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Quote1 This ain't no dream! Quote2
-- Carnage

Appearing in "Funeral Pyre"

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Synopsis for "Funeral Pyre"

Andi Benton awakens in bed to find the Mania symbiote biting into her leg. As she screams in pain, it rips out a chunk of flesh and sadistically croons that she tastes delicious. Kicking it off with her uninjured leg, she tries to limp away, but the Mania symbiote pursues her, mockingly stating that she'll never be able to escape it. As the Mania symbiote gloats that it's a part of her and she'll never be free, Andi looks down in horror to see living abyss oozing from her wound instead of blood, spreading up her leg and engulfing her body. Andi awakens with a gasp and sits up in bed, realizing it was just a nightmare - the fourth she's had that week. Surveying her messy room and getting dressed, she glumly congratulates herself on not having woken up screaming this time and wonders whether they're easing up or she's just getting used to them.

In the kitchen, Andi finds her Aunt Sarah making breakfast and opts for some toast. Sarah asks if Andi had another bad dream, but Andi - rummaging through the fridge - says that she slept like a baby. Eyeing her niece's can of pop disapprovingly, Sarah chastises Andi's poor eating habits, but Andi retorts that she's not a kid anymore. Sarah says that she knows, but that she's entitled to fuss over her niece for a while longer. Saying she wouldn't have it any other way, Andi kisses Sarah on the cheek and heads out to work.

As she walks down the street, Andi recalls how her nightmares began: in high school when she met her assistant gym coach, Flash Thompson -- aka the symbiote-augmented supersoldier Agent Venom. Smiling sadly as she thinks about how bad her late mentor and father-figure had been at the whole superhero gig, Andi thinks to herself that she was just as bad -- not noticing a man in a red hoodie following her. As she compares the loss of her symbiote to the phantom limb syndrome Flash had once described to her, she notices a group of friends and walks over to have coffee with them. As they chat, Andi thinks to herself that while she's not adjusting she's started to adapt and get her act together, making new, normal friends.

Leaving to add more sugar to her coffee, Andi thinks to herself that having a degree of normalcy in her life eases the pain and that she might leave her nightmares behind her; looking up in shock as she hears the sound of slicing flesh. Turning, she sees the Mania symbiote slaughtering her friends, snarling that she'll never be free of it and that it will always be a part of her nesting inside her very cells. As Andi recoils in horror, a mass of tendrils bursts from her mouth. Coming to her senses, Andi realizes it was a hallucination, one of her friends asking if she's alright. Seeing her friends are OK, Andi says that she's alright. Andi bids her friends farewell, noting that their smiles and laughter are fake and that they're wondering what's wrong with her. Carrying a pair of coffees, Andi admits she can't blame them and that if she knew she'd tell them if she though they could be chill about her having been a teenage vigilante.

Entering a record store, Andi is scolded by her boss, Mitch, for being late again. Smiling appeasingly, Andi presents him with coffee but Mitch tells her that bribery will only get her so far. Mitch asks her if she got the coffee just the way he likes it, remarking that she's elevated tardiness to an artform. Andi quips that he should've known her in high school, taking his place at the register while he heads into the back room. Putting on her nametag, which she's altered to read "Mania", Andi thinks to herself that between the lulls in her hallucinations she can still feel the anxiety building. Andi's coffee cup suddenly topples over, the black liquid inside forming into the Mania symbiote, which snarls that she'll never be free. Mitch exits the back room demanding to know what's going on, only to be impaled through the chest by a tendril. Coming to her senses and realizing it was another hallucination, Andi runs out of the store -- ignoring Mitch's protests.

Walking around town for a couple of hours to calm herself, Andi returns home hoping that her aunt hasn't found out about her ditching work, and that if she tells her about work then she won't be able to stop herself and tell her aunt everything. Hopefully wondering if her aunt will be understanding, Andi spots Sarah sitting in the surprisingly dark living room. As Sarah tells her to come closer, Andi asks if Sarah is okay, recoiling in horror as Sarah's body rips in half, a mass of red-and-black tentacles surging out. As Andi stares, numbly telling herself that it's just a dream, another hallucination, Carnage climbs out of her aunt's hollowed-out corpse and offers to pinch her awake. On the verge of shutting down in horror, Andi numbly repeats to herself that it's not real until Carnage lashes out with a flurry of tendrils and lacerates her arm. Realizing it's not a hallucination, Andi flees but runs into an elderly neighbor, who's walking his poodle. As her neighbor notices she's been hurt, Carnage impales him on a flurry of tendrils, Andi wondering if her hallucinations were warning her, trying to protect her.

As she flees into a park, Andi recognizes that her pursuer is the symbiote-enhanced serial killer Carnage, mournfully wishing that Flash was there to help her. Carnage corners her, hissing that he can feel the remnants of her symbiote deep inside her and asking if she has any last words. Tapping into her Hell-Mark, Andi summons the Monsters of Evil -- demonically-enhanced monsters gifted to her by Mephisto. As Carnage incredulously calls Andi "freaky", she sics the Monsters of Evil on him. Set ablaze by hellfire, Carnage begs Andi for mercy, stammering that she's killing him... before transforming his arms into blades and impaling Lord Tiki through the chest. As Andi incredulously wonders how Carnage survived when the flames should have turned his symbiote to ash, Carnage states that it was a nice try but that she's not the only one who's cursed. As Andi blasts him with hellfire, Carnage notes that he was going to kill her quickly and painlessly, but now that she's pissed him off he's going to make her suffer. As the Worm coils around him and starts constricting, Carnage roars that he'll make it rain their blood and guts, slicing her to pieces with a flurry of bladed tendrils. Declaring himself the Apostle of Knull, Carnage snarls that he'll sacrifice Andi to the God of the Abyss.

Wreathing herself in hellfire, Andi tells him to bring it on and transforms into a demon - sporting black and red armor, horns, and hock-jointed hoofed legs. Conjuring a demonic pipe wrench, Andi bashes Carnage with it and shouts that she'll make him scream for killing her family and attacking her. Carnage snares her left arm with tendrils and breaks it, sneering that she's the one who's going to scream. Carnage tells Andi that he's after the remains of the symbiote in her blood so that he can unleash the dark god Knull, Andi snarling that she'll send him to Hell. Knocking aside the remaining Monsters of Evil and stabbing them with tendrils, Carnage impales Andi and says that the more former hosts he devours the stronger he becomes, and that soon he'll apotheosize into a god. Skunk Ape rips Carnage away, Andi growing delirious from blood loss as hellfire blazes around her. Finding herself falling through Hell, Andi realizes that her Hell-Mark saved her to fulfill her destiny as a candidate for the Descent. As her demonic armor dissipates and she returns to human form, Andi realizes that there was no way she could have beaten Carnage on her own and worries about what will happen to the other symbiote hosts.

Healing her wounds and opening a portal to New York, Andi sets out to find and warn Eddie Brock - who was the Venom symbiote's host when they last met. Spotting the hallucination of her old symbiote, Andi smiles and acknowledges that it's still a part of her and always will be... though she can still sense Carnage clinging to her like phantom pain.

Standing over the dismembered corpses of Gragoa, Skunk Ape, and Sphinx, Carnage mockingly remarks that Andi thought she could escape from him but that he can sense her presence no matter where she goes. Adding that he was planning to go to New York anyway, Carnage strolls through the hellfire cheerfully humming a tune.

Solicit Synopsis

• For weeks, the serial killer called Carnage has been hunting former symbiote hosts and killing them.

• Next on his list is ANDI BENTON, formerly MANIA, who’s back to living in Philadelphia and without any symbiote to save her…

• The path of bodies that leads to ABSOLUTE CARNAGE continues here!

Notes

  • When asked on Twitter if the curse that Cletus attributed his invulnerability to hellfire to was the power of the Darkhold or his increased connection to Knull, Cullen Bunn indicated it could be a combination of both.[2]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
  2. Bunn, Cullen (11 August 2019). Cullen Bunn on Twitter: "@PolvoAranha1 Maybe... BOTH!?!". Twitter. Retrieved on 11 August 2019.



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