God is coming. And God? God is Carnage.
That twisted religious mantra has been building in the pages of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s Venom, all building to their 2019 event, Absolute Carnage.
Related Reading Orders:
The event centered around the return of Cletus Kasady promises that Carnage is set on a murderous fanatical rampage for every Marvel character who has ever been connected to symbiote.
Otherwise, below you’ll find a guide to the comics that set up Absolute Carnage, followed by the event and tie-in issues.
Road To Absolute Carnage
The 2000’s Carnage Suite
Carnage has had a fairly strange 2000’s. Whereas it’s true that in both the 90’s and 2000’s, death follows Carnage, in the 90’s it was the death of innocents, and in the 2000’s it’s frequently been the savage symbiote himself.
While there are more appearances, the below three stories are the most frequently referenced throughout the ensuing build to Absolute Carnage in the pages of Venom. As you’d expect, only Carnage U.S.A. is a focused Carnage story, whereas 2004’s “Breakout” is a small supporting role, and Venomized is a supporting role.
New Avengers: Breakout (New Avengers (2004) #1 to #6)
Venom by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman
Even when Carnage isn’t present in the story, the entire 2018 Venom series (launching with Marvel Fresh Start) is building story elements that will play a role in Absolute Carnage. If you read nothing else prior to the event, it should be these issues of Venom, in the below order.
Web Of Venom: Ve’Nam #1
Venom Annual #1
Web Of Venom: Carnage Born #1
Web Of Venom: Unleashed #1
Venom #10 to #12
Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1
Free Comic Book Day (2019): Spider-Man
I’d call this Thor-centric Marvel Universe event 1) a real good time and 2) peripherally relevant to Absolute Carnage. There are three Venom tie-ins (issues #13 to #15 – not by Donny Cates or Ryan Stegman) that I’d call inessential. Oddly, the main event issues play more with the Venom symbiote and do set the stage for Venom #16. Ultimately, I’d say it’s for absolute completists only, unless you just want to check out he event, which I’d recommend!
Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
Absolute Carnage Trade Reading Order:
Collects: Absolute Carnage #1 to #5
Collects: Venom #17 to #20, Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
Collects: Lethal Protectors #1 to #3, Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1
Collects: Scream #1 to #3, Absolute Carnage: Separation Anxiety #1
Collects: Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #1 to #3,
Collects: AC: Miles Morales #1 to #3, AC: Immortal Hulk #1
Absolute Carnage Comics Checklist
Recommended Tie-Ins? For symbiote superfans!
The first two Absolute Carnage tie-ins connect back to the 5 symbiotes created by the Life Foundation way back in Venom: Lethal Protector. They’re peripheral to the main event (of course), but do offer a way for long time fans to reconnect, or for new fans to get a little bit of background on the now 30 year history of these less familiar symbiotes. If you’re just here for Carnage, Venom, and Spidey, though, you can pretty easily skip these horror-zombie mash-ups.
Recommended Tie-In? Kinda, but definitely for Deadool fans.
While I thought this was a disappointingly cliched comic, there are some clear post Absolute Carnage #1 details that actively connect to the core plot. Plus, Deadpool’s history with symbiotes could have larger implications on Carnage’s master plan!
Absolute Carnage #2
Absolute Carnage Lethal Protectors #1
Absolute Carnage Miles Morales #1
Absolute Carnage #3
Amazing Spider-Man #30
Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1
Absolute Carnage: Ghost Rider – Symbiote of Vengeance #1
Absolute Carnage Lethal Protectors #2
Absolute Carnage Miles Morales #2
Absolute Carnage: Scream #2
Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #2
Absolute Carnage #4
Amazing Spider-Man #31
Absolute Carnage: Immortal Hulk #1
Absolute Carnage Lethal Protectors #3
Absolute Carnage Miles Morales #3
Absolute Carnage: Scream #3
Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #3
Absolute Carnage #5
Scream: Curse of Carnage (ongoing)