As if Venom weren’t bad enough a villain for Spidey, the writers at Marvel decided that there needed to be an even CRAZIER, more SPIDEY HATING VILLAIN who got their powers from an alien symbiote.
Let me backtrack for a second – All of Marvel’s heroes and villains were taken to another planet one day, where they were forced to fight 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 folks with costumes all repaired and looking as if nothing had happened to em, 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. Excited, he took off down the hall.
The room was full of machines, though, and he didn’t know which one was the right one. Giving one a shot, he ended up with a new, black costume.
Not quite what he had in mind, but he liked it. He didn’t know that it was an alien symbiote and that eventually, it would cause him more trouble, pain and heartache than any other villain that had come along when it bonded with a guy named Eddie Brock and became Venom.
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 who had Spider-Man’s powers, knew his secret identity and wanted nothing more than to make him suffer.
A wildly popular character, Venom wasn’t necessarily a bad guy (or so the Mighty Marvel Team would have us believe once he became so popular with the fans). Sure, he wanted Spidey/Pete to suffer and eventually die, but other than that, he could really care less about the world at large. He wasn’t in it for the money, wasn’t pulling robberies or doing the usual villain stuff – he simply wanted Spider/Pete to die after a long, miserable suffering and what’s wrong with that? He’s the victim here, right? (Uh-huh…)
For real evil/supervillainy, we needed something different – something special.
If it could be said that Venom/Eddie Brock was crazy but honorable, Carnage was absolutely mental with a dash of homicidal serial killer.
No – seriously, Cletus Kasady really is a serial killer. He’s totally mental. He gets caught and tossed in jail, where he shares a cell with a symbiote-less Eddie Brock. When the symbiote comes to break Eddie out, it drops off it’s alien spawn without Eddie knowing it and the spawn bonds with Kasady who them becomes Carnage.
Turns out that Carnage is more powerful than both Spidey and Venom, so they team up to fight him, defeat him, destroy his symbiote and toss his butt in an asylum.
Only, his symbiote is different – it got into his blood, changed it so that if you destroy what’s on the outside, what’s on the inside still survives. Eventually he breaks out again and starts one of the massive, multi-issue crossovers that I came to despise: Maximum Carnage.
Of course, everyone had to get into the act. You had Spidey and Venom fighting him, plus the Black Cat, Morbius, Captain America, Cloak and Dagger – the list goes on and on.
For the mega crossover, Carnage recruited some other insane people and lead them on a rampage through New York City. As always happens whenever supervillains team up, they deteriorated over time and the team went their separate ways. It’s classic – happens all the time because they’re EVIL and apparently, evil people don’t play nice with others. Probably an ego thing.
Spidey and Venom end up taking Carnage out (mostly Venom as Spidey is hurt) and the whole thing is wrapped up in a neat little, mutli-issue, annoying event. That doesn’t stop Carnage from making more appearances though.
Carnage/Kasady was never a particular favorite of mine simply because he’s all about the mindless violence. It’s like watching an action flick with the sound off because really, there’s no need to hear the dialogue. I know he came back a lot, and eventually spawned his own offspring and they haunted both Spidey and Venom quite a lot (seeing as both were considered responsible for ‘creating’ all the spawn that came after Venom).
I’ve absolutely no idea what they’re doing with him in Marvel’s new continuity (Ultimate, I believe it’s called), but I always felt that Venom/Brock was the better character – far more developed and driven. You could sympathize with Venom/Brock a little – rejected, dejected, down on their luck – nobody wants them/nobody loves them, plus there’s this guy that they hate who seems to ‘have it all’ and does everything just better enough to make them look bad. The ‘grass is always greener’ sort of stuff.