Good old crazy ass murderous Cletus Kasady. This is one of my all time favorite Spider-man villains. In fact Norman Osborn is probably the only Spidey villain I love more. Ever since I read the two Carnage one shots, Mind Bomb and It's a Wonderful Life, both of which looked into Kasady's mind I've found him fascinating.
It is easy to dismiss this character as just an excuse to have mindless violence for it's own sake, or as merely being a product of 90's. But I think there is so much more there. Sure Carnage is a bloodthirsty sociopath, but that's because he has taken his nihilistic chaos worshipping philosophy to it's logical end. Compare that to another Marvel villain who also is incredibly blood thirsty, Sabertooth. Why is Sabertooth like that? Near as I can tell he's just a dick. That's not to say he doesn't make a good Wolverine villain, if for no other reason then Sabertooth is everything Wolverine fights to not be himself. But I don't really remember Sabertooth laying out his philosophy like Carnage has.
Another reason I love Carnage is because of Spider-man's no killing rule. Spider-man (at least in the hands of most writers) has vowed to not take the life on another sentient being. And it takes a character as seemingly irredeemable as Cletus Kasady to make him question that. This was also done very well with the Sin Eater story.
There have been a lot of terrible Carnage stories, mostly due to writers who hated him and were either forced to write him by editors or wanted to kill him off. But there have bee some real great stories out there. The two above mentioned one shots are amazing and definitely worth checking out. Also there was a novel in the 90's called Spider-man:Carnage in New York and the two recent Carnage minis have been great as well. I'm not going to say that Maximum Carnage, the story where Carnage teams up other villains such as Demogoblin and Doppleganger is great, but it wasn't nearly as bad as most people say. It had some really interesting themes in it, I think its biggest problem is it was just too long.
So finally, to all my fellow nerds who think Carnage is stupid let me ask you this, why is it if a nihilistic serial killer wears clown make up and fights Batman he's one of the greatest comic book villains ever, but if a nihilist serial killer has a red symbiote and fights Spider-man he's a stupid product of the 90s?