The Best Carnage Comics: Celebrating 20 Years of Mayhem

Spider_Inferno | 15 June 2011 | 4 Comments   


Spider-Man has had many intriguing villains over the years, but none more murderously delightful than Carnage. Over the past 20 years Carnage has had a massive impact in the Spider-Man universe and will always be known as one of Spider-Mans most dangerous enemies.

Carnage has a huge cult following, but it’s been ages since Carnage graced the pages of Spider-Man, six years in fact. With this year marking his twentieth birthday Marvel recently released his very own mini-series entitled Carnage.

With Carnage being one of my favorite villains ever I’ve decided to list my favorite Carnage storylines of all time. Hopefully it will inspire you to pick up some of these comics and see what all the fuss is about.

Welcome to Spider_Inferno’s Top Carnage Stories

Origin: Carnage

One day this dude who calls himself The Beyonder, (the Vince McMahn of the entire Universe) decided to teleport all the Marvel’s heroes and villains to a vacant planet in order to fight in a secret war. As the battles raged on between heroes, villains and mutants (who felt they were separate from the others), costumes started to get damaged.  Our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was no exception.  So when he saw the other heroes with costumes getting theirs repaired, he wanted in.  They pointed him to a room and told him there was a machine inside that all he had to do was think about the costume being repaired and it would do the trick.

Placing his hands on the machine, a black costume wrapped itself around Spider-Man. When the super secret wars were over, Spidey kept the black costume as a souvenir. He wore it for awhile until he realizes the costume was actually alien symbiote that was alive and trying to take over his body. Finally rejecting the advances of the costume from consuming his soul, Venom was born.

Venom was born from an angry, spurned symbiote who was pissed off at Spidey for not only rejecting it, but also hurting it to get it off of him and from an angry and pissed off Eddie Brock, who hated Peter Parker, a rival at the Daily Bugle.  Put them together and you got a powerful, vengeful being that had Spider-Man’s powers, knew his secret identity and wanted nothing more than to make him suffer.

Eventually Spider-Man removes the symbiote from Eddie Brock and sends him to jail. Eddie’s jail mate turns out to be a totally mental, serial killer name Kletus Kasady. When the symbiote finally comes to break Eddie out, it drops off its alien spawn without Eddie knowing it and the spawn bonds with Kasady who then becomes Carnage.


Amazing Spider-Man #361-363

#361-363 (April–June 1992) introduced Carnage, a second symbiote nemesis for Spider-Man. It had been 60 issues since Venom was first introduced and he had become incredibly popular among Spider-Man readers. With Venom’s increasing popularity why not add another symbiote into the mix? That’s exactly what Marvel did, and they did it with a bang!

Spider-Man versus Carnage, Venom versus Carnage, Spider-Man versus Carnage and Venom! What more can you ask for in a 3 part storyline. Carnage also added an interesting new dynamic to the Venom character. Where as Venom was about getting revenge at all costs but not harming innocents, Carnage was all about murdering whoever was in his way. This created an interesting father, son dynamic. I highly recommend starting here so you’ll witness the birth of one the greatest super villains ever.

Spider-Man/Batman #1

Carnage and the Joker are both subjects in an experiment to neutralize insane criminals by embedding neural micro-chips in their brains. Carnage is taken to Gotham, and is followed by Peter. Klaus manages to resist his chip with the help of his symbiote, and he escapes taking The Joker with him. Carnage and Joker get on fine at first, but then they have a bit of a falling out and it’s up to Peter and Bruce to sort everything out again.

The plotline was average and the point of the comic was all about Batman meeting Spider-Man, but Carnage teaming up with the Joker…what more can a comic book fan ask for?

Carnage: Mind Bomb

As Matthew Kurtz, a psychiatric specialist from Military Intelligence, arrives at Ravencroft, Carnage is basically doing what he does best: insanity. Kurtz does not exactly receive a warm reception, but eventually makes it to Carnage’s lair. Driving the symbiote off Cletus Kasady with a Sono-pistol, he pumps Kasady full of drugs and begins to grill him. Kasady begins a soliloquy that sheds light into who he is and why he kills.

Mind Bomb is a detailed look into the mind of a serial killer, with understandably disturbing content. If you’re looking for something different in the Spiderverse, give ’Mind Bomb’ a try. A word of warning, though, anyone offended by graphic displays of violence stay away as this one is truly grotesque. The pictures are very graphic and the subject matter gruesome. In retrospect this is the most disturbing Carnage comic out, but it’s also one of the best. It’s the truly gives the reader an effective view inside of a Kasady’s disturbed head.

Amazing Spider-Man #430-431

The Silver Surfer bonds with the Carnage symbiote, gaining the name “Cosmic Carnage “. In the first issue, the Carnage Symbiote leaves Cletus Kasady, to seek revenge for the destruction of its homeworld the only way it knows how, by using the Surfer as its new host. After the symbiote completes merging to the Surfer, he immediately rampages as a side effect to the two entities conflicting with each other. The Carnage Cosmic then flies off into outer space. Cletus Kasady, “symbiote-less,” is taken to the hospital for the immense pain he suffers as a result of the separation.  Radd sees how the symbiote remembers the Surfer summoning his master, Galactus, to the planet to consume it. Then the Surfer is shown memories of Kasady’s abusive youth. The Surfer breaks free realizing what he must do. He returns to Earth as the Cosmic Carnage . After a brief roof-top battle with Spider-Man, the mismatched pair searches the city finding Kasady in the hospital, still screaming in pain. Upon immediately seeing Kasady, the symbiote re-bonds with Kasady, but to ensure Carnage will never hurt any one else again, The Surfer encases Carnage in an unbreakable shell of ethereal energy

Seeing the Silver Surfer briefly taken over by the Carnage symbiote is a treat that you shouldn’t miss. Cosmic Carnage is a terrifyingly powerful sight.


Planet of the Symbiotes

Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider and Venom find themselves on another planet full of symbiotes who have taken over the planets population. During their brief stay we learn the history of the symbiotes. They were a conquering race who fed off of other beings’ emotions. The Venom symbiote was imprisoned and condemned to die when it was discovered that he was concentrating more on communicating and bonding than dominating. The prison was placed on Battleworld during the Secret Wars, where Spider-Man found it.

Returning back to Earth, the heroes discovered that there had been full-scale invasion. Many people were being captured by symbiotes, including heroes such as Captain America. Carnage awoke from his coma and learned that he could absorb these symbiotes. By doing this he became more powerful and larger. Carnage attacked the symbiote base and absorbed hundreds, becoming monolithic.

This crossover spans 5 Super Specials across the Spider-Man universe and was a giant success. The series spawned widely popular Planet Symbiote toys that are still sought after today. If you’re a fan of carnage, venom or just want an awesome Spider-Man story, I recommend you finding the trade paperback of this epic crossover immediately.

Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage to this date ranks on my list of Top 5 best Spider-Man stories ever. It was so incredibly successful that it inspired video games and toy lines. The selling point for Maximum Carnage is all about the crossovers between all four Spider-Man titles at the time, special appearances galore and Carnage immerging as the one hell of a badass. Oh and Venom was pretty damn cool in it as well.

In Maximum Carnage, Carnage recruits a team of super villains bent on terrorizing New York City. Carnage’s posse included; Shriek, Doppelganger, Demogoblin and Carrion. Carnage instilled a sense of family value with his team that established a bond like you’ve never seen before between villains. It took several heroes to finally take down Carnage and his family. Venom and Spider-Man were also forced to team up, which at the time was on heard of and awesome!

It took fourteen comics to finish this crossover, making it one of the largest in Spider-Man’s history. The trade paperback is a must buy for any Spider-Man fan and holds a special place in many comic book lovers collections.

In Conclusion:

I’ve been a Spider-Man collector and reader since I was 5 years old, I have over three thousand Spider-Man comics and one of my all time favorite villains is Carnage. It’s sad to me that we haven’t seen Carnage for a few years now. Thankfully he’s back, but I’d still love for him to play a larger role in the Spider-Man comics. Even Venom isn’t what he used to be…sad, but this is why I wrote this list, so you we can all look back and enjoy a fantasticly brutal villain in all his glory.

Happy 20th Carnage.


  • Stephan

    Thanks for reminding me why I love this character! Some honorable mentions include Carnage: It’s a Wonderful Life (for those who liked Mind Bomb) and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #28 (where he reunites with an old childhood friend).

  • Spider_Inferno

    I loved both of those as well. Wonderful Life wasn't as good as Time Bomb, but was still a great read!

  • prpkidd

    that was a nice list and also y dont u just right ur own story line to make venom and carnage what they should be. carnage is my favorite villan of all tIME.

  • Scott Tibbs

    Maximum Carnage was boring.

    It should have been 4 or 5 issues, instead of 12.

    The video game for Super NES was fun though.