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Venom 2: How Carnage Compares To The Comics (Origin & Design Differences)

How does Carnage in Venom: Let There Be Carnage compare to his counterpart symbiote from the original Marvel comic books? 2018's Venom movie, fronted by Tom Hardy as disgruntled journalist/symbiote host Eddie Brock, failed to impress critics with its CG-heavy aesthetic and overly-familiar superhero movie formula, but a sequel was set up regardless via a cameo from Woody Harrelson's jailed Cletus Kasady. Directed by Andy Serkis and taking a lighter approach to the Eddie/Venom dynamic, Venom: Let There Be Carnage pits black against red, as two alien symbiotes do battle on the streets of San Francisco to decide who eats Mrs. Chen (maybe).

Any film with the subtitle "Let There Be Carnage" needs to nail the best qualities of its titular villain. Carnage is a beloved comic character for a reason, and despite Venom's mixed reception, excitement for the red symbiote's cinematic debut remains very high indeed. Marvel fans' earliest glimpse of Carnage in action came via the initial Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer, and reactions were positive after Cletus Kasady transformed for the first time.

Related: Who Is The Voice of Venom?

Thanks a new statue displayed as part of Venom: Let There Be Carnage's marketing campaign, however, the villain can now be appreciated in even greater detail. Even better, a fresh trailer spends far more time exploring Carnage's origin story and fighting style than the previous promo, allowing for a closer comparison between the original character and the Woody Harrelson iteration lurching into theaters next month.

As per TheVenomSite on Twitter, Chinese theaters are housing an epic Carnage statue - and it's clear that Venom: Let There Be Carnage took major comic inspiration for its chaotic new addition. Going back to Carnage's 1992 debut in Amazing Spider-Man, the movie design carries over most traits and features from issue #361. The predominantly red symbiote body infused with inky black is borrowed straight from David Michelinie and Mark Bagley's initial concept, and the heavier darkness around the eyes and mouth is also consistent. Obviously, there's some live-action modernization going on here (Carnage's muscles are far more defined, for example), but the principle design is a very close approximation of what fans will already be familiar with. It's also worth bearing in mind that, unlike most comic book characters, Carnage can change his shape, allowing this design to evolve through the sequel as Cletus grows more accustomed to his symbiote.

Generally authentic it may be, but there remain a handful of alterations between comic book Carnage and Woody Harrelson's monster in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Although the character has been shown with pearly whites in his paper-and-ink stories, Carnage more often sports two rows of pointy black fangs. The trailer proves Carnage has been brushing regularly ahead of his live-action debut, bringing the mouth visually closer to Tom Hardy's Venom. In another deviation from the trailer, the tendrils protruding from Carnage's body are also slightly different. Though their depiction has changed through the years, Carnage's tentacles are traditionally stringy, liquid-y offshoots from his symbiote body. This is fairly difficult to replicate in a live-action setting and, sure enough, Venom: Let There Be Carnage has given its antagonist spiky, solid tendrils that Eddie Brock won't wish to feel the sharp end of. Finally, Venom's feet have defined toes and sharp claws. Usually, each is just a solid mass in the vague shape of a foot.

Another (sort of) change to Carnage is the addition of a tongue. Venom: Let There Be Carnage's latest trailer shows Carnage shoving his considerable tongue down the throat of an unsuspecting victim. While later artists would eventually add a licker to Carnage's anatomy, the original incarnation merely had teeth guarding a pink void.

Related: Why Venom 2 Being Weirder Fixes The Original's Biggest Mistake

Carnage's big screen appearance has earned more praise than scorn thus far, and its comic-accurate sensibility is a major reason why. While most audiences accept that a verbatim translation from page to screen is rarely appropriate in superhero movies (luckily for Aquaman), comic fans also don't appreciate arbitrary changes to their favorite characters, and negative backlash from poor first impressions can be hard to overcome. Venom: Let There Be Carnage has at least cleared that all-important hurdle.

Carnage's comic synergy may not be limited to physical features either, with the new Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer including several recognizable elements of his origin story. The first promo had already revealed both Eddie visiting Cletus and a riot in a prison, but new footage gives a far better idea of how Cletus Kasady's transformation will happen in live-action.

A convicted serial killer now safely behind bars, Kasady is compelled to tell his "story" to Eddie Brock, apparently craving the adulation many of his ilk do. During one of their meetings, Kasady reaches through his cell and takes a bite of Tom Hardy. It's hinted that he might already know about Venom, and has courted Eddie intending to claim a symbiote power as his own. On the other hand, he's a cannibal, so could just be wanting a snack. Either way, Kasady remarks how Eddie's "blood" isn't blood at all, and this is almost certainly how an alien symbiote comes to run through the criminal's veins. Imbued with part of Venom's power, Carnage develops with Kasady, and allows him to break free from his execution table, running riot through the prison. With his sadistic personality, Kasady shares an immediate connection with his red new friend - a far more harmonious relationship than Eddie and Venom enjoy.

In the Marvel comics (Amazing Spider Man #344-345), Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady meet as cell mates, with the latter already behind bars when the journalist is thrown into jail. Needless to say, they do not get along, and Kasady plans to murder Eddie, but Venom returns in the nick of time, allowing symbiote and host to escape together. As fate would have it, Venom left some of himself behind on a broken bar (later revealed to be an offspring of sorts), which seeped into Kasady's bloodstream via a small cut on his hand.

Related: Everything We Know About Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Obviously, the bare essentials remain present - Kasady in prison, becoming infested with part of Venom, inciting a jailbreak after dubbing himself "Carnage," etc. However, there will be changes to Carnage's creation story. Eddie Brock isn't Kasady's cellmate for a start, and Harrelson deliberately takes a bite, rather than the black gunk seeping in accidentally through a wound. During their cathedral battle, Venom also alludes toward Carnage's red color having some significance in the hierarchy of the symbiote race. This appears to be a new addition for the purposes of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, with the comic incarnation's hue attractive to look at, but mostly irrelevant. Nevertheless, building blocks are in place for an origin almost as faithful as the symbiote's design.

Trailers for Venom: Let There Be Carnage haven't yet shown Woody Harrelson's symbiote powers in full, but there's more than enough footage to gather a rough idea of the many ways Carnage can kill someone. To begin with, Carnage is clearly in possession of superhuman strength and durability - an inherent trait for symbiotes both in comics and on-screen. Beyond durable, Kasady's Carnage can use its shape-shifting ability to avoid taking hits altogether, and this fluctuating form represents another familiar trait of the original character. Carnage's chief offensive maneuver in Venom: Let There Be Carnage seems to be creating tentacles, used for either assaulting opponents directly or impaling them. Although Carnage can perform this feat in Marvel's comic lore, his tendrils are, as previously mentioned, drawn somewhat differently, though they're no less potent in battle.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage does include a few unusual powers too. During his prison escape, Carnage forces his elongated tongue down a guard's throat. As mentioned above, the original design didn't even feature a tongue, making this attack a unique one among Carnage's arsenal. While battling the frightened Venom, a fully-transformed Carnage also uses his tentacles to fire projectiles. Presumably, these are chunks of his own body that can be "spat" towards opponents like bullets, and though not a move typically associated with the character, this technique can be glimpsed in Amazing Spider-Man #361.

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