Venom 2 is coming. There’s a new villain on the horizon for the titular anti-hero Venom, and their name is Carnage. Created by writer David Michelinie and artist Erik Larsen, Carnage first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #344 in 1991. Carnage is the moniker serial-killer and sociopath Cletus Kasady and the symbiote take on when they bond. Instead of “We are Venom,” audiences will get “We are Carnage.”
Essentially, Venom and Carnage are the same symbiote-enhanced characters except Cletus Kasady lacks the moral compass that Eddie Brock has. For those who haven’t been following the character since 1991, here are 10 things you need to know about Cletus Kasady before watching the sequel to Venom.
10 Killed His Grandma
Cletus Kasady had many abusers throughout his life. His family was terrible to him and eventually, Cletus had a breaking point. As revealed in Carnage Vol. 2 #12, when Cletus Kasady was just a child, his Grandmother sent him to the store to pick up some cigarettes. Cletus returned with the wrong brand prompting his wheelchair-bound Grandmother to verbally berate him. She continued to physically abuse him, even made Cletus call himself a “bad boy” repeatedly. Of course, Cletus snapped and shoved her down a flight of stairs. The fall kills her, marking the beginning of Cletus Kasady’s murderous career.
9 Killed His Mom’s Dog
At the Ravencroft Institute during his session with Doctor Camille Pazzo, Cletus remarks his mother is a liar. Cletus confesses to his therapist in Venom Carnage Unleashed Vol. 1 #1 that he felt like his Mother loved her dog, Fifi, more than him. He continues to share how the dog died “making a mess” in the basement. What he’s really thinking as he shares this is how he killed the dog with a power drill. His mother blamed him for what happened to the dog but Cletus refuses to accept the blame. His mother is, after all, a liar. Hard to argue with a sociopath.
8 Watched His Dad Kill His Mom
Cletus had issues with his mother. He did try to kill her by throwing a hairdryer in the bathtub, maybe. When Kasady is being interviewed by Doctor Pazzo at Ravencroft Institute in Venom Carnage Unleashed Vol. 1 #1, his recollection of events creates continuity issues later on in Carnage Vol. 2 #12. This suggests that whatever Kasady is sharing with the doctor may either be delusional or just a flat-out lie.
What he shares with the doctor is that his mother tried to kill him with a knife. However, before his mother could stab him, his Dad arrived home to stop her by killing her with a hammer. At least, maybe this is what Cletus wished had happened because this shared memory is contradicted in Carnage Vol. 2 #12 when a flashback reveals that it was Cletus’ father who was beating him with a belt when his mother stepped in to save him. His father strikes his mother and the force of the blow causes his mother to break her neck on a coffee table.
7 Burned Down An Orphanage
Once Cletus was orphaned, he was sent to the St. Estes Home for Boys. Kasady continued to experience abuse at the orphanage. He also faced romantic rejection for the first time. When a girl refuses to go on a date with him, Kasady pushes her in front of a bus. He then proceeded to go on his first mass murder spree when he kills the disciplinarian administrator of the orphanage, followed by burning the entire orphanage to the ground. Spider-Man’s first encounter with Carnage happens at the burned ruins of the orphanage in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #361.
6 Eddie Brock’s Cellmate
Given the continuity the first Venom film sets up, this backstory aspect of the character might be reimagined. In the comics, however, Carnage is created by simply having the luck of being Eddie Brock’s cellmate at Ryker’s Island Penitentiary. As his cellmate, Kasady does try to convince Brock that anyone can kill if they have the will to do it.
Brock is annoyed by his cellmate’s psychotic worldview. In Carnage Vol. 2 #12, a flashback memory reveals that when Brock discovered Kasady was responsible for the murders of dozens of innocents, he subsequently beat Kasady mercilessly. Kasady begged Brock to stop to no avail. Little did Brock know when he was broken out of Ryker’s by his symbiote that the symbiote gave birth to an offspring that bonded to Cletus Kasady, allowing Kasady to seek revenge as Carnage.
5 Cellular Control Of The Symbiote
In Venom Carnage Unleashed Vol. 1 #1, it’s revealed Kasady is able to control his symbiote at a cellular level. While imprisoned at the Ravencroft Institute because Kasady’s doctor felt that he was making progress, he had computer privileges. He used those privileges to escape Ravencroft by reducing the symbiote down to individual cells at a microscopic level that could travel through the internet. Basically, Carnage can become his own digital code, then transform that code into a data stream that can transmit itself across a digital network, physically manifesting itself anywhere there’s a network-connected computer.
4 Survived Space
Many have tried to kill Carnage, all have failed. You can’t keep a good symbiote down. In New Avengers Vol. 1 #2 during a breakout at the super-villain prison the Raft, the flying brick character Sentry grabs Carnage, then flies directly into outer space where he tears Carnage in half. Being left for dead, floating in space, the symbiote finds a way to keep itself and Cletus Kasady alive by putting them both in a dormant state. When Michael Hall, a competitor of Tony Stark, discovers Carnage’s body has crashed into one of his satellites, Carnage is retrieved from space. Hall tries to separate the symbiote from Kasady, but ultimately fails because the symbiote always finds its way back to its murderous host.
3 Killed His Teddy Bear
Cletus had a childhood teddy bear he called Binky. When Spider-Man was initially hunting the serial killer down, clues led Spidey to the burned ruins of the orphanage Cletus grew up in. Spidey hears what he thinks is the voice of a child when he discovers that it’s really a completely naked Cletus Kasady sitting next to a fire, talking to his teddy bear Binky.
Cletus notices the wall-crawler spying on him, transforming into Carnage. As he transforms, he shreds poor Binky in half. Binky’s demise can be attributed to Spider-Man violating Cletus’ sanctuary, as he calls it. Not even stuffed animals are safe from Cletus Kasady’s murderous rage.
2 Rock Music Fan
Cletus’ favorite song is “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. In Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Vol. 1 #8, Carnage sacrifices himself by containing a gene bomb explosion. Before he blows up, Carnage asks Spider-Man to make sure they build him a memorial made of gold, jewels, and rhinestones, draped with the confederate flag, right in the middle of bleeding-heart liberal New York City. He wants the memorial to play “Free Bird” around the clock. In Nova Vol. 5 #27, it’s also revealed that Cletus loves the metal band Anthrax. He remarks that the symbiote makes Cletus listen to them via headphones.
1 Symbiote Soulmate
Cletus sees the symbiote as his one true soulmate. He considers being bonded with the symbiote as his true self. Spouses often bring out the best in their partners and the marriage of Cletus Kasady and his symbiote is no different. Cletus often refers to the symbiote with female pronouns like, “missus.” In Venomized Vol. 1 #3, Cletus is separated from his original symbiote, then bonded with another symbiote.
Outraged, wanting the symbiote removed and his original returned to him, Cletus threatens to slaughter anyone who tries to get between him and his “real self.” He calls out to his beloved symbiote, saying he’s coming for it. Cletus and the symbiote share a love for one another. While true sociopaths have little concept of love because they can only value themselves above all others, Cletus’s symbiote is a part of him, and therefore the closest thing to love that he will ever experience.
Carnage. While he shares similarities with Venom, they have many stark differences between them, including some murderous tendencies.