While Cletus Kasady may have died during Absolute Carnage, the murderous supervillain rises from the ashes of King in Black.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for “The Convention” in Carnage: Black, White & Blood #3, by Alyssa Wong, Gerardo Sandoval, Victor Nava, Erick Arciniega and VC’s Joe Sabino, on sale now.
Just as Carnage is one of the most notoriously bloodthirsty supervillains in the Marvel Universe, something as seemingly career-ending as death has been unable to keep his human host Cletus Kasady down for long. And while Cletus may have met his latest untimely end at the hands of his longtime nemesis Venom during the 2019 crossover event Absolute Carnage, a short story reveals one potential way for the supervillain to rise from the grave.
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Stemming from the events of the recently concluded crossover King in Black, Carnage makes his blood-soaked return in the middle of a comics convention.
Taking place ostensibly in a facsimile of the real world where Marvel Comics and its popular characters exist, a cosplayer dressed as the murderous Spider-Man villain Carnage attends a comic book convention. As the unassuming fan finds himself isolated from the main thoroughfare, he is confronted by a group calling themselves the Cult of Carnage. All wearing matching outfits and bearing the spiral symbol of Knull, the dark god of symbiotes, the cult appears to sacrifice the cosplayer on an altar, with the body serving as a conduit to channel Carnage into the real world. As their victim rises from the bloody scene, he reveals he’s secretly been the real Carnage all along and massacres the cult members on the spot before deciding to take in the sights and sounds of the convention for himself.
During Absolute Carnage, Cletus similarly formed a literal cult of personality that worshipped him and the bloody mayhem he was capable of unleashing with his symbiote. Helping the serial killer recover from his latest battle against Venom, the cult also performed an occult ritual that connected Carnage’s mind telepathically to Knull. Carnage steadily upgraded his abilities by obtaining codices stored in the spines of anyone that had been bonded to a symbiote, resulting in a final showdown with Venom that led to Knull’s awakening after Venom evidently slew Carnage with the powerful Necrosword.
Carnage’s eventual resurrection is all but assured, with the comic book storyline Extreme Carnage slated to launch this July. While it’s currently unclear if Cletus is back in control of the Carnage symbiote and how exactly he recovered from his bloody battle with Venom, it’s clear that the events of King in Black have altered how symbiotes operate in the Marvel Universe following Knull’s defeat and Eddie Brock’s own cosmic ascension. And whenever Carnage is involved, there’s sure to be a high body count and nightmarish destruction left in the supervillain’s wake.
The Carnage: Black, White & Blood short story provides a fun look at how Carnage truly regards his overzealous followers while providing a meta-textual wink at readers ahead of his promised return later this year just in time for the 30th anniversary of his creation by David Michelinie and Erik Larsen in 1991’s Amazing Spider-Man #344. And with Carnage no longer in the thrall of Knull following the dark symbiote god’s defeat at his longtime rival’s hands, Carnage is ready to go his own way once again and cut down anyone that gets in his way. And given Cletus Kasady’s history, this is just how the bloodthirsty supervillain would likely want his big return to unfold.
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