How did Venom birth Carnage?

Venom is one of Spider-Man’s most notorious villains. As an alien symbiote that needs a human host to survive, Venom has demonstrated the ability to reproduce itself and create new symbiote “offspring.” His most infamous spawn is the psychopathic killer Carnage. But how exactly did Venom give birth to such a dangerous new villain?

Venom’s Origins

To understand Carnage’s origins, we first need to go back to Venom’s beginnings. The Venom symbiote first arrived on Earth from the planet Klyntar, having been transported by the alien Peter Parker/Spider-Man encountered during Marvel’s Secret Wars event. After that adventure, Spider-Man returned to Earth with the symbiote attached to his costume.

At first, Spider-Man appreciated the symbiote suit for its useful properties – it could change shape and mimic civilian clothing, enhanced his strength and granted new abilities like unlimited webbing. However, he soon realized it was negatively influencing his behavior, making him more violent and aggressive. When he discovered the suit was a sentient alien trying to permanently bond with him, Spider-Man rejected the symbiote.

Unfortunately, the Venom symbiote held a grudge against Spider-Man for rejecting it. It found a new willing host in Eddie Brock, a disgraced journalist who also hated Spider-Man. Bonded to Eddie, the Venom symbiote finally had a permanent host where it could unleash its full power.

How Venom Reproduced

As a symbiotic life form, the Venom alien needs a compatible host to survive. But it also has the biological ability to asexually reproduce, spawning symbiote “children” that can bond with new hosts.

Venom used this ability in a more benevolent way when it spawned a “child” that briefly bonded with Flash Thompson, turning him into the second heroic version of Venom. But things took a darker turn when Venom spawned Carnage.

Finding Cletus Kasady

To reproduce, the Venom symbiote just needs a small tissue sample from its current host. When Eddie Brock (as Venom) escaped from prison once, a tiny bit of symbiote biomass was left behind. This trace amount found its way to fellow inmate Cletus Kasady and entered his bloodstream.

Cletus Kasady was already a deeply disturbed serial killer before the symbiote transformed him. As a child, Kasady killed his grandmother and tortured his mother and father. As an adult, he became a mass murderer known as “Carnage Killer.” The symbiote entering his body could not have found a more dangerous or compatible host.

Carnage is Born

Inside Kasady’s body, the biomass from Venom reproduced into a whole new symbiote. This “child” of Venom was colored red instead of black, and it bonded fully to Kasady’s blood chemistry. Becoming the super-powered serial killer Carnage, Kasady proved to be far more violent, deadly and unstable than Venom.

The process of the Carnage symbiote gestating within Kasady took a while to complete. During this time, Kasady was lethally injected to give him an execution sentence. But the symbiote saved his life by fully bonding to him before the injection could take effect. Fully transformed into Carnage, Kasady broke out of prison – killing dozens of guards in the process.

Now bonded to a gleefully psychotic host, Carnage began a serial killer spree worse than anything Cletus Kasady had done before. Venom’s offspring undeniably eclipsed its “parent” in deadly, chaotic evil.

Carnage’s Psychotic Nature

The Carnage symbiote has exhibited psychotic behavior and gleeful love of slaughter from its first appearance. It was immediately established as a dangerous threat, deadlier than anything Venom was capable of. There are a few key factors behind why Carnage turned out this way:

Cletus Kasady’s Criminal Insanity

The Carnage symbiote could not have found a more dangerously compatible host than Cletus Kasady. He was already an iconic serial killer before bonding with the alien. The symbiote found in Kasady a mind filled with sociopathic rage, insatiable bloodlust and extreme psychoses. It naturally adapted to bond in harmony with his mental illness and criminal madness. This synergistic fusion of psychopath and symbiote made Carnage into an incredibly dangerous villain.

No Moral Conflict

Unlike Eddie Brock’s bond with Venom, Cletus Kasady’s bond with Carnage has no moral conflict. As a willing accomplice, Kasady encourages the symbiote’s bloodlust instead of resisting it. Venom will sometimes try to fight Eddie’s attempts at virtue or heroism. But Carnage has no such internal struggle – both host and symbiote are fully committed to unrestrained, gleeful slaughter.

Broader Psychic Link

Due to the compatibility between host and symbiote, Carnage enjoys a deeper psychic bond and connection to Kasady’s mental functions than Venom does with Eddie. This gives Carnage stronger influence over Kasady’s behavior, and makes their shared psychosis stronger. It also enables unique powers like the ability to see through Kasady’s eyes when separated over distance. Their symbiosis is more complete.

Younger Symbiote

Some stories have hypothesized that because Carnage is a newer symbiote “born” on Earth, it is more purely alien in behavior. In contrast, Venom has been on Earth longer and adapted somewhat to human morality through past hosts like Spider-Man. As a younger symbiote, Carnage retains more of its extraterrestrial amorality. This makes it act more violently to humans than the older, more assimilated Venom species.

Carnage’s Strengths and Abilities

In addition to its ruthless behavior, Carnage proved more powerful than Venom in many ways:


Carnage has stronger shape-shifting and mimicry abilities than Venom, able to turn his biomass into complex weapons like axes or combat tentacles. This gives Carnage more options and versatility in combat.


Carnage can shoot and control its symbiote biomass as webbing just like Venom. But it can do so with greater range, precision and lethality. The Carnage symbiote’s webs are razor-sharp and can be wielded like blades.


Both symbiotes have strong healing factors enabling them to instantly recover from wounds. But Carnage seems to regenerate even faster than Venom, making it very difficult to defeat.

Size Manipulation

Carnage can adjust his biomass more extensively than Venom, able to grow to enormous size or condense into a small, concealed form better than Venom can.

Immunity to Sonics

Sonics and high heat are weaknesses for both symbiotes. But Carnage is less harmed by them than Venom, possibly because the newer symbiote has had less time to accumulate “genetic damage” making it weak to loud noise and fire.

No Need for a Human Host

Cut off from Cletus Kasady, the Carnage symbiote has shown it can survive and function on its own independent of any host. It’s a fully living being without needing to bond to a human, making it harder to get rid of.

Battles Between Venom and Carnage

Once it escaped prison and went on its violent spree, it was inevitable Carnage would come into conflict with its infamous parent Venom. Their first clashes proved Carnage to be the superior foe:

Web of Spider-Man #101

This was the first showdown between Venom and Carnage. Still new to his powers, Carnage managed to overwhelm Venom, teasing and mocking his “dad” for being a weakling. Venom was forced to retreat, proving no match for the younger symbiote’s viciousness.

Venom: Carnage Unleashed

Their next big fight was a close one. Carnage kept the upper hand with his lethal blades and webbing. But the experience and strength of Venom managed to turn the tide. Barely triumphing, Venom thought he could domesticate Carnage and make them allies. He was wrong.

Venom vs. Carnage #1

After a period of uneasily working together, the “family reunion” turned sour when Carnage’s bloodlust broke past Venom’s control. Their third big clash was a complete victory for Carnage. Venom was left battered and only escaped when Carnage became distracted by other victims.

Venom #4

Their most recent fight remained evenly matched until an outside factor intervened. Venom and Carnage were going blow-for-blow until the Avengers arrived, forcing them to reluctantly unite to drive the heroes off. But their hatred for each other was left unresolved.

Carnage Family Members

Another threat posed by Carnage is its ability to spawn even more symbiote offspring. Carnage has spawned numerous “children” that make up a psychotic symbiote family:

Toxin Symbiote

Toxin was the first known spawn of Carnage. The offspring of this offspring was notable for bonding with a hero – police officer Pat Mulligan. As Toxin, Mulligan tried to use this powerful symbiote for good. But containing Toxin proved nearly impossible, forcing Mulligan to ultimately sacrifice himself and the symbiote.

Scorn Symbiote

Scorn was originally Tanis Nieves, bonded to a trace of the Carnage symbiote from an old blood sample. She tried using her symbiote’s powers for good as Scorn. But the spawn of Carnage was too unstable, forcing her to eradicate it lest she become an evil host.

Raze Symbiote

Raze was a special symbiote spawn of Carnage’s that Kasady could summon from across distances. He used it to create chaos and turn civilians into symbiote-mutated monsters. Spider-Man and Agent Venom finally managed to defeat Raze and absorb it back into Carnage.

Payback Symbiote

A Carnage offspring that briefly bonded with Colonel Marcus Simms, a dishonorably discharged soldier. As Payback, Simms went on a vengeance spree murdering old colleagues before the hybrid was discovered and the symbiote contained.

Unnamed Carnage Offspring

On multiple occasions, Carnage has gestated and spawned batches of nameless symbiote children. Usually these are dispersed into crowds to try transforming civilians into killers, or used to overwhelm opponents like Spider-Man under sheer numbers. Whatever their fate, these unnamed Carnage spawns prove he has no limit to spreading his evil lineage.

Carnage’s Weaknesses

For all his power, Carnage does have vulnerabilities heroes have used against him:

Extreme Heat and Fire

Like all symbiotes, Carnage is vulnerable to extreme temperatures and fire, which can weaken or destroy the biomass. Flamethrowers and launched incendiary devices are commonly used against Carnage to disable his physical form temporarily.

Sonic Vibrations

Powerful blasts of sonic waves and vibrations have similar weakening effects on Carnage. Sonic weapons are another common tactic heroes employ, although Carnage is more resilient to them than Venom.

Specialized Containment

The Carnage symbiote needs very specialized and powerful methods of containment when separated from Cletus Kasady. Methods include thermodynamic chambers, electromagnetic wave cages and hosts sedated or rendered brain-dead to prevent symbiosis.

Lack of Host Control

With no human host controlling it, the alien Carnage symbiote becomes even more violent, dangerous and erratic in behavior. It loses strategy and focuses only on chaotic sprees of murder. This makes it predictable and unable to use any tactics or discretion.

Kasady’s Human Vulnerabilities

When bonded with Cletus Kasady, Carnage retains human vulnerabilities. Kasady can still be drugged, rendered unconscious, or even killed, depriving the symbiote of its necessary host. This has allowed heroes to temporarily decommission Carnage on numerous occasions.

Strength Weakness
Enhanced physical strength and durability Intense heat from fire or sonic waves can weaken symbiote form
Razor sharp weapons created from biomass Detached from host, the alien is unfocused without human control
Regeneration from nearly any injury Containing the symbiote requires advanced technology and precautions
Can take full control of the host’s body Still vulnerable to drugs, toxins and conventional harm inflicted on the human host


Carnage lives up to its name, proving to be one of Spider-Man and Venom’s most lethal and murderous foes. As the spawn of Venom, it takes all of its parent’s strengths to new levels of violence and sociopathy. Carnage pushes the abilities of the alien symbiote to destructive extremes, combining its amoral alien outlook with the psychotic criminality of serial killer Cletus Kasady. This perfect fusion of psychopathic madman and amoral extraterrestrial makes Carnage a deadly and chaotic evil threatening humanity. Its twisted family lineage makes Carnage a danger unlike any other Spider-Man has faced.

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