Spider-Man’s enemies Venom and Carnage are definitely two of my favorite ever villains in any medium. Despite their late introduction when compared to some of Spider-Man’s other iconic enemies such as Doc Ock and Green Goblin, the two have go on to become among his most popular villains.
Though Carnage can be a somewhat polarizing villain. Those who grew up with him such as myself often look on him as Spiderman’s ultimate nemesis, whilst other more long term fans tend to dislike him intensly. Indeed for more old school spidey fans Carnage is often seen as the epitome of everything that is wrong with the 90’s!
Still it cannot be denied that even today over 20 years after his introduction Carnage along with his father Venom still has a large and very devoted fanbase.
In this article I am going to say why I feel that Venom and Carnage should be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the announcement that Spider-Man will be featured in the MCU I’d say the chances of a Venom and Carnage pairing on the big screen look better than ever.
Venom and Carnage I think are villains who generally need to exist in a shared universe as so many of their most prominent stories involve crossovers with other heroes.
Thus I think the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the best film series to include them in more so than either the Raimi or the Garfield series.
I will be running through the reasons I think Venom and Carnage should be included from both a creative and commercial point of view. I think that both characters would offer up a very interesting dynamic for the MCU and I think that due to their massive popularity any movie featuring them would be very profitable.
I will also be look at 5 actors who I think would be a good choice to play either Venom or Carnage. I am not going to put them in any order as I am not sure which two actors out of the 12 I will be looking at would be the best for the roles of the two symbiotes. I have only managed to narrow it down to 5 for each.
I will also be giving a brief overview of the characters of Venom and Carnage first, their history in the comics as well as in other media too, just to give anyone who might not be familiar with their characters an idea of what they are about.
As always all opinions expressed are my own and let me know what you think of my choices for Venom and Carnage, whether you think they should be included in the MCU and what you think of their characters overall.
Also just to clarify when I say Venom I am only referring to the original Venom, the Eddie Brock, Amazing Spider-Man Venom as I find him to be the most interesting and certainly the best match for Carnage.
Overview of Venom and Carnage
The Venom character really has his beginnings in the massive 80’s Marvel crossover series “Secret Wars”. This series which was written by Jim Shooter saw Spider-Man along with earths greatest heroes and villains, which included the likes of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk on the heroes side and Doctor Doom, Magneto, Doc Ock and the Absorbing Man on the villains side get whisked away to a far away planet called Battleword by an omnipotent being called simply The Beyonder. The Beyond actually created Battleworld from pieces of other planets including the earth itself.
During the course of the battle Spider-Man’s costume got ripped to shreds and after the heroes had managed to claim the villains base as their own Spider-Man decided to get a replacement costume.
This replacement costume was black and it came equipped with new powers and abilities including an unlimited supply of webbing and the ability to change shape and blend into its surroundings. After Doctor Doom who managed to steal the Beyonders powers was defeated the heroes returned home and Spidey took his new costume with him.
Spider-Man would keep the black suit for many months until eventually he discovered that the suit was in fact slowly taking control of him and making him go out at night when he was asleep. Spider-Man later discovered from Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four that the suit was in fact alive. The suit was a symbiote that needed to bond itself to another life form. It had actually been a part of an highly advanced and feared alien race that had swarmed across the galaxy bonding themselves to other life forms and taking them over. The Symbiotes hosts would often be short lived as the Symbiotes who feed on adrenaline would make them perform death defying stunts in order to feed off of them.
The Symbiotes had destroyed entire civillisations and planets and had wiped out millions of species across the universe. Despite this however the Symbiote that had bonded itself to Spider-Man was in fact in comparison to the other members of its kind a benign creature. It actually cared about its hosts like Spider-Man and wanted to help them. For this reason it was considered an abomination by the other members of its kind and sentenced to death. However before they could execute it its prison was taken by the Beyonder and used as part of Battleworld. Thus the symbiote was unknowingly saved by the Beyonder and Spider-Man himself who had not knowing what it was let it free when he was on battleworld.
Spider-Man wanted rid of the symbiote. Though the creature did care for him, it ultimately wanted to control him at the same time, believing it was for his own good.
The symbiote then attempted to latch itself permanently onto the webhead, but Richards managed to pull it from him using sonics. The only things that could weaken the Symbiote were fire, sonics and loud noises. Richards would keep the Symbiote locked up for a long while, but it eventually managed to escape and attacked Peter on his way home. Latching itself onto him again Spider-Man managed to regain control of his body long enough to take the symbiote to a church. There he used the sound of the bells to weaken the monster. He declared that he would rather die than be its puppet. As the bells began to weaken the both of them the Symbiote fled. Leaving the weakened Parker seemingly to perish, in a final act of love for Peter the Symbiote surprisingly redeemed itself and dragged Peter from the bells dying itself apparently in the process whilst saving his life.
Originally this was to have been the end of the whole alien costume storyline. It would be author David Michelinie however who would bring the symbiote back from the dead and give it a new human host, creating one of Spider-Man’s worst nightmares in the process.
The Symbiote had not actually died in its final confrontation with Spider-Man. It had merely been rendered dormant, but it would be awoken by a man named Eddie Brock.
Eddie Brock had once been a reporter who had written an expose on a serial killer called the Sin Eater. Unfortunately for Brock the man he had interviewed had been a compulsive liar and Spiderman would later catch the real Sin Eater. This resulted in Brocks career and reputation being shattered. He was fired from his job, and became a laughing stock. Finding no one else who would hire him, Brock’s personal life crumbled as well. His father and wife with whom he had always had a strained relationship with disowned him as he became a laughing stock and he soon found himself alone and living in poverty.
Brock blamed Spider-Man for this. As his despair and rage got worse he eventually decided to kill himself. Having been raised a catholic however Brock decided to visit a church first to pray for forgiveness for both his hatred of Spiderman and for wanting to take his own life.
Unfortunately this was the same church where Spider-Man had had his final confrontation with the Symbiote. Brocks strong hatred soon awoke the best from its slumber and needing a new host it instantly latched itself onto Brock with the two merging into the one creature.
The resulting Symbiosis unfortunately drove both Brock and the Symbiote completely mad. Brock’s hatred pushed the previously gentle and lonely symbiote over the edge and caused it to become a vengeful and hateful creature. At the same time the Symbiotes madness fed into Brock and only dragged him deeper and deeper into lunacy.
The combined entity of Brock and the Symbiote named itself Venom and soon sought to destroy the man it blamed for all its woes Spider-Man. Brock obviously hated Spider-Man for supposedly ruining his career and personal life whilst the Symbiote hated him for rejecting it.
Whilst Venom wished to make Spider-Man suffer and was prepared to do anything to accomplish this both Brock and the Symbiote still managed to maintain a strong moral code. Neither wished to harm those whom they viewed as innocent people. This included even Mary Jane Watson Peter Parkers wife or his elderly Aunt May. Indeed when not trying to murder Spider-Man Venom actually used his powers and abilities to help those whom he viewed as innocent and actually did manage to perform a number of great heroic deeds.
Venom made a few fleeting cameos before making his first proper appearance at the end issue 299 of The Amazing Spiderman. In these cameos only Venom’s arm was shown, first pushing Parker in front of a bus and then in a later later issue grabbing him and tossing him aside.
In both cases Spider-Man is scared not only that someone tried to kill him but that both attempts did not trigger his Spider sense.
Finally however at the end of issue 299 Venom is seen in all his glory when he emerges from the shadows to confront Mary Jane in one of the most iconic moments in Marvel comics history.
Though Venom does not harm Mary Jane at all his very appearance is enough to terrify her to the point where she wants to move house!
Spider-Man meanwhile knowing there is a maniac after him hunts Venom down. Spider-Man proves to me no match for Venom. The Symbiote managed to copy all of Spider-Man’s powers and abilities. His webbing, his super strength, his ability to stick to walls and worse as the Symbiote had bonded itself to him it not only knows all of his innermost secrets, but it can block his spider sense allowing Venom to sneak up on the Wallcrawler.
Whilst Venom can do anything Spiderman can only better, knows everything about him and can stalk him at every turn Spider-Man still manages to defeat him by exploiting his fatal weakness.
Venom hates Spider-Man so much that he doesn’t just simply want to kill him he wants to make him suffer for as long as he possibly could. Thus he would often give up perfect opportunities to kill him so that he could torture and humiliate him first. This however often gave Spider-Man enough time to think of a plan to escape.
Spider-Man was often able to think more clearly too than Venom who due to his extreme hatred of the wallcrawler would often completely lose his cool and attack with blind rage.
Finally whilst it was true that Venom knew everything about Spider-Man at the same time Spider-Man also knew everything about Venom too. Thus he was able to exploit the symbiotes weaknesses.
All of this can be seen in Venom’s first appearance when Venom after having knocked out Spider-Man rather than simply kill him takes him to an old church where he webs him up over a large drop. Venom does this to torture Spiderman as he makes him watch as the webbing keeping him from falling to his death slowly dissolves. Spider-Man however is able to get free and beats Venom by exploiting the fact that in order to produce webbing, the Symbiote has to turn a part of itself into web which weakens it. Spider-Man forces Venom to use too much webbing which causes Venom to pass out allowing Spiderman to take him to the Fantastic Four who restrain him.
Venom proved to be an instant hit with readers. Indeed following his first appearance it wouldn’t take him long to return for an encore battle with his mortal enemy. Venom would soon go on to really become the main antagonist throughout the late 80’s, early 90’s period of Spider-Man comics.
To many Venom is Spider-Man’s archenemy, though generally speaking Spider-Man is considered to have three archenemies, the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Venom. As for who is top dog out of those three well it depends on who you ask.
I tend to look at it this way.
The Green Goblin is really like Spider-Man’s version of the Joker, The Daleks from Doctor Who and Lex Luthor. I am not saying he is like those characters but his role in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery is like their roles in their respective franchises. Like those 3 characters the Goblin was never intended to be the heroes greatest enemy. Indeed none of those three characters fit the mold of a classical nemesis at all. Clowns and Bats aren’t something you’d think of putting together normally, neither are Spiders and Goblins either, whilst Lex isn’t anywhere near close to being Superman’s most dangerous enemy. However these villains managed to reach the archenemy status due to the fact that they were such popular villains. All 4 caught on very quickly and are definitely the villains that the general public would recognize the most. The fact that these villains over the years would be responsible for the greatest number of tragedies in the heroes life also helped them to reach the archenemy status too with the Goblin in particular having been responsible for the death of Gwen Stacey Spider-Man’s first love too.
Doc Ock meanwhile could be seen as Spider-Man’s version of the Penguin, The Cybermen from Doctor Who and Brainiac. They are one of the heroes oldest enemies and the villain that the general public would recognize the most after the Goblin, The Joker, Luthor and the Daleks. However sadly over the years they have been a bit overshadowed by Joker Luthor, Daleks and the Goblin, but they still nevertheless are very iconic and in many fans eyes very overlooked and there will be some stories that focus more on them, such as the recent Gotham series which featured the Penguin as the main character.
Venom meanwhile I’d say is like Spider-Man’s version of Ra’s Al Ghul, The Master from Doctor Who and Darkseid. Venom much like all 3 of these villains is a classical nemesis to the hero who is introduced at a much later point. Ra’s Al Ghul, The Master Darkseid and Venom all come at a point where you couldn’t imagine there being a villain who could ever hope to rival the likes of Luthor or the Goblin but these villains manage to not only because of their popularity but also because unlike the Gobin, Joker they were created to be the heroes archenemy. Ra’s is like a dark image to Batman. He is a genius detective like him, a skilled martial artist and he seeks to rid the world of corruption and crime like Batman, but his methods are evil as he believes that he in order to do that he must destroy the current society and rebuild it from scratch. The Master meanwhile is obviously a dark version of the Doctor. He is a time lord like the Doctor who has his own TARDIS that’s even in the original series dark on the inside whilst the Doctors is white. Darkseid could be seen as a dark twin to Superman too as like Superman he is an all powerful alien, but again uses his power for evil.
Venom obviously is like an evil Spider-Man in every way. Even in terms of his appearance. Venom represents the path not taken as both Peter Parker and Eddie Brock are shown to have a desire to help people and both also are initially motivated by bitter resentment about how their lives have turned out. However where they differ is after his Uncle Ben’s murder Parker accepts that it was his fault and that with his great power comes great responsibility whilst Brock never reaches this conclusion and continues to blame everybody else for his own failings in life and making excuses which is what leads to him misusing his power unlike Spider-Man.
Venom again much like Ra’s Al Ghul, The Master and Darkseid also represents a far greater threat to the hero at least than other villains, probably because they being their dark twin are on a more equal footing to them. Ra’s Al Ghul is Batman’s equal in intellect and as a fight whilst Venom as we all know can actually toy with Spiderman unlike his other enemies.
Finally I’d also that the likes of The Master Ra’s Al Ghul Darkseid and Venom whilst popular among the fans are less well known among the general public, probably as a result of their later introduction.
I don’t think you could say that Spider-Man has a Moriarty a single iconic enemy, but that in my opinion is good as it allows Spider-Man as a hero to have a more varied dynamic with each of his mortal enemies, rather than just the same archenemy trope of one villain being the most prominent.
I think the reason that Venom have made such a huge impact is because he offered something different to the Goblin and Doc Ock both of whom were of course fabulous villains. None of them were even remotely similar.
Venom was ironically the most sympathetic of the three main villains yet also at the same time the most dangerous to Spider-Man himself. Venom knew everything about Spider-Man from day one and though the Goblin had also discovered his identity along the way, he still wasn’t quite as dangerous as Venom was. The Goblin was not quite as strong physically as Spider-Man and in their fights though the Goblin was able to overpower Spider-Man on a number of occasions it was only through weaponry and tricks. Whenever the two faced head to head the Goblin wouldn’t stand a chance. Indeed right after Gwen Stacey Died an enraged Spiderman very nearly beat the Goblin to death and the Goblin wasn’t even able to defend himself. Similarly after Doc Ock very nearly killed Black Cat Spiderman beat him him almost to death and left him a quivering mess. Ock would actually develop arachnophobia after this beating and Spider-Man would be forced to allow Ock to beat him when he needed Ock’s help to stop a reactor from destroying New York.
Venom however in contrast is always able to toy with Spider-Man. Even if Spider-Man were as enraged as when he faced the Gobin after Gwen’s death then Venom could still toy with him.
Venom’s entire reason for existing was also to destroy Spiderman too. The Goblin had originally hoped to gain power for himself, whilst Doc Ock cared about his experiments. Venom however his entire reason for being was to make Spiderman pay thus he was far more devoted to his destruction than any of his previous enemies.
However again despite this Venom actually was a far more sympathetic character than either the Goblin or Ock. Venom to start with did not wish to harm anyone other than Spiderman himself. When Venom first meets Mary Jane he does not lay a finger on her and later he forces Spiderman to battle him outside of the city so as to make sure that no innocents can be harmed in their fight. Though there are a few occasions where Venom breaks his code of never harming innocents. In his second appearance he murders a hapless guard in order to escape from the Vault. However even then he is shown to be overwhelmed with remorse for what he has done and remarks that it makes him feel sick. He even lays the dead man’s body down and plants a platonic kiss on his forehead.
Compare that to the Green Goblin laughing at Gwen Stacey’s death and later taunting Parker that she was a waste of space who did nothing with her life.
Thus Venom whilst being a greater threat to Spiderman than either Ock or The Goblin is far less of a threat to anyone else. All he wants is Spiderman dead. Later when he believes he has actually killed Spiderman he simply continues to live on a small island somewhere completely isolated from humanity. If the Goblin and Doc Ock killed Spiderman then they would continue to cause more pain and misery to other innocent people.
I personally found it to be quite an interesting dynamic that the villain who was actually the worst threat to Spiderman was the least threat to the world at large and also the least evil of the three main archenemies.
It allowed Venom to be a slightly more ambigious character one who could actually be Spiderman’s ally due to his own desire to protect innocents, yet have a far more bitter feud with him and be a far greater threat to him.
Venom is also much braver than either the Goblin or Ock. Whilst the Goblin and Ock when faced with certain death panic and sometimes even beg, Venom is shown to have no regard for his own safety when battling Spider-Man or Carnage. He regularly throws himself in front of blades that Carnage fires at innocent people without a seconds hesitation. Again compare this to the Goblin who tosses young women off of bridges in order to escape from Spider-Man or even the Doc Ock who after a beating from Spiderman not only becomes terrified to face him, but of spiders in general and you can see what a different type of character Venom was to Spidey’s previous two mortal enemies.
Of course another reason for Venom’s instant popularity among the readers was his fabulous design courtesy of Todd McFarlane.
Venom’s design works for a number of reasons. Its unique, its frightening yet at the same time its oddly appealing too. There is just something about the design thats so captivating it instantly draws you in and makes you want to know what the full story of Venom is.
Venom would continue to plague Spider-Man for many years to come becoming his most recurring and visible adversary. Eventually however Venom would be joined by another Symbiote, his own son who became the villain Carnage.
David Michelinie had originally intended to kill Eddie Brock off in Amazing Spider-Man issue 400. He had intended to have the alien symbiote bond itself to other host including Doc Ock and even J Jonah Jameson. However as the character of Brock had become too popular then there was no way he could be killed off in the foreseeable future. Thus wanting to continue his idea of the Symbiote bonding itself to a more unsympathetic host, but not wanting to lose the ever popular Venom, Michelinie decided to create a second symbiote character instead and the result was Carnage.
Eddie Brock had become seperated from the Symbiote when battling against Styx, with the two quarreling over who gets to kill Spider-Man, Styx had knocked the symbiote out and Brock had been sent to prison on his own.
There he was placed in the cell next to serial killer Cletus Kasady. The two needless to say did not like each other and Kasady was even planning on killing him until the Venom Symbiote returns to the cell and latches itself onto Brock. Little did Brock know however that the Symbiote was in fact pregnant. The species reproduced asexually once in their lifetime. The creatures also did not care for their young and thus the Venom symbiote left its offspring in the cell. Venom would later capture Spider-Man and take him to a abandoned island where he tried to kill him. Spider-Man actually managed to fake his death and Venom believing that he had triumphed over his archenemy decided to remain there for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile back in New York the second Symbiote having been left on its own and in need of a host soon latches itself onto Cletus Kasady. After it matures the two merge to become the singular entity known as Carnage. Kasady and the second Symbiotes bond is stronger than Brock and the Venom symbiotes. They actually merge to become the one entity with Carnage referring to itself as I whilst Venom always referred to itself as we. Whilst Kasady and the second symbiote are shown to become a lot closer, Kasady is ultimately shown to have complete control of the symbiote at least at first. Later issues show the two of them on a more equal footing though this can perhaps be seen as a result of the symbiote getting stronger the older it gets.
Kasady armed with his new symbiote powers escapes from prison murdering a guard along the way and goes on a bloody rampage across Manhatten. Kasady writes at the scene of every killing “Carnage rules”. He picks his victims at random out of a phone book and murders everyone from the richest and most powerful man in town to a cleaner.
When one of his victims asks him why he is doing this he simply responds because he can. Kasady is an anarchist who wants to prove that society should have no laws and that people should be allowed to do whatever they want including murder. He also wants to prove that no one is safe and that there is no order to things. Thus he decides to murder people at random to get his point across to the rest of the world.
Spider-Man soon tracks Kasady down but proves to be no match for him in his Carnage form. Having been born on the earth an alien environment the second Symbiote is mutated and thus far more powerful and dangerous than the first and Carnage is therefore far more dangerous than Venom.
Realizing he is no match for the monster Spider-Man has to seek Venom’s help. All of earth’s other greatest heroes are busy dealing with their own crises so Venom is the only one who can help him against Carnage. The Fantastic Four however still have enough time to take him to the island Venom is living on.
Upon seeing his old nemesis Venom instantly attacks him and very nearly kills both Spider-Man and the Human Torch. The two are able to restrain him long enough to tell him what is going on and Venom actually feeling guilty at his own offspring having caused so much death agrees to help Spider-Man stop Carnage in exchange for being allowed to return to his island afterwards.
Venom and Spider-Man soon form an unlikely alliance and battle Carnage, with Venom managing to rescue a baby that Carnage tosses out of a window!
Carnage later captures J Jonah Jameson and his family and plans to murder all of them in public. Fortunately Spider-Man and Venom manage to track him down and using a weapon the Fantastic four had devised Spider-Man is able to destroy the Carnage symbiote leaving Kasady completely defenceless. Spider-Man then goes back on his word and uses the device on Venom leading to his capture too.
Much like his father Carnage proved to be instantly popular. The first three issues that featured him simply titled Carnage all sold out and with very little advertising. Carnage was designed by artist Mark Bagley and whilst Carnage’s design was every bit as good as Venom’s once again I think that the real reason the character caught on was because Carnage rather than just being a repeat of Venom offered up something new.
Carnage was by far and away Spider-Man’s most evil enemy even more so than the Green Goblin. With Carnage there was no reason for his cruelty. It was just so senseless, so pointless. With the Goblin at the very least it was so that he could gain power or for revenge against Spider-Man. With Kasady however it was just because in his own words he could!
I don’t think Spider-Man had really had an enemy like that in the past who had been so chaotic. At the same time whilst Carnage was by far and away the most twisted of all of Spider-Man’s enemies in some ways he was also the most pitiful, wretched and pathetic of all his foes too.
If I were to compare Carnage’s status among Spider-Man’s enemies to other villains I would say that Carnage is Spiderman’s version of Bane, Davros from Doctor Who and Doomsday in the sense that like them he is a villain that is introduced much, much later and has never really been considered the heroes archenemy, but is probably their most dangerous and destructive foe. Bane after all did break Batman’s back, whilst Doomsday killed Superman and Davros the last time he appeared threatened every universe. All 4 of these villains were instantly popular when they first appeared, but soon became controversial due to the fact that they were such overbearing characters.
After their battle with Carnage Spider-Man and Venom would call a truce after Spider-Man saves Brock’s ex wife Anne Weying. Venom would later go on to star in his own limited spin off series Venom Lethal Protector. Here he served as an anti hero of sorts protecting an underground group of homeless people. He is later however captured by the Life Foundation who seperate Brock from the Symbiote and experiment on it, forcing it to reproduce a further 5 times. These Symbiotes are named Scream, Phage, Lasher, Riot and Agony and are bonded to special agents creating super powered police men. Fortunately Spider-Man is able to free Brock who rebonds with the Symbiote and together the two are able to stop and seemingly destroy Venom’s new children.
Carnage would next go on to appear in a 14 issue multi crossover series titled Maximum Carnage. This series revealed that Kasady’s blood had become mutated by the Symbiote and he was now able to create a copy of the Symbiote from his blood allowing him to become Carnage once again!
Carnage armed with his new Symbiote powers goes on a killing spree and slaughters many more innocent people and also recruits several more super powered psychopaths to help him spread his anarchic message across Manhatten like never before. Carnage dubs his new team which consists of a mutant named Shriek, a twisted Spider-Man Doppleganger, Carrion and Demo Goblin Carnage’s family an obvious allusion to the Manson Family.
In order to defeat Carnage’s family Spider-Man is again forced to team up with Venom as well as with Black Cat, Morbius the Living Vampire, Cloak and Dagger and Firestorm. Things don’t go to well for the team however. Many of its members are split on how to deal with Carnage. Venom and Morbius wish to kill him, whilst Spider-Man and Firestorm believe that they cannot stoop to his level.
This later leads to blows between the team when FIrestorm gives up a perfect opportunity to kill Carnage and Venom tries to murder her declaring her a betrayer of innocents.
In addition to this Shriek manages to seemingly murder Dagger too whilst Venom is captured by Carnage when he attempts to face him and Shriek alone. Shriek using her sonic powers is able to weaken the symbiote leaving Brock powerless. After he is almost beaten to death by Shriek, Carnage captures and along with Shriek tortures him for several days.
Despite the torture Venom does not crack however and is later able to trick Carnage and escape.
The Avengers led by Captain America soon arrive and are able to aid Spider-Man and the others defeat Carnage’s family with the aid of a new weapon that affects the villains mentally. Cloak also discovers that Dagger has survived her earlier confrontation with Shriek too.
Unfortunately however Carnage is able to escape. Now even more deranged but weakened, Venom who is desperate for revenge after his torture at Carnages hands chases his son down and tries to kill him. Though he is stopped from finishing him by Spider-Man, ultimately Venom comes to see that Spider-Man is right and that he does not have the right to cast the final judgement on Carnage. Venom manages to stop Carnage before he regains his strength by pushing him into a field generator causing an explosion which weakens Carnage after which he then allows the Avengers to take him into custody.
Maximum Carnage was a massive success commercially when it was first released. Sadly however critical reaction to wards it was largely negative for a variety of reasons. Many felt it was padded, others felt it featured too many D-list characters for a massive crossover event, whilst others felt it was too violent with scenes such as Carnage torturing Venom in particular being heavily criticized.
I myself have mixed feelings towards the story. I would agree that it is far too long. Really this strip could have been half as long and even then 7 issues would probably still be a bit too long.
I also find the resolution with the Avengers whipping out a gun that makes people into good guys lame too.
Still there are some interesting ideas in this story. To start with Venom and Carnage’s interactions are truly excellent. I will go into more detail as to why later, but still any scene with those two together is just dynamite. One of my favorite moments is when Carnage has just carried out a massacre and he is surrounded by the dead bodies of his victims and then Venom swings down declaring that he will take a gallon of Carnage’s blood for every innocent drop Kasady has spilled!
I also think this story does quite a good job of progressing the Venom and Spider-Man relationship too. After their truce Venom and Spider-Man’s alliance this time is obviously a lot easier, but the two still do not like each other and clash over their differing methods.
At the start of the story Venom despises Spider-Man as he views him as weak and lacking the courage to do what is necessary and kill Carnage. Similarly Spider-Man despises Venom and views him as a monster only marginally better than Carnage.
However by the end of the strip the two begin to respect each other more and even trust one another. Venom comes to believe that Spider-Man is right when he sees just how pitiful Carnage is and willing leaves Carnage’s fate in Spider-Man’s hands believing that he is a better person to decide his fate. Similarly Spider-Man sees that whilst Venom is consumed with vengeance he also does still possess a code of honor and is also willing to die to protect the innocent when Venom sacrifices himself to stop Carnage at the end of the story.
Whilst Venom and Spider-Man will never be friends you can see how at the end of Maximum Carnage the two have become much closer allies, with Venom no longer looking on Spider-Man as simply lacking courage and Spider-Man having now seen that Venom is capable of genuine acts of heroism.
Sadly this wasn’t continued in subsequent stories that featured Venom which was a shame, but in this story I find it to be a logical next step of their relationship.
Following on from Maximum Carnage Venom and Carnage would go on to appear in numerous other stories throughout the remainder of the 90s.
The Carnage symbiote though usually bonded to Cletus Kasady would over the course of the decade briefly attach itself to other hosts including Ben Reilly, Spider Man’s clone creating Spider Carnage and the Silver Surfer creating the vastly powerful and evil Carnage Cosmic.
Venom would star in another series of his own. Venom Seperation Anxiety which revealed that the Venom symbiote’s other offspring had survived. These symbiotes unlike Carnage wanted to try and find a way to control their violent impulses and ask Brock for help. Though why they would go to Brock a man who has spent a good few years trying to tear Spider-Man’s guts out I have no idea?. Brock refuses to believe that they could change and tries to kill them even without the Symbiote which he is once again briefly seperated from. Scream whose host is unstable then proceeds to murder all of her brothers and sisters with a sonic knife, killing both the symbiote and its host in the process. She does this as after Venom’s rejection of them she believes that all symbiotes are evil. Though she attempts to murder Venom ultimately she is stopped.
The remains of her symbiote brothers and sisters would later merge together into the one Symbiote known as Hybrid who would go on to become an anti hero in his own right.
Carnage meanwhile would continue to make many more prominent appearances alongside Venom and on his own throughout the 90’s. Among his most prominent appearances included Carnage Mind Bomb and Carnage Its A Wonderful Life both of which revealed a lot about Kasady’s history.
Carnage really took over as Spider-Man’s main adversary replacing Harry Osborne and Venom himself. This was seen in the Spider-Man/Batman crossover which featured Carnage teaming up with the Joker.
This crossover saw Carnage free the Joker from Arkham as he wished to work with him, with the Joker being revealed to be Cletus Kasady’s idol.
This was a nod to the fact that Carnage had been based on the Joker. Cletus Kasady Carnage’s human component that was designed by Erik Larson was according to Larson just the Joker with his hair dyed red and his skin colored normal.
In an ironic twist some fans have seen Maximum Carnage as being a possible precursor to The Dark Knight. Both feature a villain who is two steps ahead of everyone who wants to bring anarchy and chaos to the city and who pushes the hero to his very limits and drives good people to commit acts of murder. There is also even a moment where Peter’s “father” gives him a speech about how there are devils inside everyone who cannot be reasoned with and who will tear everything down just because its fun which is similar to Alfred’s speech about how certain men just want to watch the world burn.
Personally I don’t think Maximum Carnage was an influence on The Dark Knight at all, but I would agree that they are similar stories, which just goes to further highlight the similarities between the Joker and Carnage.
Venom would also go on to appear in a crossover story which saw him battle Superman. Bizarrely Venom proved to be far stronger than Superman and tossed both he and Spider-Man around like nothing.
Towards the end of the 90’s Venom and Carnage’s popularity began to decline somewhat.though they would still be featured regularly it wouldn’t be long before they were both written out.
Venom would go through a number of character changes including rejecting the symbiote and resuming his feud with Spider-Man after he mistakenly blamed Spider-Man for the death of his ex wife. He also briefly joined the Sinister six before turning on them. It was also reveled that Eddie Brock had in fact been dying of cancer when the symbiote had bonded itself to him and saved his life by preventing his cancer from killing him. It was retconned therefore that the real reason he had wanted to kill Spider-Man was because he was terrified that the suit which still in its own way cared for Parker would leave him and he would die.
Carnage meanwhile gave birth to another symbiote in the mini series Venom vs Carnage. This symbiote which Venom christened Toxin after himself bonded to a police officer named Patrick Mulligan. Carnage wanted to kill Toxin before it can mature. He was terrified that Toxin would pose a threat to him whilst Venom wished to raise Toxin as his ally. Unfortunately for Venom Mulligan is able to control the monster and plans to steer it towards heroism. Finding himself unable to kill even Carnage after Carnage’s repeated threats against his family Venom comes to the conclusion that Toxin could be a threat to him and Carnage and Venom team up to try and kill Toxin and they very nearly succeed but Spider-Man and Black Cat are able to stop them and allow Toxin enough time to recover. Toxin subsequently thrashes both his father and grandfather and sends them fleeing.
Not long after this the Eddie Brock version of Venom would come to an end when Brock having had a crisis of faith decided to sell the Symbiote and donate the millions he got from it to charity. He sold the creature to Angelo Fortunato the son of a mob boss. Fortunato proves to be an unworthy and cowardly host however and the Venom symbiote soon kills him by abandoning him mid flight causing him to fall to his death. Eddie Brock upon discovering this felt so guilty that he tried to kill himself and slashed his wrists.
The Venom Symbiote would later bond to Mac Gargan formerly the villainous Scorpion. Carnage meanwhile would be killed off in an early issue of the New Avengers when whilst escaping from the Raft alongside many other supervillains Carnage is overpowered by the Sentry and flown into outer space where the sentry rips him in half.
I must admit I was always a little bit annoyed with how Carnage was killed off in such an anti climatic way. The story was written by Brian Michael Bendis who had famously made it clear that he hated the character of Carnage. Now I like Bendis as a writer but this is very unprofessional of him and I might add a bit hypocritical too. After all this is a man who featured both Venom and Carnage in his own Ultimate Spider-Man series. If he was gonna feature both characters and thus cash in on their fan base then the least he could do is show the original Carnage some respect when writing him out.
Carnage’s death is such an insult to the fans. Its not the fact that it kills him off. To be honest I think that the character needed a break at this point. However he should have been given a good send off. His final story should have revolved around his death which it didn’t. It also should have tied up all of the characters loose ends which it didn’t and it should have had Spider-Man and Venom the two most important characters in Carnage’s story arc which it didn’t. Spider-Man is in the story, but he isn’t there when Carnage dies, in fact we don’t even see his reaction to Carnage’s death which is unforgivable.
I might add that Bendis also makes Spider-Man and many other heroes look incompetent too. Apparently its morally okay to kill Carnage now? All of that stuff about how we can’t kill him because then we will be just as bad as him from Spider-Man and Captain America was rubbish? I mean if its okay to kill Carnage then why not kill Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Doctor Doom and any other villain which surely the Sentry who is strong enough to rip Carnage in half like a phone book could do? I mean morally apparently its okay for the Sentry to do that as Spider-Man despite stopping Venom from killing Carnage had no problem in letting the Sentry do it?
Its a terrible, terrible ending to Carnage, though thankfully it wasn’t the final end, still this marked the characters last appearance for close to 6 years.
Eddie Brock meanwhile continued to appear having survived his latest suicide attempt though it was not as Venom. Originally he was shown to have gone mad from his time as Venom and even murdered the nurse who was looking after him before attempting to murder Aunt May. Ultimately he managed to control himself and rather than kill her slashed his own wrists. He then told Peter that he was sorry for everything he had done to him and begged for forgivness before throwing himself to his death, though Spider-Man manages to catch him in time.
Brock would later be cured of his cancer by Martin Li who possess psychic abilities and he would later become the Anti Venom, when a symbiote made from the remnants of the old Venom symbiote in his blood was created.
His career as the Anti Venom didn’t last long however and soon he would become bonded to the Toxin symbiote which he is currently as of the writing of this article still bonded too.
The Venom symbiote itself meanwhile would continue to remain bonded to Gargan for many years. I must confess I was never that big a fan of Mac as Venom. I loved him as the Scorpion, but to me making him Venom just didn’t seem right. It would be like having Two Face dress up as the Penguin. Also I didn’t think Venom 3 was a particularly compelling character. Indeed I found Venom 3 to be what people had always criticized the first Venom and Carnage for supposedly being, one note monsters and psychopaths.
The Venom symbiote would later leave Gargan and bond itself to Flash Thompson Parkers old friend and former bully too. Thompson is as of the writing of this article the current Venom. Thompson serves as a special agent who works for the government and uses the Venom Symbiote for good. In his career as Venom he has so far faced Jack O Lantern, Kraven the Hunter and Eddie Brock as Toxin.
Finally Carnage returned to the Marvel universe in late 2010 in a miniseries called Carnage. Here it was revealed that Kasady and the symbiote survived, with the symbiote keeping him alive, the two eventually returned to earth. There they where captured by Michael Hall a competitor of Tony Stark who created prostetic limbs from the suit. One person Tanis Neives is outfitted with one of these limbs, but unfortunately it took control of her and caused her to briefly become the new Carnage. As Carnage Tanis would free Kasady and Kasady subsequently rebonded with the Carnage symbiote after which he vowed to make a bloody comeback, with Tanis meanwhile later bonding to the symbiotes second offspring becoming Scorn.
Carnage has since gone on to appear in a number of other series since and has battled other heroes such as Wolverine, Captain America, The Thing and Deadpool.
His final appearance to date however was in the AXIS series. Here Carnage is turned into a hero after a spell by Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch reverses the morality of many villains and heroes. Carnage later sacrifices himself to save millions of people with Spider-Man himself describing it as the worst man he ever knew doing the most noble thing he had ever seen.
Its doubtless that Carnage will return at some point, but at the very least this is a much better ending for the character than his death at the hands of the Sentry. Here we actually saw Spider-Man’s reaction to his death and I think it can be agreed that Kasady dying as a hero is probably that last ending any of us could have ever guessed
To this day Venom and Carnage remain popular characters. Though they’ve come a long way since their heyday in the 90’s and whilst Symbiotes may not be quite as popular now as they were in the 90’s there are still many people out there that love Venom and Carnage and its doubtless that they will continue to plague old webhead in some form or another, as Eddier Brock, Cletus Kasady, Tanis Nieves or Mac Gargan for years to come.
Appearances in Other Media
Venom and Carnage have appeared in many animated series and video games and other forms of media relating to Spider-Man over the years.
Their first appearance outside of the comics was in the classic 90’s Spider-Man the animated series. The producer of this series John Semper said that at the time they knew they had to do Venom and Carnage as they were the biggest things in the Marvel Universe at that point.
Despite this however they only appeared in a handful of episodes each. Nevertheless their appearance in this series was very well received by fandom and indeed many subsequent adaptations would incorporate elements from the 90’s series including even Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3.
The animated series managed to condense Venom’s origins. Here the Symbiote is brought back to earth by John Jameson, J Jonah’s son. The symbiote is shown to come from the moon rather than on battleworld and attacks Jameson managing to make its way back to his ship it then causes it to crash land on the George Washington Bridge before latching onto Spiderman who comes to rescue Jameson.
The symbiote as in the comic books takes over Parker and takes the form of a new black costume. However there are some changes from the comic book version. Here the suit makes him physically stronger and it also makes him aggressive to the point where it almost forces him to kill the villain Rhino. In the comic books the Symbiote did not make Parker more aggressive. It tried to control him but it did not make him violent.
Eddie Brock’s position before he becomes Venom is also different too. He is shown to work at the daily bugle with Peter Parker, with the two having a personal dislike of each other right from the start. Spider-Man is also shown to slowly ruin Eddie’s career over the course of season 1 with a series of mishaps.
This version of Venom is also not shown to have any desire to protect innocents which is a bit disappointing as I found that to be one of the most interesting aspects of Venom’s character. Whilst the comic book Venom made sure that he fought Spider-Man outside of the city so as to avoid innocent people being hurt this version of the character tries to kill Aunt May by dropping a tree on her and Parkers house.
This leads to a problem when Carnage shows up as in order to have Venom team up with Spider-Man they have to go down the awful cliched route of having Venom become a good guy because he falls in love.
Really I can’t think of a bigger cliche than a badguy becoming a good guy to get into a good girls pants!
Still whilst the Venom and Carnage feud isn’t quite as interesting as in the comics Carnage himself is handled quite well which is all the more incredible when you consider how heavily censored this show was. Spider-Man the Animated Series famously wasn’t allowed to have anybody die or even mention the words death, die or kill, Spider-Man also wasn’t even allowed to punch anybody either.
Thus as you can imagine having Carnage a villain that enjoys torturing and killing innocent people on a show like this would be quite difficult, but they manage to get round that in some quite clever ways. Kasady is only depicted as a madman rather than a serial killer, however his bloody past is alluded too “Kasady’s not a man he’s a monster he’s done stuff the post wouldn’t print” Also Carnage is later shown to end up in the service of the Demon Dormammu who creates a psychic link between himself and Carnage which allows Carnage to drain the life force or soul from his victims leaving them comatose and effectively dead, though at the end when Dormammu is defeated the people’s souls are returned to them. Still this is quite a clever way of having Carnage go on a killing spree without actually go on a killing spree.
Venom is voiced by Hank Azaria a prolific voice actor who is best known for providing the voices for many characters in the Simpsons such as Moe Syzlak, Chief Wiggum, Snake, Apu, Professor Frink, Frank Grimes and Carl. Carnage meanwhile was voiced by Scottish actor Scott Cleverdon.
Whilst Venom and Carnage appeared in a total of five episodes in total robot versions of them appeared in a later episode the Haunting of Mary Jane Watson, and the Carnage symbiote itself returned as the main villain in the shows fifth and final season.
In the final two episodes of the series we see an alternate version of the Carnage symbiote bond to an alternate version of Peter Parker creating the insane and evil Spider Carnage. Spider Carnage proceeds to try and destroy every single universe with a super weapon leading to Madame Web recruiting Spider-Men from different realities to stop him.
This story could be seen as a precursor to the reality Bomb story line in Doctor Who as it bears a number of similarities to it.
Venom and Carnage would later go on to appear in the sequel series Spider-Man Unlimited, though the less said about this series the better. Both Venom and Carnage were nothing more than generic alien baddies in this series and they both had a terrible design.
Venom later went on to appear in the Spectacular Spider-Man the animated series. This version was an amalgam of many previous versions of the character. His relationship with Peter Parker was similar to the Ultimate Eddie Brock in that he was Parkers childhood friend rather than a rival reporter. However the Venom symbiote is still an alien just like the Amazing continuity, whilst the way it is brought to earth via a rocket rather than the secret wars storyline is similar to the 90’s animated series. Also much like the 90’s animated series the symbiote makes Parker both stronger and more aggressive.
This version of Eddie Brock is presented as a more genuinely sympathetic character at first than many other versions, yet despite this after he becomes Venom he is arguably far more evil than his comic book counterpart. This version does not care about protecting innocents and actively tries to murder Gwen Stacey. I kind of wish I could see one version of Venom that retains the characters moral code. Without that to me Venom is just another version of the Green Goblin. An evil villain who knows Spider-Man’s secret and tries to hurt him by hurting the people closest to him, except that Venom can never be as effective that way as the Green Goblin as we all know its the Green Goblin that murders Gwen Stacey.
Still overall this is a decent version of Venom. Whilst I think the 90’s version might always be my fave and is certainly more influential on subsequent versions, I gotta admit my favorite ever animated Spider-Man/Venom confrontation is in this series when Venom first attacks Peter outside his house. This scene really more than any other sells the idea of Venom as Spiderman’s ultimate adversary.
Sadly Carnage did not appear in this series as it was axed after just two years. Had it gone on then the producers have said that Carnage would have appeared and Cletus Kasady appeared in a cameo in the second season though he did not speak.
How they would have had Carnage however when their version of Venom was already pretty evil I don’t know. I am not sure when you have a Venom who is as evil as the Spectacular Spider-Man version that you need Carnage at all.
Venom and Carnage have also appeared in the current Spider-Man animated series Ultimate Spider-Man. Now I must admit I am not enamored with either the comic book Ultimate Venom or Carnage. I find them both to be boring and rather dull. Still I felt this series presented quite an interesting twist by having Harry Osborne be the ultimate Venom or as he was referred to in this series Goblin-Venom. In this series Carnage was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker who had voiced the character in an earlier video game.
Dee Bradley Baker also voiced Venom in Lego Marvel Super Heroes Maximum Overload which makes him the only actor to play both Venom and Carnage.
Venom’s first proper live action appearance was in Spider-Man 3 directed by Sam Raimi where he was played by Topher Grace.
Spider-Man 3 borrowed many aspects and plot elements and even whole scenes from the 90’s animated series including the idea of the Symbiote making Spider-Man both stronger and more aggressive.
This depiction of the character was widely criticized for many reasons, such as the fact that it did not stick true to the source material and the fact that many felt Topher Grace was miscast as well as the fact that Venom’s role in the film felt small and rushed compared to the other two villains Sandman and New Goblin.
Personally I felt that Topher Grace was fine in the role, but I do agree that he just didn’t seem like Venom. I think its a shame as Grace is a very talented actor and I feel very good at playing villains however he just didn’t seem the right choice for Venom. I actually felt that Grace would have been a better Carnage. Watch his performance as Edwin in Predators and you can see how he would be good as Kasady as the character of Edwin is not unlike Kasady. He is completely unhinged and also a craven coward too. Thomas Hayden Church meanwhile who played the Sandman would have been a better choice for Eddie Brock himself.
I think the main reason that Venom’s character was so botched in the film was because Sam Raimi the director didn’t really like the Venom character. Raimi apparently wasn’t interested in Venom because he felt the character lacked humanity. To be honest however I think it was more just a case of he hadn’t grown up with Venom and thus just wasn’t interested in the character.
I don’t see how he can honestly say that Venom lacks humanity yet a villain like the Sandman or the Vulture whom he originally wanted in Spider-Man 3 don’t? The Sandman and Vulture are really nothing more than super powered thugs. Whilst Venom isn’t the most nuanced character of all time, he is still nevertheless a fairly conflicted character who only wishes to harm the one person he believes ruined his life and actually feels guilt for the bad things he does to the point where Eddie Brock has even tried to take his own life over them.
I think its a shame that Raimi didn’t embrace both Venom and Carnage as ironically I think that he could have done a good job with both of the villains as when you think about it they are both quite well suited to him. Raimi began his career as a horror director and Venom and Carnage I think we can safely say are a gift to any horror director out there.
Raimi essentially took away everything that made Venom interesting in Spider-Man 3. Gone was his fanatical desire to destroy Spider-Man. Oh sure he still wants him dead, but he is happy for the Sandman to do all the work, something the comic book counterpart would never do. Gone also is Venom’s desire to protect innocents, ironically Raimi took away all of Venom’s humanity turning him into hissing monster who literally says “I like being bad it makes me happy”. Even little things like Venom’s ability to sneak up on Spider-Man and his massive tongue and the way he says we are not present. Though Venom does grab Spider-Man unawares at one point its not presented as big thing or even commented on that he can dodge his spider sense! It just feels like Raimi took away everything that made Venom compelling unique and original and gave us a generic, bog standard villain to serve as a foil to the Sandman.
Sadly whilst Spider-Man 3 was a success at the time the seres was cancelled before we could get to Spider-Man 4 which many fans had hoped would see Carnage and the Lizard both of whom had been set up in previous films. It was later revealed that the Vulture would have been the main villain in the proposed Spider-Man 4 anyway.
Avi Arad mentioned that there were plans for a Venom spin off film, sadly however this has lain in development hell since 2007. There had actually been plans to produce a Venom spin off movie before the first Spider-Man film. This movie which would have featured Carnage as the main villain and was to have been written by David Goyer was ultimately abandoned when the rights of the Venom character switched to Sony.
Both Venom and Carnage also appeared in the 2000 Spider-Man video game. Here Carnage who was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker appeared in an unusually restrained role working alongside Doctor Octopus to bring about a Symbiote invasion of earth. At the end of the game the Carnage symbiote bonded itself to Doc Ock creating the vastly powerful Monster Ock! I cannot believe how underrated Monster Ock is. I mean seriously look how badass Monster Ock is.
Among their other video game appearances by Venom and Carnage include Spider-Man Friend or Foe, Spider-Man Web of Shadows, Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man Lethal Foes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which marked the first time Carnage was shown to be created before Venom and the video game adaptation of Maximum Carnage, a trailer of which marked Carnage’s first appearance in live action.
Finally the Band Green Jelly also wrote a song called Carnage Rules.
I always feel the need to listen to this every time I read a Carnage comic.
Why Venom and Carnage would be good in the MCU
Venom and Carnage would be great villains to have in the MCU for a number of reasons.
To start with they have already proven to be effective villains in crossover stories with many of their most prominent stories being crossover stories. Even in other media Carnage’s first appearance in Spider-Man the animated series features Iron Man Indeed it can be argued that Carnage works best in a crossover story as he is so powerful it often takes more than one hero to stop him.
Thus in the shared universe of the MCU Venom and Carnage could be the main villains in a crossover movie. Perhaps an Iron Man Spider-Man film?
I think a large part of the problem with the MCU is that it hasn’t really had that strong villains. Loki aside I think most of its villains have been fairly bland and interchangeable. A big strong villain like Venom or Carnage I think could really help to change that.
However are Venom and Carnage interesting enough characters to sustain interest on the big screen?
Now a lot of people who dislike Venom and Carnage will often say that they are bland characters who have little to no depth to them.
I have always found this a little bit unfair. First of all for reasons I will be going into I actually think Venom and Carnage are very interesting characters, but also its not like all of Spider-Man’s enemies are incredibly nuanced and deep characters is it.
I mean I am not saying I dislike these characters but look at Mysterio, Shocker, Rhino and Vulture. They are all fairly one note villains, but that still doesn’t stop them from being lots of fun so why should that apply to Venom and Carnage.
As it turns out though I think there are a lot of interesting things about Venom and Carnage’s characters just waiting to be exploited on the big screen.
Venom as I have explored is interesting in that in contrast to the likes of the Green Goblin and Doc Ock he is a more remorseful and conflicted character whilst at the same time being a far greater threat to Spider-Man himself.
Not many characters can switch from being the hero’s most relentless and unforgiving enemy to an ally that helps them out for genuinely altruistic reasons. That’s the difference between an alliance between Venom and Spider-Man and an alliance between another villain and a hero like say the Doctor and the Master. The Master will only help the Doctor if there is something in it for him, like the Doctors promised him something or if he doesn’t help the Doctor the whole universe will be destroyed. However Venom helps Spider-Man genuinely because he wants to help innocent people too.
I also always liked the way that Eddie Brock was a complete hypocrite. Despite his desire to protect innocents and his hatred for scum like Kasady as Venom Brock had still killed innocent people and you knew that underneath his bravado he was aware that in many ways he was just as bad as the villains he fought.
Then of course when Brock was seperated from the Symbiote the realization of everything that he had done was enough to drive him mad.
I think its annoying that pretty much every adaptation of Venom leaves out the characters more conflicted side and portrays him as just a psycho. Its a shame as I think that’s where the idea of Venom as just a one note villain comes from.
In the comics Venom in his Eddie Brock incarnation was probably Spider-Man’s most morally grey enemy rather than an out and out villain like the Goblin.
The only problem I had with Venom was I always felt that Eddie Brock’s motivation for hating Spider-Man was somewhat lame. It didn’t feel like enough of a reason that Brock someone with such a strong moral code would hate Spider-Man just because he caught a criminal. I also never understood why Brock didn’t hate either the real Sin Eater or the man who had lied to him and said he was the Sin Eater more than Spider-Man?
I preferred the original motivation they had for Venom’s human host back when Venom’s host was supposed to be a woman she would have hated Spider-Man because her husband would have been distracted whilst driving a car by Spider-Man swinging across the city which caused him to crash leading to his death. Why they didn’t keep this motivation I have no idea?
Its annoying the way that in other adaptations of Venom the lame idea of him hating Spider-Man for getting him fired is often the thing that they stick to like in the 90’s animated series and the 3rd film of the Raimi trilogy but not his more conflicted nature.
Carnage meanwhile I find to be an interesting character as I find it interesting the way that he is on the one hand Spiderman’s most evil adversary yet at the same time his pitiful and wretched.
There is nothing even remotely admirable about Kasady. Other villains like Venom The Joker and Doctor Doom as wretched as they are do at least have some admirable qualities. All of them are willing to die for their beliefs. Carnage however is miserable cringing coward. Any time his life is threatened he breaks down cries whimpers and pleads.
There is something that is particularly hateful about a villain that is a coward. I always remember that moment in Buffy when she is fighting her nemesis Faith to the death and as Faith cravenly tries to escape Buffy just sneers at her “what’s the matter all that killing and you’re afraid to die?”
Carnage liked to delude himself into thinking he was like the Joker that he was someone who just wanted to watch the world burn, that he was an anarchist, the reaper himself but he wasn’t he was just a little pip squeak. Kasady was someone who reacts with violence because that’s all he knows. He is a waste of space who doesn’t have the brains or courage to do anything else so he just hurts people because he thinks it makes him powerful.
However he is not a genuinely chaotic person like the Joker as whenever its his turn he can’t hack it. Ironically he wouldn’t last 2 minutes in the very society he seeks to create one where there are no rules, where people can do whatever they want to including murder. He would be swept up in a society like that in no time.
Its always great watching the image Kasady has of himself as this unstoppable force of evil get torn down in front of him. One of my favorite ever issues is the final issue of Maximum Carnage where we see a vengeful Venom pursue a weakened Carnage across Manhatten. Here Venom doesn’t just simply want to kill Carnage he wants to shatter every illusion he has ever had about himself he wants to prove to Carnage that he is nothing just a pathetic little weasel who was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Carnage of course flees from Venom. He literally clings to life like an animal not even knowing why he wants to live anymore. Venom manages to bring him to the very limit of his terror and humiliate him. Carnage goes from saying that he is the true master of death to cowering in a little ball in the corner pleading with Venom to let him go.
Similarly in the Batman/Spiderman crossover we see this when Carnage confronts The Joker. Though they initialy get on it doesn’t take the two villains long to fall out with each other and Carnage tries to kill Batman just to spite the Joker. The Joker however threatens to unleash a virus on Gotham that will destroy everything. Whilst the Joker is more than happy to do this Carnage panics and becomes so scared that he actually loses control of the symbiote. I always loved this moment as it showed you how Carnage is not just a retread of the Joker after all. The Joker is someone who would genuinely watch the world burn. He would light the fuse and sit back and laugh as his flesh burned where as Cletus Kasady would beg someone like the Joker and happily kiss his feet if he felt it could buy him a few more seconds of life.
Initially you think that the Joker is going to be out of his depth in dealing with Kasady because of his power, but in actual fact its Kasady that’s out of his depth when dealing with the Joker because the Joker is someone who is so insane he is more than willing to die for his beliefs where as Kasady is just a wannabe thug who if it were not for the Symbiote would be a complete nothing.
At the same time whilst Kasady may be evil and pathetic you can still have some sympathy for him. In Maximum Carnage it is said that Cletus Kasady endured sick abuse throughout his entire life from his parents and then from both the staff and students at St Clete’s home for boys. The abuse he endured was overwhelming he is said to have never experienced even a kind word throughout his entire young life. Spider-Man argues to Venom that Kasady should not be an object of hatred but rather pity as he was never given a chance to be anything other than what he is.
If things had been different who knows how he could have turned out. Maybe he would always have been the same maybe he would have been a nice normal person we will never know as he just simply never given a chance. He is the most tragic of all of Spiderman’s enemies. The Goblin at the very least before his accident had a normal life but he turned his back on it even before he was driven insane. He abused his son stabbed his friend in the back. Doc Ock meanwhile made a conscious decision to go down a dark path as did even Venom. Kasady however never had a chance and that’s why even Venom ultimately ends up pitying him by the end of Maximum Carnage.
Of course the idea of Carnage being abused when he was younger was later contradicted when other stories imply that he was always a monster even as a boy though it is hinted that these may be lies. Personally though I prefer the interpretation in Maximum Carnage.
Sadly these aspects of Carnage’s personality are often left out in other adaptations such as in the 90’s animated series. In this series Carnage is just a super powered Joker. He isn’t a coward in fact the first thing he tries to do is blow himself up along with Spiderman and several police officers.
Still I think Carnage portrayed how he is in the comic books as a pitiful cowardly waste of a human life could make a very interesting villain on the big screen.
I think there are a lot of writers and actors out there who could find a lot of interesting things in Venom and Carnages characters.
So yes with this in mind I think that both Venom and Carnage would be interesting enough to carry a film or several films on the big screen.
Finally another reason I think Venom and Carnage would be good for the MCU is that they are very popular. Look at these uploads of Spiderman the animated series episodes featuring Venom and Carnage and see how many views they have
34 million views for a saturday morning cartoon from the 90’s is pretty good going. There is clearly an audience there for both of those characters and it would be a shame if Marvel didn’t exploit it.
6 Actors for Carnage
Robin Taylor is best known for his performance as the Penguin in Gotham. I have been very impressed with his performance as Oswald Cobblepot. He really captures both the characters lunacy and his cowardice too. One of my favorite moments is when he is kissing Fish an enemy of his on the feet in the hopes that she will spare his life. That is definitely something I can imagine Kasady doing. The only problem with casting Robin is that he is now so associated with Cobblepot he might not want to play another weasly, psychotic comic book villain out of fear of being typecast. Still he does seem like the perfect Kasady none the less.
Now Nick might seem like an odd choice but hear me out on this one. One of Stahl’s most famous roles was as Yellow Bastard in the film adaptation of Sin City. Yellow Bastard surely must rank as one of cinema’s vilest villains. A deranged sadistic murdering pedophile who tortures young girls so that he can rape them as he is impotent until he hears them scream. Stahl I felt was absolutely superb in the role and I can easily see him in the role of Carnage based on his performance as Yellow Bastard.
Carlyle has made a career out of playing deranged characters yet strangely enough has never been given a major comic book baddie to play. You would have thought he would have been a shoe in. He not only has the right persona for a role like the Joker, the Green Goblin or Carnage but he has the right face I think for these types of characters too with his big distinctive evil grin.
I think Cletus Kasady would be the best role for him as Carlyle is not only great at playing villains but cowardly characters too such as his character in 28 Weeks Later who memorably chickens out and leaves his wife to die or Rumplestitlskin who abandoned his own son. Carlyle would really capture the characters cowardice and his insanity.
This might sound like a very odd choice. Tennant is best known for playing heroic characters, but he can actually play villains really effectively too. Check out his performance as Barty Crouch Jr in the Harry Potter film series. Its only a small role but you can see how his is able to channel his normally quite manic intensity in a very dark and frightening way. I feel Tennant would also be able to capture the more weasly and pathetic elements of the character too. Check out his performance as the demented serial killer Sallis in Randall and Hopkirk Deceased. He is a very vicious, but very pathetic character too. David Tennant as Carnage is comparable to Mark Hamill as the Joker. Its a performance no one would be expecting to be great as its a much loved sci fi hero playing a vicious monster but I think it would be sensational.
Norman Reedus is a damn fine actor who I think would probably look the role more than anyone else on this list. I can definitely see him capturing the more vicious elements of the character and being a great physical presence in the role. However I am not sure if could be quite weasly enough for me. Kasady’s cowardice is his defining trait as far as I am concerned so its important to get an actor that can really capture that aspect.
5 Actors For Venom
In all honesty I am surprised that Brown has never played the role of Venom in an animated series or video game before. You’d think his deep booming voice would make him a shoe in for Venom. He might be a bit too old to play the role on the big screen but remember that Eddie Brock is meant to be a lot older anyway and with his massive 6 foot 3 imposing frame I think Brown would be every inch the perfect Venom.
I always thought that the Venom in the 2000 video game resembled the Kurgan Brown’s character in Highlander somewhat as he had a similar sense of humor and voice too.
A character actor who is mostly known for his villainous roles in series such as Charmed and Buffy. My favorite role of his is as the Vampire Luke in Buffy’s first two episodes. Thompson is tall, menacing looking, has a deep booming voice, is about the right age and is experienced in playing villains and sci fi and fantasy villains in particular. What more could you want.
A very talented and versatile actor. Jensen would be a bit younger than some of the other choices on this list but I still think he would be a good fit for a younger but still buff Eddie Brock like the version in the Spectacular Spiderman. He doesn’t have experience playing an out and out villain but remembered that Brock is not an out and out villain anyway. Ackeles might be able to capture some of the more nuanced aspects of his character.
Now I am sure after the disaster that was the Punisher there are not many people who would be happy with him in another Marvel movie. However in all fairness to Dolph I think when given the right material he can be good. My favorite performance of his was as the main villain in Universal soldier. If he played Venom like that then I would love to see him in the role.
Now personally I have no objection to a black actor playing a character who was white in the comics. Michael Clark Duncan was perfect as the Kingpin and Tony Todd with his imposing frame, deep voice and experience in playing villains is someone I could easily imagine as Eddie Brock/Venom.
Thank you for reading and please let me know what you think of my choices as well as the characters of Venom and Carnage in general.