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By: Gary Lockard
Ever since we saw Woody Harrelson at the end of the first installment of Venom, everyone knew a confrontation between Tom Hardy and Harrelson was imminent. While a good portion of people may have known that Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady was destined to become Carnage, not everyone is familiar with the villain. Grab a cup of joe, kick back, relax, and enjoy this write up on everything Carnage so that you are ready for the 90-minute thrill ride that is Venom: Let There Be Carnage when it hits theaters this October.
Carnage’s debut is technically a cameo appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #359. His first full outing however is The Amazing Spider-Man # 361. The character was also ranked by IGN as the 90th greatest super villain of all time.
Carnage and Venom‘s relationship in the comic is tenuous at best, but then again, parents and children do have those sorts of relationships. I’m sure my toddler would tell you the same thing if he knew what the word tenuous meant, but I digress. You did read that right however, Carnage is Venom‘s offspring. Like many organic beings, Venom‘s race of beings, the Klyntar, also reproduce and create other symbiotes.
In the comics, the powers that Carnage possesses are likely going to be different than how the movie portrays Carnage for one key reason: the symbiote offspring possesses the powers of the parent symbiotes first attachment. In the comics the first person to wear the Venom symbiote is actually Peter Parker as Spider-Man. This would mean that Carnage would have all of Spider-Man’s powers plus those of his host, whom we will discuss shortly. In the previous movie however, Venom attached to Eddie Brock which is who it bonds with in the comics after Peter Parker.
So who does Carnage bond with? Well, as you may have put together by now, the host being is Cletus Kasady. Kasady is a deranged sociopath serial killer who is locked up in Ravencroft, which is fairly accurate to where we first see him the the comics. More than being locked up though, Kasady was actually born in Ravencroft. He was troubled at an early age. He had a near-death experience where his heart stopped for several minutes. He was revived by a member of the Klyntar, Knull. Cletus killed his own grandmother by pushing her down the stairs when he had left the institute to live with her.
He attempted to kill his mother by throwing a hair dryer into her bath with her in it. This event is what deepens the pain in Kasady’s life. His mother seeks retribution on her own son by trying to kill him, an act which his father interrupts. His father lashes out at his mother, almost killing her. The trial of his father for the defense of Cletus however does not end well as Cletus stays quiet and watches his father hauled off to prison for an act of defense. If you are keeping score at home, Cletus Kasady is a pretty nice guy. He does a stent as a child in St. Estes Home for Boys, but he burns it down, killing most of its occupants.
Once Kasady is brought to justice for more than 10 murders, he shares a cell with Eddie Brock, Venom‘s host who is unattached to him when we first meet Kasady. When Venom returns to his host, he helps Brock break out of prison, but before this, Venom creates his offspring unknowingly. This is where Carnage is born as the offspring enters Cletus through a cut in his arm. The two create an insatiable bloodlust bond creating the perfect match made in hell.
Carnage once almost completely took over New York through teamwork with other villains, as unlikely as that is from everything you know now of his past. In the Maximum Carnagestory, he recruits several villains, to assist him. Of most importance to him in this story is Shriek, a villain that can create a psychic link which she used to turn New Yorker’s against each other. Quick side note, Shriek is also commonly depicted as Carnage’s lover. Spider-Man, Venom, and other heroes’ are able to thwart the attack though and once again imprison Carnage at Ravencroft. Home sweet home.
Through many dramatic events that spiral from Maximum Carnage, we eventually end up in a story called Absolute Carnage. It is here where a decisive battle between Carnage and Venom occurs. This storyline see’s Carnage become a demi-god of sorts, vastly more powerful than any of his previous incarnations, he calls himself Dark Carnage. The villain brings his old gang back together to try to levy revenge on those who wronged them: Spider-Man and Venom. Using shape shifting, Dark Carnage infiltrates a warehouse where Spidey and Venom are conducting research on how to non-fatally remove ‘codices’, which are essentially remnants of the symbiotes once they leave their hosts.
Dark Carnage learns of Eddie Brock’s son, Dylan causing absolute carnage to break out (see what I did there). A massive fight among all parties breaks out even one where the Venom symbiote attempts to attach to Bruce Banner. Carnage does manage to kill Banner before Venom can control him, however Carnage was ignorant as to Banners identity and was astonished when Banner was resurrected in the form of Devil Hulk. Using some of his tendrils, Dark Carnage is able to make Venom Hulk revert back to Banner which enables Dark Carnage to assimilate the Venom symbiote. Eddie is able to create a duplicate of the Venom symbiote from the codices that were experimented with and during the fight, several more allies show up to help Spider-Man and Venom.
These include Cloak, Dagger, Deadpool, Captain Marvel, and others. Eddie is able to form a necrosword from his symbiote and quite literally impales Dark Carnage before delivering the final blow sawing him in half as we see Cletus Kasady’s corpse dissolve, thus putting a tragic ending to tortured soul.
While only a limited number of privileged viewers have been able to see the second installment, we still know very little. We do know that rarely are the movies identical to books and comics, so we can get used to the ideal of change. While the above anecdotes are certainly not the entirety of Carnage in the comics, they are among the most important. What will change? What will stay the same? We don’t have long to wait, as Venom: Let There Be Carnage hits theaters October 1. You can read our Comic Book 101: Shang Chi here, to learn more about the characters in the pages of Marvel Comics.
Originally posted on Movie Web