Supervillain Origins: Carnage



Supervillain Origins: Carnage

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Craig Butler
Take one psychopathic serial killer and add one unstoppable alien life force, and what have you got? Welcome to and today we will explore the comic book origin of Carnage.
Take one psychopathic serial killer and add one unstoppable alien life force, and what have you got? Welcome to and today we will explore the comic book origin of Carnage.

Carnage is a villain that even the wisecracking Web Head doesn’t mess around with, and it’s easy to see why: he’s way stronger than Spider-Man, can shapeshift his whole body or parts of his body into deadly weapons, and relishes maiming, torturing and killing.

To be technical, the name Carnage refers to an alien symbiotic life form, the offspring of the Venom symbiote. But a symbiote needs a host, and for Carnage, most of the time that host has been the deranged serial killer Cletus Kasady. So in general, when we refer to Carnage, we mean the combination of the two.

Down through the years, a little bit more has been revealed about Kasady’s past. During one sequence in which the symbiote was attached to both Kasady and a doctor named Tanis Nieves, readers learned that as a boy he killed his mother’s dog because he was jealous of it and confirmed he did indeed burn down his school, killing all inside it. And in a later situation in which he was linked with another young woman, readers saw how his grandmother abused him – until he pushed her down a staircase to her death. They also learned that his father beat him and also accidentally killed his mother – who may have been the one person who treated Kasady kindly.

How did this unlikely, or at least unholy, duo get together? On the surface, it’s a pretty simple story of boy meets symbiote.

You see, Kasady was sharing a prison cell with none other than Eddie Brock, who with another alien symbiote had been the villainous Venom. Venom hated Spider-Man, largely because the symbiote had first bonded with the web-slinger, who gave him an unceremonious brush-off. Kasady and Brock didn’t really get along, as Brock felt superior to the soulless serial killer who had been convicted of killing eleven innocent people. Just as Kasady felt he had had enough of Brock’s high-and-mighty attitude, the Venom symbiote found its way into the cell and reclaimed his host. As the newly-reunited villain left the cell, it left behind a little black ooze, which landed on Kasady’s hand.

Before long, Kasady was acting even stranger than usual, holding intense conversations with himself. When a guard got too nosey, he suffered a gruesome fate – and Kasady escaped. And before long, a red-suited merciless killer going by the name of Carnage was brutally murdering people at random. When Spider-Man started investigating, he worried that this was the work of Venom – except that he had stranded Venom on a deserted island and tricked him into thinking Spider-Man was dead.

Spider-Man checked up on Venom’s cellmate Kasady, finding out he was even more reprehensible than he thought. He may have been convicted of eleven murder, but it seems he was responsible for many more – starting on his murderous spree when he was still a child.

With no other choice, Spider-Man went to enlist the aid of his enemy, Venom, who verified that the symbiotes reproduce asexually and that his symbiote had given birth just as he was escaping prison. His “son” had then bonded with Kasady, whose immorality corrupted the symbiote’s natural desire to save innocent creatures – leading to the creation of Carnage.

Kasady and the Carnage symbiote were finally separated by Venom, who tore them apart and proceeded to devour his offspring. Kasady took this about as well as you’d expect, painting himself red and going out in search of Venom and Spider-Man.

While this seemed to be the end of the Carnage symbiote, some of it survived within Kasady’s body, drawing him to the Negative Zone where he’d find and bond with an identical symbiote to become Carnage again!

Other characters have dawned the Carnage symbiote over the years, including Dr. Karl Malus to create the Superior Carnage, Peter Parker’s clone Ben Reilly to create Spider-Carnage, and most recently, with Norman Osborn to create the Red Goblin. But sooner or later, the Carnage symbiote always returns to Kasady.

A villain as outrageous as Carnage naturally has been introduced in other media, although generally in a somewhat less violent manner. Still, even in animated form, Carnage packs a wallop that makes his appearances very memorable indeed.