Spider-Man vs Carnage: Who Wins in the Comics? (10 Best Fights Included)

Spider-Man vs Carnage: Who Wins in the Comics? (10 Best Fights Included)

Continuing our series of symbiote-related comparisons, in preparation for the Venom sequel, we have decided to focus on two characters that have always been enemies. One of them is the hero Spider-Man and the other is the sadistic serial killer/symbiote Carnage. We at Fiction Horizon have decided to tell you who would win in a fight between Spider-Man and Carnage, so enjoy!

Despite the fact that Spider-Man has been more successful in their encounters, objectively speaking, Carnage is much more powerful than Spider-Man. He also has some additional powers and advantages against Spider-Man, which is why we have to declare him the winner of this comparison.

Our comparison is going to be divided into three sections. The first is going to bring an overview of the two characters, after which we are going to compare their powers, including their signature weapons. Finally, we’re going to bring you a detailed analysis of the two characters to determine which one would win in a direct clash.

Spider-Man and his powers

Spider-Man is the superhero alter-ego of Peter Parker, a character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a superhero from New York City and one of the most popular comic book characters in history. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, making his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). Since then, Spider-Man has appeared in numerous solo volumes, but also as part of other series and teams, most notably the Avengers.

Although not the only one to don the costume of Spider-Man – the most notable successors being Miles Morales and Doctor Octopus himself – Peter Parker is definitely the most famous Spider-Man, which is why we are going to talk about him in this article.

Peter Parker was born in New York to Richard and Mary Parker, but was raised by his uncle Ben and aunt May Parker, due to his parents dying in a plane crash. The comic books dealt a lot with the issues of adolescence, growing up and Peter’s constant financial struggles. The life of an average teenager changed when he was accidentally bit by a radioactive spider, which gave him superhuman abilities, including, but not limited to shooting web from his body or climbing walls. Realizing that he has become a superhero of sorts, Peter Parker designed a suit for himself and became Spider-Man, your friendly neighborhood superhero.

Spider-Man mostly operates out of Queens and, along with fighting regular criminals, he battles against a gallery of famous rogues including Vulture, Scorpion, Rhino, Lizard, Mr. Negative, Venom, Green Goblin and his nemesis, Doctor Octopus. Spider-Man also has to battle against the negative propaganda advocated publicly by J. Johan Jameson, the publisher of the Daily Bugle, who leads an active smear campaign against Spider-Man, despite all the good he does for the city.

Ironically, it is J. Jonah Jameson who employs Peter Parker, not knowing his superhero identity, as a photojournalist for the Bugle; Parker made a career by constantly bringing in great photographs of Spider-Man. Peter Parker’s private life is also examined in the comics, especially the impact of Uncle Ben’s death and his love relationships with Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy.

Usually a standalone hero, Spider-Man has been a member of the Avengers since the 2010s. Spider-Man’s membership (or rather his failed attempts to join the group before the 2010s) in the team was a running gag in the comics, as well as his relationship and friendship with Deadpool.

Due to his popularity, Spider-Man was featured in practically all of the derivative materials. He has had several animated shows, three movie series (portrayed by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland respectively), animated movies and video games for several consoles.

Carnage and his powers

Cletus Kasady, alias Carnage is a supervillain appearing in stories published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer David Michelinie and artist Mark Bagley, the fictional character first appeared in the Amazing Spider-Man #361 comic book in April 1992. Carnage belongs to the line of symbiotes. While the first of them, Venom, is seen as the dark and brutal opposite of Spider-Man, Carnage was presented as a much crazier and bloodier version, hence its red color. Unlike Venom – who hates Spider-Man but refuses to attack those he considers innocent, Carnage considers having only one existential function: to kill.

Originally, Cletus Kasady is a serial killer who, although not being twenty years of age, already has a dozen victims on his list. He commits his first murder at age six, killing his grandmother by pushing her down the stairs to check if humans can fly.

He later tortured his mother’s dog. Furious, the latter beat him, which led to her being murdered by her husband. He was then sentenced to death. After that, Cletus was sent to an orphanage, where he soon became the victim of both the students and the caretakers. He later retaliated by murdering the headmaster and burning the orphanage.

In prison, he shared his cell with Eddie Brock, aka Venom. Their relationship was far from good, as Kasady was the very embodiment of what Brock hated. During their captivity, the symbiote found Brock and refused with him, again forming Venom and allowing him to escape.

On escaping, the Venom symbiote gave birth to a “child” (the reproduction of the symbiotes is asexual) which remained and mixed with Kasady’s blood system. This gave birth to a new character, both of them forming Carnage.

Considered the offspring of Venom, Carnage has already killed several innocent people for fun, often in a very barbaric fashion. Spider-Man who was investigating these murders first thought that Venom has returned, but upon finding Carnage, the latter defeated Spider-Man who withdrew from the battle.

Spider-Man tracked down Venom and the two made a deal – Venom would help him track down and defeat Carnage, and Spider-Man would leave Venom alone. The two frenemies then set off in pursuit of Carnage, who kidnapped J. Jonah Jameson.

Spider-Man, with the help of a sonic wave cannon, removed Carnage and Venom’s symbiote. Kasady passes out and Venom fights against Spidey. Since then, Venom and Carnage have often fought on multiple occasions, with a few rare collaborations. Recently, they teamed up temporarily to kill Carnage’s son: Toxin.

During a prison break caused by Electro, many villains escaped and attacked some of the present superheroes. During the fight, Sentry flew into space with Carnage and tore it apart. The symbiote is believed to have been killed, but would, of course, return later on.

Comparing the powers of Spider-Man and Carnage

Our second section will contain a comparison of the two characters’ powers. It won’t be a direct comparison as much as a listing of their powers abilities, which is going to serve as a basis for our analysis in section three of our article. Now, let us begin.

As for Spider-Man, his most pronounced human abilities are his intelligence and his resourcefulness, but this is all augmented by his superhuman abilities gained from being bitten by a radioactive spider.

Thus, Peter Parker gained a lot of spider-like abilities, such as wall-crawling, the ability to shoot webs from his body, an enhanced immune system and his famous Spider-Sense, used to detect approaching danger.

But, along with that, he has gained superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility and durability, along with a very specific healing factor that is always helpful in his fight against crime.

His strength has been the topic of much debate, since he’s usually perceived as weak (he also has a very slim body type). Yet, Spider-Man can – without any additional enhancements – lift an amazing 10 tons!

This has been proven in comics repeatedly, especially in some stories where he was – with enhancements – able to lift an incredible 130 tons! So, if you were ever doubting Spider-Man’s strength, just remember that he was able to support a building from crashing down on him.

Carnage is often considered to be one of the most powerful symbiotes in the Marvel Universe; his official stats give him higher potency than Venom and slightly lower than Toxin’s.

Carnage possesses superhuman reflexes and wields greater strength than Spider-Man and Venom combined; he can thus lift (or exert a pressure equivalent to) 80 tons. Much like Venom, he can scale any surface, regenerate, and escape Spider-Man’s “spider-sense”. He could also escape Venom’s ability to hunt down other symbiotes and their hosts.

He can change his physical appearance to mimic that of another person. Much like Venom – whose costume is a definite mass once he’s on the host – he can alter and extend his symbiote’s form at will, allowing him to project thread-like tentacles from the whole body (which replace the webs of Spider-Man and Venom), can also pierce other living beings or form symbiote weapons (such as axes or swords).

He is able to see through all parts of his body, the tentacles conveying visual information to Kasady. The latter is also immune to terrestrial diseases, such as cancer, since it is linked to its symbiote.

Like all Symbiotes, Carnage is vulnerable to sonic vibrations and fire. However, he later gained resistance to sonic vibrations.

Before we continue, let us see how the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010) compares the two characters:

 Spider-ManCarnage
Intelligence4/72/7
Strength4/75-6/7
Speed3/73/7
Durability3/75/7
Energy Projection1/74/7
Fighting Skills4/72/7

Spider-Man vs Carnage: Who would win?

And now for the most important and interesting section of our article – the analysis. Here, we are going to use what we have found out about these two characters and analyze how all these facts would (or would not) help them in a fight against each other. Let us continue.

As far as this clash goes, it is very similar to our comparison between Venom and Spider-Man. Sure, Spider-Man has managed to defeat Carnage in practically all of their encounters, although not without help, mind you, but we cannot shake off the impression that this is merely a consequence of Spider-Man being the hero and Carnage being a sadistic serial killer. There is nothing in the stories to affirm that Spider-Man is objectively stronger than Carnage.

The numbers (see above), also confirm that, and since we have established that Venom is, on a general level, stronger than Spider-Man and Carnage is, by just observing the numbers, even stronger than Venom, the situation becomes quite clear. Carnage beats Spider-Man in practically all relevant aspects and he also has a lot of supernatural abilities that Spider-Man cannot counter. On top of that, as an offspring of Venom, he also has all the same advantages against Spider-Man that Venom has.

One might argue that Spider-Man could use Carnage’s weaknesses – sound and fire – to his advantage, but Carnage has since become immune to high frequencies, leaving fire as his only weakness. This means that Spider-Man could take one or two battles out of then, but – honestly – not more.

Carnage is simply too powerful for Spider-Man on every level and despite his known weaknesses, Spider-Man could be able to win only a couple of times out of ten battles, which is why we declare Carnage the winner of this comparison.

10 best Spider-Man vs Carnage fights

Here is a list of the 10 best fights between Spider-Man and Carnage as they have been portrayed in the comic books:

Comic BookYearOutcome
Amazing Spider-Man #361 1992Carnage came out as a clear winner in their first-ever meeting, proving that Spider-Man’s powers (alone) were completely incapable of stopping the homicidal symbiote
Amazing Spider-Man #3631992Spider-Man came out as the winner here, ultimately assisting Venom in defeating Carnage, as Carnage is portrayed as being stronger than Venom in this one
Amazing Spider-Man #430-4311998Spider-Man was able to defeat Carnage with the help of the Silver Surfer, who also imprisoned Carnage for a long time; as it turned out, Galactus had eaten a planet where Carnage’s ancestors stemmed from, which instilled fear in Carnage
Peter Parker: Spider-Man #132000Spider-Man easily defeated a Carnage-less Cletus Kasaday with one single punch, stopping his killing spree; Kasady lost Carnage to Venom but had a breakdown, believing that some of the symbiote remained within and then painted his face red as a symbol
Venomized2018Spider-Man and Venom managed to come out as the winners here, but just barely, as Carnage was on the brink of killing them both in this narrative which saw Carnage work together with aliens
Spired-Man and Batman1995Batman managed to defeat Carnage, who had teamed up with the Joker to fight the Dark Knight and Spider-Man; okay, okay, Spider-Man helped, but… he’s Batman, of course he’d win against a silly little symbiote
Amazing Spider-Man #794-8002018Spider-Man ultimately manages to defeat the Red Goblin, a fusion between Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin and the Carnage Symbiote, who wanted revenge by going after everyone that Spider-Man cares about, even killing some of the characters in the process
Carnage U.S.A.2012Spider-Man, with the help of Venom, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the non-infected Avengers, ultimately managed to defeat Carnage and his army of symbiote-infected Avengers, who posed a threat to the whole country
Ultimate Spider-Man #61-642004Spider-Man managed to kill Ultimate Carnage, who had killed Gwen Stacy, by throwing him into an industrial chimney after a bitter clash; this version of Carnage contained Peter Parker’s DNA in it
Maximum Carnage1993Spider-Man managed to come out as the winner in this big event, although with the help of Captain America, Black Cat, Nightwatch, Cloak, Dagger, Venom, Iron Fist, Firestar and Morbius; as it turned out, Venom was the only (anti)hero able to beat Carnage, who was at the height of his powers in this storyline

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