The 1990’s were interesting years for comic books. Some might actually say those years weren’t good for comics. But of course that can be argued. This decade saw the creation of many characters and concepts that weren’t well received by some fans. One of those characters is named Cletus Kasady, better known as host to the alien symbiote, Carnage.
Cletus Kasady has a long history of murder and institutionalization. He doesn’t believe in order, only chaos. This symbiote was the offspring of one of Spider-Man’s deadlier foes, Venom. Venom’s host was Eddie Brock. Kasady was incarcerated in the same prison as Brock when he made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #344. The symbiote bonded to Cletus during a prison break. The alien feeding off of Kasady’s rage and in turn providing him with the power to cause more mayhem proved to be a deadly marriage.
Cletus really had the spotlight in Maximum Carnage. This adventure ran for 14 issues across five different titles. Those titles included the main Spider-Man book, The Amazing Spider-Man, as well as Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Web of Spider-man, and The Spectacular Spider-Man. Carnage puts together a sort of “family” with several low-level villains, including Shriek and Doppelganger, and basically went on a murderous rampage through the city. They are opposed along the way by Spider-Man, Captain America, and several other heroes. The villain, Venom, even joins their ranks as they all realize how much of a threat Carnage became.
There were two one-shots released which examined the past of the alien’s host and delve deeper into his psyche. Those books were Carnage: Mind Bomb and Carnage: It’s A Wonderful Life.
In New Avengers (vol. 1) #2, during a prison breakout (which you may have surmised that this character is not unfamiliar with), Sentry flew the symbiote into space and ripped him in half. It wasn’t clear if the alien was attached to Cletus at the time. Readers would not have answers to this question for several years.
As Carnage was the spawn of Venom, he would in turn produce one. This new symbiote was Toxin and the host is, or was, as it has not been seen recently, a police officer named Patrick Mulligan. This event happened in the mini-series Venom vs. Carnage.
Mr. Kasady, in true comic book fashion, resurfaced after his apparent “death” at the hands of Sentry. Sentry, coincidentally, is a character who has also been labeled “crazy” or “mentally unstable.” It was shown in the current mini-series Carnage that Cletus was in fact attached to the symbiote and that it was keeping him alive while floating in space. He was retrieved and kept hidden away, as well as given metal legs. He has re-bonded with the symbiote.
Are you a fan of Marvel’s alien symbiotes? Does this psychotic person sound like someone you’d be interested in reading about? If so, you can check up on him and read about his previous escapades. Also, feel free to ask me about opinions or recommendations on the character. Happy reading.