Donny Cates’ Venom Reading Guide Part Two: Absolute Carnage

Just the other day, I posted part one to my Venom by Donny Cates reading guide, and today I’m continuing it with Absolute Carnage.

Absolute Carnage is just that: a series that focuses on the symbiote, Carnage, and it’s an integral part of Donny Cates’ Venom run. Also, it’s just fun to read all this before Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage comes out!


Unlike Venom, Carnage sadly doesn’t come with a built in who’s-who storyline, so if you are new to Carnage, it’s best to do some pre-reading.

Spider-Man: The Many Hosts Of Carnage by David Michenlinie

Serial killer Cletus Kasady isn’t the only one to bond with Venom’s sadistic offspring, Carnage! In fact, there’s a whole host of hosts – and they’re all here! First, Jonah’s son John Jameson succumbs to the symbiote, until Ben Reilly offers a more tempting meal – becoming Spider-Carnage! But the cosmic Silver Surfer may prove the most appetising host yet! Dr. Tanis Nieves takes a turn, then joins the fight against Kasady when he transforms a whole town into Carnage, U.S.A.! Even the Avengers fall prey to symbiosis – but who will be the Superior Carnage? Karl Malus? The Wizard? Or Norman Osborn, whose perverse partnership transforms him into the Red Goblin!

This is your best bet for a quick Carnage crash course. But, it also spans 26 years of comic continuity, so while it gives a reasonably good explanation as to what’s happened in the intervening years, it’s best to have some level of Spider-Man knowledge.

Volume 1: Rex


In the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse, an ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York. And with it, something equally evil has been awakened in that most wicked of web-slingers: Venom! The symbiote may still be a Lethal Protector of innocents in New York, but this never-before-seen threat could possibly force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear – including its human host, Eddie Brock! Two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, join forces to deliver a Venom adventure a thousand years in the making! 

Volume 2: The Abyss

The Abyss

The blockbuster hit of summer 2018 continues. Eddie Brock’s alien symbiote has been disobeying its human host but the reason why only leads to new questions about the creature and its other-worldly origins.

I know I covered these two in part 1, but these are essential reads before going into Absolute Carnage. The character himself does not show up in these two volumes, but the story does set up a lot of what’s to come for Carnage, so it’s best to read them first.

The Event Itself

Absolute Carnage by Donny Cates

For months, the serial killer Carnage has been at the periphery of the Marvel Universe, amassing power in secret by murdering past symbiote hosts and enlisting a cult of brainwashed and bloodthirsty followers. Now, with an army at his command, Carnage is poised to write his swan song – a massive massacre the likes of which the Marvel Universe has never seen… and may not survive.

The main event! You can read this alone and be done with it, but for a more complete picture, you can also read these:

Venom Volume 3: Absolute Carnage

Absolute Carnage rocks the world of Venom! With the serial-killer symbiote Carnage on the loose, Venom must protect his son, Dylan… at all costs! But as longtime Venomaniacs know, they aren’t the only two symbiotes around… and that only means that the bodies are piling higher than ever before! For weeks, Carnage has been hunting down former symbiote hosts and killing them. And the next name on his list is Andi Benton – formerly the adventurer known as Mania – who’s back to living in Philadelphia, and no longer has any symbiote to save her… 

Lethal Protectors by Frank Tieri

THE CULT OF CARNAGE COMES TO NEW YORK CITY! When he was last seen, John Jameson was being recovered from the scene of a massacre in Doverton, Colorado, by Misty Knight. Since then, they’ve both been MIA. So how, then, are they the only two people poised to prevent chaos as a mysterious foe of Spider-Man’s is resurrected in the basements of Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane?! Plus: Years ago, Cletus Kasady used the Carnage symbiote to take over a small town called Doverton, Colorado, as well as the team of Avengers who arrived to stop him! Barely able to free themselves from his control during their first meeting, this small band of heroes will have no choice but to assemble once more after they discover that Doverton’s entire population has recently fallen victim to Carnage’s more lethal designs…

Scream by Cullen Bunn

The return of a classic symbiote… and it’ll be a scream. Years ago, Patricia Robertson was unwillingly bonded to the clone of Venom that eventually became Mania, and she’s been living in fear of symbiotes ever since. But she’s also been living with a secret, and with the coming of Carnage, Patricia must take a stand – and will have no choice but to confront her demons head-on. Patricia may know symbiotes, but nothing can prepare her for their god Knull. Plus: Since the conclusion of Deadpool vs. Carnage, four of the five Life Foundation symbiotes – Riot, Phage, Agony and Lasher – have been bonded to a stray dog, wandering the Midwest. But as Carnage descends on New York, its siblings will find it impossible to resist the siren song of Knull…

Absolute Carnage Vs Deadpool by Frank Tieri

What’s red and black with dead all over? Carnage takes on Deadpool once again in the mother of all sequels – and this time it’s absolute chaos. At long last, Wade Wilson is ready to get his head on straight, so the Merc with a Mouth checks himself into the prestigious Ravencroft Institute. Unfortunately, the facility has another new arrival: the symbiotic psychopath called Carnage. And he isn’t there for a group therapy session… Madness and mayhem abound in the can’t-miss showdown of the year Let’s get crazy.

Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales by Saladin Ahmed

It’s business as usual for Miles Morales as he finds himself squaring off with Mac Gargan, A.K.A. The Scorpion. But as a cult of Carnage’s bloodthirsty acolytes swarms New York, Miles will learn the hard way that Scorpion has a history with Venom and the other symbiotes of the Marvel Universe. When Miles sacrifices himself protecting others, will he be taken by Carnage’s dark doppelgangers? Or will he be able to resist being consumed by the dark symbiote? 

Immortal Hulk And Other Tales by Al Ewing

The effects of Absolute Carnage are felt across the Marvel Universe! The late Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross was once the Red Hulk – and briefly bonded to the Venom symbiote! Now, Ross’ corpse has been unearthed, though why and by whom remain unclear. But with Ross’ gamma-infused body possibly in nefarious hands, Bruce Banner intends to find out! During its first visit to New York City, the same symbiote briefly bonded to a human host that wasn’t Peter Parker or Eddie Brock! Now, years later, this mystery man will meet his destiny…at the hands of Carnage! And former Ghost Rider Alejandra Jones is next on the lethal killer’s hit list! Danny Ketch must ride again, but can he keep her out of Carnage’s clutches?

And that’s everything for Absolute Carnage, which means you only gave one part left – King In Black itself – which is coming this week!


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