With the upcoming release of Marvel’s Absolute Carnage big summer event right around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take a deeper look into Carnage and his most loyal host, Cletus Kasady.
Carnage has always been one of my favorite Marvel Villains since I was younger. The pure evil that exudes from him, with his psychotic love for chaos and bloodshed, creates one of Marvel Comics' most lethal villains. Carnage will be coming back this summer, hosted by Mr. Homicidal Sociopath himself, Cletus Kasady.
The man who created the infamous Carnage is David Michelinie. When creating Carnage, Michelinie wanted a much darker version of Venom. Erik Larsen designed Cletus Kasady, modeling him after DC Comics' Joker. Mark Bagley is responsible for the design of the Carnage symbiote. Before being named Carnage, they tried on a couple of other names first. Carnage was first named “Chaos” and then “Ravage”, before they decided to go with "Carnage".
In contrast from Venom/Eddie Brock, Carnage/Cletus Kasady is a singular entity, referring to his self as “I” instead of “We”.
Let us take a little dive into the mind of Cletus Kasady, the main host of Carnage.
Kasady is a sociopath and a homicidal sadist. He had a deeply disturbing childhood; he killed his grandmother when he was young kid. Kasady's mother tried to kill him a few times, once right after she birthed him in jail with his own umbilical cord, and again when he was older, but his father saw this then killed his mother right in front of Kasady. Afterwards, Kasady testified against his father, putting him in prison for the murder of his mother. Kasady believes that “laws are only words” and that unpattern bloodshed is “the ultimate freedom”.
Kasady grew up and became a serial killer, after being caught and thrown into Ryker’s Island. There, he stumbles across his true purpose in the universe; Kasady was cell mates with Eddie Brock. When Eddie Brock finally got the Venom symbiote back, he escaped prison. While escaping from Ryker’s Island, Venom unknowingly left behind one of its offspring in the cell with Kasady. The Carnage symbiote found Kasady and, through a small cut on his hand, bonded directly with his blood. With the bonding to Kasady’s blood, the connection between him and the symbiote made him even stronger, and was what gave him his red coloration.
Cletus Kasady came into the Amazing Spider-Man series in issue #344, and it is issue #345 where he becomes infected with the symbiote. Carnage’s first cameo appearance was as a glob of a red symbiote material that can be seen in one panel in issue #359. We get our first peek at the face of one of Spider-Man’s most lethal foes in issue #360. At last, the spawn of Venom is born in The Amazing Spider-Man #361, a great first appearance with an amazing cover to go with it. The Amazing Spider-Man #361-363 is the first epic battle that Spider-Man and Venom have against Carnage. All of these issues have some collectability to them, specifically The Amazing Spider-Man #361.
Carnage has been attached to a few different hosts over the years, usually always returning to Kasady somehow. In The Amazing Spider-Man #410, Carnage bonded with Ben Reilly, creating Spider-Carnage. In The Amazing Spider-Man #430, Carnage bonds with the Silver Surfer, taking on the form as Carnage Cosmic.
These issues all have some collectability to them, with series like Carnage: Mind Bomb (1996) and Carnage: It’s A Wonderful Life (1996), to Deadpool vs. Carnage (2015): most of his series and appearances have some collectability. Carnage has been around since 1996, coming in and out of Spider-Man's main series throughout the years, sometimes taking a break for a few years.
Carnage and Cletus Kasady had their return in Donny Cates’s one-shot Web of Venom: Carnage Born (2019). After having seemingly died during the Venomized (2018) event, few have missed Kasady, except for a cult that has devoted their life to finding their master and resurrecting him. In doing so, hoping to bring his chaos and devastation back. When the cult resurrected Cletus, they injected him with the Grendel Symbiote for him to become Dark Carnage.
\\ Your Complete Guide to Absolute Carnage (2019) / /
Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1
Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1
Web of Venom: Unleashed #1
Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 #Spider-Man/Venom
Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
"Everyone is a Target" Post-Credit Tie-Ins
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #24
Avengers Vol 8 #22
Black Cat #2
Captain Marvel Vol 10 #8
Deadpool Vol 7 #14
Fantastic Four Vol 6 #11
The Immortal Hulk #20
Invaders Vol 3 #7
Symbiote Spider-Man #3
Venom Vol 4 #15 - 17
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #30 – 31
Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1
Absolute Carnage: Ghost Rider - Symbiote of Vengeance #1
Absolute Carnage: The Immortal Hulk #1
Absolute Carnage: Lethal Protectors #1 - 3
Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 - 3
Absolute Carnage: Scream #1 - 3
Absolute Carnage: Separation Anxiety #1
Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #1 - 3
Venom Vol 4 #17 – 19