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Quote1 Been to many worlds, but none of them this strange. Understood feelings before, but simple feelings - like colors, bold and bright. Happy. Sad. Angry. Then... met Spider-Man. Feelings got complicated. Learned guilt. Also the first time I felt fear. Felt agony. Learned feeling: Betrayal. Learned first words they called me. Monster. Parasite. Bad.[...] Fells good to be a hero. Did do bad things, too. Can't deny. Mac Gargan was bad. Thoughts like poison stingers. It was a thrill to kill. Knew it was bad. Didn't care. Gargan made it easy. Got to punish Gargan for what he did. He was evil and afraid. Lee Price was not afraid. He was a soldier. Hurt and desesperate. I trusted him. Talked to him. But Lee was too strong. Didn't want to talk. Didn't want to be a hero. Wanted power. Couldn't stop the bad things he was doing. Lee was bad. Hurt me. Eddie hurts me too, sometimes, but Eddie is different. Eddie never means to.[...] if Eddie is good, why do we disagree? if disagree... am I a monster? parasite? bad? can't be bad. Wasn't bad with Flash. Fought with heroes. Was a hero. Trained another symbiote. Got to learn. Got to teach. Flash called me partner. Was never afraid like Spider-Man. But Flash is gone... and heroes don't hide. Not from anything... especially their mistakes. Quote2
-- Venom Symbiote src
 

Origins

In the distant past, the 998th generation of a lineage of symbiotes was born on the planet Klyntar, hatched from a clutch of eggs in a cavern.[3] As a member of the Agents of the Cosmos, its first host, an inhabitant of an icy world, proved to be evil and used the symbiote to carry out a genocide against his homeworld, twisting it into a predatory and hate-filled being addicted to rage.[4] Despite this, rather than seeking to dominate its subsequent hosts, the Klyntar desired to bond with and protect them.[5][6] As a result, it was imprisoned by its brethren, who considered it an aberration and feared it would contaminate the gene pool.[7] This prison was later inadvertently incorporated into the makeup of Battleworld by the Beyonder.[8]

Secret Wars

The symbiote's first human host was Deadpool, who came across its prison while on Battleworld after damaging his costume and wore the creature for a few minutes before realizing it was alive and interfacing with his mind. Concerned that his insanity would adversely affect it, Deadpool returned it to its prison moments before the arrival of Spider-Man, whose own suit had been damaged in battle as well. Spider-Man found the prison module the symbiote had been trapped in and activated the machine, which released the symbiote in the form of a black sphere. When Spider-Man touched the sphere, it covered his body and, reacting to Spider-Man's thoughts about the outfit worn by the second Spider-Woman, formed a new black and white costume. To Spider-Man's surprise, the suit could mimic street clothes and provided a seemingly inexhaustible and stronger supply of webbing.[9][10]

Playing Superhero

Once back on Earth, Spider-Man wore the costume for some time, but grew increasingly unnerved at its autonomy. Taking it to the Fantastic Four for analysis, he learned the suit was a sentient alien symbiote that wished to permanently bond with him and often controlled his body while he slept. With the aid of Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch, Spider-Man discovered the symbiote was vulnerable to sound and intense heat, and he used sonic waves to remove it and flames to scare it into a containment module.[11] The symbiote escaped and found its way to Peter Parker's closet, where it disguised itself as a spare red and blue uniform. When the Vulturions attacked, the symbiote revealed itself and attempted to forcibly bond itself to Spider-Man, who fled to the bell tower of the Our Lady of Saints Church. The bells rang to sound the hour, which, coupled with Spider-Man's rejection of it, weakened the alien and forced it to relinquish its hold on him. The symbiote, using its remaining strength, dragged Peter to safety before fleeing through the cracks of the floor to the lower levels of the church, which would lead Spider-Man to assume the symbiote had actually perished. Parker's rejection left the symbiote extremely bitter toward him, a trait it would share with most of its future hosts.[12] Spider-Man's then-current lover, Black Cat, thought the black costume was sexier and made him a cloth version of the it. Spider-Man switched back and forth between the two suits for some time until the symbiote returned in the form of Venom.

After being abandoned by Spider-Man, the symbiote spent several months recovering from its injuries, but sought out and bonded to Deadpool again when it was attacked by Killer Thrill, Guzz, and Coldwar, a trio of alien bounty hunters hired by the Collector to apprehend it.[13] The symbiote passed its positive emotions towards Spider-Man and desire to do good onto Deadpool, then subsequently took umbrage with his admiration of its former host, at one point refusing to shoot webbing when he was swinging between buildings,[14] and vehemently arguing with him when he was in the middle of a fight with Kraven the Hunter.[6] When Killer Thrill captured and tortured Spider-Man, the symbiote seized control of Deadpool, intervened, and ate her left arm. When it then tried to eat Spider-Man, Deadpool rejected it and it returned to Our Lady of Saints Church just in time to encounter its next host.[15]

Lethal Protector

Eddie Brock had been a reporter for the Daily Globe who was fired after Spider-Man debunked his story exposing the identity of the Sin-Eater, humiliating him and ruining his career to the point where he could only find work with cheap gossip magazines. Shortly before this, Brock had found out he had terminal adrenal cancer, and his writing was one of the only things that kept it off his mind. Contemplating suicide after being disowned by his father and divorced by his wife, Eddie entered Our Lady of Saint's Church to pray for forgiveness. Attracted by his fixation on Spider-Man and adrenaline-producing cancer, the symbiote bonded with Eddie and kept him alive. However, Eddie's hatred for Peter further twisted the symbiote's own feelings towards its former host into a fixation with either reclaiming or killing him.[5][15][16][17]

By this time, Spider-Man had married Mary Jane Watson, and Venom scared her horribly, causing her to ask Spider-Man to stop wearing the black costume and return to his original suit.[18]

Seeking revenge for his humiliation, realizing that the symbiote viewed Spider-Man as its ideal host and fearing that Spider-Man would accept the symbiote back, thus condemning him to death, Eddie sought to kill the webslinger. When bonded, Venom spoke using the first person plural (we), signifying that Brock and the symbiote were two separate entities joined together - although, on occasion, Eddie referred to it as "My Other and I". They fought Spider-Man many times, and came close to winning on several occasions. As well as fueling Eddie's rage against Spider-Man, the symbiote allowed him to indulge in a sporadic career as a vigilante. During a battle between Spider-Man, Styx, and Stone, the symbiote was seemingly killed by Styx's lethal touch.[19] It recovered and sought Eddie out, freeing him from prison while leaving an asexually-produced spawn behind. This spawn bonded to serial killer Cletus Kasady, becoming known as Carnage.[20] Carnage proved more powerful than its progenitor, forcing Spider-Man and Venom to call a truce, though Eddie would switch back and forth several times between either helping Spider-Man or fighting against him.

During this period, the Venom symbiote joined with Eddie's ex-wife Anne Weying on two occasions. The first bonding occurred when Anne was seriously wounded after being shot by the second Sin-Eater. With her condition rapidly deteriorating, the symbiote bonded with Anne on Eddie's insistence in order to save her. Under the influence of the symbiote, Anne impulsively murdered a pair of thugs, an act she instantly regretted.[21] The second time she bonded with the symbiote occurred in police custody. Used as bait to lure her ex-husband, Anne was once again joined with the symbiote after Eddie transferred his other through a telephone line, allowing her to escape. These instances proved traumatic for Anne, causing her to commit suicide later on.[22]

Venom was captured by the Life Foundation, which separated Eddie from the symbiote and forced it to give birth to five offspring: Riot, Lasher, Phage, Agony, and Scream. Eddie reclaimed the Venom symbiote, while its offspring were bonded to mercenaries hired by the Life Foundation.

During a battle between Venom, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four, the symbiote's tongue was severed and wound up in the possession of the Ararat Corporation, which used it to create a modified clone of the symbiote.[23] The Ararat Corporation intended for the clone to be assimilated by the original symbiote, whereupon it would induce the gestation of an army of symbiotes to exterminate all life on Earth.[24] While the original Venom symbiote succeeded in absorbing its clone, for unknown reasons the Ararat Corporation's plan never came to pass.[25]

Over time, the symbiote grew more powerful, developing an increased resistance to its weaknesses and learning how to speak. However, its growing bloodlust left Eddie unsettled, and when he refused to satiate its hunger it left him on two separate occasions to hunt on its own for prey and a more suitable host, seeking to return to Spider-Man.[26][16] Following a Christian reawakening, Eddie sold the symbiote to Don Fortunato after he discovered his cancer had returned.[27] Eddie was subsequently tormented by hallucinations of the symbiote, representing his dark impulses, and had a hand in determining Aunt May's fate when she was in the same hospital as him after being shot by a sniper hired by Wilson Fisk. After a long time of this figment of his imagination taking away his sanity, he spotted Aunt May and Mary Jane and had no idea what to do, but his dark side persuaded him to order a black suit similar to Peter's and put it on, apparently making the decision that would forever damn him. Although Eddie eventually resisted the hallucination's urging to murder the helpless May Parker, he implied he still desired to reunite with the symbiote, stating that "I'm the one in charge."[28]

Descent Into Villainy

Angelo Fortunato, the Don's son, became the second Venom for a brief period of time. Angelo was able to master the symbiote's powers after only a brief time spent bonded to it. However, the symbiote deemed him an unworthy host when he fled a battle with Spider-Man after being humiliated, and scornfully abandoned Angelo while he was jumping between buildings, the subsequent fall killing him.[29]

The Venom symbiote later approached MacDonald "Mac" Gargan, who was considered a low-level villain, offering him new abilities in exchange for killing Spider-Man. Gargan bonded with the creature, which would later give him an extra edge as part of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve. Even with these additional powers, he was still swiftly defeated by Spider-Man, as the Avengers dealt with the rest of the Twelve. Gargan later became a member of a sub-group of Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts, which was drafted by the Avengers to hunt down the members of the fugitive Secret Avengers. In order to keep the increasingly feral symbiote in check, the government outfitted Gargan with electrical implants. Despite this, over time Gargan's control over the symbiote declined, leading to him expressing nausea and fear of the organism despite being addicted to its power.[30] During a battle with the Steel Spider, Gargan lost control of the symbiote and devoured the antihero's arm.[31] Following this, Gargan was ostracized by his teammates but after being vehemently berated by a hallucination of the alien caused by the third Bluestreak,[32] he rapidly embraced the creature's bloodlust and came to gluttonously enjoy indulging its appetite, devouring other humans, Skrulls, Atlanteans, Kree, Asgardians, and squirrels.

When hunting for Spider-Man, the symbiote sensed a former host and led Gargan to Eddie Brock.[33] To Gargan's dismay, the symbiote tried to abandon him and return to its former host, who had been cured of his cancer by Martin Li. However, Li's Lightforce powers had altered remants of the Venom symbiote inside Eddie and caused them to form into a new, mindless symbiote called Anti-Venom.[34] Anti-Venom nearly killed the Venom symbiote, but Gargan managed to escape and it eventually recovered.[26]

As the symbiote's influence over him grew, Gargan became increasingly monstrous, but in preparation for announcing his Dark Avengers, Osborn developed a symbiote suppressant compound that granted Gargan increased control over the symbiote and allowed him to shift between his Venom form and a smaller form identical to Symbiote Spider-Man at will.[35]

During the events of Siege, Ms. Marvel managed to seperate Gargan from the symbiote while trying to help Spider-Man defeat Venom outside of Asgard. With Spider-Man's help, she was able to eventually pull it off of herself when she flew into some powerlines and expelled all the energy she had absorbed from them.[36] The symbiote returned to Gargan, but after the Dark Avengers' defeat the U.S. Military removed it from Gargan and took it into custody for study.[37]

Agent Venom

After the symbiote was removed from Gargan, the US military established Project Rebirth, an attempt to weaponize it as a suit of body armor. After a series of unsuccessful trials, the symbiote was assigned to Eugene "Flash" Thompson. When wearing it Flash was able to use it to create prosthetic legs and gained spider-powers. When bonded to Flash, the symbiote took on the appearance of body armor, later manifesting chitinous spikes and a more exoskeletal appearance, although when he lost control it would revert to its monstrous form. Researchers found out that there are 48 hour windows after the first contact with the symbiote until it totally bonds to its host, and as a result Flash was only allowed to wear it for the duration of missions. He also had a different link to the symbiote than previous hosts, using symbiote suppressant drugs to keep it from going on an out-of-control feeding frenzy, although the drug was imperfect and the symbiote was able to seize control if Flash became angry. As Venom, Flash battled the Crime-Master, and destroyed an illegal shipment of Vibranium. In retribution for this, the villain kidnapped Betty Brant, but gave the location to Thompson only if he swore not to bother him any more.[38]

During Spider-Island, Venom battled the Spider-Queen and infiltrated her hive dressed as her guard, Spider-King. When the Project Rebirth 2.0 headquarters was attacked, the symbiote temporarily bonded with Samson, a German Shepherd belonging to General Brad Dodge.[39] When Flash was dispatched to capture Eddie Brock so that the Anti-Venom symbiote could be used to cure the Spider-Virus, the symbiote abandoned him to rebond to its former host. By this point Eddie hated the Venom symbiote, and he was terrified at the prospect of being re-bonded to it, even shedding tears as it covered him. While the symbiote was jubilant to return to its former host, Flash was able to convince it to return to him by telling it that Eddie would constantly fight its control.[40] Along with Steve Rogers, Thompson killed the Spider-Queen, but she mutated into a giant spider-monster, which was later killed by Kaine.

Following this, the Crime-Master sent Jack O'Lantern to threaten Flash into carrying out missions for him to protect his family, the first of which was to steal the Toxin symbiote from Blackheart's lair in Las Vegas.[41] To protect his family, Flash went AWOL and fully bonded to the Venom symbiote, ending up helping Red Hulk - who had been sent by Captain America to retrieve him and the symbiote, Laura Kinney, and Ghost Rider stop Blackheart from unleashing Hell on Earth.[42] During the Circle of Four, the symbiote secretly bartered with Mephisto to recieve a Hell-Mark and siezed control of Flash in an attempt to claim the Spirit of Vengeance for itself, but was stopped by Blackheart. Flash gave Red Hulk the symbiote in conjunction with Ross bonding to the Spirit of Vengeance, becoming both Venom and Ghost Rider. After the events of Circle of Four, Red Hulk returned the symbiote to Flash.[43][44]

With Red Hulk's testimony, Flash was pardoned by Captian America in recognition of his heroism and made a member of the Secret Avengers, taking on the codename Agent Venom.[45] Dispatched to Doverton, Colorado as backup for the Mercury Team, the symbiote was separated from Flash and took over a silverback gorilla that had escaped from a zoo, using it to escape from a horde of other animals being controlled by the Carnage symbiote. It later left the gorilla and returned to Flash.[46]

While investigating the Department of Occult Armaments, Flash was ambushed by Daimon Hellstrom, who possessed the symbiote with a powerful demon in an attempt to turn it into one of his Monsters of Evil, which backfired due to the Hell-Mark.[16] To protect his friends and loved ones in New York, Flash subsequently moved the Philadelphia, struggling to cope with the supposedly lobotomized symbiote subconsciously undermining his control. However, he was followed by both Toxin and the Jack O'Lantern. When the latter tried to kill his neighbor Andi Benton, Flash sent what he thought was a small portion of the symbiote to protect her, though this turned out to be the symbiote's clone, which bonded to her. Calling herself Mania, Andi set out to avenge her father using the cloned symbiote, while Flash interrogated the original to find out what had happened. It scolded him for suppressing it and revealed it had shunted the Hell-Mark onto its clone to keep the demon from taking over them.[47]

When Flash returned to New York to investigate rumors that the Crime-Master had returned from the dead, he was attacked by the Superior Spider-Man and his Spiderlings. With the symbiote wounded, Agent Venom revealed his identity to Spider-Man in the hopes that he would be shown mercy, and escaped when Spider-Man tried to kill him.[48] Flash sought shelter with his friend Peter Parker, not knowing that he was Spider-Man and had been overtaken by his enemy Otto Octavius. "Peter" convinced Flash to undergo surgery to install high-tech prosthetics and used the opportunity to extract the Venom symbiote, intending on containing it in his lab. The symbiote, having grown more powerful in the years since Spider-Man had been its host, broke free and sought to return to its former host.[49] Sensing something was different about its old host that it disliked, the symbiote tried to return to Flash, but Otto forced it to remain bonded to him, revelling in its power. As the "Superior Venom", Otto became even more vicious and aggressive under the symbiote's influence, using extreme violence against even minor infractions and lashing out at Aunt May when she was insensitive towards Anna Maria Marconi's height. Mary Jane, thinking Peter had been overtaken by the symbiote, contacted the Avengers,[50] who engaged Venom in a fight just as he was about to kill some of Hobgoblin's gang members. With the symbiote's power, Otto was able to fight evenly with them, but he realized too late that the symbiote had been undermining his will and was taken over by it. When Flash arrived in Iron Man's armor and tried to convince it to return to him, Venom lashed out in rage at having been controlled by drugs. Unable to suppress it or expel it, Otto gave in to despair but was saved by the remnant of Peter Parker's psyche, who expelled the symbiote. The symbiote returned to Flash, and later informed him something was wrong with Spider-Man.[51]

Agent Venom joined Red Hulk's iteration of the Thunderbolts, although the violent methods the group employed undermined his control of the symbiote, enabling it to seize control and go on a feeding frenzy while on the Punisher's mission to exterminate the Paguro Family and their clients.[52] After this, Flash allowed the symbiote to take control of him in a test to see if the team could take him down, forcing them to work together to subdue it. Red Hulk offered to kill the creature, but Flash - needing it to survive and having become addicted to its power - refused and rebonded to it.[53]

Agent of the Cosmos

Eventually, Captain America asked Flash to take Tony Stark's place as a liaison for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Once in space, the symbiote changed its appearance to lose all semblance of body armor while maintaining an exoskeletal appearance and manifesting a jagged mouth. Sensing the symbiote's return to space, the Klyntar hive-mind reached out to it across the cosmos and tried to reconnect it to the symbiote hive-mind,[54] causing Flash to loose control of it as it lashed out in rage and confusion, taking on an insectoid appearance when berserk.[55] Seeking to return to Earth, Flash and the symbiote attacked the Guardians but were separated by Peter Quill and Rocket Raccoon. However, the symbiote escaped containment and took over the nearby Groot.[55]

After being separated from Groot by Drax, the symbiote took over Rocket, transforming his arms into biomechanical multi-barrelled guns and demanding the Guardians turn over their ship to it.[56] When Drax grabbed hold of Rocket, the symbiote immediately transferred over to him, using him to defeat the other Guardians and pilot the Milano to its destination: the symbiote homeworld.[56] The symbiote separated from Drax of its own accord, whereupon it was cleansed of its hatred and bloodlust, reintegrated into the Klyntar hivemind, and rebonded to Flash.[54]

After being purged of its bloodlust, the symbiote took on the appearance of bulky body armor with a face markedly resembling that of the Destroyer, though it could still manifest its signature fangs and tongue. After being cleansed, the symbiote developed the ability to hear the "voice" of the Cosmos, guiding it to those in need of protection; and the ability to take on humanoid form independently of its host for short periods of time.[57] Together with Flash, the symbiote acted as an Agent of the Cosmos, seeking to restore order across the universe.[58] After being separated from Flash by Gramosian space pirates, the symbiote bonded to their leader, Mercurio, as part of a ploy on Flash's and the symbiote's part in order to buy time for their allies to arrive and to obtain intel on Mercurio's armada.[59] However, the brief period of time the symbiote spent bonded to the warlord undid its Cleansing, and the symbiote eventually went berserk, rampaging across the planets it had helped alongside Flash. Seeking to corrupt Flash, it lured him to its first host's homeworld, where it attempted to take over him and drive him insane with his darkest memories.[60]

With the help of Flash's new allies, the symbiote was subdued and contained, and was taken to Klyntar to be re-Cleansed. Instead, it was placed on trial by the Agents of the Cosmos and nearly executed, but with Flash's help it managed to overcome its bloodlust and learned that its Cleansing had failed due to Mania having been corrupted and taken over by the Hell-Mark.[61]

Return to Earth

Flash returned to Earth partly to aid Carol Danvers against Tony Stark in the second Civil War, but also to seek out Mania. A spider-bot detected the presence of Flash and the symbiote, tracking them to Philadelphia. Believing the symbiote to be evil and that it had taken over his friend, Peter — as Spider-Man — ambushed Venom using anti-symbiote technology developed at Parker Industries. Despite both Flash and the symbiote protesting that they didn't want to fight, Spider-Man separated the symbiote from Flash, preparing to imprison it in his lab. Enraged, the Venom symbiote used its ability to take on humanoid form without a host to catch Peter by surprise and easily overwhelmed him. Trying to lead it away from civilians, Spider-Man quipped that they were old friends due to him being a former host, which to his surprise the symbiote didn't remember. The symbiote prevented Spider-Man from fleeing and bonded to him, but instead of taking over him it showed him memories of its birth and first host, explaining its origins and that the cleanse had purged it of all its memories except those of its original host — who had corrupted it and left it with an addiction to rage — and Flash Thompson. The symbiote noted that Peter was teeming with rage towards it, and sincerely apologized for everything it had done to him, stating that it was no longer the Venom he knew and hated. The symbiote released Spider-Man and returned to Flash, who explained that he and the symbiote had returned to Earth to find Mania, Venom's corrupted clone and its protégé. Accepting that the symbiote had changed for the better, Spider-Man volunteered to help Venom find Mania, and assisted in capturing her before returning to New York.[41]

Andi, corrupted by the Hell-Mark, tried to take both the Mania and Venom symbiotes from Flash, but Venom's allies arrived in time to stop her and suppress the demonic corruption.[62] Some time later the FBI, seeking to return possession of the symbiote to the US Government, hunted Flash down and attacked him with a suit of powered armor equipped with anti-symbiote weaponry, separating him from the symbiote and sending into a feral state. While it regained control of itself, the symbiote did not return to Flash out of shame at enjoying being bloodthirsty and angry.[63]

In search of a new host after being separated from Flash Thompson, the symbiote came across former Army Ranger Lee Price when he was about to be gunned down in a shootout between Tombstone's gang and Black Cat's gang. It bonded to him to protect him and was initially excited to discover he was a soldier, but was quickly horrified when he dominated it with his will and proceeded to massacre both groups of gangs, forcing the memories of his traumatic childhood on it to shut it up when it protested.[64] The symbiote subsequently engaged in a mental argument with Lee, berating him over his actions and callous attitude while accidentally revealing its own sanguine past. Unable to directly control Lee due to his Army Rangers training, the symbiote resigned itself to being bonded to him, but attempted to sabotage his application to Black Cat's gang by causing him to vomit, and tried to refuse to aid him in fighting off the assassin sent by Tombstone to kill him.[65]

Two FBI agents soon learned of Venom's new host and tried to force him into becoming informant, threatening to reveal his identity to the public if he didn't comply, thus risking turning him into a target for law enforcement agencies and vigilantes.[66] When the plan of the FBI agents fell through, Eddie Brock and his anti-symbiotic task force set out to capture him.[67] Spider-Man helped the FBI separate the symbiote from Lee, tricking Venom into thinking he wanted to become its host again. Lee was arrested by the NYPD subsequently while the symbiote was taken to the FBI.[68]

Return of the Lethal Protector

Before the suit could be handed over to Alpha Flight, Brock broke it free and became Venom once again.[68] However, he was determined to ensure that his relationship to it was different from what it had been when they first bonded. The symbiote's relapse into corruption made this difficult, as it was violently possessive towards him, viciously attacking a priest who it perceived as undermining Eddie's desire to be bonded to it.[63] Knowing that the symbiote had recently been heroic and wanting to understand why it was relapsing into its predatory corrupted state, Eddie sought the help of Alchemax,[69] and learned that his body had been rendered nearly inhospitable to symbiotes a result of being saturated with symbiote suppressant drugs during his time with the FBI.[70] Alchemax decided to help Eddie if he brought Stegron to them along with the equipment he stoled. Doing so, they gave him a medicine that would rebalance Eddie's metabolism so his body wouldn't reject the Klyntar.

Together, they arrested criminals and the symbiote felt good to be a hero again. However, the symbiote sometimes made Eddie sleep longer so it can think while watching TV, subconsciously influencing Eddie in order to fight criminals. The symbiote was concerned at feeling emotions contradictory to those of its host, such as feeling joy in contrast to Eddie's anger when he was unable to sell the television. With the effects of its cleansing ending, the symbiote was able to remember its previous hosts and the influences they'd had on it, lamenting having been separated from Flash. In its quest for redemption for everything it had done through the years, it payed a visit to the priest it have priviosly attacked, asking for forgiviness. After a brief conversation, the symbiote realized why Eddie had talked to the priest and it was happy he hadn't died, promising him its protection.[71]

Personality

While it initially did not act independently of its host, the Venom symbiote is a fully sentient being with its own personality. The symbiote's disastrous bonding with its first host, who used it to carry out a genocide against his homeworld, left it corrupted and addicted to rage.[3] Despite this, the symbiote desired to protect and help its hosts, often by transforming them into predators.[5] This desire to "[play] super hero"[13] led to its imprisonment by other corrupt Klyntar. Before coming to earth, it was only able to understand simple emotions like happiness, anger, and sadness.[71]

Prior to its cleansing, the symbiote considered Peter Parker to be its ideal host, and through bonding with him it developed a basic understanding of complex emotions.[13][71] The heartbreak of Peter's rejection, coupled with the danger it found itself in soon afterward, filled the symbiote with rage towards Spider-Man.[6] While Deadpool worried interfacing with his twisted mind would have adverse effects on its sanity,[9] he attempted to have a positive influence on the creature and persuade it to let go of its rage and hatred.[6] Instead, the symbiote passed its positive emotions towards Spider-Man and desire to do good onto him, leaving it with only rage and hatred.[15] That, possibly combined with the influence of Deadpool's insanity, transformed the desire it still felt for him into a vengeful obsession with either rebonding to or killing him, and was an emotion it shared with its third and fifth human hosts, Eddie Brock and Mac Gargan. In spite of considering him to be an inferior host, prior to Eddie bonding to the Toxin symbiote, the Venom symbiote displayed a similar kill-or-reclaim attitude towards him as it did towards Spider-Man.[40]

As its corruption worsened, the symbiote became arrogant, scornful, and sadistic; berating its hosts for their shortcomings: it openly considered Eddie Brock to be a second-rate host compared to Peter Parker;[72] deemed Angelo Fortunato an unworthy host for not possessing enough "venom", leaving him to fall to his death;[73] berated Mac Gargan over his reluctance to give in to its bloodlust;[74] and repeatedly criticized Flash Thompson for suppressing it with chemicals.[44][51] It possessed an instinctual hatred towards its progeny Carnage and Toxin, stating at one point that familial love was anathema to their kind.[75] Despite this, it has been noted that the symbiote is incapable of lying, and as such is brutally honest when permitted to talk.[53]

The symbiote also became increasingly bloodthirsty, twice abandoning Eddie Brock when he refused to satiate its growing hunger for human flesh.[76][77] When bonded to Mac Gargan, the symbiote's bloodlust grew so intense that its host was initially terrified of its influence over him, and was ultimately driven to willingly commit cannibalism to satiate its ravenous hunger. Before the symbiote was cleansed, Flash Thompson had to take drugs to suppress it, but it would frequently undermine his control and rampage. At the time it killed and cannibalized people, it didn't knew killing is wrong.

The Venom symbiote has a habit of abandoning its current host to return to a prior one or to seek out a stronger one: attempting to abandon Eddie Brock on several occasions to return to Spider-Man; seeking to leave Mac Gargan and Flash Thompson to return to Eddie Brock once his cancer was cured;[34][40] and returning to Spider-Man once separated from Flash Thompson.[49][78] The symbiote also once attempted to leave Flash and bond to Kaine, though Flash prevented it from doing so through sheer force of will.[79]

For unknown reasons, the Venom symbiote bargained with Mephisto to obtain a Hell Mark,[80] and seized control of Flash in an attempt to merge with Zarathos.[43] Following Flash being possessed by a demon, he wondered if the symbiote was co-operating with the demon to overcome their respective handicaps,[81] but ultimately the symbiote expelled the demon into its clone to prevent it from taking them over. The symbiote deeply resented Flash's use of drugs to suppress it, berating him in a mental conversation and lashing out at him when bonded to Otto Octavius.[44][51]

After being reconnected to the Klyntar hive mind, the symbiote's memories were purged in order to cleanse it of its bloodlust.[54][3] Following this, the Venom symbiote was repentant, docile, and subservient to Flash, who expressed concern that his own hot-headedness could have adverse affects on it.[82] Speaking independently, the symbiote admitted to preferring Flash as a host, and that while it now possessed the ability to operate without a host it preferred being bonded to him, calling him its partner and friend.[57][3] However, following the symbiote briefly bonding to Mercurio, it began to relapse back into its bloodthirsty, hate-filled state.[60] While it initially reveled in being restored to its old self and attempted to corrupt Flash, after being put on trial by the Agents of the Cosmos the Venom symbiote managed to suppress its rage with Flash's help.[61] In a mental conversation with Spider-Man, the symbiote admitted it was addicted to rage as a result of its first host, and expressed genuine remorse for everything it had done to Spider-Man.[3] When Venom reabsorbed Mania and took the elixir that would revert its corruption, it became finally pure, although it was revealed that the effects were only temporary and could not prevent the Hell-Mark from re-corrupting its clone.[62]

Flash resumed his Agent Venom persona and returned to New York with Mania, but was attacked by the FBI using an anti-symbiote suit of powered armour. Agent Venom was struck by a beam that separated the symbiote from its host, and it relapsed into its bloodthirsty state and abandoned its host, thus, the effects of the elixir were ending rapidly.[63] Coming to its senses and in a weakened state, the symbiote bonded to a homeless man and began searching for a worthy host. The Venom symbiote came across an arms deal gone bad and bonded to a former Army Ranger named Lee Price in order to protect him from being shot. It was initially overjoyed to be bonded to another soldier, but was subsequently horrified when Lee used it to slaughter the members of Tombstone's and Black Cat's gangs present at a botched arms deal.[64] Revolted by Lee's callousness and casual attitude towards murder, the symbiote berated and threatened Lee in an attempt to intimidate him, and even attempted to take over him, but was suppressed by his army training. Unable to control him directly, it resigned itself to being bonded to him but was still able to influence his autonomous nervous system in order to sabotage his application to join Black Cat's gang - having somehow regained its memories of its former hosts and recognized Mac Gargan. Given its unwillingness to commit acts of violence, it attempted to refuse to help Lee if he intended to use it to hurt or kill people. However, it was in desperate need of a host and thus forced to compromise, and was unable to stop Lee from abusing its power.[65] Price's influence began to corrupt the symbiote despite its efforts to oppose him,[83] and following Spider-Man tricking it and helping the FBI capture it, the symbiote's hatred towards its former host was rekindled,[68] though it later revealed it knew Eddie had tricked Spider-Man.[69]

After returning to Eddie Brock, the symbiote was re-corrupted but still desired to be a hero. However, its growing rage and bloodlust, coupled with its possessiveness towards Eddie, led to it violently lashing out at and trying to kill those it perceived as threatening its bond with him, such as a priest who suggested Eddie reconsider re-entering into a previously abusive relationship.[63] Alchemax scientist Dr. Steven determined the main cause of this behavior to be that Eddie's metabolism had been altered by the symbiote suppressant drugs he took during his stint with the FBI, which rendered his body inhospitable to the symbiote. This induced toxic shock syndrome in it, causing it to physically deteriorate and accelerate its psychological degeneration into its corrupted state. Alchemax developed a cure to their condition, causing it to regain its mental stability when dosed with the medication. Recalling its previous hosts, good and bad, and how they had affected it, the symbiote resolved to continue following Flash Thompson's example and apologize to the priest it had previously attacked. Despite initially being afraid, the priest accepted its apology and advised it to do everything int its power to earn the love of those it cared about. Somewhat missing the point, the symbiote decided to do so "by crushing criminals," telling the priest that it was slowly learning.[71] However, with its re-corruption, the symbiote's appetite for flesh returned, causing problems for Eddie in both his crime-fighting and search for a new job.[84]

Powers

Even without a host, the Venom symbiote is capable of freely extending its biomass into tentacles and tendrils, and can form a fanged mouth and large white eyespots. When bonded to a host, it can shapeshift to mimic any type of clothing whatsoever, as well as blending Venom in with his surroundings, rendering him invisible. The Symbiote has augmented all of its host's physical abilities to superhuman levels equal to, and in some cases greater than, Spider-Man's. In addition, as a result of the access it had to Peter Parker's genetic code when bonded to him, it bestows its host with similar abilities.[64]

Venom (Eddie Brock): The third human individual to bond with the symbiote was Edward Brock. Naturally the symbiote chose to endow Eddie with most of the powers Spider-Man had, but the symbiote via Brock's innovative mentality managed to create some new powers and even mutate over time.

  • Superhuman Strength: Before he came into contact with the costume, Brock had conditioned himself to lift (press) 700 lb.[85] Once they merged, the costume added Spider-Man’s superhuman strength to Brock’s vast human strength, making him more powerful than Spider-Man. However, his full strength often fluctuates. Venom has demonstrated strength ranging from only slightly greater than Spider-Man's to being capable of trading blows with high-powered individuals such as Juggernaut. This is caused by the several mutations that the symbiote took with Brock, gaining additional bulk and muscle mass over long periods of time with its host.
  • Superhuman Durability: Venom's body is highly resistant to physical injury, capable of withstanding assault from high-caliber bullets as well as attacks from super powered individuals. When distributed at a typical thickness over Brock's body, the symbiote is capable of absorbing bullets from small-arms weapons firing conventional ammunition. The symbiote is however particularly vulnerable to both sonic and heat-based attacks.
  • Superhuman Stamina: Venom is also capable of surviving in harmful areas for long periods of time such as underwater or in toxic gases, the symbiote filtering breathable air to the host.
  • Regenerative Healing Factor: Additionally, the symbiote is capable of healing injuries in the host at a faster rate than normal human healing allows. The symbiote is also capable of healing injuries and illnesses that current human medical care cannot such as cancer. The symbiote has enabled its host to recover from injuries that should have been lethal, such as Mac Gargan having most of his abdomen vaporized by the Swordsman's Makluan Sword;[86][87] and Flash Thompson being impaled by Toxin's blade-arm,[88] and having his head sliced in half by Jack O'Lantern V's scythe.[89]
  • Genetic Memory: The symbiote possesses some psychic ability, making it capable of obtaining information from its hosts and even other people and symbiotes simply by touch; The symbiote is capable of recalling information from previous hosts. This ability allowed Eddie Brock to know the secret identity of Spider-Man when the symbiote bonded with him. It can however, be forced to forget information if the symbiote is inflicted with heavy trauma.
  • Offspring Detection: The symbiote is also capable of psychically detecting its offspring, however with effort this ability can be blocked.
  • Wall-Crawling: The alien costume also replicates Spider-Man’s ability to cling to walls by controlling the flux of inter-atomic attraction between molecular boundary layers.
  • Webbing Generation: Venom can shoot strands of the alien’s substance in the form of "webbing" at high pressure up to a distance of 70 feet. The alien’s substance seems to be composed of tough, flexible fibers of organic polymers, which regenerate swiftly after "shedding." The strands have extraordinary adhesive properties, which diminish rapidly once they abandon their living source. After about three hours, with no source to nourish them, the strands dry up like dead skin and dissolve into a powder. The strands possess a tensile strength of 125 pounds per square millimeter of cross section. The one limitation to this ability was used to Spider-Man's advantage during their second bout; Since the webbing itself comprises the costume, if Venom generates too much he will be left vulnerable as the symbiote is weakened and unable to replenish his lost mass for a short period of time. In addition to creating webbing, Brock can use the symbiote in the form of tentacles or tendrils to attack or ensnare his opponents.
  • Constituent-Matter Generation: Venom can also use the same substance comprising the symbiote in the form of constituent black matter or goo, and uses it in this method for lethal force against criminals. Venom can send a part of the symbiote and direct its movements into a victim's body, smothering them from the inside.[90]
  • Constituent-Matter Manipulation: While the symbiote did not use this ability frequently when bonded to Eddie Brock, it was capable of transforming parts of its host's body: it once morphed Venom's arms into bat-like wings to let him glide, and turned his hands into scythe-like hooks.[91] He could also project its biomass into a multi-layered shield.[92] When bonded to Mac Gargan, it used this ability to grow a tail, emulating Gargan's appearance as the Scorpion.[93] When bonded to Flash Thompson, the symbiote regularly displayed the ability to morph sections of Agent Venom's body, such as his hands or feet, into spikes, blades, axes or a shield.
  • ESP (Spider-Sense): Venom also possesses an extrasensory ability similar to Spider-Man’s spider-sense. This response is not as complicated as Spider-Man’s inherent sense since the alien costume can detect danger from every direction and conduct Brock in plenty of time. It's a lot more efficient than Spider-Man’s spider-sense because it takes less time to sense the danger, and Brock’s reflexes are faster than Spider-Man’s, because they are enhanced by the alien costume for instance Venom can dodge a gunshot or a barrage of bullets.
  • Immunity to Spider-Man's Spider Sense: Due to Spider-Man being a host to the symbiote, Venom, and his offspring, is able to bypass Spider-Man's spider-sense. Venom is capable of attacking Spider-Man without alerting him, making Venom a deadly foe. It should be noted that as Ben Reilly was cloned from Peter before he bonded with Venom, Eddie was not immune to his spider sense.
  • Camouflage Capabilities: The symbiote is capable of mimicking the appearance of any form of clothing, camouflaging with its surroundings, and even mimicking other people. Brock's preferred form of clothing was a black shirt, jacket and pants.
  • Poisonous Fangs: An ability developed by Eddie Brock upon bonding with the symbiote. Originally he commanded the symbiote to sprout a maniacal grin and tongue, differentiating him from Spider-Man. Later it is revealed that this set of fangs not only intimidates foes but can deliver a powerful, venomous bite (true to Brock's namesake). This bite was able to cripple the Sandman, eventually leaving the villain turned hero unable to reform himself properly, presumably causing his death.[94]
  • Stretching and deforming: Although it's wide known that the symbiote can stretch and deform itself, recently it was able to perform this ability during bonded with a human host. Venom can expand to any size as long as they have something to grow on such as a host or an object. Symbiotes can get inside of small areas such as electric wires and the insides of cars and completely disable them.
  • Parasitic Inheritance: The symbiote can copy the powers and abilities of other beings. It has been recently discovered, that the symbiote can recall and mimic the powers and abilities of previous hosts. Venom has also adapted the spider powers from Spider-Man.
  • Shapeshifting: The Symbiote allows the user shape-shifting abilities. Venom can mimic clothing, and completely change its appearance and stature.

Agent Venom (Flash Thompson): After the US military bonded the symbiote to Flash Thompson as the fourth host of the symbiote, it displayed all of the above abilities as well as developing a few new ones as a result of being connected to the Klyntar hive mind.

  • Hive Mind: After being purged of its bloodlust, the symbiote gained access to the Klyntar hive mind, enabling it to communicate with the symbiotes on their homeworld and access information about the species' past.
  • Cosmos Communion: As a cleansed Klyntar, the Venom symbiote is able to hear the "voice" of the Cosmos telling it of people in need of assistance.[95]
  • Humanoid Form: Since being cleansed, the symbiote has developed the ability to take on a humanoid form independently of being bonded to its host, for a maximum duration of twelve Earth hours.[57]

Strength level

The symbiote has enabled its hosts to lift up to 70 tons in their regular size, this is not their true limit as their strength increases with their variable muscle mass.

Weaknesses

Sonic and Heat: The Symbiote is extremely sensitive to sonic and thermal attacks, making it vulnerable, although the degree of sensitivity has varied over time and the symbiote has built up a resistance.[96]

Accelerated Corruption and Degeneration: After the symbiote returned to Eddie Brock, it's psychological corruption accelerated and was accompanied by physiological degeneration. Alchemax scientist Dr. Steven analyzed a piece of the symbiote and determined that Eddie's body had been rendered inhospitable to the symbiote through prolonged exposure to symbiote suppressant chemicals during his time with the FBI.[97]


  • A notable aspect of the Venom symbiote in its portrayal in the show Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the comic series Ultimate Spider-Man and the film Spider-Man 3 is that it caused its host to bring out their most aggressive and violent side. In the comics, this aspect of the symbiote originally didn't exist.
  • The symbiote shares similar aspects with the Xenomorphs from the cinematic franchise Aliens. Both species need a host, are able to walk on walls, and it can become increasingly powerful depending on their host.
  • The idea of the black suited Spider-Man was originally conceived of by a Marvel Comics reader from Norridge, Illinois named Randy Schueller.[98]
  • The idea of a self-healing alien costume was originally conceived by John Byrne for Iron Fist. However, Iron Fist merged into Power Man and Iron Fist, and Byrne left the book with his collaborator Chris Claremont not long after that. When Roger Stern introduced Spider-Man's black suit spinning out of Secret Wars years later, he asked Byrne, with whom he was friends, permission to use his idea of the sentient costume.[99]

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man Vol 1
  2. Venom Vol 2 #2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Venom: Space Knight #12
  4. Venom: Space Knight #8
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Venom: Dark Origin #4
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Deadpool: Back in Black #4
  7. Venom Super Special #1
  8. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars #3
  10. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8
  11. Amazing Spider-Man #252-258
  12. Web of Spider-Man #1
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Deadpool: Back in Black #1
  14. Deadpool: Back in Black #3
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Deadpool: Back in Black #5
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 2 #3-5
  17. Venom Vol 2 #4
  18. Amazing Spider-Man #298-300
  19. Amazing Spider-Man #333
  20. Amazing Spider-Man #361
  21. Venom Sinner Takes All #3
  22. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 2 #19
  23. Venom #11-13
  24. Venom #16
  25. Venom #18
  26. 26.0 26.1 Venom The Hunger #1-4
  27. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #7
  28. Sensational Spider-Man Vol 2 #38-39
  29. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #5-8
  30. Thunderbolts #112
  31. Thunderbolts #115
  32. Thunderbolts #118-119
  33. Amazing Spider-Man #568
  34. 34.0 34.1 Amazing Spider-Man #569
  35. Dark Avengers #1
  36. Siege: Spider-Man #1
  37. Amazing Spider-Man #648
  38. Venom Vol 2 #1-2
  39. Venom Vol 2 #6
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Venom Vol 2 #7
  41. 41.0 41.1 Venom Vol 2 #10-12
  42. Venom Vol 2 #13-14
  43. 43.0 43.1 Venom Vol 2 #13.4
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Venom Vol 2 #41
  45. Secret Avengers #23
  46. Carnage, U.S.A. #5
  47. Venom Vol 2 #38-41
  48. Superior Spider-Man #22
  49. 49.0 49.1 Superior Spider-Man #23
  50. Superior Spider-Man #24
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Superior Spider-Man #25
  52. Thunderbolts Vol 2 #17
  53. 53.0 53.1 Thunderbolts Vol 2 #23
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 #23
  55. 55.0 55.1 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 #21
  56. 56.0 56.1 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 #22
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 Venom: Space Knight #4
  58. Venom: Space Knight #1-3
  59. Venom: Space Knight #5-6
  60. 60.0 60.1 Venom: Space Knight #7-9
  61. 61.0 61.1 Venom: Space Knight #10
  62. 62.0 62.1 Venom: Space Knight #13
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 Venom #150
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Venom Vol 3 #1
  65. 65.0 65.1 Venom Vol 3 #2
  66. Venom Vol 3 #3
  67. Venom Vol 3 #5
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 Venom Vol 3 #6
  69. 69.0 69.1 Venom #151
  70. Venom #153
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 Venom #154
  72. The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 2 #3
  73. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #8
  74. Thunderbolts #118
  75. Venom Vs. Carnage #1
  76. Venom The Hunger #1
  77. The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 2 #1
  78. Venom: Space Knight #11
  79. Scarlet Spider Vol 2 #10
  80. Venom Vol 2 #42
  81. Venom Vol 2 #30
  82. Venom: Space Knight #1
  83. Venom Vol 3 #4
  84. Venom #155
  85. Spider-Man: Brand New Day Yearbook - 2008
  86. Thunderbolts #119
  87. Thunderbolts #120
  88. Venom Vol 2 #32
  89. Venom Vol 2 #38
  90. Venom Lethal Protector #1
  91. Nova Vol 3 #7
  92. Venom The Mace #2
  93. Beyond #1
  94. Spider-Man: The Ultimate Guide (Hardcover) page 151
  95. Venom: Space Knight #2
  96. Venom Along Came a Spider #4
  97. Venom #152
  98. Brian Cronin (May 16, 2007). Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed Extra: Randy Schueller’s Brush With Comic History | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources. Comic Book Resources.
  99. Cronin, Brian (11 February 2017). Comic Legends: How Iron Fist Gave Us Venom. CBR. Retrieved on 11 February 2017.



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