Who Is Carnage? A Guide To Venom’s New Villain

Carnage (Marvel Comics)

by James White |
Updated on

Midway through the credits rolling at the end of 2018's Venom, the screen cut to Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock going to visit someone in San Quentin prison. That someone turned out to be Woody Harrelson, sporting a shock of curly red hair and a prison jumpsuit, and creeping it up from the inside of a cage that's right out of Silence Of The Lambs. His name – though not directly mentioned – is Cletus Kasady, and he's a serial killer, which you could guess from the cage, and the fact that he writes Eddie's name in blood on one surface. Despite that, "Red" asks they forego the creepy serial killer thing, but then claims that when he gets out, there's going to be "carnage".

Those who aren't big readers of the Marvel comics where Spider-Man, Venom and their associated comics spring from might have been left scratching their heads at the word. And now that the sequel – which we already knew would see the return of Harrelson's character – is titled Venom: Let There Be Carnage, it's high time we offer a handy guide on who exactly the villain is...

Where did Carnage start?

Carnage – Marvel origin

Venom had already made a name for him – well, itself – when the space symbiote arrived in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #300 back in 1988. Given that success, Marvel decided to exploit further symbiote creatures, and Carnage, created by writer David Michelinie and artists Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley, entered the fray in 1992's Amazing Spider-Man #360. Created to be a darker character than even Venom (who has been something of an anti-hero in his time and is certainly the protagonist in his solo films), the merged form of serial slaughterer Cletus Kasady and an offspring of Venom was created when the sprog was left in his cell. This creature bonded with Cletus via a cut, which explains his red colour, as surges through the man's blood. And yes, in the comics, Eddie and Cletus shared a cell at one point.

What are Carnage's capabilities?

Carnage Capabilities

Carnage is, to put it simply, a more dangerous version of Venom, with similar strength, agility and speed abilities. He can use his tendrils as deadly weapons and shoot them as projectiles. Handily for his reigns of terror, he also has a strong healing factor. He's also absolutely psychopathic and not afraid to do anything to further his evil plans.

Weakness-wise, he's no fan of fire, and he has some vulnerability to sonic weapons (like Venom), though not quite to the same level.

Who has also bonded with Carnage?


Cletus Kasady is far from the only person who has merged with the Carnage symbiote. Combinations we've seen in the comics included Spider-Carnage (above) and Cosmic Carnage.

So, what was Maximum Carnage?

Maximum Carnage

One of the biggest storylines to feature the character crossed several Marvel Spidey titles for the event known as Maximum Carnage. It saw the red danger allying with characters such as Shriek, a Spidey clone named Doppelganger, demonic creature Demogoblin and death-dealer Carrion. They essentially took over New York City, killed many people and required a huge group of heroes to stop them.

Did Carnage ever die?

Carnage death

Spreading his tendrils across several titles and storylines, there was a concern in 2004 that Carnage had become somewhat overexposed. Ripped in half by Robert Reynolds (AKA Sentry), he was left to die in the cold vacuum of space. But no one really dies in comicbooks, and Carnage was back causing trouble in 2010 for several storylines, including one in which he's portrayed as a hero. One famous storyline saw him bond with Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn to form the Red Goblin, which required Spidey to take him down.

Where can we see Carnage on screen before the new movie?

Carnage in Ultimate Spider-Man

Carnage first showed up in cartoon form in 1994 as part of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and showed up in Spider-Man Unlimited, which kicked off in 1999 and Ultimate Spider-Man, which continued the tradition of Carnage bonding with other characters. Even the Hulk!

He's also showed up in game titles (one was entirely based on Maximum Carnage) and has been part of LEGO Marvel Superheroes and Marvel Puzzle Quest. The game spawned from 2014's Amazing Spider-Man 2 even featured a look at what Carnage might have looked like had that take on the character not come to an end.

What can we expect from Venom: Let There Be Carnage?

Now, of course, we'll get to see Carnage in full bloom on the big screen, with Kasady played by Harrelson. Andy Serkis is directing this time, with Naomie Harris on board to play Shriek. Michelle Williams is returning as Anne Weying, Eddie Brock's former fiancée, with Dan Reid back as her boyfriend Dan Lewis. Stephen Graham is among the new cast, though we don't yet know who he's playing.

The plot is still a guarded secret, but when he announced that he was aboard to direct Serkis posted a picture of him holding a copy of the Venom: Lethal Protector comic, which could be read as a clue. Published in 1993, it was the first time Eddie Brock and Venom took centre stage and became more of an antihero. The aggrieved father of one of his former victims sets some super-powered mercenaries on his trail, though much of the storyline inspired the first Venom, so expect Kelly Marcel's script to draw more from Carnage stories.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage will arrive in June 2021.

Want to know more about Carnage?

If your interest has been piqued, here are some essential Carnage outings to help you fill in the blanks.

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Essential Carnage Reading and Viewing

Amazing Spider-Man #360, £1.991 of 6

Amazing Spider-Man #360

On the back of Venom's success, the red symbiote Carnage makes his debut in issue 360 of Amazing Spiderman.

Maximum Carnage, £26.392 of 6

Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage is the alien symbiote's biggest outing, comprising of fourteen issues, and crosses over with a wide roster of Marvel's heroes and villains.

Venom vs. Carnage, £6.993 of 6

Venom vs. Carnage

This comic showcases a face of between Venom and his offspring Carnage, as they battle over the fate of Carnage's unborn child.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series4 of 6

Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Spider-Man: The Animated Series is a quintessential superhero show. Carnage makes his appearance in the third season. Available to now on Disney+.

Spider-Man Unlimited5 of 6

Spider-Man Unlimited

Spider-Man Unlimited features Carnage and Venom right from the get go as the main villains. Their actions even cause Spider-Man to go into hiding. Available to now on Disney+.

Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 11: Carnage, £13.996 of 6

Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 11: Carnage

The 'Ultimate' series is known for mixing things up and injecting a darker edge into proceedings. In Volume 11 of Ultimate Spider-Man, Spidey faces off against the heartless and merciless Carnage.

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