Marvel is known for having a lot of interesting groups and races in its universe and the symbiotes are certainly among them. This specific alien race has come to Earth thanks to Spider-Man and has since become one of the most popular races in Marvel’s universe. That is why, today, we are going to answer the following question for you – who would win in a fight between Marvel’s most famous symbiotes, Venom and Carnage?
It is somewhat difficult to determine a winner between these two very similar characters, but Venom has certainly gone through a more significant evolution over the years, fighting and defeating some very powerful characters along the way (Carnage included), which is why we’d give this one to Venom.
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.
Venom and his powers
Venom is an antihero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, the fictional character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man # 252 comic book in May 1984. Typically appearing in association with the Spider-Man character, the character is a sentient alien symbiote with an amorphous, liquid-like form, which survives by bonding with a host, usually human.
The character actually appeared long before he became Venom, in the form of Symbiote # 998. He was of a different nature, wishing, instead of killing his host to feed on it, to create a true fusional bond with a single host and to form a single entity with it, a symbiosis in the proper sense instead of parasitism. This character led him to be imprisoned by his own and he found himself transferred to the artificial planet called Battleworld. There, he initially bonded with Spider-Man but when the hero realized that Venom wanted to bond with him permanently, he managed to break the symbiosis.
The first and most famous of the symbiote’s hosts is Eddie Brock, a reporter for the Daily Globe, before it was discovered that he fabricated a false story regarding the identity of the Sin-Eater, a serial killer. The real murderer was Sergeant Stan Carter and, when Spider-Man and Daredevil took him down, Brock was fired for his fake article.
Unable to find a respectable new employer, Eddie is forced to work for magazines with a sulfurous reputation. Faced with his growing fear of cancer, Eddie returns to his former passion for sport, dabbling in weight lifting in order to reduce his stress. As he acquires the stature of an Olympic athlete, his anger and depression linger, eventually leading his wife Anna to divorce him.
Realizing that both his professional and personal lives are ruined, Brock contemplates suicide, before going to the Church of Our Lady of Saints where he prays for forgiveness. The symbiote then bonds with him, feeding on his cancer and thus prolonging his existence, with Eddie Brock willingly accepting the symbiote.
With this union, Brock immediately discovers the true identity of the Spider-Man. In The Amazing Spider-Man #298, the couple form the creature known as Venom. He makes his appearance at the end of issue #299, which continues in the “Venom” story arc.
The name Venom originally applied to the fusion of the symbiote and Brock, but over the years it was also used for subsequent embodiments of the symbiote.
Brock fights Spider-Man multiple times and wins in most showdowns. He follows a personal code of honor that requires him to come to the aid of those he considers innocent (notably Carnage). He also received a certain amount of respect from Spider-Man, which none of the Venoms who follow Brock are entitled to.
Having contracted cancer, Brock separates from the Symbiote and sells it. He has since been cured of his cancer by Mister Negative and bonded with two other symbiotes, later becoming the Anti-Venom and then Toxin. A few years later, Brock reunites with the original symbiote in Venom (vol. 3) #6 and once again becomes Venom, but decides to stay on the right track.
For a short while, he was also associated with the characters Angelo Fortunato, Mac Gargan, and Flash Thompson.
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 Venom 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.
Venom possesses the same powers as Spider-Man (probably because the latter has already worn the symbiote), i.e., reflexes and agility comparable to a spider, in proportion to his size, as well as the ability to cling to surfaces and that of creating and projecting a spider’s web.
He generates his web from the back of his hands or from the underside of his palms; its web is organic and created by the symbiote, allowing it to produce almost unlimitedly, although it may weaken if it uses too much at one time. His web is stronger than Spider-Man’s and dissolves on its own after a while.
In addition to the web, he can also form tentacles from its symbiote to grab hold of objects, his tentacles being able to extend over long distances. Venom’s hands have claws that can be used as melee weapons, and his jaw is lined with sharp fangs he can use to bite other creatures.
He possesses superhuman strength (he can lift up to 70 tons), superior to that of Spider-Man in the case of Brock and Gargan, both of whom are more muscular and naturally stronger than Peter Parker as a normal human. Angelo Fortunato also possessed superhuman strength, but inferior to that of other Venoms.
His body is extremely tough, able to endure blows or drops that would kill an ordinary human, with the symbiote quickly healing most of the injuries he sustains. He possesses unlimited shapeshifter abilities, allowing him to camouflage himself like a chameleon or take on the aspect of another individual.
He can escape Spider-Man’s “spider-sense”, who therefore cannot see him coming when he attacks him, unlike his other enemies. Given that Spider-Man carried the symbiote for a long time, it is assumed that this is because of this that his spider instinct doesn’t recognize him as a danger.
It does, however, have two weaknesses: it is vulnerable to sonic attacks, which can force the symbiote to separate from its host, as well as to fire. However, Venom will succeed in suppressing these weaknesses thanks to the symbiote and thanks to its training in space.
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:
Venom 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.
These two symbiotes seem to be pretty balanced out if you just look at the numbers. Venom certainly has some advantages, but if you observe the fact that Carnage has more special powers and is physically stronger than you might think that he would be able to defeat his “father”. And while that has happened over the course of their shared histories (as you’re going to see), we think it’s a very misleading fact. Why?
Well, when Venom initially appeared in the comics, he was more scary than actually dangerous. Sure, the whole idea was creepy, but the character would usually end up being defeated by the likes of… anyone, basically. When Carnage appeared, he was portrayed as a more maniacal and, well, seemingly stronger version of Venom. Still, not much time passed between their two debuts and Venom is a character that evolved much more, significantly more, in fact, than Carnage.
Venom has evolved from being a hero to being an antihero, even a hero at one point. His powers have significantly increased over the years, and he has even gained some new ones, whereas Carnage remained more or less on the same level (depending on the iteration, but it wasn’t the writers’ intention to make him stronger). In the meantime, Venom has fought some very powerful characters – unlike Carnage – and has even managed to defeat them, thus showing that he has become much more powerful than he was. This evolution has to be taken into consideration and we have to give the writers credit for making Venom so interesting.
This is why we think that Venom would be able to defeat Carnage. Not, perhaps, each time, but on more occasions than Carnage would be able to defeat him. That is why Venom is our winner of the day.
10 best Venom vs Carnage fights
Here is a list of the 10 best fights between Venom and Carnage as they have been portrayed in the comic books:
|Peter Parker: Spider-Man #9||1999||Venom won by eating Carnage right out of Klasady, thereby freeing him of Carnage’s influence temporarily|
|Amazing Spider-Man #361-363||1992||Venom manages to defeat Carnage, but only with Spider-Man’s help, as Carnage is portrayed as being stronger than Venom in this one|
|“Minimum Carnage”||2012—2013||Venom manages to overcome Carnage in the Microverse but only with the help of Scarlet Spider, as Carnage is once again portrayed as being stronger|
|Venom: Carnage Unleashed||1995||Venom manages to defeat Carnage in a very intense battle inside the Internet, ultimately sparing his life, because he wouldn’t give Carnage the satisfaction of satisfying his suicidal cravings|
|Carnage: Black, White & Blood||2021||Carnage survives the explosion of a pirate ship (just one segment of the whole narrative), whereby we learn nothing of Venom’s fate during that battle (although both have survived until the modern era)|
|Absolute Carnage||2019—2020||Venom ultimately manages to defeat Dark Carnage, but only with the help of a lot of other heroes, who have enabled Eddie Brock to defeat his nemesis, who was portrayed as being exceptionally powerful in this incarnation|
|Amazing Spider-Man #794-800||2018||Red Goblin, a fusion between Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin and the Carnage Symbiote, killed the Anti-Venom iteration of the Venom symbiote, i.e. Flash Thompson, after going after everyone Spider-Man ever cared about|
|Carnage U.S.A.||2012||Venom, in the form of Flash Thompson’s Anti-Venom, managed to take down an overpowered Carnage with the help of Spider-Man and the Avangers, who had earlier been assimilated by Carnage in this storyline|
|Venom vs. Carnage||2004||We’re not sure about this one really… the first time over, Carnage beat Venom, but the second time over, Carnage was beaten and seemingly killed by a subway train. He survived, of course, and the two ultimately ended up working together to defeat Toxin, their own “child”. So, a draw, maybe?|
|Maximum Carnage||1993||Venom ultimately managed to defeat Carnage, although not without help from other heroes; 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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