Spider-Man has faced a lot of villains far more powerful than him, but perhaps none that are as bloodthirsty as Carnage. Cletus Kasady was a sociopathic murderer from childhood, driven by a twisted anti-morality that acts as a dark mirror to Peter Parker’s deep moral code, and the gift of great power — in his case, an alien symbiote even stronger than the one that Spider-Man and Eddie Brock/Venom bonded with — turns him not into a hero, but instead into one of the most violent figures in the Marvel Universe’s history.
Carnage isn’t driven by a want for fortune, fame, world domination, or any of the factors that normally get supervillains frothing at the mouth. Carnage is motivated purely by a desire for bloodshed. Carnage wants to hurt people, lots of people, in as many gruesome ways as possible. And now that he’s got his hands on the Darkhold, Marvel’s big book of dark magic, he’s becoming more dangerous than ever before.
Originally created to be a darker replacement for Venom, Carnage has gone on to become a significant character in his own right. In recent years, a slew of comics have even featured Carnage as the main character, bringing a renewed focus to one of Marvel’s darkest villains. Is a big screen appearance next? That might still be a ways off, since we’ll presumably need to have a new Venom first, but in the meantime, here are 15 People Who Carnage Has Killed.
15. His Grandmother
Like many future killers, Cletus Kasady’s psychological problems began in childhood, with a deeply fractured, abusive family. His lack of empathy and violent tendencies manifested themselves very early on in his life, with his first known victim being his own grandmother.
As a boy, Cletus was often left under the care of “Nana” Kasady, a wheelchair-bound woman who was abusive to Cletus. Though he described her in later years as an immensely overweight woman obsessed with Mary Poppins, a psychic link later reveals this to be an embellishment of the true story: the real Nana Kasady was actually a thin cigarette smoker in a wheelchair. One day, she asked Cletus to buy her a pack of cigarettes, and when he got the wrong brand, she verbally berated him, as she had many times before. Finally snapping under the pressure, the young Cletus responded by pushing her wheelchair down an entire flight of stairs, thus taking his first steps into the terrible future that would define him.
14. His Mother’s Dog
Killing his grandmother may have been Cletus’s first murder, but it wasn’t the last one he committed as a young boy. He also tried to murder his mother by throwing a television into her bathtub, though his attempt was unsuccessful. However, his clear lack of empathy for the lives of other living beings was also clearly revealed by his torture, and murder, of animals.
After failing to kill his mother, Cletus took a different approach. Jealous of the fact that his mother loved her dog more than she loved him, Cletus subjected the dog to abuse, violent taunting, and then finally, a gruesome death. Upon seeing what had happened to the dog, the woman tried to murder her son — only to then find herself violently beaten by her husband, Cletus’ father, to the point of death. Cletus then refused to testify on behalf of his father, claiming that the man killed his wife for no reason, resulting in the elder Kasady being sentenced to death in the electric chair.
13. His Entire Orphanage
All of this eventually resulted in Cletus getting sent to an orphanage, St. Este’s School for Boys, where his problems didn’t get any easier. His socially awkward, uncomfortable, and violent behavior made him a target for bullies, and the staff treated their patients with firm discipline. He had a crush on a girl named Manuela Calderon, whose mother worked at the boys home as the live-in help, and when he asked her out, she refused. In response to her rejection, Cletus pushed Manuela in front of a bus. Unbeknownst to the budding serial killer, she survived the ordeal, and rather than face the music for what he’d done, Cletus murdered the place’s administrator. And finally, in response to the bullying, he set the entire orphanage alight in flames, killing all of his fellow orphans, and performing his first mass murder.
12. Dozens of People, BEFORE He Became Carnage
Things obviously weren’t headed in the right direction for Cletus. As he became an adult, his path led to a life as a serial killer, and he was eventually charged with eleven murders. However, he bragged that there were at least a dozen more murders on top of that that weren’t on the books, so it’s unclear exactly what sort of body count he racked up in the years before he had an alien symbiote attached to his bloodstream.
Either way, the murders they did catch him on were enough to net him eleven consecutive life terms, with no chance of parole.
At this point locked away until his dying day, Kasady’s fortunes changed when he found himself with a new cell mate, Eddie Brock, who at the time was separated from his alien suit. Sharing a cell with the dedicated vigilante and deeply hypocritical Brock proved too much for Kasady to stand, and he was just moments away from literally stabbing Brock in the back when the Venom symbiote snuck in through the window and came to Brock’s rescue. However, in the process, the symbiote gave birth to an offspring, and Carnage is born.
11. An Entire Diner
Since going from human murderer to supervillain, the level of bloodshed that Carnage has wrought upon society has risen dramatically. In Carnage Vs. Deadpool — a comic that, as it goes on, depicts a hyper-gory fight between two utterly insane individuals that can take any blow the other throws against them — Carnage once again breaks out of confinement, and begins his next slaughter by going into a local diner and wiping out every single person inside it, including a state trooper, women, and children.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only diner that’s been on the receiving end of Carnage’s wrath. In Carnage #1, he wipes out yet another diner, though this time, he elects to spare one of the waitresses. This was a momentary bit of mercy, of course, as Cletus only keeps her alive long enough to talk to her about what’s playing on the television — before proceeding to murder her a few moments later, when the news reveals that Manuela Calderon, the girl he thought he’d killed as a boy, is still alive today.
10. A Gamer, Through the Internet
Here’s a hint for the future. If someone on instant messenger ever tells you that he’s Carnage, don’t joke around. Don’t egg him on. Just sign out, step away, and get a new computer.
Carnage is basically Marvel’s Freddy Krueger, and this is one of his spookiest, weirdest murders to date. When a game company decides to milk the “Maximum Carnage” catastrophe for everything it’s worth by developing a computer game exploiting the mass murder, Carnage isn’t too happy about the copyright to his likeness being owned by somebody else. Things go from bad to worse when he finds out that he can send micro-filaments of his symbiote through the wires of a modem, and thus transmit himself through a computer screen.
At one point, Carnage gets in a digital argument with one of the game’s beta testers, who doesn’t believe that he’s the real Carnage. In response, Kasady shoots one of his tendrils through the modem, where it erupts from the gamer’s computer screen and impales him on the end of its pointed tip.
9. Countless New Yorkers During “Maximum Carnage”
And then, of course, there’s Maximum Carnage. In the fictitious world of the Marvel Universe, the Maximum Carnage event is probably regarded as one of the bloodiest events in New York’s history. When Carnage escapes from the asylum, he also frees an equally murderous inmate, Shriek. Together, the two “adopt” the Spider-Man Doppelganger — a nearly-brainless duplicate of Spider-Man that came out of the Infinity War — forming a “family” together. Adding Demogoblin and Carrion to their ranks, this group of killers cuts a bloody swath through the center of New York City. Things get even more complicated when Shriek uses her psychic powers to project a sense of hatred through the entire population of New York City, leading to even more chaos.
It’s uncertain exactly how many people were murdered during this time, but it’s certainly a terrible number. Thankfully, Carnage and his horde are eventually stopped by the combined powers of Spider-Man, Venom, Deathlok, Iron Fist, Firestar, Cloak and Dagger, Morbius, and some cool new tech from Stark Industries.
8. His “Son,” Doppelganger
Carnage is definitely not the kind of guy you want to have as a father. The Doppelganger isn’t the smartest creature around, and his tendencies are far more violent than they should be, but after being adopted by Carnage and Shriek, he does prove to be rather loyal — to Shriek, that is. Doppelganger is so devoted to its “mother,” in fact, that when Carnage attacks her, Doppelganger responds by showing the same level of hostility towards Carnage himself.
Cletus isn’t much of a team player, and he doesn’t tolerate insubordination, so he rips out Doppelganger’s guts, right then and there, and drops his “son’s” corpse into the streets of New York.
However, this isn’t the last we see of Spider-Man’s creepy, multi-armed lookalike. Years later, Doppelganger somehow is revived, looking different than he did before, attempting to save Shriek. Once again, Doppelganger is killed, only to be revived again by Hall Industries. Recently, Doppelganger has once again shown loyalty to Carnage, though it’s unclear if the monster remembers the fact that its father so callously murdered it many years before.
7. Carla and Will Unger
Even when it’s separated from its sociopathic host, the Carnage symbiote itself has proven to be just as malicious. This is the lesson learned by Carla and Will Unger, a couple who had been unhappily married for years, only to become unfortunate victims of the symbiote’s bloodlust.
Carla, at the time, is a researcher for Morse Laboratories assigned to study a small sample of the symbiote. While investigating the sample, Carla talks to her husband on the phone. Will’s aggressive, abusive tone, combined with Carla’s buried rage at him, awakens the emotions of the symbiote, which feels drawn toward her anger. The alien leaps into her eyeball, entering her body, unbeknownst to Carla.
Later at home, when Will begins verbally berating her again, Carla’s anger is exploited by the symbiote inside her. The symbiote uses the anger that is already within her, brings it to the surface, and manipulates her into murdering Will. Later, once the symbiote is done draining Carla’s resources, it finds a new host and kills her.
6. Ulysses Klaue
Klaw, AKA Ulysses Klaue, is one of the Black Panther‘s archenemies, and he was played by Andy Serkis in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’s also one of the many villains who has made the mistake of messing around with Carnage and paid the price for it.
This all happened as a result of the classic Fantastic Four villain the Wizard attempting to control Carnage by removing the symbiote from Kasady, bonding it to someone else, and enlisting it as a member of his Frightful Four. To do this, he employed Klaw, which isn’t a bad idea; Klaw uses sound waves as his major M.O., and since the symbiotes have always shown a major weakness to loud noises, it makes sense. However, Carnage ends up impaling Klaw upon a vibranium spear.
But Klaw isn’t totally out for the count. Though his body and consciousness are dispersed, Klaw uses every bit of remaining energy he has to direct a lightning bolt at Cletus Kasady, newly re-bonded to the symbiote, taking him out. However, this action drains Klaw’s energy, leaving him to disappear into nothingness.
5. The Mercury Team
Considering the scale of Carnage’s terror, it’s not such a surprise that the US government would want to step in and find their own solution, especially since every time a superhero throws him behind bars, he always seems to get out and kill more people. The government’s response is to initiate the Mercury Team, a group of four soldiers from different military branches — US Army Special Forces, two Navy SEALs, a Marine, together with a war-dog — each one of them armed with a symbiote of their own (Lasher, Phage, Riot, and Agony). To keep the soldiers from getting attached to the alien life forms, each symbiote is kept on ice when it’s not being employed by an officer.
Seems like a good method for taking Carnage out, right?
Well, not so much. Unfortunately for Mercury Team, the entire squad ends up getting killed when Carnage happens to stumble upon their secret base, which is hidden away in a ghost town. As glimpsed above, it’s a gruesome scene.
4. Ted Connelly, The Guy in the Cell Next to Him
You know you’ve drawn the short straw in life when you end up in the cell next to the Cletus Kasady.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the first stroke of bad luck suffered by Ted Connelly. Though just a regular criminal with no superpowers, Ted proves to be a casualty of the governor’s new plan for dealing with overcrowded prisons when he’s locked up in a maximum security prison specifically designed for supervillains. Ted’s situation goes from bad to worse when the cell next to him comes to be occupied by Cletus Kasady. The mass murderer is rendered comatose at the time, but Ted suspects that something sinister is waiting within him. So do the guards, who tease Ted, saying they have a bet about how long Ted will survive being so close to Carnage. Needless to say, this doesn’t help much with Ted’s pessimism about the whole situation.
3. Roger Felwood, Sr.
Remember that whole thing about Carnage getting ahold of the Darkhold? Well, here’s a glimpse at how dangerous that can be.
After Barry Gleason’s attempt to sacrifice Carnage according to a prophecy in the Darkhold instead makes the symbiotic mass murderer even more powerful than before, Carnage wants to know more about the book of black magic. After extracting the name “Roger Felwood” from Gleason, Carnage kills the guy and sets out in search of Felwood, taking the Darkhold with him.
What Carnage doesn’t realize is that Gleason is actually talking about Roger Felwood, Jr., which leads to Kasady tracking down the man’s father by mistake. Realizing his error, Carnage then turns Roger Sr. into an example, wanting to demonstrate that the sacrificial ritual has instead rendered him more powerful than ever before — by violently contorting Felwood’s body until he dies.
2. His Psychiatrists
If you want to get right in Carnage’s line of sight, try being his psychiatrist. He’ll remember those hours of sessions, those weeks of talking about his past, and he’ll hold it against you the second he sprouts symbiotic tendrils again.
Many decent, altruistic psychiatric workers have seen themselves torn to shreds by Cletus Kasady. However, corrupt and immoral doctors have also been on the receiving end of his symbiotic blades. One of these is Dr. Jenner, who actually wants to bond with the symbiote and become its new host. To do this, Jenner suffocates Kasady to death with a pillow. In response, the symbiote makes its way back to Kasady, revives him, and then Carnage makes short work of Dr. Jenner.
The award-winning doctor in Carnage: Mind Bomb fares even worse, even though he makes it out alive. When Carnage finds a way to infect the psychiatrist’s mind with his own dark thoughts (the worst ones), it drives the doctor off the deep end, forcing him to see the world the way that Kasady sees it. By the time they’re done talking, the doctor has become cannibalistic, bloodthirsty, and every bit as out-there as his subject. All things considered, you have to imagine that he’d rather have gone the way of Dr. Jenner.
1. Ultimate Gwen Stacy
And finally, we’ll finish with a murder that didn’t actually take place within the mainstream Marvel Universe. Its significance is of course directly tied to just how…significant Carnage’s victim actually is: Gwen Stacy.
In the Ultimate Universe, Carnage is depicted as a vampiric organism created from samples of Peter Parker’s blood, combined with tissue from Venom’s suit and the Lizard. This Carnage runs merely on intuition, with no thoughts, no self-awareness, and nothing but a desire to feed off the life force of others in order to sustain its own existence. This nightmarish creature ends up tangling its claws around Gwen Stacy, sucking the life out of her. As she dies, it changes its face to resemble that of Peter. Creepy.
Spider-Man is eventually able to stop this organism after it has killed several others, but a piece of it survives in Gwen’s form. Though not as iconic as Cletus Kasady, the Ultimate version of Carnage nonetheless left its mark.
Who else has Carnage killed? Can you think of any other major characters that we missed? Let us know in the comments.