Carnage has time and again proven to be one of Spider-Man’s most deadly foes. Crueler than Venom, and lacking any sense of conscience or sympathy, this homicidal supervillain kills for no apparent purpose other than pure enjoyment. There’s no rhyme or reason to the trail of bodies Carnage leaves in his wake, he just naturally likes violence, which makes him that much more frightening and sickening.
If you’re unfamiliar with this Marvel madman, we should start with the basics. Carnage was once a serial killer known as Cletus Kasady. After being locked up he came into contact with the alien symbiote that gave Eddie Brock his powers to become Venom. This time however the change was much more chaotic, and Cletus was fused into the red superkiller known as Carnage.
Most Spider-Man fans know that the supervillain went on to become one of the most revered enemies in Spider-Man’s extensive catalog. For those of you who want to know a little more about what makes this deranged serial killer tick, here are 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Marvel’s Carnage.
12. First Full Appearance in #361 of Spider-Man
The killer also known as Cletus Kasady first made his appearance in issue #344 in Spiderman, appearing briefly as Eddie Brock’s intimidating cellmate. Later on, after gaining his powers, Carnage made a quick appearance in issue #360, but it was more as a cameo for what was to come. While we got a little taste of what the character was all about in these issues, the supervillain didn’t make his full-fledged entrance until #361 where he really gave Peter Parker a run for his money.
Carnage Part 1: Savage Genesis serves as a perfect introduction to how threatening this deranged villain could truly be. In the 3 part story, Carnage goes on a no-holds-bar killing spree, killing people at random and choosing them at will from a telephone book. In one cruel fate of events, Carnage kills one of Peter Parker’s classmates, who is described by Spider-Man to be “slaughtered like a pig on a spit.” Eventually, Spider-Man meets up with Carnage, and the two do battle only to have Spider-Man get pummeled by the villain’s advanced abilities. To add insult to injury, before he escapes, the supervillain writes “Carnage Rules” on the wall with his own blood. Talk about crazy.
11. Cletus Kasady is a Brutal Killer
Carnage may be a dangerous psychopath with otherworldly powers, but even when he was the regular old human known as Cletus Kasady, the villain was still a handful, to say the least. Even without his monstrous abilities, the NY citizen went down in the books as one of the most violent psychopaths to ever be locked up in Ryker’s Prison. Kasady didn’t have what you would call the ideal childhood. Troubled from the very beginning, the young Kasady would frequently torture the family dog for amusement, and even killed his Grandmother by pushing her down a flight of stairs. Hannibal Lector wouldn’t even be so cruel as to kill his own Granny.
After being orphaned, the deranged teenager was sent to a group home for boys, but didn’t much care for that either. Kasady frequently caused trouble for the staff, starting fires and creepily hitting on one of the residents who worked there. In an act of twisted ecstasy, Cletus burned the building to the ground, but not before he brutally murdered the administrator, along with a girl who repeatedly refused to date him. Accordingly, Kasady was deemed a homicidal maniac unfit to live within society, and he was subsequently sentenced to 11 lifetime consecutive terms in Ryker’s Prison. As we now know, those terms would be short lived.
10. He’s the Offspring of Eddie Brock’s Symbiote
In the comics, Peter Parker’s rival journalist, Eddie Brock, becomes the supervillain Venom through the use of an alien symbiote that Spider-Man earlier rejected. The alien organism gives Brock superhuman abilities that mimic and, at times, even surpass Spider-Man’s. Originally designed to be a one-off villain, Venom proved to be increasingly popular with the masses, and the writers decided to let him stick around as a regular baddie. Although Venom has proven to be quite the deadly foe for Peter Parker, it’s nothing when compared to the mayhem caused by Carnage.
Venom causes crimes, while Carnage can cause rampages. While the two eventually become rival enemies, Brock is the one to blame for Carnage being endowed with his super abilities. Once Eddie was sent to jail for his crimes, part of his symbiote was able to reproduce itself into a separate entity. Once that happened, it needed to find a host, and as fate would have it, Brock’s cellmate was none other than serial killer Cletus Kasady. As part of the symbiote reproduces away from Brock, it fuses with Kasady through his bloodstream, becoming a permanent part of his genetic makeup. As symbiote and human mold together, Kasady ceases to exist, and is reborn as the hyper-violent psychopath known as Carnage.
9. Kasady and the Symbiote are One in the Same
An interesting aspect of Carnage’s character is that the alien symbiote and its host, Cletus Kasady, are the same entity. This differs from the relationship between Eddie Brock and his symbiote, who are both separate personalities. Eddie may become the supervillain Venom, but he still retains a separate identity from the symbiote. While they can both agree to hate Spider Man and want him dead, they actually disagree on issues that push the bounds of Brock’s morality. In fact, Brock frequently questions the alien organism’s goals, and often discourages it from things that cross his line of ethics.
Carnage doesn’t seem to be burdened with this problem. He has no conscience. Or if he did, he killed it a long time ago. Both the alien and Kasady both have homicidal tendencies that make them thirst for blood on a daily basis. They’re the perfect match of sociopaths, each equally deranged. Not only are they liked minded, but they are part of the same organism that makes up the entity known as Carnage. Unlike Brock, who wears the symbiote as a sort of suit, Kasady’s blood is infected by the organism, which means that part of it will always lay dormant in his system. That’s bad news for Venom, and even worse news for Spider-Man.
8. Spider-Man and Venom Teamup
How do you stop a deadly, diabolical supervillain? By enlisting the help of another deadly, diabolical supervillain, of course. Well, at least that’s the idea Spider-Man came up with when he recruited Venom to help him take down Carnage after the supervillain’s first disturbed killing spree. After their initial fight, where the psycho-killer toys with our hero web-slinger, Spider-Man quickly realizes that he’s no match for this seemingly unstoppable villain. At this point in the comics, Venom is living on a remote island, believing that he had previously killed Spider-Man in a previous battle. To his surprise, Brock’s island getaway is interrupted when Peter Parker shows up at his doorstep with Johnny Storm. After a brief scuffle, and some rather ugly words exchanged, Venom finally agrees to help out his old foe and take down Carnage once and for all.
Of course, their combined strength still isn’t enough. After being tracked down, Carnage is shown to possess a power that was more than Spider-Man and Venom could handle, throwing both web slingers against the wall with one blow. Eventually, thanks to the two finally working together, Spidey and Venom manage to overpower Carnage, and Kassidy is locked up once again. It was a victory short lived however, as this wasn’t the last time Spider Man would encounter the supervillain Carnage.
7. The Name Carnage Was the 3rd Choice
While Carnage now seems like a fitting name for a Spider-Man supervillain who has no sense of morality, it might be a shock to learn it wasn’t the character’s original title. David Michelinie, a comic book writer for Marvel and the creator of Carnage, wanted the hulking maniac to encompass everything about a killer with no sense of morality. This incarnation of the symbiote was not meant to have any feelings of sympathy or remorse like Brock sometimes does about the actions of Venom, and Michelinie wanted the name to reflect that sense of madness.
The first name that was thought up of for the character was originally going to be “Chaos,” which would have been a suitable choice for a villain that leaves nothing but death and destruction in his wake. It lacked a certain gravitas however, and the name was scrapped for “Ravage.” While it was closer to landing on the right track, the name still didn’t fit Kasady’s character, with “Ravage” sounding more like a sex offender than a supervillain. Eventually Michelinie and the writing team landed on the name “Carnage.” Good thing they did, because it’s the perfect name for a deranged serial killer bestowed with superhuman abilities that creates so much, well, carnage.
6. “Maximum Carnage” Ride
As we’ve seen from every amusement park ever, comic book heroes and theme park rides go hand in hand with each other. There are various roller coasters and other attractions that are based on both DC and Marvel heroes alike including the Incredible Hulk, Man of Steel, and various Batman roller coasters. Not ones to be outdone by their goody-good counterparts, supervillains are no strangers when it comes to theme park attractions either, with a Dr. Doom free fall in Universal, a Joker’s Jinx swing ride, and even a roller coaster based on Bizarro at Six Flags.
Given Carnage’s infamous status in The Amazing Spider-Man comics, he too got his own theme park attraction in Universal Studios in the form of a limited haunted maze back in 2002. The ride was meant to give the guest a tour through Carnage’s frightening compound, and according to people that were able to see it on its limited run, it didn’t disappoint. As the maze begins, guests start down a series of twist and turns with horrible sights to behold like beloved superheroes like Spider-Man and Captain America mauled to death on the ground. As the maze continues, guests can see Carnage from a balcony as other villains pop out of the shadows wielding weapons like chainsaws to frighten unsuspecting guests. It’s an attraction so frightening, we’re still holding out hoping Universal brings it back for a future Halloween.
5. Kasady Once Faked His Powers
After having unlimited power at your fingertips, it might be hard to cope with suddenly becoming mortal again. That’s the problem that Cletus Kasady ran into when he was suddenly robbed of his deadly superhuman abilities by Eddie Brock. After being trapped in a prison cell specially created to hold him, Carnage once again runs into his old rival Venom. During their meeting, Venom is able to separate Cletus and the alien organism that runs through his blood due to the connection he has with the symbiote. Brock reabsorbs the organism for “good” and leaves Kasady as just another regular human once more.
The thing about Cleus however is that he isn’t just a regular human. He’s a bloodthirsty killer by nature, and just because he’s been deprived of the powers that made him one of the most deadly foes in Spider-Man’s canon, doesn’t mean he’s going to just give up his reign of terror anytime soon. In a desperate attempt to have the symbiote reignite within him, Kasady paints his body red and continues his killing spree. Of course, his powers don’t return, and once he meets up with Spider-Man for a fight, Kasady is easily dispatched. While Cletus eventually does regain his powers, this delusional rampage proved how utterly mad and dangerous he really is.
4. Part of a Possible Superhero Movie Starring Venom
To date, the only onscreen performance that we have of Venom is the questionable take on the character by Topher Grace in 2007’s Spider-Man 3, and zero onscreen transitions of his counterpart Carnage. That may all soon change however as Sony has been trying to plug a solo Venom movie that would solely focus on the villain who also dabbles in being an anti-hero. The Sony spinoff movie has been rumored to be in the works for years, with any even juicy rumor that the project has recently seen a revival by the production company. Of course if Venom were to truly be the protagonist of his own film, it would only make sense that the villain of the movie would be Carnage, who is the offspring and the more evil counterpart of Eddie Brock’s symbiote.
As every comic book fan knows, Spider-Man has now been loaned out by Sony to Marvel, who will be making his onscreen debut in the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War. With Spidey jumping ship over to the MCU, it was once questionable if this Venom standalone film will ever see the light of day. Thankfully it still seems that the project is still moving full steam ahead, even with the possible exclusion of Spider-Man. Still, it’s an intriguing concept and if the right team were to step in we could have a promising R-rated project based on Venom and his deadlier incarnation, Carnage.
3. Kasady was Based on the Joker
There are comic book villains, and then there is The Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime might just be the most influential comic book villain ever created. He is, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable DC foes in history, with his trademarked green hair, pale white skin, purple suit, and a hideous laugh that sends chills down your spine. The Joker is a psychopathic killer that indulges in murdering and creating chaos just for the fun of it, making him the perfect rival for Batman and the perfect villain for readers. Although the homicidal clown is part of Batman’s extensive universe, his presence and influence can be felt on various other villains that came after, reaching out as far as Marvel comics in the process.
While Carnage is certainly detailed around the design of Venom, the human component of the character, Cletus Kasady, is largely based around the personality of the Joker. Comic book artist and creator of Kasady, Erik Larsen, has admitted to modeling Brock’s cellmate on DC Comic’s Clown Prince of Crime. It’s certainly not hard to see the parallels between the two villains. They both take great pleasure in their various killing sprees, and are psychopaths that are completely missing any sense of morality. If you put some face paint on him with a green wig, Kasady could pass for the Joker, which might explain his huge popularity with comic fans.
2. Various Superabilities
Like most of Spidey’s villains, Carnage isn’t just a one-trick-pony, and he sports a wide range of super abilities that comes along with the territory. According to Eddie Brock, the symbiote that fused with Kasady had powers that were even greater than its predecessor thanks to it having more time to adapt to the environment of Earth. This comes in handy when enhancing Carnage’s strength, which is twice as powerful as both Spider-Man’s and Venom’s combined.
Of course, along with his ability of super-strength, Carnage also has the ability to heal at a miraculous level. The supervillain has the uncanny knack to not only regenerate entire limbs, but also organs that have been ripped out or damaged during combat. Perhaps Carnage’s deadliest characteristic is his ability to form weapons out of the cellular structure of his body. Like other pop-culture bad guys, like the T-1000 in Terminator 2, Carnage can form weapons at the drop of a hat that includes shaping his hands into axes or stabbing weapons. Of course, all of these weapons are twice as deadly in the hands of Kasady, who is a ruthless natural-born killer. In an average person’s hands these traits are dangerous, but in Cletus’ hands, they’re cataclysmic.
1. Was Originally Going to Replace Venom
Carnage was originally created to be a much darker version of Venom, intended to make his first appearance following Eddie Brock’s death in The Amazing Spider-Man issue #400. The original plan was to have Brock’s symbiote to bond with a whole series of hosts after his death, with Cletus Kasady being one of them. This, in turn, would spawn a whole new army of foes that Spider Man could go at it with. However, Marvel soon found that Eddie Brock was not the one-off character they originally thought him to be. Brock and Venom became immensely popular with audiences, and Marvel would not allow the character to be killed off by the writers after his quick success.
As an alternative, comic book writer David Michelinie decided to have part of the alien symbiote give birth to another organism and attach itself onto to Brock’s cellmate. The idea behind this new character was to have him become the psychopathic version of Venom; a supervillain that had no sense of morality. Although Carnage never ended up replacing Venom, or quite reach the heights of his popularity, the character did prove to be an immediate hit with fans, challenging Spider-Man in ways no villain had before, or has since then.
Anything else fans should know about Cletus Kasady and Carnage? Let us know in the comments!