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Carnage VS Venom

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Christopher S Lozano
It’s the battle of the extraterrestrial symbiotes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and in today's versus matchup, we’re putting Venom against Carnage. We’re evaluating a wide range of categories to determine who’s the superior symbiote - not just who would win in a fight.
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It’s the battle of the extraterrestrial symbiotes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and in today's versus matchup, we’re putting Venom against Carnage.

We’re evaluating a wide range of categories to determine who’s the superior symbiote - not just who would win in a fight.

Round 1: Origin Story

Every superhero, and villain for that matter needs a compelling backstory. A good origin story informs the character’s actions and gives us insight into why they are the way they are. The symbiote which would become known as Venom is a being from the planet known as Klyntar. It bonded to Peter Parker and became Spider-Man’s new costume but was later removed and attached itself to the human named Eddie Brock. Brock was a former journalist who had been embarrassed and disgraced by Parker. Thus, the human and alien had a common hatred for Spider-Man and bonded together to form Venom.

The Carnage symbiote is also a member of Klyntar race, but unlike its father, the Venom symbiote, it was born on Earth. When the Venom symbiote helped Brock escape prison it left behind an offspring. This creature, which was technically the child of Venom, bonded with Brock’s cellmate, the psychopathic Cletus Kasady. Kasady was a disturbed and sadistic serial killer was convicted of murdering eleven people. When this madman and the symbiote bonded, they formed Carnage, one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies.

Though both of the symbiotes have interesting backstories, Venom’s is a little more complex and has a bit more depth, as he has more motivation than simply being a vicious serial killer. For that reason, we give this round to Venom.

Winner: Venom

Venom: 1 / Carnage: 0

Round 2: Costume

After a great backstory, a villain needs a great look. When the Venom symbiote first bonded with Peter Parker, the new suit quickly became a fan favorite for its simple and elegant design. The all-black look with white eyes, spider, and accents was an instant classic. Then the suit got kicked up a notch when it bonded with Brock. Venom kept the same black and white motif but added the iconic monstrous mouth with big teeth and a bigger tongue, setting the tone for what future symbiote characters would eventually look like. Speaking of which...

Carnage’s suit has a few similarities. For one, it also has a menacing mouth and has some black on it, much like its alien father, Venom. But that’s where the similarities end. Carnage’s teeth are much different, and red is its defining color. The Carnage symbiote is a visual representation of the madness inside Cletus Kasady, and the chaotic aesthetic brilliantly separates him from his predecessor.

Although Venom looks classic, we give this round to Carnage for having such a frightening design that builds on everything that made Venom’s look so great, to begin with.

Winner: Carnage

Venom: 1 / Carnage: 1

Round 3: Adaptations

A good barometer for how popular a comic book character is is how many adaptations they’ve had in other media. Venom has, of course, appeared in comics, but has also appeared in cartoons, video games, and movies. Usually, it’s a good thing when a fan-favorite character appears in a movie, but many fans were less than thrilled by Topher Grace’s portrayal of Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3. Despite this, Venom has had some solid appearances in many other media, including his very own movie!

Carnage has also appeared in video games and cartoons but was fortunately never portrayed by Topher Grace. The cartoon adaptations of Carnage have done a great job portraying the villain as a psychopathic madman and a terrifying force of nature. Like Venom, Carnage has been featured in video games as a main villain, just like he should be. Fans are clamoring for more Carnage outside the comics, and we have a feeling they’ll soon be satisfied.

Although he’s had one questionable portrayal in movies, we have to give this node to Venom for sheer quantity.

Winner: Venom

Venom: 2 / Carnage: 1

Round 4: Powers

Their powers are what makes a villain truly great. Symbiotes give their hosts many superhuman abilities, which make them formidable foes. The Venom symbiote gives Brock both enhanced senses and super-human physical strength, speed, durability, and agility. He’s got a handy healing factor and is immune to Spider Senses, and even has the power of invisibility. Venom is also a shapeshifter, is resistant to telepathy, and also has his own form of webbing ever since the symbiote bonded with Spidey.

The Carnage symbiote can basically do anything the Venom symbiote can do, and then some. Carnage is actually quite a bit stronger than Venom, which is why Venom and Spider-Man need to team up to take him down. Where Venom often makes more subtle changes to its form, Carnage goes wild. He regularly uses his symbiote to form various weapons, including axes, swords, and even throwing darts.

For this reason, and because he seems to make more use of his alien suit, we give this round to Carnage.

Winner: Carnage

Venom: 2 / Carnage: 2

Round 5: Hosts

As explained earlier, the Klyntar symbiotes need hosts to live. So, which symbiote had the best hosts? Venom has had several. Its first host was actually Deadpool, yeah that Deadpool. Many speculate that Venom’s deranged personality is a result of being bonded to the Merc with a mouth. After that, Venom bonded with Peter Parker for a time before moving to Eddie Brock. The Venom symbiote has also bonded with Anne Weying, Eddie’s ex-wife, Flash Thompson, a government black ops agent, and Marc Gargan, otherwise known as Scorpion.

Unlike Venom, Carnage hasn’t had as many notable hosts. This is due in part to the fact that the Carnage symbiote is bonded to Kasady’s bloodstream. Despite this, it has used a few other beings as hosts. Carnage has used John Jameson, and Ben Reilly, who was Spider-Man at the time. Carnage also tried to bond to the Herald of Galactus himself, the Silver Surfer. That didn’t go too well and ended up getting both Carnage and Kasady put away into an unbreakable prison. Most recently, Norman Osborn used the Carnage symbiote to become the Red Goblin.

For having a more interesting array of hosts, including a couple of heroes, we give this round to Venom.

Winner: Venom

Venom: 3 / Carnage: 2

So there you have it. In terms of his costume and powers, Carnage reigns supreme, but when it comes to who has the better Origin story, adaptations, and hosts, Venom takes the prize. This makes Venom the winner in the contest for symbiote supremacy.
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