Avengers, who are playing with Wolverine trying to do the arrow-and-apple stunt, with Hawkeye shooting and Spider-Man handling the apple (of course, Wolcerine won’t do it).
Captain America meets with them to discuss the Carnage issue. Spider-Man contacts Thing (since he has something that could help), much to Hawkeye’s chagrin (he hates Ben’s arrogant way of answering the phone, and Spider-Man quickly begins to hate it too). Back in Doverton, the elderly couple sit down with Kasady, who complains about being the only one pushing the swing.
He leaves immediately and drinks contaminated water (possessed civilians wait for him by the hands and feet). Meanwhile, a Quinjet transports the heroes mentioned above. This Thing has a giant Sonic Disruptor who, when shot at Carnage, says, “It’s clobberin ‘time!” In town, they come across a man who keeps saying “Big big smiles”.
Cap walks up to him when several other people repeat the same thing over and over. Suddenly, Kasady approaches them with a baby. Hawkeye aims a shot and provokes the symbiote. The symbiote attacks the heroes, but when Spidey tries to give them advice on how to avoid it, Kasady grabs them and says the matter is fair between them. And as the other four heroes become Carnage, Spider-Man’s emergency call goes offline and triggers a PROJECT: LIQUID contingency plan – free all other symbiotes. The story continues with Carnage possessing almost all the Avengers, before Venom and Spider-Man finally managed to defeat him.
Writer(s): David Michelinie
Artist(s): Mark Bagley
Publication Date: April – June 1992
Serial killer Cletus Kasaday, now the symbiote-powered Carnage, arrives at Peter’s university, looking for his next victim. He finds Chip, a classmate of Peter Parker. Chip begins to run away from Carnage, but Carnage picks up a sink and throws it at Chip so he can’t leave the room. Carnage goes to Chip, grabs him by the neck, and puts his fingers to kill Chip.
The phone rings at May Parker’s place. Peter answers the phone and learns that one of his classmates, Chip, has been murdered. Spider-Man enters the lab where Chip was killed and hides in the air conditioning vents to get information. Peter later tells Mary that Chip was killed and tells her that he suspects Venom to be the culprit.
He recounts how he first obtained the Venom Symbiote on Battleworld during the Secret Wars storyline. After learning that it was trying to bond with him permanently, he then used the strong bells of the cathedral to seemingly to destroy it. The symbiote survived and bonded with someone who hated Spider-Man as much as he did – Eddie Brock.
Brock bonded with the symbiote and became Venom, one of Spider-Man’s most powerful enemies. Peter goes to the Daily Bugle and searches the newspaper’s computer archives to trace Eddie Brock’s activities before their last fight. He finds out that Eddie had a cellmate on Ryker’s Island. That cellmate was Cletus Kasaday, an unrepenting mass murderer who received 11 life sentences. He also discovers that Cletus had just escaped from his cell and murdered one of the prison guards in the process.
Peter wonders if this is Cletus’ first murder and what kind of monster he’s dealing with now. That evening, Spider-Man goes to the ruins of St. Estes’ Home and finds Cletus talking to himself. The deranged maniac sits naked in front of a fire and talks to a teddy bear he calls Binky. When the wall-crawler tries to get closer, he reveals his presence to Kasaday.
At the sight of the robot from the wall, Cletus suddenly transforms into Carnage and tears the teddy bear apart with his bare hands. Carnage reaches out to defeat Spider-Man and reminds him of fights with Venom. Spider-Man’s battles against the homicidal symbiote begin; he is later accompanied by Eddie Brock so that the two must stop Carnage together.
4. Venom vs. Carnage
Writer(s): Peter Milligan
Artist(s): Clayton Crain
Publication Date: 2004
Venom and Carnage went their separate ways, with Carnage claiming that he didn’t want anything to do with the impending unnamed event and Venom insisting that it would happen regardless of Cletus’ feelings about it.
After throwing Venom into the Hudson River, Carnage managed to dig deep under he ground in hopes of using the depth to suffocate their unborn child right after birth. Officer Patrick Mulligan arrived at the scene with his partner and discovered Carnage was leaving.
Across town, Felicia Hardy was attending an art exhibition in a gallery when the power went out. When he reappeared, the owner was surprised to find that a painting was missing.
Officer Mulligan arrived at the house and greeted his very pregnant wife with a kiss on the stomach. As they began to talk about the evil he had witnessed earlier in the day, Venom found them, closely followed by Carnage. In the fight that followed, Gina was thrown down a staircase and Carnage managed to drive Patrick away, ready to eviscerate in order to remove the “child”.
Black Cat returns the stolen painting to the Creator when she notices Carnage throwing Officer Mulligan out of a building. She reluctantly intervenes and saves his life. Carnage catches up with them and is about to kill them both when Venom finds them, and while they are fighting, Black Cat and Mulligan escape. The two fight, and Carnage is apparently killed when he is run over by a subway train.
Mulligan goes to the hospital to meet his newborn son Edward. Venom waits outside the hospital to protect the newborn symbiote. Carnage survived and digs beneath the hospital to bide his time before he can strike his offspring again. Spider-Man also patrols the area to keep Pat’s safety.
A few days later, Pat returns to work and finds that his reflexes and strength are better than ever. His partner will notice and comment on it as he gets to his next call. There, they check the security tape of the woman who stole the painting the night before, and Pat immediately recognizes her figure. He tracks down the artist in the painting and figures out how to get Black Cat to appear there.
As he is about to read her rights to her, she recognizes him as the guy she saved a few nights ago. It turned out that all he wanted from her was to find out what was happening to her. The plot further escalates with the arrival of Toxin, Carnage’s offspring, which resulted in Venom and Carnage teaming up to destroy their “child” and save the world from his chaos.
3. Amazing Spider-Man: Red Goblin
Writer(s): Dan Slott
Artist(s): Stuart Immonen
Publication Date: 2018
Norman Osborn asked two henchmen to steal the Carnage symbiote. The mercenaries managed to steal the symbiote, and Osborn quickly allied with him to become the new Carnage. Although the symbiote initially asserted its dominance, Osborn gave Carnage a taste of the joys of torture and murder; Osborn decided to use the goblin formula to become a goblin-symbiote hybrid.
After Norman took the Goblin Formula, he kidnapped J Jonah Jameson and started hunting down Spider-Man. Osborn rigged some stolen tritium to explode and carried it in a bag, attacked the Daily Bugle headquarters as Green Goblin, and told Peter to get Spider-Man. When Spider-Man finally arrived, he and the Goblin got into a fight when the Bugle’s staff were evacuated.
Pushed aside, Osborn watched as Spider-Man wrapped the bomb in a strap and was caught in the explosion that followed; impaled on a beam and several broken glass, Osborn pretended to by dying, revealing that he knew who Spider-Man was under the mask. Revealing that he had bonded with the Carnage symbiote, Osborn transformed into a monstrous figure he called the Red Goblin, causing Spider-Man to flee in fear.
Osborn incapacitated Peter and gave him an ultimatum: give up being Spider-Man and live in peace, or watch the Red Goblin slowly and painfully kill all of his loved ones, one by one. When Spider-Man agreed to the terms, the Red Goblin triumphantly left, unaware that he intended to continue fighting as Peter Parker.
Despite Peter’s fears that Norman might target his friends and family, the Red Goblin’s next target was actually his own family. The Red Goblin was then attacked by a combined attack from Human Torch, Clash, Silk, and Spider-Man; however, due to the increased potency given to the Carnage Symbiote by the Goblin Formula, the Red Goblin easily repelled their attacks and defeated all four in a matter of moments.
Anti-Venom soon arrived and his symbiotic powers took Osborn by surprise, but he turned the tide by forcing the Anti-Venom Agent to make a difficult choice: defeat him or rescue his mortally wounded friends. The Anti-Venom agent chose the latter, but paid for it when the Red Goblin knocked him down while saving the last of his friends.
The Red Goblin then reunited with his family, who had tried to escape in the mess, and revealed his true target: his grandson Normie Osborn, whom he later infected with a piece of the Carnage symbiote. The Red Goblin’s next stop was Alchemax to destroy the synthetic Anti-Venom stored there. By sending Normie, now called Goblin Childe, to attack Spider-Man’s Aunt May, the Red Goblin traveled to Stark Tower to kill Mary Jane Watson.
However, the Red Goblin was attacked by Venom, who had been sent forward by Jameson to ensure their safety. Spider-Man also came to help, but the Red Goblin still managed to repel his attack and run away to help Normie. When he arrived, he found Normie fighting the Superior Octopus, who had vowed to protect May at all costs. Even the arrival of a Jameson-controlled Spider-Slayer wasn’t enough to stop the Red Goblin, who severely injured Octavius and immobilized the Spider-Slayer before escaping with Normie.
Norman and his grandson then confronted Liz and Harry at Alchemax to force them to turn the business over to Normie; Liz and Harry, however, retaliated with an army of Humanitrons, Harry attacking his father with an old Goblin Glider and pumpkin bombs. The Red Goblin was then impaled by Harry’s Goblin Glider. Now furious, he chased Spider-Man through town.
However, he was thwarted by Agent Anti-Venom, who devised the plan and incapacitated the needles to save Osborn’s victim. Angry that his victory was stolen from him, the Red Goblin brutally beat and electrocuted the weakened Flash Thompson; although an enraged venomous Spider-Man struck Osborn and walked through a building, Flash succumbed to his injuries and died.
Norman then crashed into Times Square, where he decided that the best way to get to Spider-Man was to simply kill indiscriminately and started shooting Carnage bombs in all directions. As Spider-Man was distracted by the carnage and his attempts to save civilians, the Red Goblin held him and began to strangle him; however, Spider-Man stated that the credit for his death would go entirely to the Carnage symbiote, targeting Norman’s giant ego.
In fact, the Red Goblin then angrily dumped the symbiote, insisting that all he needed to kill Spider-Man was himself. Spider-Man, who had rejected the Venom symbiote, then went on a par with the Green Goblin and came out victorious. However, when Norman desperately tried to reconnect with Carnage’s symbiote, Spider-Man burned him down and the mental backlash destroyed Norman’s mind, filling in the gaps in Cletus’ personality.
Later, interviewed by Spider-Man at Ravencroft Asylum, Osborn, brain damaged, told him that he believed Spider-Man was Norman Osborn and that he himself was Cletus Kasady.
2. Absolute Carnage
Writer(s): Donny Cates
Artist(s): Ryan Stegman
Publication Date: August – November 2019
Resurrected through a cult dedicated to the veneration of Knüll and linked to a piece of the divine Ur-Grendel symbiote, Cletus Kasady begins to hunt anyone who has ever connected with a symbiote to claim their codes – traces left by the symbiotes in their bodies.
Over the course of several months, “Dark Carnage” conquered the underground city that Venom had once protected and erected a tower of the living abyss that served as an amplifier for his new powers; he also claims the city codices of Doverton, Alejandra Jones, Leonard Elkhart, numerous Weapon V staff and countless deceased former hosts including desecrated corpses the cult has deposited in a mass grave.
During the War of the Realms, Dark Carnage creates a cave under Manhattan and erects a second tower. Giving themselves into the corruption of Knüll, the symbiotes of Riot, Agony, Phage and Lasher kill a family of four and leave for New York.
The theft of Thaddeus Ross’s body catches the attention of the Hulk, who, fearing that something more sinister may be at play, begins the investigation and discovers the mass grave and reports it to authorities. During the fight with Dark Carnage, Eddie revealed that Dylan was his son and picked up the injured boy, who believed that Eddie had left him.
This caused Dylan to hide his powers from Eddie, powers he used when Norman’s symbiote attempted to harm him and Normie. Following assimilation by the Venom symbiote, the carnage-ized Grendel symbiote would still communicate with Eddie and make him desperate. He returned to Isla de Huesos to resolve his current situation, but after crashing upon arrival, Carnage assimilated him and stripped him down to the Venom symbiote.
Eddie had to fight alone with the armory he had left on the island years ago. Eddie used a communications tower to conduct electricity and managed to separate the two symbiotes. In the meantime, Dylan has kept a piece of Norman’s symbiote to study and understand his powers. He would use it to find his father and help him by turning Venom into a T-Rex form.
When Eddie and Dylan overcame Carnage’s will, Eddie was disconnected from it and reconnected to Venom. Unfortunately, Carnage survived and transformed into a shark to escape the island. Eddie would return to the mainland and notify the Avengers of Knüll’s arrival.
1. Maximum Carnage
Writer(s): Tom DeFalco, J.M. DeMatteis, Terry Kavanagh, David Michelinie
Publication Date: May – August 1993
During the first story featuring Carnage (The Amazing Spider-Man, # 361 to 363), the alien symbiote that gave Eddie Brock the power of Venom generated an offspring. This creature became a serial killer when he joined Cletus Kasady, and the two began a bloody journey in New York City.
Carnage was defeated, however, his symbiote entity was reborn. The insane Kasady was incarcerated at Ravencroft Asylum. However, in his short appearance, he revealed that the alien had mutated his blood to generate a copy of the symbiote. The killer escaped, freeing other superhumans and gathering a “family” of assassins around him.
Finally, they focus their gaze on New York. During the murderous onslaught that followed, Carnage recruited Shriek, Doppelganger, DemoDuende, and Carrion to make them an offer, terrorizing New York with their twisted “family values.” Hundreds of innocent people were killed.
Spider-Man and Venom were forced to stop this group together, aided by heroes like Captain America, Black Cat, Nightwatch, Cloak and Dagger, Iron Fist, Morbius, and Firestar. However, there were many conflicts in this group due to the opposition of Venom’s desire to stop Carnage and that of Spider-Man, who did not want to sacrifice any more lives.
Despite that, internal struggles in the group of villains and the successful performance of the heroes helped Carnage’s defeat. Faking his death by covering one of his victims with his symbiote suit, he misled all the heroes except Spider-Man and Venom.
They both followed his trail until they cornered him in a cemetery. Weakened by combat, Spider-Man was saved by Black Cat. Taking advantage of his appearance, Venom threw Carnage into an electrical generator, incinerating him before disappearing.
And that’s it for today. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!