By Rick Laprade
Serial killer, career criminal, lunatic, major league jerk—not exactly textbook qualities of a super hero, but don’t tell that to Cletus Kasady.
In the pages of AVENGERS & X-MEN: AXIS and AXIS: CARNAGE, Carnage turns the definition of “good guy” on its head. But before we start celebrating National Carnage Day, let’s take a look back at some of his less-than-heroic acts.
A Chance Encounter (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #345)
While Eddie Brock served time for his crimes committed as Venom, he roomed with a psychopath that made him look like a cheerful boy scout. Before Cletus Kasady could kill his cellmate, the Venom symbiote showed up to make the save and break Eddie free. It left a little present for Kasady however, and thus birthed the monster we now know as Carnage.
Victim Numero Uno (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #359)
Kasady’s escape from prison flew under the radar for a bit and gave this lunatic a head start on his killing spree. With Spider-Man tied up with Cardiac, Kasady and his new partner in crime started their coming out party. Carnage’s first victim became indicative of this maniac’s long history of, well, carnage. After Cletus picked his name at random from the phone book, Gunther Stein would become the first in a long list of innocent lives snuffed out by the spawn of Venom. This murder embodied Carnage in a nutshell: sinister, unpredictable, and without motive.
Carnage Throws a Baby Out of a Window (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #362)
As the title indicates, Carnage indeed threw an infant out of a window. With Spider-Man and his uneasy ally Venom leading the charge, they corner the mad villain in an apartment. Carnage then breaks the floor beneath to stifle the noise complaints of a downstairs tenant. By “stifle,” of course we mean, “grab the poor woman’s baby and throw it out of the window!” Both Spider-Man and Venom sprang into action and saved the child, but allowed Carnage to escape in the wake. Kasady’s devilish distraction worked to a tee.
Maximum Carnage (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #378)
Not satisfied with the casualties he could accomplish solo, Carnage formed a gang to further perpetuate his reign of blood. With baddies such as Doppelganger, Demogoblin, and his on-again-off-again lady Shriek, the group carried out a path of destruction. Carnage and Shriek butted heads, but would ultimately make up after a lover’s quarrel and repair their relationship the only way they knew how: by murdering a bunch of strangers. Spider-Man, Cloak, Dagger, and a more-upset-than-usual Venom would pull out all the stops to defeat them, but not before the body count got swiftly out of hand.
Carnage Goes West (CARNAGE, U.S.A #1)
Carnage took his crazy-pants ways and traveled to the American heartland in order to enslave and activate an entire town. The psychotic symbiote moved to Doverton, Colorado and swiftly spreads his spawn amongst the citizens—and the Avengers. With a small army of possessed folks behind him, Carnage made one of his greatest plays, though ultimately Spider-Man and Venom brought him down once more.
Need a little Carnage in your life? Check him out on October 29 in AXIS: CARNAGE #1!