Who is Carnage? Everyone who ever wore the Carnage symbiote in Marvel Comics

Christopher Baggett
Red Goblin, Carnage and Spider-CarnageMarvel Comics

Venom may be Spider-Man’s ultimate nemesis, but Carnage is his most unhinged threat, and every host the symbiote has taken has fueled that terrifying rage. 

The best thing to come out of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 may be how it sets up the future. While the Venom storyline reached a fairly bombastic conclusion by the end of the game, plenty of teases hint at stories to come. 

The biggest surprise is how the game sets up Carnage to be a future major player. It’s unclear how the terrifying symbiote will factor into future stories, but he is lurking, waiting to become a showpiece

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The Carnage of Marvel Comics never really took that time, though. From moment one, he was a stone-cold killer, and anyone the symbiote is bound to would inevitably find themselves causing mayhem. 

Every Carnage symbiote host in Marvel Comics

Carnage has had quite a few hosts, considering his relatively brief experience, so here’s every Marvel Comics character that has been a host to Carnage

Cletus KasadyMarvel Comics
Carnage’s first host, Cletus Kasady, demonstrated a terrifying degree of control over the symbiote.

Cletus Kasady

The original host for Carnage, Cletus Kasady, was a prison cellmate of Eddie Brock. When the Venom symbiote helped Brock escape prison, it left behind a piece of itself. 

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This piece became its offspring and bonded with Kasady through a wound in his hand. The two became Carnage and had an inexplicably strong bond, with the symbiote often yielding to Kasady’s thirst for murder and torture

Over the years, both Kasady and Carnage have proven resilient and have grown from each other. The symbiote developed a taste for torture after reliving Kasady’s memories, while Kasady was able to survive such feats as being ripped in half in space thanks to the symbiote’s powers. 

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Ben Reilly as Spider-CarnageMarvel Comics
The Carnage symbiote briefly possessed the clone of Peter Parker, Ben Reilly.

Ben Reilly

The Carnage symbiote was briefly separated from Kasady during the storyline Web of Carnage. During this spell, the symbiote hopped from host to host, sowing carnage in Kasady’s image. 

At the same time, Ben Reilly was on the prowl. Reilly had taken over full-time as Spider-Man, with both he and Peter Parker believing that Ben was the real Spider-Man and Peter a clone

The Carnage symbiote was able to distinguish between Ben and Peter, somehow, and possessed Ben. A returning Peter was able to help Ben, but it turned out to be a ploy to trick the two into delivering Carnage back to Kasady, giving the killer a renewed lease on life. 

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Carnage CosmicMarvel Comics
The Carnage symbiote possessed Silver Surfer, creating the Carnage Cosmic

Silver Surfer

A budget-conscious warden turned off the microwave field keeping Cletus Kasady contained in the Ravencroft Asylum, believing Carnage would never know. He was wrong, it turns out, and Carnage was free.

It should have been poor timing. Carnage’s escape was timed with not only Spider-Man seeking him out, but the Silver Surfer being in the area. But the Carnage symbiote knew of the Surfer’s power and abandoned Kasady, possessing the Surfer and becoming The Carnage Cosmic. 

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Though the Carnage Cosmic was a terrifying power, the Symbiote still cared for Kasady. When he found himself near death, Carnage Cosmic manipulated Spider-Man into helping the symbiote rebond with Kasady in exchange for freeing Silver Surfer. 

Superior CarnageMarvel comics
Karl Malus was forcibly bonded to the Carnage symbiote, becoming the Superior Carnage.

Karl Malus

Karl Malus is originally something of a nobody. He’s a big brain behind the origin of several Marvel characters, most notably running the experiments that led to Joaquin Torres, the second Falcon, becoming a human-bird hybrid. 

Malus finds himself in possession of the Carnage symbiote after Kasady refuses to join The Wizard’s Frightful Four. With the help of Klaw, The Wizard wrests Carnage from Kasady and bonds it with Malus, leading to the creation of the Superior Carnage. 

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Superior Carnage is a terrifying prospect: all of Carnage’s murderous tendencies with Malus’ twisted intellect. It’s short-lived, though, as the symbiote eventually separates from Malus and seemingly eats him whole. However, Malus would survive this ordeal, reborn as a human/symbiote hybrid. 

Norman Osborn Red GoblinMarvel Comics
Norman bonded with a goblin serum-infused piece of Carnage, creating Red Goblin.

Norman Osborn

In a climactic battle at the end of Superior Spider-Man, the returning Peter Parker cures Osborn of the Goblin serum. The cure has the added side effect of rendering any attempts to dose himself with the serum again inert. 

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Osborn becomes frustrated with this, especially after failing to beat Spider-Man without the Goblin formula. Norman found a twisted way to circumvent the cure by bonding with a piece of the Carnage symbiote and having it remove the antidote from his blood. 

Dosing the symbiote with the Formula, Norman becomes a symbiote/goblin known as Red Goblin. Red Goblin nearly accomplishes his ultimate goal, too. He kills Flash Thompson and puts Spider-Man against the ropes so hard that he nearly calls it quits. In the end, though, Norman’s hubris is his undoing, as Peter goads him into ditching the symbiote, giving Peter an opening to destroy the Red Goblin symbiote. 

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Normie Osborn Red GoblinMarvel Comics
After being bonded with a goblin-infused symbiote, Normie Osborn got his own symbiote and became the second Red Goblin.

Normie Osborn

While the Red Goblin symbiote possessed Norman, one of his most heinous actions was to give a piece of his symbiote to his grandson, Normie. Though Norman was split from Red Goblin, a piece of the symbiote seemingly survived within Normie. 

Though Normie was eventually freed of the fragments of Carnage, the ordeal introduced him to another legacy symbiote host: Eddie Brock’s son, Dylan. With Knull’s arrival looming, Dylan gave Normie a new symbiote, Rascal, allowing Normie to become the new Red Goblin. 

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Following the King in Black event, Normie has retained the Red Goblin persona. However, the Rascal symbiote has proven to be increasingly protective of Normie, something that has made the Red Goblin a threat to be reckoned with. 

Carnage is still looming now, and with a new Carnage comic book dropping soon, it’s only a matter of time before he has a new host – or reclaims an old one. For more Carnage and Marvel Comics news, be sure to follow all of Dexerto’s coverage.

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About The Author

Christopher Baggett started writing about comics on the Internet when he was 14 years old. Since then, he's written professionally for a host of sites, including ComicsBeat, Comic Book Resources, and The HomeWorld. He's most knowledgable about the legacy heroes of the '80s and '90s that he grew up with and believes Wally West is the best Flash - and he'll fight anyone over it. For tips, news, press and more, contact Christopher at christopher.baggett@dexerto.com