This week's Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage reveals the details behind the gruesome and harrowing return of Carnage (and Kletus Kasady) ahead of this fall's Absolute Carnage event.
With the threat of symbiotes bubbling up around Earth, the United States government has enlisted Misty Knight to visit the ruins of the middle-American town of Doverton to recover Carnage. Problem is, John Jameson (sometimes Man-Wolf) was sent in before and has dropped off the radar. So for Misty Knight, it's a recovery mission and a rescue mission.
Writer Frank Tieri spoke with Newsarama about Cult of Carnage and how it paints a "A bigger, really $%^ed up picture" of what's to come with Absolute Carnage.
Newsarama: Frank, don't take this the wrong way... but you seem like the type of writer who'd fit really well with Carnage. What were your initial thoughts when the idea of doing this one-shot came about?
Frank Tieri: Why, of course I'm not taking what you said the wrong way, Chris. Clearly you think of me as some kind of murderous lowlife scumbag. That's cool.
Tieri: But in all seriousness, yeah... I certainly do know what you mean. It's no secret that I've been pretty well known throughout my career as a big 'villains writer' at times. I've been lucky enough to work with bad guy hall of famers like the Joker, Lex Luthor, Doctor Doom, Sabretooth, Apocalypse, etc... but no, unfortunately I didn't have a Carnage story to add to my collection yet. And now thankfully I do.
So to answer your question, my main thought when I learned I was going to get to play with Carnage after all this time?
About $%^&in' time.
Nrama: Who are Carnage and Cletus Kasady to you?
Tieri: Well, it's not all that dissimilar to what I would say when asked about the differences between Logan and Sabretooth when I was writing Wolverine. With Wolverine, he tries his best to keep some of his worst tendencies in check... while of course, Sabretooth has no such qualms.
The same can be said of Venom/Eddie Brock and Kasady/Carnage. Carnage is Venom on steroids. He's Venom with no filters, no limitations, no moments of "eh, I probably shouldn't have disemboweled that guy."
And ya know, there's this notion that no villain actually thinks he's bad... but I have to somewhat disagree with that. For guys like Doom and the Kingpin and people like that... yeah, they think they're right, that they need to do what they're doing and everyone else should just get the hell out of their way or suffer the consequences. But for psycho nutjobs like Sabretooth and Carnage? No way. They're well aware they're evil mofos but really just don't give a crap. They do what they want - and what they want to do is hurt people in as many different ways as possible.
And with Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage, Carnage has very much found another way.
Nrama: his idea of Carnage as a type of god - or at least a figure capable of having a cult following them - is pretty off-putting. How's that play out?
Tieri: Look, right of the bat I'll tell you...this is not a superhero story. Two dudes in overly tight underwear ain't meeting in the center of town to fight over truth, justice and whatever the hell. This is a horror story, plain and simple. This is Stephen King. This is Tales From The Crypt. This is that extra creepy episode of The Twilight Zone.
This is really the story of two agents: Misty Knight and John Jameson. And as it turns out in this story, John has gone missing in Doverton - yes that Doverton, the town brutalized and taken hostage by Carnage in Carnage U.S.A. - and Misty is sent in to retrieve him. What she finds is a severely damaged John with zero memory... and as they unravel the mystery of what happened to him they find the truth is far more horryfing then anyone could have imagined.
Nrama: So we know who Carnage and Cletus are - how would you describe this cult that has sprung up around them?
Tieri: "God is Coming" as you well know by now... and with this one shot we start to see what that really means. We're talking devotion and deviousness to off the charts, super ass creepy, Rosemary's Baby levels here. This issue is very much not for the squeamish. Trust me on that.
Nrama: What's it been like dealing with Venom and Absolute Carnage's Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and editor Devin Lewis for this very pivotal one-shot? How'd it come about?
Tieri: It's funny, because at various times I've talked separately about working on something with both Donny and Devin and here we're doing it now and they both claim they're the one that brought me on board. [Laughs]
It doesn't really matter who it actually was though becuase the truth is everyone has been totally cool to work with and I'm really having a great time being in the mix here. It's been a total collaborative effort.
Newsarama: How does Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage fit in with the upcoming Absolute Carnage?
Tieri: Oh, it very much ties into Donny and Ryan's Absolute Carnage. You might say I'm sort of the leadoff hitter here as what I kick off in Cult of Carnage leads directly to what Donny's doing. Let's just say there's definitely a very scary master plan at work here that starts to take shape, and while we don't reveal all the answers just yet as to what that may be, we do start to get an idea of the bigger picture. A bigger, really $%^ed up picture, as it were.
Nrama: I know you well for writing the Marvel vs. Capcom games - can you speculate how great Carnage would be in those games? What would it be like?
Tieri: Ya know, there's always a list of characters that get bandied about with those games as far as the rosters go and I'll let you in on a little secret: Carnage was considered for that series at one point. The problem was, Capcom likes to have some variety when it came to the powers and fighting moves of the characters and they felt Carnage would be too similar to what we've seen before with Venom.
Personally I think Carnage would've been unique enough with with his killer ax and symbiote spikes and whatnot but hey, I don't make those decisions. Sorry, kids.
Nrama: Circling back to Cult of Carnage, anything you'd like to add as the book is now in stores?
Tieri: As I've said, this ties directly into Donny and Ryan's Absolute Carnage; meaning I'm privy to what goes on there. And while fans may think they're ready for what's in store when this thing finally does hit, I can promise you... they're really not.
God is Coming, folks... you have been warned.