Carnage has always been one of Marvel's most terrifying villains, but the comic book publisher is about to make his origin story a whole lot darker. Not only is Carnage a sociopath and murderer - now he's a cannibal, too.
Created by David Michelinie, Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley back in 1992, Carnage epitomizes superhero comics of the '90s. He's a ruthless monster, a serial killer bonded with an alien symbiote to produce Marvel's most lethal murderer. He's also Venom's greatest nemesis, leading many to suspect that Woody Harrelson will play Carnage in Venom's universe.
Given recent rumors that Venom will be a PG-13 film, the fear that Sony won't be able to do him justice isn't going anywhere.
In a remarkable twist, Marvel's November solicits have revealed that the publisher is doubling down on the darkness of Carnage's psychopathic villainy. Marvel seem to be betting that Sony's films will be a success; recent comics have focused on Venom to a remarkable degree, with the Venom symbiote bonded once again with Eddie Brock. They've also commissioned a number of tie-ins, one of which is the Web of Venom: Carnage miniseries.
The series promises to retcon him as an even more horrific monster than he ever was before. Here's the solicit:
"Join DONNY CATES as he continues to snake his tendrils through the VENOM mythos – this time visiting the sickening sociopath called CARNAGE! A cruel cannibal obsessed with death and murder, few mourned Cletus Kasady after he seemingly died in VENOMIZED. But now a cult devoted to the madman has gathered, hoping to resurrect their fallen idol and return his madness to the Marvel Universe..."
The standout here is that the solicit explicitly describes the Carnage host Cletus Kasady as "a cruel cannibal." In the past, Carnage has commented on the taste of human flesh... but given his psychopathy, it was impossible to know whether or not he really was a cannibal. If the solicitation text is as clear as it seems, then Marvel has decided the time for ambiguity is over.
Cletus Kasady is a confirmed cannibal, someone who doesn't just murder others for pleasure, but also eats his victims. With the implication just as likely that he consumed humans as Cletus, not just Carnage, it really isn't possible to make him any more horrific at this stage.
Of course, the real question is what impact this will have on the films. The latest reports suggest Sony is working to get Venom into the wider MCU, which already made Carnage something of a hard sell. The idea of a symbiotic monster who hacks and slashes his way through innocents, reveling in bloodshed and rejoicing in the most violent and gory murders is one that will be difficult to translate to even the hardest PG-13 rating.
But confirming Carnage as an explicit cannibal just makes Sony's challenge all the more difficult.