I was talking to one of my fellow nerds at my LCS today and we were talking about characters we would like to see return. I brought up that I would like to see Carnage again. In fact I might even break my post OMD ban on Amazing if he came back. Now let me stop now and make sure I define the Carnage I want to see again. Carnage=symbiot+Cletus Cassidy not just a red symbiot. I was all excited a couple of years ago when I thought Carnage was popping up in Spidergirl. It turned out it was just the symbiote possessing people. Not really Carnage. Carnage is more than red alien goo, he is the serial killer Cletus Cassidy. But my fellow nerd at my LCS said to me "With the new Venom being so totally evil, do you really need Carnage?" While it is true that the current Venom is completely crazy evil whereas the Brock Venom was often shown as at least a good guy in his own mind, I still think that even this new ultra evil eating people Venom doesn't replace Carnage and heres why. Mac Gargen Venom is balls to the wall evil, but only because he's lost all control. Carnage is evil because he has taken his nihilism and anarchism to its logical ends. The new Venom is thoughtlessly evil, Carnage is philosophically evil. And to me at least, thats much more interesting. I know a lot of people crap on Carnage because of some of the bad 90's stories he was a part of. But the character himself is very interesting. Read Carnage: Mind Bomb and Carnage: Its a wonderful life one shots and you'll see what I mean. Personally I'd love to see a MAX mini or one shot featuring him.
Mac Gargan is a kind of "hilariously insane" evil, the guy who bites arms off dudes, and actually makes good on all the cannibalism threats Eddie Brock used to throw around. But Cletus Kasady, he's the guy who kills for no more reason than because he can.
It's easy to dismiss him as a shallow, one-note villain, but right from his earliest appearances, this is a guy with a philosophy that laws, morals and religion are all just things that man has made up to keep you in line, and there's no point, reason or purpose to life, the universe and everything, and thus, killing people just because you can
is the ultimate expression of your own freedom from the rules men made to keep you down. That's something that seems really kind of profound when you're about 14, and even now, it's got enough to work with that he shouldn't be one-dimensional. Remember the penultimate part of Maximum Carnage, and how it looked like he was actually willing to die for his beliefs?
But when using Carnage, yes, it's essential that it be Kasady. All those stories with the symbiote possessing some random other guy missed the point of what works with Carnage, and that's that Kasady and his symbiote are completely of one mind about things, there's no inner-conflict there at all. It's also important that he be funny enough that you're laughing at his jokes even while he's throwing babies out of windows.