Quote1 It's not the Carnage symbiote, though, remember? This was a piece of the dragon my dad fought. The Grendel... it was just bonded to Cletus, so he made it all... crazy... Quote2
-- Dylan Brock src


Remote-piloted by the dark elder god Knull, the symbiote-dragon known as the Grendel attacked Manhattan searching for the offshoots extracted from it by the Sym-Soldier Program. Coming into conflict with Venom, it attempted to absorb the Venom symbiote from Eddie Brock so it would be powerful enough to free its master from Klyntar.[11] Venom bonded to the Tyrannosaurus symbiote - one of the Grendel's offshoots - and attempted to vanquish the Grendel using anti-symbiote weapons. While the Grendel - transformed into an avatar of Knull - was distracted by Venom, Tyrannosaurus dragged it into a steel-smelting blast furnace in an attempt to immolate it.[12]

While Venom assumed that the Grendel had been completely destroyed and Knull killed, a small piece of the symbiote-dragon's living abyss had survived and was harvested by agents working for the Maker's organization, Project Oversight.[13] The Reed Richards of Earth-1610 had intended to amalgamate the offshoot with a sample of Earth-1610's artificial Venom symbiote in order to stabilize it,[14] but before he could do so it was stolen from his lab by a symbiote-worshipping cult.

Becoming Carnage

The cult's leader, Scorn, bonded the Grendel symbiote's offshoot to Cletus Kasady's corpse in hopes that Knull would be able to use him as an avatar, reanimating the serial killer and causing him to take on an appearance similar to Venom and the Sym-Soldiers' berserk forms.

Knull and Cletus briefly struggled for control over the latter's body until the Grendel offshoot's connection to the dark god was severed when it assimilated the codex - trace remnants of living abyss left in former symbiote hosts - that the Carnage symbiote had left in Scorn;[1] causing it to take on the Carnage symbiote's appearance and personality.[10] The reborn Carnage decided to free Knull, and was told that in order to do so he would have to consume enough symbiote codices to fully restore the Grendel symbiote offshoot's connection to the Symbiote Hive.[1]

Carnage IV (Klyntar) (Earth-616), Cletus Kasady (Earth-616), Scorn (Klyntar) (Earth-616), and Tanis Nieves (Earth-616) from Web of Venom Carnage Born Vol 1 1 001

Bonded to Cletus Kasady and in the thrall of Knull

In order to accrue an army of minions, Carnage conquered the Underground City that Venom had once protected and began infecting homeless people and animals with pieces of the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote, establishing a spire formed of its living abyss to amplify his control of his mini-hive mind. Carnage sent his minions to locate those who had bonded to symbiotes, though this attracted the attention of the Venom symbiote.[15] Returning to Doverton, Colorado, Carnage began harvesting the residents' codices and bonded offshoots of his new symbiote to Eric Morell and John Jameson, killing the former to harvest his codex and turning the latter into a sleeper agent for the cult.[16]

By the time Carnage hunted down Andi Benton - former host of the Mania symbiote - the symbiote had regained enough of its godly power to manifest a white version of Knull's spiral emblem on its forehead, and was powerful enough that Carnage could laugh off being blasted by hellfire and easily slaughter the Monsters of Evil, forcing Andi to flee into Hell to escape.[17] Over the next seven months, the deific Carnage symbiote assimilated more codices and even entire symbiotes,[18][19] "Dark Carnage" taking on a towering skeletal appearance, and manifesting a white dragon/spider emblem on his chest and angular projections on his upper back.[20] After killing Alejandra Jones and consuming her spine, Dark Carnage was temporarily imbued with her Spirit of Vengeance, but expended these powers battling Ghost Rider.[3]

Eventually returning to New York, Dark Carnage laid low during the War of the Realms, establishing a second symbiote spire in the subway tunnels under Grand Street and continuing to use the deific Carnage symbiote to assemble an army of infected rats, pigeons, and homeless people;[21] sending them to hunt down former symbiote hosts.[22][23][24] He also used the symbiote to reanimate Emil Gregg - the purportedly fake Sin-Eater who'd ruined Eddie Brock's journalistic career - and sent him after Eddie to torment him.[25]

Cletus Kasady (Earth-616), Norman Osborn (Earth-616), Carnage IV (Klyntar) (Earth-616), and Carnage IV (Norman Osborn's Offshoot) (Klyntar) (Earth-616) from Absolute Carnage Vol 1 1 001

Dark Carnage's army

Absolute Carnage

Seeking to get close to Lee Price - the Mania symbiote's then-current host, Cletus used the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote to impersonate Eddie Brock in order to discredit him and allowed himself to be arrested. After assimilating the Mania symbiote, Carnage was finally ready to move in the open and transformed most of the people he'd infected with pieces of his symbiote into four-armed monsters resembling the Doppelgänger,[7] unleashing them to wreak havoc on the city.[26] Norman Osborn and Miles Morales were bonded to offshoots of the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote, transforming the former into a duplicate of Carnage and the latter into a unique six-armed Carnage doppelgänger.[27]

The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote's link to its offshoots was diminished when the spires underneath San Francisco and New York were destroyed;[28] but it was able to assimilate the Venom symbiote and fully rejoin Knull's hive mind; undergoing a transformation into "Devil Carnage" - a towering figure with horns, retractile draconic wings, and black pauldrons and arm-wraps resembling Knull's.[29] After Norman Osborn was knocked out by Spider-Man, his portion of the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote separated from him in order to kill Dylan Brock, but was destroyed when Dylan's symbiote powers activated. Cletus Kasady was subsequently killed by Eddie Brock, who stripped the Carnage-ized Grendel and Venom symbiotes from his corpse and bonded to them both, Venom assimilating the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote and the codices.[8]

Carnage IV (Klyntar) (Earth-616) and Venom (Klyntar) (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 4 22 002

Fused with the Venom symbiote

Venom Island

A few weeks later, the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote revealed it had survived being assimilated and attempted to force Eddie to kill the Avengers when he was offered a membership by them. Eddie silenced it with antipsychotic pills and chartered a Quinjet to the Isla de Huesos in order to kill the reborn Carnage symbiote once and for all, but it caused the plane to crash and stripped Eddie of the Venom symbiote, assimilating it.[2] While Eddie fled to an abandoned bunker to arm himself, the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote bonded with all the animals on the island.

Edward Brock (Earth-616) and Carnage IV (Klyntar) (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 4 24 002

Bonded to Eddie Brock

When Eddie confronted the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote, it tried to bond to him and declared its intent to make him watch as it used him to destroy the world. Eddie, determined to do anything to get the Venom symbiote back, cut his left hand off to escape.[10] The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote later found Eddie climbing a radio tower at the peak of Isla de Huesos' mountain and bonded to him, mockingly asking if he intended to radio the Avengers for help. Eddie told it that he came to pray to the one god he knew could stop it, Thor Odinson, as the tower was struck by a bolt of lightning. Separated from Eddie and the Venom symbiote, the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote re-bonded to Eddie and tormented him with a vision of his worst fears: the Venom symbiote being killed when the Isla de Huesos was annihilated by a nuclear missile, Dylan being taken away from him, and Knull attacking Earth.[30] By the time Eddie saw through the vision, the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote had already taken over his body, reiterating its intent to use him to slaughter everyone on Earth -- starting with Dylan Brock.

Before it could escape the island, it was attacked by the Venom symbiote - which was being remote-piloted by Dylan in the form of a Tyrannosaurus rex.[31] Initially caught off-guard, Carnage quickly overpowered Venom and began psychically torturing Dylan - who had tapped into the symbiote hive-mind to rescue his father. Carnage seized control of its offshoot and attempting to take over Dylan as well, but Eddie encouraged Dylan to not give in to the darkness and that they would figure things out together. Dylan destroyed his offshoot of the Carnage symbiote and blasted the main body off Eddie, though it later reconstituted itself and assumed the form of a shark to escape the island.[32]

Quote1 A deal? Eddie... if you don't think that we will take you and make you watch, powerless, through your own eyes as your body shuffles and dances to our song as it slits the throats of every baby on Earth... you really haven't been paying attention. Big threats, big man. You don't have the stones, Brock. You wouldn't hurt your precious other. Quote2
--Carnage (Grendel Symbiote)[src]

Initially predatory, after bonding to Cletus Kasady and absorbing Scorn's Carnage codex, the Grendel symbiote offshoot was imbued with the personality and memories of the original Carnage symbiote.[2] Determined to pick up where it had left off after Cletus was killed, it vengefully bonded to Eddie Brock and set out to use his body to prepare the Earth for Knull's arrival.[31]


Symbiote Physiology: While it initially only possessed a fraction of the original Grendel symbiote's deific power, it was still powerful enough to easily overwhelm regular symbiotes;[1] and by absorbing enough codices and symbiotes it was able to regain its godly power by amplifying its connection to Knull.[17] After being absorbed by Venom, the Dark Carnage symbiote lost the augmentations it had acquired from absorbing codices, as well as its immunity to heat and sonics.[14][10]

  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Stamina
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Superhuman Speed, Agility, and Reflexes
  • Accelerated Healing Factor
  • Camouflage Capabilities
  • Constituent-Matter Generation
    • Offshoot Generation: Its constituent living abyss is capable of being separated into individual symbiotes that can be bonded to hosts.[16] Additionally, when bonded to Cletus Kasady it can bond offshoots to the maggots infesting his undead corpse to turn them into "brain worms" that Cletus can infect targets with, controlling them or turning them into Carnage Doppelgängers.[15][7] The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote symbiote is also capable of reanimating corpses, which it has done to both Cletus Kasady and Emil Gregg.[1][25] Cletus bonded offshoots of the symbiote to inmates at Ravencroft Institute, turning them into a horde of four-armed monsters; and to Norman Osborn, turning him back into Carnage.[7]
  • Constituent-Matter Manipulation: The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote is capable of transforming its constituent matter into bladed appendages to attack opponents,[33] and draconic wings for flight.[29]


Electricity: The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote, like its progenitor, is vulnerable to high voltages of electricity, which can incapacitate it and separate it from its host.[7][30]

Sonic and Heat: Unlike most symbiotes, the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote was immune to heat and sonics to Cletus being cursed -- referring to both the power of the Darkhold and his increased connection to Knull;[17][34] though its Carnage Doppelgänger offshoots still retained these weaknesses.[9][28] After being separated from Cletus and losing the codices it absorbed, the symbiote once again became vulnerable to flames and sonics,[10] though it was unfazed by burning Quinjet fuel.[2]


The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote uses its fangs jaws, talons, and tendrils as weapons.

  • When asked why Absolute Carnage referred to the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote as being the "Carnage symbiote" when it was bonded to Cletus Kasady, writer Donny Cates stated that any symbiote that Cletus Kasady bonds to becomes the "Carnage symbiote" due to him having been the one who first came up with the alias.[35]
  • After bonding to Cletus Kasady, the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote inherited the power of the Darkhold that the original Carnage symbiote had been imbued with and became completely immune to both heat and sonics.[36][17][34]
  • The symbol on Dark Carnage's chest is meant to be a white version of Knull's dragon emblem, though numerous artists have mistakenly drawn it as Venom/Mania's spider emblem.[37]
  • The Carnage Doppelgängers seem to have been based on the Outriders and Doppelganger.
  • When designing the Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote's appearance as "Dark Carnage", Ryan Stegman had several unused concepts -- including a version that was merely emaciated rather than being skeletal, and one that lacked eyes and only had Knull's spiral sigil on its face.[38]

Discover and Discuss


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Venom Vol 4 #21
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance #1
  4. Cates, Donny (9 July 2019). DONNY CATES on Twitter: "This is actually a REALLY good look at the new design for “Dark Carnage” Complete with carnage face, Cletus face, and corpse face. He’s uh...not a good dude..". Twitter. Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  5. Stegman, Ryan (16 October 2019). ryan stegman on Twitter: "@Exastiken DEVIL CARNAGE. I just made it up but yeah.". Twitter. Retrieved on 3 November 2019.
  6. Griffin Sheridan, Ryan Stegman (27 October 2019). ABSCARN BOIZ! w/Donny Cates: “Absolute Carnage” #1- Chapter Two Director’s Commentary. PodBean. Retrieved on 3 November 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Absolute Carnage #1
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Absolute Carnage #5
  9. 9.0 9.1 Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #1
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Venom Vol 4 #22
  11. Venom Vol 4 #4
  12. Venom Vol 4 #6
  13. Venom Vol 4 #7
  14. 14.0 14.1 Venom Vol 4 #20
  15. 15.0 15.1 Web of Venom: Unleashed #1
  16. 16.0 16.1 Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
  18. Absolute Carnage: Weapon Plus #1
  19. Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1
  20. Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 #Spider-Man/Venom
  21. Venom Vol 4 #15
  22. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #24
  23. Fantastic Four Vol 6 #11
  24. Black Cat #2
  25. 25.0 25.1 Venom Vol 4 #16
  26. Absolute Carnage: Scream #1
  27. Absolute Carnage: Scream #2
  28. 28.0 28.1 Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1
  29. 29.0 29.1 Absolute Carnage #4
  30. 30.0 30.1 Venom Vol 4 #23
  31. 31.0 31.1 Venom Vol 4 #24
  32. Venom Vol 4 #25
  33. Absolute Carnage: Scream #3
  34. 34.0 34.1 Bunn, Cullen (11 August 2019). Cullen Bunn on Twitter: "@PolvoAranha1 Maybe... BOTH!?!". Twitter. Retrieved on 11 August 2019.
  35. Griffin Sheridan, Ryan Stegman (24 November 2019). ABSCARN BOIZ! w/Donny Cates: “Absolute Carnage” Wrap-Up Retrospective. PodBean. Retrieved on 25 November 2019.
  36. Absolute Carnage #3
  37. Griffin Sheridan, Ryan Stegman (31 August 2019). ABSCARN BOIZ! w/Donny Cates: “Absolute Carnage” #1- Chapter One Director’s Commentary. PodBean. Retrieved on 1 September 2019.
  38. Cates, Donny (19 April 2020). DONNY CATES on Twitter: "For #Creators4Comics I am auctioning off the LITERAL FIRST DRAWING of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE that @RyanStegman gave to me at a summit after I pitched the story. The drawing is 9x12 and is a ONE OF A KIND PIECE. Auction will end in 48 hours. Start your bidding below!". Twitter. Retrieved on 19 April 2020.

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