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- I lost the kid. Carnage turned him. Took him. Dragged him drowning into the black and red. The Carnage hordes grow stronger by the day. He's collected dozens of codices so far. Ripped pieces of the symbiote from the living and the dead... and we're... losing. I'm losing everything. And I don't know how to win.
- -- Venom
Appearing in 1st story
- Venom Symbiote
- Scorpion (Mac Gargan)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers)
- Wolverine (Logan)
- The Thing (Ben Grimm)
- Hulk (Bruce Banner) (Bonds to the Venom Symbiote)
- Dylan Brock
- Sleeper Symbiote
- Church of the New Darkness
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- "Rex Strickland" (Referenced)
- Normie Osborn (Shadow only)
- The Maker (Reed Richards) (Mentioned)
- Beowulf (Referenced)
- Louise Kasady (Mentioned)
- God (Knull) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Milky Way
- Hell (Invoked)
- Klyntar, Andromeda Galaxy (Mentioned)
- Spider-Men's Suit and Web-Shooters
- Grendel Symbiote
- Scorpion's Suit
- Carnage Symbiote (Referenced) (Continuity Error)
- Captain America's Uniform and Shield
- Wolverine's Suit
- Fantastic Four Uniform
- Secret Wars (Mentioned)
Synopsis for 1st story
Taken over by an offshoot of the Grendel symbiote, Miles Morales is transformed into a six-armed Carnage doppelgänger and pounces on Venom, Eddie berating himself for being unable to save him and despairing at fighting a losing battle. Vowing to nevertheless keep fighting, Venom vows to go down swinging; apologizing to Miles before hurling him off. To Eddie's shock, the Venom symbiote commands him to kill Miles before he can recover. As they argue, the Scorpion calls out for help as several four-armed Carnage doppelgängers claw at him. As Eddie formulates a plan to rescue Gargan and flee, Carnage mockingly asks if he's afraid; hefting a car over his head in preparation to crush Eddie. Eddie retorts that he doesn't want to kill Norman - whose personality has been overwritten by that of Cletus Kasady - and that he's trying to save Normie. At the mention of his grandson's name, Norman's psyche briefly resurfaces. The Venom symbiote orders Eddie to take advantage of the distraction to kill Norman, and when he refuses it forms a tendril and spears Norman through the heart, stating that it won't listen to him anymore. Eddie is horrified, but the Venom symbiote coldly states that someone had to do it. As Gargan screams for help, Eddie rushes to save him - leaving the symbiote standing over Norman in its humanoid form -- connected to Eddie by only a few tendrils. As Eddie pleads with it to help him, the Venom symbiote states they need to finish Norman off and claim his codex before his symbiote heals him; Eddie angrily retorting that he's going to save Gargan or die trying. Snarling in rage and frustration, the Venom symbiote relents and rebonds to him, warning Eddie to not blame it when they lose. As Venom fends off the Carnage doppelgängers and grabs the Scorpion, Eddie demands to know why it tried to kill Norman without him. The symbiote retorts that it cannot allow Eddie's aversion to killing to hold them back, or its spawn to continue killing in its name. Eddie mentally retorts that he has a child too and that he can't afford to be reckless, the symbiote replying that it understands but warning him that if he's not strong enough to end Dark Carnage's reign of terror then it will find a new host that is.
As they arrive at Rex Strickland's warehouse, Gargan asks Venom why they're not at a hospital. Venom retorts that if he took Gargan to a hospital he'd just get sent to prison and be in danger again. As Gargan panics over not being able to feel his legs, Eddie retracts the symbiote from his face and tells him to shut up. Opening the door, he sees Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, the Thing, and a scrawny bespeckled scientist inside. Spider-Man assures Eddie that the superheroes know he wasn't the one who killed Lee Price on Ryker's Island, Captain America shaking Eddie's hand. Eddie informs him that the Scorpion's spine was broken when Carnage attacked him, Captain America telling him that he's in good hands. As Eddie asks where the Maker is, the Thing sneers that "little Reed" fled after the superheroes showed up. The scrawny scientist approaches and says that while he disagrees strongly with the Maker's complete lack of ethics, his science is sound and the S.C.I.T.H.E. works. As the scientist states that Normie's Carnage codex has been safely extracted, he warns that the machine will leave them unconscious while it works. Eddie greets the scientist, who introduces himself as Bruce Banner and says that they met before - albeit as their respective monstrous alter-egos. Eddie hesitantly asks if Bruce was ever bonded to the Venom symbiote, Bruce remarking that he's frankly surprised that the Hulk has never bonded to any symbiotes. As Dylan approaches, Eddie gives his son a hug and asks if he's alright. Dylan assures him that he's fine and remarks that he has a new pet - the Sleeper symbiote in the shape of a cat. As Eddie expresses surprise at the return of the Venom symbiote's latest spawn, Sleeper cordially greets him and says that it is good to be back. As Eddie thanks it for protecting Dylan, Spider-Man approaches and says that it's time to begin the codex extraction. Eddie agrees, saying that the heroes should go first while he holds the line in case of an attack, but Spider-Man refuses - blaming himself for the current situation, having brought the Venom symbiote to Earth in the first place. The Venom symbiote tells Eddie to end Peter's guilt by telling him that symbiotes have been on Earth since the sixth century, but Eddie only agrees that Spider-Man should go in last. As the Venom symbiote scolds him, Eddie indignantly tells it that he needs the backup.
Hours later, a storm rages overhead as Bruce monitors the S.C.I.T.H.E. As Eddie stands over the pod containing Captain America, Spider-Man approaches and asks if he's alright. Eddie dismissively states that he's fine, Spider-Man scolding him for his bravado and saying that sooner or later they'll have to take the fight to Dark Carnage. Scratching at the glass, Eddie retorts that they'll be fine; but Spider-Man asks if he's going to tell Dylan that he's his father before they leave. As "Eddie" smirks, having been scratching Knull's spiral into the glass, the real Eddie Brock bursts in - blurting out Spider-Man's real name. Grinning at the knowledge of who Spider-Man is, the imposter Eddie reveals himself to be Dark Carnage in disguise. Revealing his necrotic face, Cletus Kasady tells them that his mother underwent electroshock therapy while pregnant, that he died shortly after he was born, and had a vision of Hell. As Cletus rants that his psychiatrists and therapists have come up with countless theories for his sociopathy, he manifests his human face before fully transforming into Dark Carnage and declaring that he is the embodiment of everything wrong with the world. Spider-Man asks if Cletus can break through the pods, Bruce nervously stating that he doesn't think so. Pressing a claw down on the carving of Knull's spiral, Dark Carnage cracks Captain America's pod, telling them to scream his name as Carnage doppelgängers crash in through the roof. Eddie tells Peter to protect Dylan, but Peter tells him to go to his son. The Venom symbiote angrily refuses to let Eddie leave, snapping that they need to end the fight there and then. As Dark Carnage mockingly asks if Eddie's having some performance anxiety, Eddie pleads with the symbiote - telling it he has to look after his child. Retorting that it has to look after its own child, the Venom symbiote separates from Eddie before reminding him that it warned him that if he wasn't strong enough it would find someone that was. As the Venom symbiote engulfs him, Bruce Banner protests in horror, but before he can do anything else Dark Carnage impales him with several tendrils. Complaining about how anticlimactic that was, Dark Carnage wonders who the "nerd" he just killed was as Bruce's eyes suddenly glow green. Before Dark Carnage can react, he's punched in the face hard enough to briefly rip his symbiote away. Incredulous that he'd felt the punch, Dark Carnage demands to know who his opponent is. Towering over everyone present, the Venomized Devil Hulk - who is so massive the symbiote can't fully cover him - introduces himself.
THE SUMMER OF SLAUGHTER CONTINUES!
• After the harrowing events at the end of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #2, Venom and Spider-Man have to deal with the hard truth that not everybody will make it out of this conflict in one piece… if they make it out at all, that is.
• As Carnage continues to amass strength and allies, Venom and Spider-Man realize that the only way to beat him is to do the same…
- The Venom symbiote incorrectly refers to the symbiote that Norman Osborn is bonded to as "[its] spawn" despite the Carnage symbiote being dead and Cletus Kasady - and by extension Norman - being bonded to the Grendel symbiote instead.
- The editorial Q&A section establishes that the Venom Bomb did not leave codices in the people it infected due to the symbiote matter utilized in it having been heavily altered; and that Ghost-Spider's Venom symbiote isn't one of Dark Carnage's targets due to it being artificial in nature rather than a creation of Knull.
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