Carnage returns in “creepy, shadowy” series of “epic cosmic horror adventure”

The killer symbiote Carnage is one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes, and now it’s getting a new solo title launching on March 16 – and he may even have a new host in tow.

Carnage #1 page

Carnage #1 page (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Also along for the ride is main series writer Ram V, co-writer David Michelinie who will provide back-up stories, and main series artist Francesco Manna.

Before the horror hits, Newsarama has an early look at interior pages from Carnage #1 (opens in new tab), along with a conversation with V about what’s coming down the pike for Carnage – and even a few hints at a possible upcoming crossover with V and co-writer Al Ewing’s Venom title.

Newsarama: Ram, a lot has happened to Carnage in the past couple of years, between the Venom movie, the Venom comic book series, and the Extreme Carnage event. As I understand it, Cletus Kasady has gone one way and the Carnage symbiote another. What’s going on right now, in your eyes?

Ram V: You’ve pretty much got the gist of it. Cletus and Carnage are parted and I imagine this is somewhat of an existential crossroads for Carnage. The symbiote has been with Cletus for so long and there is the knowledge of Symbiote gods and Venom and The King in Black. It made sense then, to use that as a sort of starting point. 

Carnage #1 page

Carnage #1 page (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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When you know there is so much more to what you know and beyond, can you really go back to a status quo? No, I imagine Carnage wants to find out what all this means for it – the symbiote. After all, great rivalries are things that push you forward.

Nrama: So getting to the Carnage series itself, what kind of story are you setting up here – and who is taking the stage as host of the Carnage symbiote?

V: What kind of story? A creepy, shadowy, blood-curling one. One of the earliest things my editors and I chatted about was the desire to do something that was a bit noir-tinged. And so you can expect that. But I’ve done noir stories before and I wanted to challenge myself to think bigger.

So how’s this for a spin – it’s a grounded, character-focused noir drama with the scope and scale of an epic cosmic horror adventure.

Nrama: It seems like Carnage is looking for a new host. If this was a job listing, how would it read? What is Carnage looking for?

V: Is Carnage looking for a new host?

Carnage #1 page

Carnage #1 page (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Nrama: So even if the Cletus Kasady/Carnage pairing is no more, could we see Kasady pop up in the Carnage series in some other fashion down the road?

V: Yeah, I imagine the two have had such a meaningful impact on each other’s character development it is impossible to separate the two on that level. Even though the two are parted, their choices, their thoughts are all indelibly influenced by each other. Perhaps more so the Symbiote than Cletus.

After all, Cletus was Carnage’s internal compass. Without giving too much away, I think of Cletus as a frightening cloud hanging over the whole narrative and almost certainly at some point in the future, he will have a role to play…in the flesh.

Nrama: We as readers only really know Carnage through the eyes of Cletus Kasady – how will you redefine the symbiote better outside of that version of him?

V: I mean, this is what the story is about on some level so I’ll hold my tongue and not spoil things here. I’ll say this– that’s where all the new stuff lies. What is a Symbiote without a host? Is it less? Is it more?

Carnage #1 page

Carnage #1 page (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Nrama: Looking at the recent art of Francesco Manna, it looks like you have just the partner to tell some great horror stories. What are you looking to capitalize on in Francesco’s bag of tricks to make Carnage stand out from everything else come March?

V: Francesco’s work has so much energy to it. He and I had a chat early on before the script for #1 was done and we realized there was a challenge in front of him. To balance the grounded reality and the quiet/grim nature of a noir story with the over-the-top action, horror, and madness of a Carnage story.

I’ve just recently seen the finished pages for #1 and I am happy to report, he’s absolutely nailed it! I am going to have a blast working with him, Dijjo Lime, and the whole creative team.

Nrama: Ram, seeing you writing this while also being a co-writer on the Venom title doesn’t feel like a coincidence. How does being involved with each help one another, and are there bigger plans afoot for some crossover down the road?

V: It can’t possibly be a coincidence, could it?

Keep with everything coming up in Spider-Man’s corner of the Marvel Universe with our listing of all the new Spider-Man comics planned for release in 2022 and beyond.

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