One of the most terrifying villains that the Marvel universe has to offer is Carnage. A villain of Spider-Man and Venom, the symbiote was first bonded to Cletus Kasady, a cellmate of Eddie Brock who is all kinds of crazy. After Eddie Brock’s Venom broke out, it left a little parting gift, its spawn which eventually became known as Carnage. Bonding with the Kasady, the creature was able to obtain some of the worst out of him. But over time, the symbiote had bonded with other hosts, including one Norman Osborn.
As such, it begs the question, who is the better host?
10 Cletus Kasady: Original
Probably one of the more obvious reasons, but it’s still very important to keep in mind. To many people, Cletus Kasady IS Carnage, so much so that the symbiote is practically an extension of Kasady’s will.
On top of that, the character had been Carnage for the longest time, so much so that even if the character loses the symbiote it will not be for long. Just like Venom before him, there will always be some hosts that are temporary, but they will always come back to the source.
9 Norman Osborn: History With Spider-Man
What much could really be said about the Green Goblin? Arguably Spider-Man’s arch-enemy along with Dr. Octopus, the character has caused a lot of strife in Peter Parker’s life. The most infamous one being the death of Gwen Stacy.
Since then, Norman Osborne has tried his best to actively destroy Peter’s life as much as possible, such as the first death of Ben Reilly and so much more. As such, having the Carnage symbiote feed on that would just make him extremely powerful.
8 Cletus Kasady: The Symbiote Is Fiercely Loyal To Him
As mentioned before, the Carnage symbiote is a literal extension of the psychotic Kasady. Their bond is so powerful that the usual speak of Venom’s “we” go away, instead, it’s replaced with the word “I.” Another notable example is during the story Maximum Carnage, where even though the symbiote was away from Kasady, their bond was so strong that he unleashed the alien through his bloodstream. It just fed into its chaotic unpredictability. What’s more, whenever the symbiote leaves, it acts like Kasady and is just as crazy as its host.
7 Norman Osborn: Resources
Norman Osborn is one of the richest and smartest characters in the Marvel Universe. Along with characters like Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic, he is capable of mass-producing a variety of technological gadgets. Although his powers are primarily genetic, he’s able to create a variety of dangerous weapons from the glider to his pumpkin bombs. With the abilities utilized with the Carnage symbiote, it’s insane how he would be able to use those resources to its advantage. It is just unfortunate that the concept wasn’t given to its full potential.
6 Cletus Kasady: He Created An Army Of Carnages
Pretty much the ambitious plan that was created by Carnage during the story arc Absolute Carnage, by writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman. The main goal that Carnage wanted to achieve was to bring about the deaths of Spider-Man, Venom and much more. Now calling himself “Dark Carnage,” he initiated his plan by creating a literal legion of Carnages which included Norman Osborn. Although Norman has had teams of villains before, such as the Thunderbolts, this one is something even he couldn’t do and it’s absolutely terrifying.
5 Norman Osborn: Intelligence
As mentioned earlier on this list, Norman Osborn is one of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe. Gadgets aside, Osborn has been able to run an entire company, manipulated Gwen Stacy in a very controversial storyline and has generally made Spider-Man’s life a living hell.
He was also able to create the Iron Patriot armor by using a variety of Stark tech, which is not an easy feat to do considering who Iron Man is. By having the Carnage symbiote utilize that to its full potential, Osborn not only gets strategy but complete unpredictability in turn.
4 Cletus Kasady: Insanity
Speaking of complete unpredictability, Cletus Kasady is arguably the definition of insane. Maybe as, if not more insane than the Joker from DC, Kasady’s past is just completely messed up. A good example is when he killed his own grandmother and felt no remorse. Being a bonafide serial killer and having that element of insanity allows him to push his enemies in ways that are unprecedented. Although Osborn is also insane thanks to the Goblin serum, Kasady is just on another tier. And for a villain that matters a lot.
3 Norman Osborn: Priorities
While Osborn is crazy, he still holds his priorities better than Kasady. After all, he’s able to lead a team and focus his attentions solely on what matters. While it’s true that Kasady is able to destroy everything in very unpredictable ways, it can also result in a lack of focus. That can be extremely bad depending on the circumstance and is why he didn’t break Spider-Man as much as someone like the Green Goblin ever did. This is also of note because like Venom before him, Kasady does know Peter Parker.
2 Cletus Kasady: He made the Carnage symbiote stronger
The influence of Kasady has made Carnage the symbiote that it is today. It’s thought process, it’s way of thinking, it’s unpredictable nature and the way it ticks. Everything that makes the symbiote as terrifying as it can ever be is all because Kasady made it possible.
It’s because of this that it’s argued that Kasady brought out the best of the symbiote’s strengths in ways where Norman just simply can’t, even with his advantages. Norman may be able to do things differently from Kasady, but he can never make it tick.
1 Norman Osborn: Sick design
A pretty shallow point, but one that is still great nonetheless. There is nothing wrong with the original Carnage design as its sinister on its own. However, there is just something about the Osborn Carnage design that actually makes it even more amazing. By incorporating the best of both, the Osborn Carnage design looks like the literal depiction of a small cackling devil. One that is ready to kill you and everything that you love, which is something that just makes Carnage one of the most terrifying in his universe.
Carnage is one of Spider-Man's greatest foes. Cletus Kasady and Norman Osborn are the symbiote's most famous hosts and we wonder who is better.