The Venom Symbiote | Main hosts of Venom (Eddie Brock | Flash Thompson) | Other hosts of Venom | Alternate Incarnations of Venom | Supporting Characters | Rogues Gallery
Symbiotes in General
Symbiotes | Hosts to other Symbiotes
Carnage (Character) (Cletus Kasady) | Toxin (Character) | Scream (Character)
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Carnage Characters Page | Toxin Characters Page | Scream Characters Page
Alter Ego: Carnage; Poison Carnage; Dark Carnage; Devil Carnage
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #344; The Amazing Spider-Man #361 (as Carnage); Venomized #3 (as Carnage II and Poison Carnage); Web of Venom: Carnage Born (as Dark Carnage); Absolute Carnage #4 (as Devil Carnage); Extreme Carnage Omega (as Dragon Carnage)
A sociopathic serial killer imprisoned for eleven consecutive life sentences, Cletus Kasady met Eddie Brock when the latter, separated from the Venom symbiote by the toxic touch of the supervillain Styx, became his cellmate. Learning of Brock's grudge against Spider-Man, Kasady tried to convert him to his nihilistic philosophy, mocking Eddie over his claims to have once been the supervillain Venom. Repeatedly rebuked, Kasady decided to murder his cellmate, but before he could the Venom symbiote entered the cell and rebonded to Eddie. Venom broke free, leaving behind a newly birthed spawn and a terrified and jealous Kasady. Sensing his desire for the power Eddie possessed, the spawn of the Venom symbiote dripped onto Cletus' hand and bonded with him, transforming him into the monstrous Carnage. As Carnage, Kasady proved stronger than Spider-Man and Venom combined, and his symbiote was not only less susceptible to sonics than its progenitor but infinitely more difficult to remove, having bonded to his bloodstream. In his first appearance, Carnage forced Spider-Man and Venom to call a temporary truce to defeat him. Years later Cletus would lose his symbiote in a conflict with the FBI's anti-symbiote task force.
When the Poisons invaded Earth-616, they sent a strike team to retrieve Cletus and offered him the chance to become Carnage again if he allied with them. Thinking they would reunite him with his beloved symbiote, Cletus accepted... but was instead bonded to a new symbiote, causing him excruciating pain as it came into conflict with the remnants of his original symbiote. Furious over having been tricked and tortured, Cletus rampaged — intent on escaping and reuniting with his original symbiote — but was quickly ambushed by an unbound Poison, which consumed him to become Poison Carnage. However, Cletus' bloodlust let his psyche mostly-withstand being consumed, and he faked loyalty to the Hive — ultimately being tossed into space by Venom. However, his body floated through the emptiness of space and returned to Earth — shattering the Poison and restoring his human form in the process. The Carnage symbiote sacrificed itself to protect Cletus as they reentered Earth's atmosphere, but Cletus died upon landing.
Cletus' body was spirited away by the authorities, only to be grabbed by an apocalyptic cult who saw him as the key to contacting and awakening the symbiote god Knull. Thanks to a piece of the ancient Grendel symbiote they had stolen from the Maker, Cletus was reanimated and transformed into Dark Carnage by devouring Scorn's "codex" — trace remnants of symbiote left in hosts' bodies. Wanting more of the experience he'd had, he was told that if he absorbed more "codexes" from other previous symbiote holders, he could even resurrect Knull.
- And I Must Scream: After running afoul of the Silver Surfer, Carnage was imprisoned in a statue-like state - able to think, but in no way able to move or talk. He later got better, though.
- Artificial Limbs: Cletus was briefly equipped with cybernetic legs derived from his symbiote, although they were destroyed by a sonic machine. He regrew his legs while in the Microverse, but apparently loses them again after sacrificing himself in AXIS since the robot legs are inexplicably back in Nova.
- Arch-Enemy: To Venom and Toxin as well by extension its hosts Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Claims to have done this following exiting the Microverse, though he's quickly subdued by Agent Venom and Scarlet Spider.
- Ax-Crazy: Cletus believes that chaos is the natural order, and expresses this belief through wanton violence. This was BEFORE he bonded with the symbiote.Cletus: My name is Cletus Kasady and I kill people and I love it. I know nine million ways to kill a body and I love every single one of them. All dull day every day right up until I hit the hay I think of bodies. Bodies burst. Bodies slit right up the middle and shared across a hundred nice little gardens. And when I sleep I dream of ways to kill a body that ain't nobody thought of yet.
- Back from the Dead:
- Cletus was murdered by his psychologist Dr. Jenner, who wanted to become the symbiote's new host. It turned him down, resuscitated and rebonded to Cletus, and the reunited Carnage paid Jenner back with interest.
- In Web of Venom: Carnage Born, a cult dedicated to Knull resurrects Cletus so that he can free the dark god of the symbiotes from his prison in Klyntar. A Subverted Trope, as he isn't technically alive again, but reanimated.
- The Bad Guy Wins: One of the haunted house/scarezone themes called "Maximum Carnage" from Universal's Halloween Horror Nights in 2002 involved Carnage and many other supervillains brutally mass-murdering all of the Marvel heroes and taking over New York, turning the city into a warzone between a flourishing band of criminals against the Punisher and whatever remains of a hopeless police force.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: When Knull tries to take over his body, Cletus fights back and overcomes him by consuming Scorn's codex.
- Big Bad: Of the Maximum Carnage, Carnage USA, Minimum Carnage story arcs, his own series, and some of Venom's stories. Basically, Carnage is the most recurring villain in Venom's rouge gallery, as well as having a number of miniseries focused solely on him.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With The Maker and Knull for the 2018 Venom series.
- Big Eater: Between himself and Doppelgänger, Cletus ate a meat processing plant's supply of cattle and the workers stationed there to increase the symbiote's biomass and let him take over Doverton.
- Blade Below the Shoulder:
- One of his favourite means of attacking is morphing his limbs into bladed weapons, most commonly a battle-axe.
- As Poison Carnage, his arms appear to be permanently stuck in the form of sword-like blades.
- Black Eyes of Crazy: As Knull's prophet, his eyes have black sclera, red spiral-shaped irises, and no pupils.
- Blatant Lies: He's brought in as a witness◊ for the prosecution in Venom: The Trial. His testimony regarding his and Eddie's time together as cellmates is as believable as you'd expect.Cletus: It was almost impossible for me to hear my wonderfully intellectual classical music tapesnote —Beethoven, Mozart, and Mantovani—because of Brocko's loony lip!
"Flashback" Eddie: As a serial killer, you are some chump, Kasady. You got convicted on eleven counts. You must have been begging to get caught. I PUT DOWN MORE THAN TWICE AS MANY AND THEY'RE NEVER GOING TO MAKE ANYTHING STICK TO ME!
- Blood Knight: While Cletus prefers flat-out killing more than actual combat, he still enjoys a good fight and actually complained that "it was just gettin' good" when the Sentry left him to die after ripping him in half.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Cletus espouses a nihilistic philosophy of lawlessness, randomized murder, and chaos.
- Book Dumb: Kasady is uneducated, having burnt his school to the ground, but is not an idiot, and prior to getting the symbiote had cleanly gotten away with a number of murders; worse, since he doesn't hold the same intense grudge against Spidey the same way his other enemies do and he doesn't have as sensitive an ego, he's not as vulnerable to Spidey's usual psychological tactics. Carnage is focused on his mission, and that mission is killing as many people as he can.Carnage: School? I didn't go to no school.
Venom: Right. You're an autodidact.
Carnage: Get outta here! I'm self-taught, man!
- Breakout Villain: Just like Venom, Carnage is easily one of Spider-Man's most popular villains.
- Brought Down to Normal: Venom once ate the symbiote, though Cletus was able to find a duplicate of it in the Negative Zone. There have also been times it's left him for stronger hosts.
- Came Back Strong: In Web of Venom: Carnage Born, Cletus is resurrected and not only has the Carnage symbiote restored, but is bonded to a piece of the ancient Grendel symbiote as well — making him more powerful than ever.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He kills people For the Evulz, and that's just about all there is to him.
- Cardboard Prison: Breaks out of prison on a semi-regular basis.
- Character Development: Following his return from space, Carnage started becoming increasingly megalomaniacal, taking over Doverton, Colorado and later trying to conquer the Microverse. This... didn't turn out so well for him, and in Superior Carnage Annual he decides to get back to basics. As Dark Carnage he becomes more methodical and cunning, to the frustration of Norman Osborn — whose mind was taken over by a copy of Cletus' original self.
- Character Rerailment: After breaking out of prison in Superior Carnage Annual, Cletus reflects on the foolishness of his past megalomaniacal escapades and decides to go back to just being a nihilistic mass murderer.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Cletus Kasady debuted as a bit-part bad guy in The Amazing Spider-Man #344.
- Chest Burster: The off-panel result of him attempting to hold in the Toxin symbiote.
- Chest Insignia: As a sign of his allegiance and growing connection to Knull, Carnage has a red/white version of Knull's dragon emblem in Absolute Carnage — though it's also been drawn as a spider similar to Venom and Mania's.
- Child Hater: If the look of exasperated annoyance on his face when a little boy with a Spider-Man doll starts pestering him wasn't a giveaway, the fact that that all Deadpool found of the kid was a few splotches of blood and the shredded Spider-Man doll certainly is.
- The Chosen One: Carnage is the subject of interest of at least two dark gods who see him as a suitable tool to bring about their revivals:
- A prophecy in the Darkhold, an eldritch tome compiled by Aelfric the Mad Monk, prophesies him as the "Red Slayer" who will awaken the Elder God Chthon. Carnage proceeds to do so thinking that Chthon will reward him with power, but is immediately disregarded by Chthon and unwittingly winds up contributing to the Elder God's defeat.
- In Web of Venom: Carnage Born, it's revealed that when Cletus was a baby he was chosen by Knull — the god of the symbiotes — to be the symbiote version of The Antichrist and bring about his revival. Donny Cates later revealed on Twitter that the cult made this up to hype Cletus as their messiah, but Cletus decided to run with it.
- Cloning Blues:
- Cletus gave a piece of the symbiote to Mister Sinister, who spliced it with DNA samples taken from Kraven the Hunter and the original five X-Men in order to produce "Xraven"
- During the Carnage USA arc the symbiote demonstrated the ability to create copies of itself at will, enabling Cletus to control multiple people through them. The remnant of the symbiote that survived the journey to rebond with Kasady in Superior Carnage Annual was stated to have been neutered, indicating it is incapable of doing this anymore.
- Played with, as during the Minimum Carnage arc Cletus initially states that one Carnage is enough but is later delighted by the "incestuous" fusions of Venom and Carnage created by the Body Banks... mainly because he can control them.
- Comic Book Death: Meets his (presumably temporary) end at the finale of Absolute Carnage by the hands of Venom, being impaled and then cut in half by a Necrosword. Extreme Carnage reveals that the symbiote manage to return, with Kasady's consciousness as well.
- Conveniently Cellmates: The reason why Cletus Kasady acquired a symbiote to begin with was because he was sharing a cell with Eddie Brock.
- The Corrupter: Tries to convert Eddie Brock to his nihilistic philosophy when they first meet.Eddie: Sometimes I wish I didn't have to live with a foul serial killer like you.
- Country Mouse: Cletus is sometimes given a Southern accent (despite having been born in New York's Ravencroft Institute) — particularly when written by Cullen Bunn and Gerry Duggan — which Spider-Man, Deadpool, and most other superheroes and villains relentlessly mock him about. At the end of AXIS, he also requested a statue be built in his honor and draped in the Confederate flag. However, he hates that people think he's stupid because of his accent and rural upbringing.Carnage: Ain't no clues!
Deadpool: Come on... be faithful to your backwoods upbringing. Don't you mean "Tweren't no clues"?
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Inflicted on Spider-Man in their first encounter. Spider-Man was desprate that he resorted to allying with Venom in order to defeat Carnage. The two initially seemed to have Carnage beat but then he revealed he was just toying with them and overpowered them both.
- Curious Qualms of Conscience: After being Inverted, Cletus developed a conscience that left him near-crippled with guilt and an overwhelming desire to redeem himself from all the "glorious chaos" he wrought over the years. And just after he finally rid himself of the burden on his conscience and resolves to become a true superhero... he's un-Inverted and goes back to being his usual self.
- Cyborg: For a short while he had prosthetic legs derived from the symbiote.
- A Day in the Limelight: The one-shots Mind Bomb and It's a Wonderful Life, the latter being a Journey to the Center of the Mind story.
- Deadpan Snarker: Carnage enjoys delving into Black Comedy.
- Depending on the Artist: Carnage was originally drawn as being red and black with black teeth, but starting with Kyle Hotz in It's a Wonderful Life, artists began depicting him as all-red with white teeth. The latter look has since become his most frequent, with his "classic" appearance having been last seen in 2004's Venom/Carnage miniseries and 2006's Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2's DLC. Even more recently, some artists have drawn him as being all-red with red teeth and glowing yellow eyes.
- Depending on the Writer: Whether Cletus is afraid to die, doesn't care if he does, or is secretly a Death Seeker varies on who is writing him.
- Disability Immunity: When he was lobotomized, Kasady was immune to Wizard's mind control, leading the latter and Klaw to extract the symbiote from him and bond it to someone who isn't.
- Domestic Abuse: Averted. His relationship with Shriek. He enjoys hanging out with and doing horrible things with her and gets upset when other people hurt or try to kill her, but he's also perfectly fine with harming and trying to murder her himself whenever she starts to bore or annoy him- but she's also perfectly capable of hitting back, and her powerset allows her to cause him and the symbiote just as much pain.
- Draconic Humanoid: In Absolute Carnage #4, Dark Carnage assimilates the Venom symbiote and transforms into a demonic-looking form with horns and retractile draconic wings.
- The Dreaded: One of Spidey's most absolutely terrifying enemies and perhaps the only one he almost never chooses to fight alone; when Carnage shows up, Peter almost always seeks out friends- and in the case of Venom, even enemies- to team up with to take him down. Given Carnage is both quite a bit stronger than Spidey and by far the most homicidal and crazy of his rogues, this is a very sensible strategy.
- Eats Babies: David Michelinie described Cletus as "a lunatic who'd eat babies for breakfast and ask for seconds." The fact that all Deadpool found of a particularly annoying kid was a few splotches of blood supports this.
- Enemy Mine: Carnage only agrees to help Magneto and the heroes fight Red Onslaught because, although he likes Red Onslaught's methods, he doesn't like the thought of having to serve and worship him should he succeed in taking over the world. Additionally, when he notices that Deadpool has tagged along, he tells him that they are "going to have words after this"; then the Inversion happened◊.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played for horror in Venomized. The Poison Queen appeared to her subjects as those they held dear and closest to their hearts. In Poison Carnage's case, she took on the form of Cletus' victims. Whatever that implies is probably incredibly disturbing.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Believe it or not, he does have one, albeit a rather odd one even for him. In one issue where Carnage is casually considering who he should brutally kill next, he encounters a businessman who illegally parks in the handicapped zone and rudely brushes off Cletus' objections. As Cletus makes clear, he not only despises those who think they're better than everyone just because they have money, but he sure as hell dislikes them using resources meant for the disadvantaged. While it rings a little hollow considering the source, it's honestly amazing we even have this example from him.Carnage: Hey mister, in case you didn't notice, that spot is reserved for the handicapped.Businessman: Mind your own business shorty, I'm in a hurry!Carnage: Shorty, moi? And here I was trying to save you from getting a ticket! Heyyy, I just got an even better idea! If you really want that space, I'LL CRIPPLE YOU SO YOU'RE ENTITLED TO IT! I never could stomach a pompous fool like you! You think you're better than everyone else because you have a fancy car and a fat wallet!
- Eviler than Thou:
- He was introduced into the comics pretty much for this express purpose. Venom had become something of a Noble Demon and Anti-Hero by the 90's, and the writers thought this was a waste of one of Spidey's most visually impressive and scariest enemies. David Michelinie had intended to kill Eddie off and have the symbiote jump from host to host, but Marvel vetoed the idea. Thus, Michelinie came up with Carnage as a stronger, scarier, and much more evil version of Venom who is he is damn proud of it too.
- Why he and the The Joker turned on each other in a Batman crossover. Carnage thought the Joker's plans were too slow, convoluted, and stupid. The Joker deemed Carnage's methods lazy, unoriginal, and a tad gross.
- In Deadpool vs. Carnage, Deadpool invokes this.
- Since the opposition had a version of Venom on their side, the Maestro considered recruiting Carnage to his Contest of Champions team, but abandoned the notion after catching a glimpse of what Cletus was currently up to.Maestro: An Eddie Brock from a world where he was smart enough—or crazy enough—to actually kill his Earth's Spider-Man. Heh. Let's go with crazy. Which makes me wonder. If crazy gets results... who's crazier than Venom...? (observes Carnage's latest rampage through a portal) On second though, there's such a thing as too crazy...
- Thanks to his moral inversion, Alice Gleason pulls this on him at the end of his AXIS tie-in not that he ever gets it. His cameo in Nova indicates that he killed her, since he'd made it his goal to hunt down and dispose of everyone who knew of his Inversion.
- Evil Counterpart: To Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson. In the former's case he was specifically created as an Eviler Counterpart, as Eddie does have some sort of moral compass in that he genuinely wants to protect innocents, while Cletus is a serial killer who has none and is more than happy to kill anyone and everyone he comes across.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Cletus loves his Dead Baby Comedy, which sometimes actually does involve dead babies.
- Evil Me Scares Me: Suppressed somewhere deep in Cletus' psyche is a traumatized little boy utterly terrified of the monster he has become.
- Evil Redhead: He has red hair and he's evil. Nuff said.
- Evil Versus Evil: Treated the invasion in Planet of the Symbiotes as a buffet, and butted heads with the Joker in Spider and Batman #1.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Carnage's battle with Nova concludes with him being hit by a speeding truck.
- Faking the Dead: He faked his own death in Maximum Carnage by attaching a piece of the symbiote to a mangled body. He tries this again in Spider-Man and Batman #1, but the heroes see through it, though he meant it for the Joker, not them.
- Fanservice Pack: Cletus disturbingly borders on Mr. Fanservice when drawn by Clayton Crain.
- Feed It a Bomb: Deadpool stuffs a live grenade down Carnage's throat, losing his hand in the process, but all it does is temporarily incapacitate him.
- Fighting from the Inside: Cletus' true self is trying to overcome his Inversion, shown with him hallucinating about killing people.
- Flat Character: One of the common criticisms labeled against him both in real life and in-universe is that his obsession with death and chaos is really all there is to him. Efforts have been made to develop him into a more megalomaniacal villain, but at the beginning of Deadpool vs. Carnage, Cletus engages in a Motive Rant that serves as a Take That! to those efforts.
- For the Evulz: And unlike the Joker, he doesn't bother with being artistic: he just likes to flat-out kill.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Once tried to go on a rampage without the symbiote, waving a knife around while wearing nothing but red paint.
- Fully-Embraced Fiend: Cletus was jealous of Venom's powers right from the start, and once he got his own symbiote they all-but literally became inseparable.
- Fusion Dance: After witnessing the combined power of the cloned Venom and Carnage symbiotes in Baron Karza's Body Banks, Kasady tries to assimilate the Venom symbiote but is stopped by Kaine.
- In the Amalgam Universe, he was merged with Bizarro to create "Bizarnage".
- The Hall Industries Iron Rangers wore armor derived from the symbiote, which allowed Carnage to forcibly combine with them (killing the pilots) in a twisted Voltron-ish fashion.Mass Carnage: Metal feels funny next to their bodies, heh heh. This isn't the first time I've worn dead bodies as clothes... might be the most fun I've had though. Makes the top three at least.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Deadpool's psychotic lack of a fourth wall actually manages to out-crazy Carnage's nihilistic sociopathy and drives Cletus into a Villainous Breakdown, to the point that he questions everything he previously believed in.
- Goal-Oriented Evolution: After visiting the Microverse, Carnage decides to abandon his last vestiges of humanity and become the Ultimate Life Form by assimilating the Venom symbiote, though this is quickly stopped by Kaine.
- Godhood Seeker:
- At the end of Minimum Carnage, Cletus complains that he wanted to stay in the Microverse and conquer it to become a god, then decides he'll settle for throwing away what little humanity he has left and assimilating the Venom symbiote to become the Ultimate Life Form.
- In Carnage Vol. 2, Cletus frees Chthon expecting to be rewarded with apotheosis into an eldritch god. Chthon, no longer having any use for Carnage, contemptuously tosses the serial killer aside.
- After becoming the apostle of Knull, Cletus seeks to restore the Dark Carnage symbiote's deific power and develops a god complex that escalates as he becomes more powerful.
- The third issue of Carnage Vol. 3 reveals that, having gotten a taste of Knull's power in Absolute Carnage, Cletus was plotting to double-cross him and steal his power... only for Eddie Brock to beat him to it at the end of King In Black. Cletus then came up with a new plan to become a god-butcher... only to seemingly give up on it, leading the Carnage symbiote to decide that Cletus was holding it back and execute the plan solo.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Was ripped in half by the Sentry, but survived thanks to the symbiote. He seems to have somehow regenerated his legs by the time of Superior Carnage, but lost his legs as a result of the Gene Bomb.
- Half-Witted Hillbilly: He is sometimes portrayed as an uneducated Southern redneck who while not stupid is a sociopathic serial killer with a love for sadistically killing people, making him a Half-Witted Hellbilly. As such, Spider-Man and Deadpool enjoy taunting him about being a hillbilly.
- Handicapped Badass: In addition to having been ripped in half, Cletus was left in a catatonic state by the Scarlet Spider, leaving the symbiote in full control of his body. Both his dismemberment and lobotomy seem to have been fixed by the symbiote as of Superior Carnage Annual, but he lost his legs again smothering the Gene bomb.
- Healing Factor: Cletus has regrown the lower half of his body, recovered from being lobotomized by the avatar of a spider-god, regrew his body from his severed head after being decapitated, and regrown the top half his head thanks to the symbiote.
- HeelFace Brainwashing: As a result of being Inverted in the AXIS crossover, Cletus and the symbiote try to become a superhero. Try, here meaning fail miserably more often than not.Spider-Man: Now that is really disturbing...◊
- Heroic Sacrifice: In AXIS, Cletus seemingly sacrifices himself protecting the others from a bomb. He makes Spider-Man promise to have a flamboyant musical statue built in his honor first. It doesn't stick, as he later appears to annoy Nova.
- Hero with an F in Good: Kasady becomes a Sociopathic Hero following his Inversion — the Inversion Wave awakened his conscience, but he struggles to repress his murderous impulses and is comically inept at actually doing heroic deeds. For example, he tries to foil a bank robbery by burning the bank to the ground before the robbers can rob it.
- He's Back!: A villainous example:
- At the end of the Superior Carnage miniseries, Cletus reveals he's recovered from his lobotomy.
- Cletus recovers from his Deadpool-induced Villainous Breakdown during the AXIS event and only joins Magneto's team to get revenge on Deadpool. However, the events of the crossover "invert" his morality, and cause him to embark on a redemptive journey of sorts that brings him into conflict with a new Sin-Eater. Following this, his inversion wears off and he goes back to being a serial killer.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Carnage appears as the True Final Boss of the Separation Anxiety game, despite not being featured at all in the storylines it's based on.
- Hijacking Cthulhu: When consumed by a Poison, Cletus' bloodlust enabled his psyche to endure and hijack Poison Carnage.
- Hillbilly Horrors: Some versions of him are portrayed as a Southern redneck, making him this.
- Horrifying Hero: Following his Inversion, Cletus became a combination of this and Terror Hero.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Like Venom, Carnage has threatened to eat his victims and isn't shy about using his teeth in combat. For more specific examples, he threatens to eat Hannah Morrell's two remaining children and it's implied that he ate an entire meatpacking staff during his stay in Doverton; some guards joked to Ted Connelly that Kasady's cellmates tend to become dinner; and when reunited with Cletus after being forcibly bonded to Karl Malus, the symbiote was going to eat the Wizard as revenge for separating them.Mr. Sinister: You can't hurt me, Mr. Kasady. I will get what I want, with or without your cooperation. But I would prefer this go smoothly. Work with me, and I can help you.
Carnage: Help me get out? Help me eat the doctors?
Mr. Sinister: If you like. Appropriately enough, they're in the cafeteria.
- I Am Legion: Generally averted. In his first appearance, Kasady acknowledged the Carnage symbiote's intelligence, but tended to refer to himself as "I". Successive appearances had Carnage continue to do so, with the symbiote being completely subservient to him.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: The Jackal breaks into Ravencroft and violently extracts the Carrion virus from Shriek. Carnage, who is in a nearby cell, reacts negatively to this development.Carnage: If you've injured Shriek... If you attempted to harm her... I swear I'll have you squealing beneath my claws!
Jackal: Promises! Promises!
- Ignore the Fanservice: Like the Joker, he is usually far too busy being evil to pay much attention to his Dark Mistress.
- Imagine Spot: When Alice Gleason betrays him, Carnage thinks of all of the good times◊ they could have shared, in a possible Shout-Out to a similar scene◊ involving Boomerang in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Pun aside, this is the reason Shriek fell for him. Cletus also feels this way towards the symbiote.
- Inconsistent Coloring: Cletus was drawn with blond hair in Minimum Carnage, as opposed to his usual red hair.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue:
- After Venom ate his symbiote, Cletus was left stewing his cell, fantasizing about getting revenge on him as Carnage.
- On his first night out as a superhero, Cletus comes across a man attempting to forcibly coerce a woman. His first response is to fantasize about ripping her in half. He scolds himself, then proceeds to knock the man's eyes out, cut another's hand off, and "gently" punch the woman unconscious after learning that she is a "lady of the evening" and thus also a criminal deserving of punishment.
- Interspecies Romance: After getting it into his head that it was female, Cletus starts referring to the Carnage symbiote as his "girl" and "the missus", even teasingly accusing it of cheating on him when it took over Tanis Nieves. For its part, the symbiote views Cletus as its one true host and stops at nothing to reunite with him if they are forcibly separated.
- Jack the Ripoff: A heroic example: post-Inversion he tries emulating Spider-Man, even to the point of leaving a cutesy note and calling himself the "friendly neighborhood Carnage-Man." However, he's closer to ripping off Eddie Brock's Lethal Protector shtick.
- Jagged Mouth: Carnage was originally drawn with black teeth, giving this impression due to the majority of his mask being black.
- Joker Immunity: He's been frozen in an inescapable statue by the Silver Surfer and ripped in half by the Sentry and still survived, and survives being trapped in the Frightful Four's exploding base while he's in a coma. Even after he's murdered, the symbiote resuscitates him.
- The Juggernaut: Among Spider-Man's villains, he's almost invincible. Spider-Man and Venom working together can barely slow him down.
- Killed Off for Real: Despite having seemingly been killed off numerous times only to later be revealed to somehow still be alive, Cletus Kasady is killed off for good in Absolute Carnage #5 after Venom cuts him in half with a Necrosword and strips the Grendel symbiote off him — his mostly-skeletal corpse falling apart when it hits the ground.
- Knight of Cerebus: He particularly stands out among Spidey's colorful Rogues Gallery because he's not interested in money or power, but causing chaos and killing as many people as violently as possible.
- Lean and Mean: He's usually lanky as both Cletus and Carnage, though in Carnage in New York he's described as being massive and imposing. In Absolute Carnage, he's literally skeletally-thin as Dark Carnage.
- Lightning Bruiser: Carnage is more powerful than both Venom and Spider-Man combined, and his serious attempts to wreck havoc have necessitated superhero teamups to stop him.
- Like an Old Married Couple:
- In Venom vs. Carnage Cletus displays this dynamic with his symbiote, exacerbated by the fact that he happened to be ironing clothes and drinking from a mug that says "#1 Dad" at the time.Cletus: How could you let him beat us? A kid? A whelp? Barely a week old!
Symbiote: Be quiet, Cletus Kasady.
Cletus: Oh, be quiet yourself. You might be the bus driver, but you need this bus.
Symbiote: Wrong. There are plenty more human hosts.
Cletus: So leave me. I don't need a symbiote to be a Grade A Bona Fide Terra Firma Quo Vadis psychopathic killer. I did just fine and dandy before you came along.
- Carnage #4, Cletus and Shriek engage in nagging banter:Shriek: Where are you going? You didn't say anything about my new face...
Carnage: Can I have five minutes to kill some dudes before you talk my ear off?!
Shriek: I'm just trying to help...
Carnage: I can't have you screaming around me with that voice!
Shriek: How long are you going to be?!
- In Venom vs. Carnage Cletus displays this dynamic with his symbiote, exacerbated by the fact that he happened to be ironing clothes and drinking from a mug that says "#1 Dad" at the time.
- Lobotomy: At the end of Minimum Carnage, Kaine stabs Cletus in the eye with one of his stingers, badly damaging his brain and leaving him in a coma. This just makes Carnage even more dangerous, since the pissed-off symbiote can act without restraint.
- Losing Your Head:
- During the Minimum Carnage arc, Carnage is decapitated by Agent Venom's arm-blade. He proceeds to regenerate his entire body in under a minute, while acting like nothing happened.
- In AXIS: Carnage #3, Alice Gleason blows off the top part of his head with a shotgun, but he regenerates it in a matter of seconds.
- Lower-Class Lout: Cletus is usually depicted as being from a trashy environment and was already a career criminal before becoming Carnage. Some versions even make him a stereotypical Southern redneck.
- Love at First Sight: Cletus becomes smitten with Alice Gleason and spends much of his AXIS series fantasizing about her.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: Cletus thought Michael Hall's screams as the Doppelgänger ate him made good thinking music.
- Magic Enhancement: Exposure to the Darkhold's eldritch magic has changed him and the symbiote, making them immune to sonics and partially restoring the symbiote's ability to replicate itself.
- Major Injury Underreaction:
- Cletus' reaction getting ripped in half by the Sentry was as follows:
- He's completely unfazed when Agent Venom decapitates him, and simply regrows his entire body from his severed head.
- Make My Monster Grow:
- During the Planet of the Symbiotes storyline, he discovered he could increase his size by forcibly absorbing the symbiote invaders. He wound up growing◊ to near Kaiju levels.
- In Minimum Carnage, after exiting the Microverse, Carnage is temporarily huge while the heroes end up being temporarily shrunk, and even after the heroes return to their regular size Carnage tries to swallow Agent Venom whole.
- Make Way for the New Villains:
- When Mac Gargan became a far more bloodthirsty version of Venom than Eddie Brock had been, Carnage was seemingly killed off by The Sentry and only brought back after the Venom symbiote had been given to the heroic Flash Thompson.
- Cletus is Killed Off for Real in Absolute Carnage, but in the process Knull is released from his prison.
- Man Bites Man: During his symbiote-less brawl with Flash Thompson, he took a bite out of the latter's shoulder and remarked that he tasted like pig.
- Mark of the Beast: In Absolute Carnage he has a white version of Knull's spiral emblem in the middle of his forehead, and a white version of Knull's dragon Chest Insignia.
- Metalhead: He's been shown to be a fan of bands like Mötley Crüe and Anthrax, to the annoyance of the symbiote, which only lets him listen to them with headphones.
- Mind Rape: Cletus once drove a doctor murderously insane by shoving a tentacle into his head, and showing him how he saw the world. The symbiote even reverse-hacked Iron Man's Bleeding Edge armor through sheer bloodlust.
- Mommy Issues: Culminated in him digging up and attempting to abscond with his mother's inexplicably empty casket at the end of Maximum Carnage.
- Moral Sociopathy: After being Inverted during AXIS, Cletus — normally an Ax-Crazy chaos-worshipping sociopath with the nihilistic desire to kill everyone and everything in existence — was forcibly saddled with the desire to redeem himself and do good, but had no clue how to actually do so due to his lingering bloodlust and Lack of Empathy.
- Morality Chain: Much like Jenna Cole was for Eddie Brock, Alice Gleason became one for Cletus for the duration of his inversion.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Like "father" like "son". Carnage's teeth were initially drawn as being black and blending in with the rest of his face, but they've also been drawn as white, yellow, and red.
- The Most Dangerous Video Game: Once killed a few people through Carnage Unleashed, and had plans to massacre even more when the game went online, though he was stopped by Venom in a cyberspace showdown.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Carnage's backstory is... inconsistent, which he himself admits. The most frequently drawn on story is that he killed his grandmother by pushing her down a flight of stairs, tortured his mother's dog, and manipulated his father into killing his mother. When sent to St. Estes Home for Boys, he was bullied due to his antisocial behaviour, and eventually murdered the disciplinarian administration and burned the place to the ground before becoming a full-time serial killer.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Carnage is tricked into nearly killing Shriek by Deadpool. Upon realizing what he has done, Cletus breaks down while cradling her in his arms.Carnage: Symbiote... covered her... disguised her... tricking me into... but they tried to warn me... tried to tell me... if I'd listened... no!
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dude calls himself Carnage, and lives up to it.
- Nay-Theist: In one of his rants, he claims that the universe was created by a "drooling idiot".
- Nightmare Fetishist: Going back to his childhood, where his favorite film was one that happened to star John F. Kennedy.Carnage: I kill because it makes me feel like I'm on T.V., with my own personal soundtrack. Like JFK, brains on the leather and pretty blood on his pretty wife. JFK. NBK. KKK. And his pretty wife, now think of it, all wet and humiliated, crawling in front of the whole world—I like that, too. When I was a kid, my favorite movie was the Zapruder film.
- No One Could Survive That!: Cletus has been ripped in half, decapitated, stabbed in the head, trapped in an exploding base, and used himself to shield New York from a gene bomb. Aside from missing half his body and being in a coma,note he's still alive. Even when he's shanked, suffocated, and declared to be deceased, the symbiote just resuscitates him.
- While he can withstand gunfire easily thanks to the symbiote, Cletus has tanked getting hit by missiles without so much as a scratch, and what wounds he does get are quickly healed by the symbiote.
- After his symbiote is upgraded by the Darkhold, he loses his vulnerability to sonics — although he gains one to eldritch magic in exchange.
- After bonding to the Grendel symbiote, he is no longer vulnerable to flames and laughs off Mania's attempts to immolate him with hellfire.
- Not Quite Dead:
- The Carnage miniseries revealed that the Carnage symbiote managed to keep Kasady alive for nearly a year in space before a corporation found them, removed the symbiote, and gave Kasady prosthetic legs derived from it.
- After his HeelFace Brainwashing, Cletus opts to sacrifice himself in an act of redemption, nearly bringing his former nemesis Spider-Man to tears. He succeeds in smothering the gene bomb's blast, and all that's found of him are bits of the symbiote. He's presumed dead, but later turns up alive but evil and missing the lower half of his body again.
- After the death of the Poison Queen, Poison Carnage's crystalline exoskeleton and consumed symbiote crumble to reveal Cletus somehow restored to humanity.
- Nothing but Skin and Bones: By Absolute Carnage, all that's really left of Cletus Kasady is charred, rotting skin stretched taught over his skeleton.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Cletus has a body-count that only plagues and dictators can match, and he has jumped at the chance cause even greater mass-casualties. For instance, he sided with (and later betrayed) Blastaar the Living Bomburst and tried to unleash the dark god Chthon in order to bring about the end of human civilization. As Dark Carnage, Cletus devotes himself to freeing Knull in order to participate in the annihilation of the universe itself.
- One True Love:
- Cletus and the symbiote see each other as soul mates, taken to Interspecies Romance levels due to Cletus considering the symbiote to be a "girl" after it gives birth to Toxin.Carnage: I was hollowed out inside... Empty... Just like my other. We were both sick... Because we were incomplete... But not anymore. We healed each other... Made each other whole. Neither one of us can survive without the other. Forget host. Forget symbiote. There is only Carnage.
- To a lesser extant, there's Shriek.Boy: Mister... your girlfriend don't look so good. I think she might be dead.
Cletus: Shriek's alive. She's like me. Too mean to die.
- Cletus and the symbiote see each other as soul mates, taken to Interspecies Romance levels due to Cletus considering the symbiote to be a "girl" after it gives birth to Toxin.
- Only Friend: The closest thing he had to friend growing up was a boy named Billy. As Carnage, he decided to invoke Kick the Dog by tracking down and killing Billy, because what's more evil than murdering the only person who was ever genuinely nice to you? Currently, the Carnage symbiote is the only other entity Cletus genuinely cares about.
- Order Versus Chaos: Carnage thought that the Red Skull turning Genosha into one big death camp was pretty cool, but he still agreed to help Magneto combat him because he didn't like the idea of having to live under someone whose ideal world is a 1984-style totalitarian police state in which non-conformists are shot on sight.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Cletus has been known to make pop-culture references from time to time, such as quoting Babe and Fantasy Island (through the symbiote-controlled citizens of Doverton) in Carnage USA.
- Practically Joker: Clearly based off the Joker, with a bit of Norman Bates in there too. Arist Erik Larsen even admitted to patterning Kasady's looks on the Clown Prince of Crime. Coincidentally, the Joker was initially delighted to meet Carnage during Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds, but they quickly had a falling out over their different opinions on how to kill people.
- Primal Stance: In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and LEGO Marvel Superheroes, Carnage runs on all fours to emphasize his feral nature.
- Religion of Evil: The way he goes on about chaos, Cletus may as well be a disciple of Amatsu-Mikaboshi. By Venom (Donny Cates), he actually is an apostle of the void god Knull.Carnage: There ain't no clues! Everything I do... from here on out... is random. I can't be stopped! Can't be caged! Can't be tracked! My every action is a tribute... an offering... to the almighty—
- Replacement Flat Character: As Eddie Brock developed into an Anti-Hero, Cletus Kasady was created to take his place as Marvel's resident symbiote supervillain and was deliberately conceptualized as a nihilistic sociopath to prevent him from having any redeeming qualities. The few times he did undergo Character Development — becoming more megalomaniacal, or undergoing HeelFace Brainwashing — proved temporary, and each time he reverted back to his old self.
- Revenant Zombie: His state in Venom (Donny Cates) and Absolute Carnage: a reanimated, desiccated, maggot-infested corpse possessed by the primordial Grendel symbiote and capable of thinking for himself, but willingly serving the will of Knull.
- Rubber Man: Cletus can freely stretch and deform his limbs thanks to the symbiote, and can even stretch his neck out like a snake.
- Sadist: Exemplified in Carnage U.S.A., where he forces Hannah Morrell to go out and try to murder her husband, Eric. When Eric volunteers to be killed, Cletus becomes annoyed over him "ruining" everything and calls it off.
- Sanity Slippage: When Cletus was in a coma, Carnage was little more than a feral beast.
- Self-Made Orphan: Cletus' most consistently used backstory is that he manipulated his father into killing his mother, who was trying to kill him after he'd murdered his grandmother and mutilated his mom's dog. His father was blamed for the crimes and imprisoned, leaving Cletus to be sent to an Orphanage of Fear.
- Self-Serving Memory: Cletus openly admits he has problems accurately remembering things about his past, such as substituting Venom for his fathernote and Alice Gleason for his mother in a flashback of his childhood. This may be why his flashback to his mother's death in Carnage Vol. 2 differs from what was previously established.
- Serial Killer: Before he got the symbiote he was already in prison for 11 consecutive life sentences, and bragged about a dozen more. It just made him worse.
- Sinister Minister: Acts like one, complete with stolen priest clothes, for a bit in USA.
- Smarter Than You Look: Cletus Kasady is an impulsive crazed serial killer of limited education, is sometimes portrayed as a stereotypical Southern hick, and is a metalhead with few cultural interests. As such, any time he does take up the role of Big Bad, the heroes tend to be caught off-guard by his quick-witted and sometimes downright analytical approach. This becomes especially apparent in Absolute Carnage , where Cletus masterminds an operation that could be deemed global or even universal in its scale and wages war against the heroes on a dozen different fronts, culminating in him using a Batman Gambit that allows him to reach his objective regardless of the choice the heroes make. The story even takes the time to contrast Cletus with Norman Osborn — who at the time had been brainwashed into believing he is Cletus Kasady as well, and behaved exactly like Cletus' usual impulsive self — and shows how different Cletus can play the game if he really wanted to.
- The Sociopath: Even before being bonded with the Carnage symbiote, Cletus was a diagnosed psychopath and convicted Serial Killer. Bonding to the symbiote made him worse.
- Sociopathic Hero: Despite being Inverted, Cletus is still very much a murderous psychopath bonded to a predatory alien parasite.
- Spell My Name with an S: Marvel flip-flops on whether Cletus' last name has one "s" or two.
- Status Quo Is God:
- As pointed out in Superior Carnage, every time the symbiote leaves Cletus it ultimately returns to him.
- In Superior Carnage Annual, Cletus decides that all the character development he's undergone over the years — particularly his plots to Take Over the World and/or become the ultimate life-form — just hasn't worked out, and that he wants to get back to basics as the nihilistic and Ax-Crazy sociopath he was born to be.
- Straw Nihilist: Cletus doesn't believe in order and morality, and kills people for fun. He once argued with Demogoblin that God is probably a drooling idiot, if He even exists at all. Years later, he has a Villainous Breakdown when Deadpool convinces him that he's controlled by higher powers.
- Swiss-Army Appendage: The theme of the cover of Carnage Vol. 2, #4.
- Synchronization: In Superior Carnage Annual, Cletus states that he can feel the symbiote getting weaker and dying even though he's separated from it by the entirety of the United States of America.
- Tainted Veins: Some depictions of Carnage give the red parts of his body the texture of exposed muscles, with the black parts being vein-like tendrils of living abyss layered overtop.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Demogoblin - a Knight Templar who only allied with him because it would allow him to kill more "sinners" than usual - in Maximum Carnage.
- This Is Gonna Suck: When Poison Carnage is tossed out into space at the conclusion of Venomized, he complains about this happening again.
- Throat Light: As Dark Carnage, his mouth glows a sickly yellow to accentuate his Semi-Divine nature.
- Tombstone Teeth: Befitting his status as an expy of The Joker, Cletus is sometimes drawn porting a Slasher Smile with these not counting his Jagged Mouth and/or fanged More Teeth than the Osmond Family as Carnage to highlight his maniacal and nihilistic bloodlust.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Carnage feeds the Sin-Eater his sin, which ultimately proves too much for balaclava-head to handle.
- The Topic of Cancer: Cletus was diagnosed with stomach cancer when he was hospitalized after the symbiote abandoned him to pursue its vendetta against the Silver Surfer. This hasn't been brought up since, presumably due to the symbiote curing him because, unlike Eddie Brock's adrenal cancer, the type of cancer Cletus had offered no benefit to it.
- Transhuman Treachery: When the offspring of the Venom symbiote bonded to him, Cletus Kasady - being a nihilistic psychopath - happily used it to become even more of a monster than he already was.
- Übermensch: At his most philosophical, Cletus rejects the morality of the world around him as an artificial construct intended to prevent people from being truly free, and believes himself to be one of the few enlightened individuals who understand that chaos is the natural state of existence. And boy oh boy is he ever The Unfettered when it comes to demonstrating this.
- Unholy Matrimony:
- Kasady's "wife" is Shriek, although their relationship is very dysfunctional.Cletus, through the symbiote: She screams her pain as death and hatred. She kills for me. I like it. When it gets boring, I'll put her down like my mother's dog. I am Carnage. Killing someone I love will make me happy. So happy.
- Some lines in the Carnage Vol. 1, Carnage USA, Superior Carnage, and Venomized miniseries more-than imply Kasady considers his relationship with the symbiote to be this, such as referring to it as a "girl", and jokingly accusing it of cheating on him when bonded to Tanis Nieves.
- Kasady's "wife" is Shriek, although their relationship is very dysfunctional.
- Un-person: Upon becoming evil again, Carnage desperately tries to kill everyone aware of his heroism during AXIS, starting with Nova.
- Viler New Villain: As Venom transitioned from being a villain to an antihero, Cletus was introduced to be even worse by comparison. Eddie Brock may have an Irrational Hatred towards Spidey, but Cletus is a deranged Serial Killer who does things For the Evulz.
- Villain Protagonist: Cletus has had a number of series where he himself is the protagonist.
- Villain Song: Carnage Rules by Green Jelly, which was commissioned for the Maximum Carnage video game.
- Villainous Breakdown: Deadpool's taunts and jeers about Cletus being a Cosmic Plaything, coupled with various Contrived Coincidences that have occurred, cause Carnage to try and force the patients and staff of a mental institution to answer his nonsensical questions about being "controlled" by higher powers as he rants about breaking into one nuthouse after another until he gets satisfactory answers. After Deadpool tricks him into mangling Shriek - something he thinks the "higher powers" tried to warn him against doing through the muttering of a few mental patients - Carnage, convinced everything he's believed about chaos and randomness is false, suffers a mind-shattering Freak Out.Detective: Cell's not even locked. He could walk right out.
Carnage: Gonna sit right here... 'til I'm left alone... 'til I'm my own man again... and then... I'm gonna find Deadpool... and make him pay for trying to peel my eyes open!
- Voice of the Legion: Beginning in the 2000's, Carnage speaks using distorted red speech bubbles with white text.
- What Would X Do?: Cletus' first attempts at being a hero pretty much boil down to him asking himself "What would Spider-Man do?", not having a clue, and literally butchering it.
- Where I Was Born and Razed: Burned down the orphanage that took him in.
- The Worf Effect: Spider-Man's taken him down solo on occasion, and he was ripped in half by the Sentry.
- Worthy Opponent: Cletus initially saw Spider-Man as one, during their first encounter. Still kinda does.Carnage: Gee, Webster, I dunno why Eddie ragged on ya so much! I think you're kinda fun! I mean, I could really get into reunion battles, grudge bouts! Too bad I gotta cut this short — — by killin' ya now!
- Would Hurt a Child: Children are no safer from him than adults are.
- He burned down his entire orphanage, although this was when Cletus was still a child himself.
- "Amazing Spider-Man #362" shows him defenestrating a baby. Thankfully, Venom saves it.
- He massacres a diner in "Deadpool vs. Carnage", which is shown to have children inside. We don't actually see them die, but a news report says that over a dozen people died so they likely didn't survive.
- It's revealed that he killed Eric Morrell's young daughter Stephanie in "Carnage USA". He also threatens to kill his son Cole and baby daughter, but they fortunately survive to the end of the comic.
- As a teen, he pushed a girl he had a crush on in front of a bus when she refused to go out with him. This event, which had only been referenced once or twice in Carnage's early appearances, is revisited as a minor plot point in Axis.
- Cletus views the Carnage symbiote as his soul mate, and when the Poisons trick him into bonding with a new symbiote he screams at them to take it off and bring him his original. After the new symbiote finishes bonding to him, he promptly goes berserk — mowing down Poisoned incarnations of powerful heroes like Angela — while declaring his intent to reunite with his beloved Other.Carnage II: This ain't me! This ain't who I am! This ain't my other! Stand between me and my real self, I'll slaughter every damn one of you! You hear me, baby? I'm comin' for ya!