[5/11 Update: Writer Donny Cates has clarified the twists, explaining that Eddie Brock was merely a disguise worn by Cletus Kasady as Carnage, so his revenge plot didn't require Eddie's involvement at all. The title and text has been changed to reflect it.]
Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have had it rough in Marvel's universe of late, and their life isn't getting any easier now that he's been framed by the newest incarnation of Carnage (long overdue revenge for Cletus Kasady).
The newest Carnage twist comes as a total surprise, after Eddie Brock learned about his son Dylan, and that some of his most painful memories were actually planted by his symbiote to strengthen his reliance upon it. When the truth came out Venom separated for good, permanently dividing into man and symbiote. Unfortunately Eddie is now a puppet of a different symbiote in the events leading up to Marvel's Absolute Carnage event. Who's pulling the strings? None other than Cletus Kasady himself, making Eddie a pawn in his mission to kill every Marvel character who's worn a symbiote.
The shocking story is told in Marvel's Free Comic Book Day 2019: Spider-Man issue, which finds 'Eddie' (at least, we assume it's Eddie) imprisoned in Ryker's Island Penitentiary. He's been labeled a rambling lunatic after being picked up trying to break into the old Avengers Tower to warn the team (he must have missed the memo that the Avengers are based out of a Celestial corpse in the arctic). Without his suit, this 'Eddie' appears to be just a man screaming about elder gods, so New York's finest don't see any problem with sending him to jail with all the regular criminals and killers.
Among the inmates is the former Venom Lee Price, who wore the symbiote suit (like dozens of other Marvel heroes and villains at this point) for less than ethical means. Price and Eddie didn't leave things on good terms when Eddie took Venom back, so the gangster is happy to see his successor alone in prison... where Price remains known as 'Venom' among the prison inmates. 'Eddie' loses it at this admission (complete with Lee's massive tattoo of the Venom chest logo), laughing uncontrollably. Has Eddie Brock lost his mind? Well, this version has, in a sense. The signature black eyes with red swirls appear, which that readers have come to know as a sign of possession in the world of Venom. Possession by the Symbiote God Carnage has become.
He promptly rips out the symbiote seed that's been inside Price since he bonded with the symbiote. Before having Eddie slaughter everyone in sight, Carnage (speaking through Eddie's face) stares at the security camera to ensure everyone will know what Eddie Brock did. "Smile, Daddy." And with that, the diguise is dropped, and the true Carnage is revealed.
While the use of the symbiote pulled out of Lee's body is straightforward enough, the comic doesn't actually explain how much or often Carnage has been impersonating others minds and bodies. Prior issues showed Carnage implanting symbiote 'worms' into unsuspecting brain to send them in search of other hosts, as well. And Eddie is going to pay the price for Carnage's deception--giving Cletus one less obstacle between himself and collecting all the seeds to make Carnage's Symbiote godhood whole, reconnect to the symbiote homeworld hive, and bring forth their god Knull. After escaping the prison, Eddie-Carnage is seen plotting which seed he will go after next... just as Spider-Man THWIPs into view. This sets the stage for the coming Absolute Carnage event this summer, and one thing is certain: Eddie isn't done suffering just yet.
Free Comic Book Day 2019: Spider-Man is available now from your local comic book store.