When Marvel released Venom: Let There Be Carnage in 2021, we finally got the MCU’s answer to who is stronger, Venom or Carnage. Or did we?
Carnage is stronger than Venom. This makes sense in Symbiote lore since “children” are always stronger than their progenitors. But, while Venom cannot defeat Carnage alone, he usually wins in the end because he is more intelligent, adaptable, and makes savvy alliances.
Let’s take a closer look at the complicated question of who is stronger, Venom or Carnage?
Read more: Most Powerful MCU Villains
What is the Relationship Between Venom and Carnage?
What are Symbiotes?
Symbiotes are alien parasites that survive by latching on to lesser beings. They feed off the strengths and personalities of these beings, incorporating their identity into their own.
The symbiotes need to force their hosts to do dangerous things as they feed off hormones such as adrenalin.
When the host dies due to a stunt gone wrong or just the stress of the symbiote relationship, the symbiote moves on to a new host, taking all the powers and characteristics that it has acquired with it.
Symbiotes get more powerful over time and spawn new symbiotes. Symbiote children are always more powerful than their parents, inheriting all their abilities, but need time to grow into their strength.
History of Venom
Venom is an ancient Symbiote who has traveled across the galaxy looking for the perfect host. This is because, unlike most other Symbiotes who just parasitically feed off hosts and use them to cause mayhem and destruction, Venom is looking for a different kind of connection.
Venom wants to form a truly symbiotic and long-term relationship with a single host.
The Venom Symbiote meets Spider-Man in outer space and bonds with him by creating a new Spidey suit for the hero since his has been lost.
While this binding brings Venom to Earth, Spider-Man realizes that Venom wants to bond with him permanently and so forces him to break the connection.
But this means that the Venom Symbiote now has knowledge and powers based on his centuries in space and has absorbed the superpowers of Spider-Man.
On Earth, Venom then bonds with disgraced former journalist Eddie Brock. The journalist has a seething hatred for Spider-Man, blaming him for his failed career.
Brock accepts the symbiotic relationship because he is struggling with both depression and cancer, which Venom can keep under control.
While the two have their ups and downs, they do eventually form the kind of Symbiotic relationship that Venom desires.
Birth of Carnage
Cletus Kasady is a serial killer. He killed his first victim, his grandmother, at the age of six. But at the age of 20, he was sentenced to death for scores of murders.
Cletus Kasady came into contact with Eddie Brock while he was on death row, either as a cellmate (comics) or through an interview (movie).
As a result of this contact, some of the Venom symbiote got into Kasady’s bloodstream, spawning the new Symbiote Carnage.
Power of Venom and Carnage
While Venom has a long history, most of the powers that we see him display seem to have come from Spider-Man.
His capabilities include:
- Claw hands and razor-sharp teeth
- Wall crawling (like Spidey)
- Shooting webs from his hands (stronger than the webs of Spiderman)
- Can grow tentacles out of his body to grab things
- Superhuman strength (he is stronger than Spidey because Brock is stronger than Peter Parker in human terms)
- A tough body that can endure extreme blows and falls as well as enhanced healing abilities
- Shapeshifting into almost any shape as a form of camouflage
- Genetic memory (Brock immediately learns that Peter Parker is Spider-Man when he bonds with Venom)
- Does not trigger Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense (perhaps the previous bonding means that Spidey doesn’t detect him as a threat)
Venom’s weaknesses include that he can be separated from his host using a sonic noise attack, and he is also vulnerable to heat attacks. But Venom trained in space to try and reduce these weaknesses.
Carnage, as the offspring of Venom, has all the same strengths and weaknesses, but they are a bit more intense in Carnage. He also has a few extra abilities.
- Carnage can evade Venom’s ability to sense and control other Symbiotes
- He can see out of any part of his body, with his tentacles sending visual information to his brain
- Can grow weapons out of his tentacles
- Immune to terrestrial diseases such as cancer
Other Strengths and Weaknesses
The younger symbiote is also influenced by his bonding with the serial killer Kasady. This gives him a ruthlessness and focus that makes him one of the scariest Symbiotes in the Marvel universe.
But that is not to say that he is a mindless killer. Kasady was abused by his parents and then while he was in care. This was the motivation for most of his murders.
But Carnage’s blood-thirsty nature and young age mean that he usually attempts the most direct and violent approach to any situation.
In contrast, the older Venom, who has more experience with humans and other symbiotes, is more intelligent and better at planning.
Also, while Carnage’s character doesn’t seem to grow very much over the years, Venom seems capable of consistent growth and evolution.
So, Who Wins in a Fight, Venom or Carnage?
OK, so Carnage is stronger, but Venom is more cunning. So, who wins in a fight? In both the movies and the comics, almost always Venom!
Peter Parker: Spider-Man #9
Venom eats Carnage out of Kasady, freeing him of the Symbiote’s influence, but only temporarily. He will return.
Amazing Spider-Man #361-363
Venom defeats Carnage, but only with the help of Spider-Man because Carnage is stronger than him.
Venom overcomes Carnage in the Microverse, but only with the help of the Scarlet Spider.
Venom: Carnage Unleashed
Venom beats Carnage in an intense battle inside the internet but spares his life because he does not want to satisfy Carnage’s suicidal desire.
Venom defeats Dark Carnage with the help of other heroes.
Amazing Spider-Man #794-800
Red Goblin, a fusion of Green Goblin and Carnage, kills the Anti-Venom iteration of Venom and goes after everyone Spider-Man cares about.
Venom, as Anti-Venom, overpowers Carnage with the help of Spider-Man and the Avengers.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Movie)
While Carnage has the upper hand in the battle, Venom tricks one of Carnage’s allies into separating the symbiote from his host. This allows him to devour the floating parasite.
So, what’s the verdict? Who is more powerful, Venom or Carnage?
Well, Carnage has more brute strength than Venom. This is shown again and again as Venom is unable to defeat Carnage on his own and must seek allies.
But while Carnage rarely forms bonds with others due to his serial killer nature, Venom is intelligent and knows when to ask for help. This gives him an edge and is why he normally comes out on top.
It’s true, I get by with a little help from my friends (The Beatles).
What next? Read our ranking of the 10 most powerful Symbiotes in the Marvel universe.