Carnage Slaughters the Fantastic Four In Weirdly Beautiful Marvel Art

Marvel is celebrating Carnage's 30th birthday, and that can't mean anything good for the Fantastic Four. Accordingly, Marvel Comics has launched a company-wide promotion that sees the mass-murdering scarlet symbiote popping up on variant covers for numerous current titles, including this diabolical design by Mike and Laura Allred wherein he seems to be making a birthday cake out of the Fantastic Four! The implications of such an encounter are horrific, but the Allreds’ pens make the macabre scene somewhat alluring. 

Lately, the Fantastic Four have been kind of busy these days, what with the impending cataclysm that is the Reckoning War keeping them in a constant state of existential panic. The last thing they would need is a face-off with an enemy like Carnage—who, despite his mania, presents a legitimate threat to more than just Spider-Man. Since his debut in 1992, Carnage has faced a litany of super teams. When the Raft was hijacked in 2004's New Avengers #2 by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finsh, Carnage was among the dozens of supervillains released against an unprepared gathering of heroes including Jessica Drew, Luke Cage, and Matt Murdock. He would have overwhelmed them if not for the sudden intervention of the Sentry, who rocketed Carnage into the outer atmosphere. Though Cletus rarely has much to do with the Fantastic Four themselves, this new cover proves he'd be a nightmare for them to face.

Related: Marvel Celebrates 30 Years of Carnage With New One-Shot 

The Allreds splay Cletus Kasady’s symbiote form out like a crimson web, entangling the first family and even appearing to morph onto them. Mister Fantastic’s face is almost entirely covered, and one shudders to imagine the havoc Carnage could wreak with a mind like that. Though a real fight between Marvel's First Family and Carnage would undoubtedly play out much differently, this cover makes a compelling case that the Four wouldn't stand a chance against the monstrous symbiote.

The biggest issue with Carnage is that because he’s so malleable, fighting him physically is like trying to wrestle water. This would put Ben Grimm mostly on the back burner, but his nearly impenetrable hide might be enough to keep Carnage from absorbing any of his life force, so he wouldn’t be a liability. Reed is of course a shapeshifter himself, and no slouch in the durability department either, but he would know better than to engage in a stretch-off with Carnage. The strategy would pretty quickly switch to containment, and the Invisible Woman once projected a force field strong enough to (briefly) withstand the collapse of reality. Keeping Carnage in a bubble should be light work for her. And if it isn’t, they always have the literal nuclear option in the form of Johnny Storm, whose powers are tailor-made to exploit symbiotes’ inherent weakness to flame. 

As chilling as this cover may be, the Fantastic Four would in all likelihood be quite capable of handling this bloodthirsty villain. But make no mistake: Carnage is still dangerous, even to the Fantastic Four, and this year’s 30th-anniversary run will no doubt continue to provide examples of just that fact.

Next: Spider-Woman's Carnage Redesign Proves She Was Born To Be a Symbiote

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