The beings now known on Earth simply as "symbiotes" are a conquering, predatory race of amorphous aliens that bond to a host and parasitically feed off their emotions and bodies. They tend to force their hosts to perform spectacular and terrifying feats in order to feed off of the resulting rush of adrenaline (and possibly other hormones, such as phenethylamine). Eventually, these host beings would be sucked dry, exhausted by the constant stress and exertion, or simply die in a failed stunt. Symbiotes are fully aware and sentient creatures, but are also vicious and wild, compelling their hosts to violence. Several symbiotes, such as Venom, Carnage, Toxin, and Zzxz, have developed appetites for the flesh of other life-forms and will influence or force their hosts into committing cannibalism. They are much more effective if the host has the same feelings and urges as the symbiote. For example, the Venom symbiote bonded successfully with Eddie Brock because they shared anger and desires for revenge towards Spider-Man. As this shows, symbiotes are able to project their own emotions and personal desires, in addition to reflecting and reacting to the emotions and desires of their host, to the point of assuming complete control over their host's body if they so choose. A symbiote's influence over its host can be resisted and suppressed through a number of means, including willpower and chemical sedatives.
The symbiote that would eventually become Venom was identified as deranged by others of its race because it sought to form a single, strong, symbiotic bond with its host, rather than using them as chattel. In fact, it is because of this creature that humans initially believed the entire race to be symbiotic. This symbiote would later describe itself as a mutant among its species. The symbiote was placed in a prison canister, and supposedly condemned to death by disintegration.
During the Secret Wars, when several of Earth's heroes and villains were transported to Battleworld by the Beyonder, Spider-Man went looking for the alien technology Thor had stumbled upon to repair his tattered costume. Instead, he found the machine holding the symbiote captive. The released symbiote did indeed form a "costume" for Spider-Man -- as the race naturally covers their entire host -- and responded to Parker's thoughts by patterning itself after the new Spider-Woman's black and white costume.
The new "costume" had several useful properties -- the ability to mimic other forms of clothing, a "dimensional aperture" which could store small objects without adding bulk to the costume, and its own source of webbing -- which Spider-Man initially attributed to its alien origins. After returning to Earth, the costume could not stand to be separated from Parker for very long, and it often engulfed the sleeping hero, sending him out to fight crime under its control. The then-villainous Puma -- who was fighting Spider-Man at the time -- was the first to perceive that the costume's webbing was organic, causing the hero to seek the advice of Reed Richards. Richards isolated the living costume, setting into motion a series of events that would lead to the creation of Venom -- the merger of the symbiote and Spider-Man critic Eddie Brock.
Venom proved to be a particularly malicious foe, and broke several laws in pursuit of revenge against Spider-Man. On one occasion, while Brock was incarcerated for his crimes as Venom -- and while he patiently waited for the escaped symbiote to free him -- he shared a cell with multiple-murderer Cletus Kasady. The symbiote did in fact liberate Brock, but in so doing left behind its spawn. The symbiote spawn bonded with Kasady, turning him into the lethal villain Carnage (Cletus Kasady). Because Kasady bonded with the symbiote on a cellular level(something Brock refused to do) Carnage proved more formidable than either Venom or Spider-Man, and the two eventually formed an uneasy alliance to deal with the threat. The Carnage symbiote was capable of greater control of its constituent matter than the Venom symbiote. At one point, it managed to travel by telephone line by thinning itself to a strand of cellular width. It could also form solid appendages, allowing Carnage to form spikes, blades, and axe heads at will, though the Venom symbiote recently developed this ability as well. The symbiote appears to be more dense as well, allowing its host to become more durable and stronger than the Venom symbiote would allow.
At one point, Venom was captured by the Life Foundation, an organization that made a comfortable living in preparing for the world's nuclear annihilation. Convinced that a nuclear war was inevitable, the Life Foundation's clients payed to assure that the human race (and they in particular) would survive the cataclysm in luxury. The Life Foundation was at one point researching a way to create "super-cops" to police their new Utopia. Towards that end, they probed the Venom symbiote and extracted the last five of its "seeds" -- the basis for later spawn as the symbiotes reproduce asexually. These were cultured and bonded to five of the Life Foundation's best security personnel to form the Guardians. The individuals eventually became known by the codenames Scream, Riot, Phage, Agony, and Lasher. Either due to the extraction process, the effect of the Earth environment on the spawn, or both, these symbiotes proved to be even more mutated than Carnage. They possessed the same ability to manipulate their forms as Carnage. However, the five never quite got the hang of actually communicating with the under-developed symbiotes.
After several crushing defeats, Scream had a psychotic breakdown (possibly contributed to by her schizophrenia,) and determined that all symbiotes were evil. She killed off her former compatriots with a sonic blade, not realizing that the symbiotes themselves had survived. The four symbiotes were kept for a time in the Vault high-security prison for super-beings, but were freed from the lab by Guardsmen Scott Washington, who decided that they were not evil and did not deserve a lifetime of pain and suffering. Washington was fired when it was discovered that he had freed the symbiotes. All four symbiotes were weak, and survived by bonding together to form a single, more powerful being. This symbiote later went on to merge with Washington, who had been crippled after a scuffle with the Eazy X gang following his return to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. After bonding with the hybrid symbiotes, he regained use of his legs, and began extracting revenge on the gangs that had destroyed his neighborhood as the crimefighter "Hybrid".
Spider-Man led Brock to doubt the nature of his relationship with his symbiote, suggesting that it had been controlling him. When Brock ordered the symbiote to separate from him so that he could consider the matter, the pained symbiote let out a "psychic scream" of anguish so powerful that it drew others of its kind from space. Using a unwilling innocent as its host, the Venom symbiote and the extraterrestrial symbiotes constructed a portal to an alien world, the native population of which had been enthralled by the symbiotes. The symbiotes then launched a full-scale invasion of Earth, starting in New York. In the ensuing chaos, Carnage found that she could absorb the symbiotes to increase her symbiote's mass and power, and temporarily became monolithic in size by doing so. Brock realized that the creatures were highly sensitive to emotion, and (with his now-penitent symbiote) released a wail of anguish so great that it was able to kill most of the symbiotes.
Soon after, the presence of the surviving symbiotes attracted their only known predator, the Xenophage. Xenophages are a race of amorphous, shape-shifting aliens whose diets consist mainly of symbiotes, though they are not above eating the occasional humanoid if they get particularly hungry. The Xenophage took a particular interest in Venom, as symbiotes tend to become more "flavorful" after bonding with a host for a long period of time. Venom managed to dispatch the first Xenophage, though more eventually arrived on Earth to seek out their exotic prey.
Much later, Carnage realized he was also about to spawn. Fearing the spawn would become more powerful than him and disgusted by the notion of reproduction, he resolved to destroy the spawn as soon as it was born. Venom also became aware of the spawn, however, and resolved to protect it and culture it as an ally. After the new symbiote was spawned, Carnage was too weak to kill the creature himself, and the symbiote found a human host in officer Patrick Mulligan. Venom had warned Carnage that every thousand generations or so the symbiotes' genetic memory can break down, and the new symbiote must be instructed by its "grandparent" to correct the errors. Since Venom has not been able to do so, this new symbiote bothers the unfortunate cop with the numerous questions, quandaries, and tantrums that normal children experience as they age. The difference, of course, is that normal children tend to have fewer urges toward homicide. Mulligan is currently doing his best in balancing work, his family life, the difficult new symbiote, and his new career as the crimefighter "Toxin". Mulligan was later murdered by Blackheart, who took the symbiote and bonded samples of it to clones of X-23. The Toxin symbiote was subsequently stolen by the Crime Master and bonded to Eddie Brock. Despite initially seizing control of him, the Toxin symbiote and Eddie have since worked out a similar relationship to the one Eddie once had with Venom.
Eddie Brock, disgusted by the symbiote's growing bloodlust after having a religious awakening and fearing for the fate of his soul, sold the symbiote to Don Fortunato, who gave it to his son Angelo. The symbiote abandoned Angelo of its own accord and later sought out Mac Gargan, influencing him to commit cannibalism to satiate its hunger. After the events of Brand New Day, Eddie Brock started working for Martin Li and Aunt May at the F.E.A.S.T. center. Thanks to Mr. Li's "mysterious powers." Eddie was cured of his cancer and the remnants of the symbiote were fused to his white blood cells. Unfortunately, the current Venom entered the F.E.A.S.T. center looking for Spider-Man. He found Eddie and the symbiote began to crawl onto him again. However, the mystically-enhanced fusion between the symbiote's cells and Eddie's lymphocytes emerged, forming Anti-Venom. Eddie later sacrificed the Anti-Venom symbiote to create a vaccine for the Spider-Virus, but it appears a portion of it was somehow acquired by the Hobgoblin, who enfranchised the identity as one of his "Hob-Heroes" after his Inversion.
Later, when Carnage returned Earth after her apparent death, Hall Industries used the symbiote to produce advanced prosthesis, one Dr. Tanis Nieves used, resulted to be a new spawn, how bonded her transforming them into Scorn a machine/symbiote hybrid, who tries to stop Carnage.
Following its separation from Mac Gargan, the Venom symbiote was given to Eugene "Flash Thompson by the US military, having been administered a sedative to keep it from seizing control of him. Flash later allowed the symbiote to bond to him, and it expressed a preference for him as a host, despite attempting to return to Eddie Brock and later "Peter Parker". When not suppressed the symbiote tends to rampage and attempt to eat any nearby enemies, and later exhibited a desire to acquire demonic powers: bargaining with Mephisto to receive a Hell Mark and attempting to absorb Zarathos during the Circle of Four, but was forced to relinquish those powers to its clone, Mania, after a demon implanted in it by Daimon Hellstrom began attempting to take it over. During Flash's sojourn into space as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Venom symbiote became increasingly erratic, eventually seizing control of him and rampaging until they were separated, whereupon it took control of Groot.
Another symbiote, unrelated to Venom's lineage, was captured by Shiar Emperor D'Ken and given the moniker Zzxz. Classified as one of the most dangerous entities the Empire had encountered, it was recruited by Vulcan to serve as one of his praetorian guards and eventually took Raza Longknife as a host. Zzxz was later separated from Raza and imprisoned on Ego.
In Earth-1610, the symbiote is a proto-plasmic suit developed as a medical cure for cancer by Richard Parker and Edward Brock Sr. The suit was unfinished and stolen by Bolivar Trask. Edward Brock Sr., however, managed to saved a small sample of the symbiote for his son, Edward Brock Jr., to find.
In Larval Earth, the Symbiote is not identified as such: The Bee-Yonder suddenly appeared in front of Spider-Ham and used his powers to change his red-and-blue uniform into a black-and-white one; giving no other explanation, the Bee-Yonder, apparently a fashion consultant, teleported away to change the style of Ducktor Doom's ensemble. Spider-Ham, who liked his original suit, returned to the red-and-blue uniform after this encounter, Later, during the event known as Secret Furs, Spider-Ham was seen using a different black-and-white uniform while fighting Doctor Octopussycat for a refrigerator in Bobcat Barker's "Whale of Fortune" test.
On Earth-807128, the Symbiotes roam the Black Hills of South Dakota. It remains to be seen what their involvement is in this harsh reality.
Powers and Abilities
Symbiotes feed on their host's adrenaline, usually released into the bloodstream during the fight-or-flight response. They have also been shown to depend on their hosts for a steady supply of phenethylamine, a chemical found as a neurotransmitter in the human brain. While this has been known to lead some symbiotes to consume the brains of others, the chemical can also be ready found in processed chocolate. While the symbiotes are connected to a host, they raise their host's dopamine levels. They can apparently be killed, or at least forced into some sort of death-like state, by an overdose of dopamine-inhibitor. Symbiotes aren't able to bond with hosts who have high levels of vitamin C in their blood streams. There are several levels of biological symbiosis, or "bonding" that can be achieved between a symbiote and its host, each with different biological consequences.
Symbiotes have some ability to sense the thoughts and emotions of sentient creatures, though to what extent remains unclear. The Venom symbiote was able to pattern itself after Spider-Man's thought, and respond to his mental commands even without significant bonding. The psychic scream of the Venom symbiote was able to draw the attention of space-faring symbiotes, while powerful feelings of emotional anguish were able to actually kill many symbiotes.
Symbiotes have a genetic memory, allowing them to exploit their parents' knowledge through ancestral recall. On Earth, this allows Venom's descendants to benefit from the symbiote's former bond with Spider-Man by gaining spider-like powers. Certain memories seem to be more readily accessible than others. For example, the trauma of Galactus devouring a world populated by symbiotes so scarred the surviving members of the species that it still invokes an intense reaction in all symbiotes today.
Symbiotes are genderless, reproduce asexually, and generally produce only one offspring in a lifetime. In the case of Venom, seeds were forcibly extracted to produce more offspring. There is no family structure, and in fact it seems to be common for parent and offspring to hate each other. However this observation is taken mostly from the relationship between Venom and his children. Venom hates Carnage because of his murderous nature (not to mention that when they were cell mates they had an antagonistic relationship). When his other "children" were born he thought that they would end up like Carnage so he placed his hatred of him on them. However, recently the Venom symbiote was pregnant after absorbing a clone of itself and wanted to rebounded with Spider-Man because bounding with Brock would kill the child because he had cancer. While they have a latent ability to sense the proximity of their progeny, they usually have no interest in them. The one exception comes once every 1,000 generations, when a symbiote is born with a high risk of psychotic breakdown, and must be guided by older symbiotes, or else destroyed.
Their unique properties make the symbiotes immune to most conventional weapons. They are dense enough to absorbed the force of powerful blows and stop bullets before they reach the host being. They are able to process breathable gases for the host when it would otherwise be unable (underwater, for example). They seem to confer a weak healing factor on strongly-bonded hosts, but that bond can also send host and symbiote alike into shock if they are forcibly separated.
- Symbiotes seem to have some latent psychic abilities, allowing them to respond to the thoughts of their hosts, and each other. When Venom's symbiote was in anguish, it let out a psychic scream that effected sensitive humans worldwide, and was received by symbiotes in a nearby star system.
- The symbiote amplifies the strength of its "wearer", so that a reasonably fit human (such as Brock) can compete and even exceed even Spider-Man's strength. It also confers improved speed and agility on the host.
- By virtue of having partially bonded with Spider-Man, Venom and its descendants all have spider-like powers, including the ability to cling to surfaces and produce organic webbing. Most can also avoid detection by Spider-Man's "spider sense" might also work on other people such as Electro in Web of Shadows.
- Symbiotes can control the actions of their hosts at a certain point.
- Symbiotes that have fully bonded with their hosts have a more biologically complex symbiosis with their hosts, and can share thoughts and memories with them. Carnage has also been known to hide in its host's blood stream.
- The symbiotes are said to have 'genetic memory,' and can read the memories of others of their kind by absorbing chunks of their material.
- Symbiotes tend to be dense, and can absorb even the force of bullets before they reach their hosts.
- All symbiotes have the ability to form tendril-like pseudopods. Venom has used this to great effect by forming weak tendrils and shields from his constituent matter. Carnage discharges tendrils of her constituent matter instead of webbing. Scream has numerous tendrils composing her costume's "hair", which she has used as a powerful whip.
- Terrestrial symbiotes additionally have the power to form solid appendages from their bodies, and have been shown to form spikes, talons, and blades. Carnage was known to throw axes from time to time, but the weapons quickly crumbled when separated from the symbiote. Venom's ability to form webbing is probably a primitive form of this ability. Mac Gargan has been shown to be able to form a scorpion-like tail while hosting the symbiote, and the Venom symbiote of Earth-982 allowed host Norman Osborn to form solid appendages, such as a extra limbs. This shows that any symbiote can gain the ability to form more solid appendages if exposed to the Earth environment for a long enough period of time.
- The Life Foundation symbiotes have also been shown to form a powerful acid from their constituent matter. The Venom symbiote of Earth-928 in the year 2099 demonstrated an ability reduce an engulfed victim to bones within seconds, using the ability to kill New York gang leader Bloodmace. This may suggest that any symbiote exposed to the Earth environment for a long enough time may gain similar powers.
- Venom and his descendant symbiotes have been shown to be adept at controlling their coloration. This allows them to take on the appearance of normal clothing, to provide highly effective and complex camouflage, and to even disguise their hosts' physical features.
- Symbiotes have the ability to process breathable gases when the host normally cannot breathe (for example, in water).
- Symbiotes can expand to any limit in order to cover any host or object.
- Symbiotes seem to have some ability to combine their constituent matter. During Maximum Carnage, the Venom and Carnage symbiotes seemed to mix in an attempt to destroy each other. Later, the Carnage symbiote would absorb other symbiotes during the symbiote invasion of New York. The Venom symbiote recently absorbed a cloned symbiote worn by Patricia Robertson. The Hybrid symbiote is the merger of four of the Life Foundation symbiotes.
- The Carnage symbiote has shown the ability to somehow convert negative emotions into biomass, enabling it to fully regenerate from a few cells.
- There is evidence to suggest that the relative power - or at least physical strength when bonded to a host of comparable build and musculature - increases with each generation, given that Toxin is known to be much stronger than his "mother", Carnage, who in turn is known to be significantly more powerful than her progenitor, Venom.
- It was revealed that the window period between the contact and the full bonding between a symbiote and its host are 48 hours. Apparently, this period is reset every time the host and symbiote are seperated.
Average Strength level
- Average strength level unknown, though the larger they expand the more weight they can lift.
- The Symbiote attached to the Edward Brock of Earth-2149 was shown to be dying after the zombification of its host; suggesting it cannot subsist upon dead flesh or tissue. Though this issue has never been addressed by its mainstream counterpart, there is nothing to suggest it could not also be the case.
- All symbiotes seem to have a weakness against very large vibrations and heat. Samuel Sterns mentioned that symbiotes also have a weakness to magnesium. However, this turned out to be false as it had no effect on Venom.
Habitat: Cold and quiet
Gravity: Same as Earth's
Atmosphere: Same as Earth's
Population: Population unknown
Type of Government: Government type unknown.
Level of Technology: Superior to earth's technology
Cultural Traits: Violent, generally solitary
Representatives: Venom, Carnage, Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher, Agony, Hybrid, Toxin, Anti-Venom, Zzxz, Scorn
Symbiote can be pronounced two different ways. (Sim-Bee-Ote) or (Sim-Bee-Ot).
- The majority of the human hosts to the symbiotes are citizens of New York. It happens because Spider-Man (who brought the first symbiote to Earth) lives there; the symbiote invasion of Earth was also focused on New York.
- Venom is the oldest of all the introduced symbiotes of the Marvel Universe. This makes him highly-prized to the Xenophage, as symbiotes that have been bonded to hosts for long periods of time are considered a delicacy.
- Hybrid was the first fully heroic symbiote, while Toxin is the first heroic symbiote to be get his own series. While Venom has shown certain heroic tendencies, often acted to protect those people he considers to be "innocents", he is also frequently portrayed as obsessive, mentally unstable, and even psychotic. He has also displayed ample willingness to use lethal force. His mental instability and his intense hatred of Spider-Man has usually contributed to his portrayal as a villain, but with it's new host, Flash Thompson, Venom is a hero, often loosing control when near Spider-Man, other symbiotes, or the Scarlet Spider, and also has his own ongoing series.
- The Venom, Carnage, Lasher and Agony symbiotes are the only symbiotes to have been worn by both men and women. Normally, the symbiotes in general are worn by men.
- Carnage surpassed its "father" Venom by being the first symbiote shown to produce weapons from its limbs. It does not shoot webbing, but strands of tissue. There is some speculation that this is due to the symbiote's gestation on Earth.
- Toxin is said to be the most powerful symbiote of them all - having the abilities of both Venom and Carnage combined. Again, this may be due to his gestation on Earth.
- The Venom symbiote appears in Spider-Man 3.
- Scream appears as one of the villains in Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride.
- The Venom Symbiote (Active)
- Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Currently Spider-Man)
- Eddie Brock/Venom/Anti-Venom/Toxin (Currently Toxin)
- Anne Weying/She-Venom (Deceased)
- Patricia Robertson/She-Venom (Status Unknown)
- Angelo Fortunato/Venom (Deceased)
- Mac Gargan/Venom/Spider-Man (Currently Scorpion)
- Carol Danvers/Venom (Currently Captain Marvel)
- Flash Thompson/Agent Venom (Currently Flash Thompson)
- Andrea Benton/Mania (Currently Mania)
- Otto Octavius/"Peter Parker"/Superior Venom (Deceased)
- The Carnage Symbiote (Active)
- Cletus Kasady/Carnage (Currently Carnage)
- John Jameson/Carnage (Currently John Jameson)
- Ben Reilly/Spider-Man/Spider-Carnage (Deceased)
- Norrin Radd/Silver Surfer/Carnage Cosmic (Currently Silver Surfer)
- Tanis Nieves/Carnage (Currently Scorn)
- Dr. Karlin Malus/Carnage (Deceased)
- The Wizard/Carnage (Currently The Wizard)
- Carla Unger/Carnage (Deceased)
- Anti-Venom Symbiote (Deceased)
- Scream Symbiote (Deceased)
- Riot Symbiote (Active)
- Agony Symbiote (Active)
- Lasher Symbiote (Active)
- Scorn Symbiote (Active)
- Raza Longknife/Raza/Zzxz (Currently Raza)
- Marvel Universe contributors, Marvel.com, "Planet of the Symbiotes", Marvel.com, http://www.marvel.com/universe/Planet_of_the_Symbiotes (accessed January 27, 2007).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Xenophage," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Xenophage&oldid=92076406 (accessed January 27, 2007).
- Discuss Symbiotes on the forums
- Appearances of Symbiotes
- Media Symbiotes was Mentioned in
- Race Gallery: Symbiotes
- Images of Symbiotes
Links and References