If you’re a Marvel fan, particularly a Spider-Man fan, you’ve probably wondered this same question: how is Venom better than Carnage and vice versa? The automatic answer is probably Carnage, considering its heritage and how incredibly strong it is, however there are some other benefits to Venom that might be a real advantage against the other symbiote. After all, we are talking about aliens and humans working together to do mostly horrible things, right? Well, sometimes, considering Venom isn’t always such a bad guy.
With strength aside, these two have a lot of cool differences that makes the question worth considering. There are things Carnage can do that the previous symbiote can’t, but Venom also has a lot of knowledge and patience that its offspring couldn’t even begin to understand. We’ve seen these two clash heads from time to time and there have been times when they’ve both won against each other, but that doesn’t really give us a clear indication on who’s actually better than the other. After all, fans will always love Venom for a variety of reasons the same way people find Carnage’s evil doings awesome for an antagonist. Well, we’ve got just the list for you with a few ways Carnage is definitely the ultimate symbiote and some of the ways Venom will always be on top. And, as a special treat, we’ll tell you what symbiote would really end up champion at the very end, because the Marvel Universe is much bigger than just these two feisty symbiotes going toe-to-toe.
CARNAGE: THE “ADULT” VENOM
Have you ever wondered why Carnage was created in the first place? Sure, we know how the symbiotes work, but what was the point of making more of them? Well, David Michelinie wanted to create a version of Venom that was a little darker and came up with the idea for Carnage — someone who was similar, but able to delve into more “adult” themes.
Originally, Michelinie was going to write off Eddie Brock and recreate Venom to become Carnage, but because the symbiote had gained a huge amount of popularity, Marvel wanted to keep him. Carnage was then created as a completely new character.
VENOM: NOT ALWAYS THE BAD GUY
If you’re a fan of anti-heroes and morally gray characters, you should love the Venom series because we see so much turmoil for the symbiote itself as well as the hosts it bonds with. Venom is usually considered a villain, and honestly with the dark look and pointed teeth it’s not hard to peg him that way, but it’s not always the truth.
Sometimes Venom can be a hero, it just depends on who he bonds with. Keep in mind that Venom isn’t really a negative creature on his own, but after bonding with certain people he can definitely become that way.
CARNAGE: A STRONGER BOND
Carnage isn’t exactly the best symbiote you can get your hands on. When you actually see the symbiotes as a race, they tend to be a little more reasonable and not at all dangerous. Carnage, on the other hand, is already completely off his rocker. When he fuses with Cletus Kasady, the whole thing goes out the window and the two create one of the best bonds ever.
They’re not only like-minded in their destruction, but Carnage actually can fuse to Kasady’s skin. This usually comes in handy when they decide to paint the town red because it’s much harder to separate them or defeat them.
VENOM: THE SMARTER SYMBIOTE
There’s one thing Venom has that Carnage seems to be incapable of; a stable mentality. Carnage is always out for blood and destruction because Kasady is literally a crazy person. Venom is very different because its host, Eddie Brock, is much sounder of mind. It also helps that Venom had previously bonded with Spider-Man, who is also very level headed.
It’s this kind of tactful and patient thinking that allows Venom to overcome Carnage in some of their fights. Carnage’s random slashing may be more potent than Venom’s, but strength means nothing against and intelligent opponent who’s able to read you.
CARNAGE: BRO, DO YOU EVEN LIFT?
Carnage is known for his extreme strength. It’s important to note that when symbiotes procreate and leave behind a new symbiote, the offspring is much stronger than the parent. Part of this makes sense because that offspring will have been in tune with the parent’s previous hosts. However, this also means that the offspring will always be far more superior to the parent.
Carnage is no different, being the offspring of Venom. It’s been noted that Carnage can lift over 80 tons, however this isn’t even his true limit. Size and muscle mass are all ways that Carnage is capable of increasing his strength, pushing back this cap we’ve given him.
VENOM: YOU CAN’T BEAT THE ORIGINAL
Symbiote families are definitely strange — the child is usually stronger than the parent and it doesn’t look like this race of aliens feels any kind of familial bond between one another, which is probably because they would usually be in a hivemind type of setting.
However, just because Venom should be weaker than its offspring doesn’t mean that it is. Venom still has a lot of experience and has been a part of their homeworld originally. Carnage has no idea what home even is and is mostly just out for destruction — this means Venom has a little more experience than the younger symbiote.
CARNAGE: NO REST FOR THE WICKED
We’ve all heard that evil doesn’t stop, even as we sleep, and Carnage is actually pretty true to that saying. The cool part about Carnage that gives him an advantage over Venom is that the symbiote has a lot of capabilities the parent never had. Amongst these is the ability to stay awake for long periods of time without needing to rest.
A part of this is because Carnage is fused with Kasady’s blood, which makes it so that his body never really needs to rest. As with any other symbiote, the host’s natural capabilities are enhanced through their parasitic companion and for Kasady, his human need for rest just becomes a thing of the past.
VENOM: TWO HEADS CAN BE BETTER THAN ONE
We know that Kasady and Carnage is one of the best bonds a symbiote could ever ask for — it’s a match made in hell. The two are so close in mindset and interest that even if Carnage hadn’t fused with the host’s blood, they probably still would have been a formidable foe.
That being said, Venom and Brock operating as two heads is sometimes a bonus rather than a hinderance. The two of them are able to take on Carnage because they’re able to work together, but it’s sometimes like two separate entities that rely on a partnership to fight rather than becoming one, solid being.
CARNAGE: CAN AND WILL GET RID OF ANYONE
One of the scariest parts about Carnage is that he simply doesn’t care. There has never been a moral compass for him and at this point, there never will be. We know from Kasady’s background story that he’s cold-blooded and he’s even taken out members of his own family but pairing with a symbiote only makes him that much worse.
It’s that ruthless spirit that makes Carnage so because you know nothing will stop them from taking out anyone that gets in their way. In fact, there doesn’t even need to be a reason for their insanity — they might just do it for fun.
VENOM: A SNEAKY SYMBIOTE
Venom is usually the sneakier of the symbiotes — when we see Venom out in public, it’s usually in hiding by utilizing its natural camouflage abilities. Carnage certainly has this ability, but it’s not really one we see him use often. After all, the symbiote is a little bit flashier than its parent and is already partnered with someone who knows how to hide.
But being able to hide in plain sight is always a great advantage when you’re an alien from another world. Venom’s seamless blend into the streets is really cool and one of the iconic parts about him.
CARNAGE: “I” INSTEAD OF “WE”
If you look at the dialogue Carnage often uses, it usually refers to both it and Kasady as “I” rather than “we”; something Venom often does. Both the symbiote and the host know that they’re separate identities and that, for the time being, they’re operating as one.
However, there’s still that line of distinction between the two identities. For Carnage this is different because they share a bond so strong that the symbiote prefers to acknowledge itself as an entirely new and complete being on its own. To be that complete is a huge leg up from Venom, who still has different wants and desires than Brock.
VENOM: NO HOST, NO PROBLEM
Carnage and Kasady might be the best of buds, but there’s one thing that Venom can do that Carnage might never be able to: form on its own without a host. We’ve seen Venom do this after reconnecting to the hive-mind of other symbiotes. This is pretty cool because it means that while Carnage can probably never survive or reach it’s potential without Kasady, Venom has definitely proven capable with or without Brock in the picture.
In other words, Venom is a strong, independent symbiote that doesn’t need to rely on a man — unlike Carnage who definitely needs Kasady to do anything remotely impressive.
CARNAGE: IT’S IN THE BLOOD
We’ve talked a little bit about it before, but Carnage is actually able to infuse with a host’s bloodstream. This is part of the reason Kasady and Carnage have such a strong bond, but Carnage seems to have a history with blood — whether that’s infusing with it or shedding it.
In New Avengers, we see that the new version of Carnage is depicted as “vampiric” and feeding off people. This was a new twist that we’d never seen in Carnage before, but unfortunately fans felt it wasn’t a great addition seeing as this kind of power wasn’t canon with the original symbiote.
VENOM: MORE HOSTS
Symbiotes are cool because the more hosts they’ve worked with, the more powers and capabilities they’re able to learn. This is one of the most iconic abilities that Venom is known for, despite all symbiotes having the same power. And regardless of Carnage being the offspring and therefore the stronger version of Venom, he’s really only known for his bond with Kasady and a few other hosts.
Venom has actually had more hosts even after producing Carnage, which means it might have a leg up over the all-red symbiote. Venom having more hosts means that unless Carnage can play catch up with some seriously great heroes, it doesn’t stand a chance in a fight.
Carnage’s original backstory was that he was born here on earth while Eddie Brock was in prison. During that time, Venom decided it was randomly time to produce and offspring that it would never actually tell Brock, mainly because it was “unimportant”, and the two would eventually leave.
Kasady was the one to share that cell with Brock, so naturally that was the first-person Carnage was going to find and utilize. Because Carnage was born on earth, it has more of a sense for the planet and some of its inhabitants, unlike Venom who’s had to constantly learn and is actually an outcast from their home.
VENOM: A SOLID FIGHTER
When people are first introduced to both Carnage and Venom, it’s pretty clear to tell that the two are related, but not at all the same. Carnage looks almost like a pile of guts and is definitely a little deformed looking whereas Venom has this solid, sleek shape.
Ironically enough, the two actually seem to have very similar fighting styles when it comes to their looks. Kasady is simply all over the place because he’s crazy and not really a fighter. But Brock has serious athleticism and makes Venom a much more stable fighter because of it. Being sloppy in a fight isn’t always going to help you.
CARNAGE: EXTENSIVE WEAPONS
You may have seen Carnage create and use some of its very own symbiote-made weaponry: a very interesting use of its abilities. Venom can also do this, but we’ve never actually see the weapons detach nor have we seen the black symbiote actually rely on them.
Rather, it seems that Venom is usually more focused on using the powers and skills it learned from Spider-Man such as web-shooting or physical prowess. Perhaps it’s because Kasady is a psychotic criminal that Carnage relies on these weapons, but one thing is for sure — they definitely come in handy during a fight and we love the look of them!
VENOM: A CLASSIC LOOK
The thing about Venom is that it’s a beloved classic, and you just can’t beat classics. If you want to a really obvious reason why Venom is better than Carnage, it’s clearly going to be because he was here first. After all, we wouldn’t even have a Carnage if there was no Venom, so by that logic the original symbiote is still up top.
There’s plenty of sources that feel Carnage is certainly more powerful, especially because it is the offspring of Venom, however Venom is still a more complex character with a thoughtful storyline that every Marvel fan can enjoy.
CARNAGE: OVEREXTENDING HIS BODY
One of the coolest things that Carnage can do is increase its body mass and strength. By extending its body, its able to increase its power — something we haven’t seen Venom do to the same extent.
This has been one of the biggest challenges heroes have ever had to face while taking on Carnage as an opponent and it’s always been relatively tricky to fight, but when he’s able to escape through the pipes to call for backup around an entire city, it’s almost impossible to fight. This is also part of the reason why we can’t really gauge just how powerful Carnage truly is because it can technically make itself even stronger than its current cap.
VENOM: GETTING TIME ON THE BIG SCREEN
One thing Venom has that Carnage doesn’t? A new movie. Sure, we’ve seen Venom on the big screen before, but now he’ll have a whole movie dedicated just to him! There are some speculations that Carnage may make an appearance in the movie, but that doesn’t change the fact that the title of the movie is Venom and not Carnage.
Despite the movie being all about Venom’s story, a lot of fans are still hoping that we’ll at least catch a glimpse of the second symbiote in the ending credits, much like we have with other surprise characters in new Marvel movies.
BETTER THAN BOTH: TOXIN
We’ve talked about who’s better than who, as there are a lot of ways that Venom is better than Carnage and vice versa. But surely there’s a symbiote that’s better than both of them, right? Of course, there is — you can always have a bigger, better baddie!
The symbiote that could beat both of them has to be Toxin, the offspring of Carnage. The Earth-616 version has deemed that Toxin is actually the most powerful symbiote in its lineage; born as the 1000th symbiote, both Carnage and Venom actually fear it. If you can make characters like Carnage and Venom actually afraid, you’re probably the biggest, scariest alien around.
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