- —Big Mother[src]
Billions of years in the past, the dark god Knull created a horde of symbiote dragons from the living abyss and dispatched them to wreak havoc across the cosmos. Manifested from Knull's divine blood, one symbiote dragon was red in color and took to accompanying one of its siblings in their interstellar feast.
In the sixth century, the two symbiote dragons made their way to Earth and began terrorizing the villages of Denmark. Claiming a flooded cave hidden behind a waterfall as their lair, the black symbiote dragon coming to be known as "Grendel" and the red symbiote dragon as "Grendel's Mother"; mistaken for the half-dark elf of the same name and his ogress mother by the local Danes. In time, cannibalistic cult arose worshiping the dragons, erecting grotesque monuments and offering sacrifices to them.
When the Grendel was struck down by the Asgardian storm-god Thor Odinson, the red symbiote dragon was enraged and attacked Heorot Hall in a vengeful rampage, killing Aeschere - the chief warrior of King Hrothgar - and several other Danes in retaliation. In retribution, Thor tracked the red symbiote dragon to its lair, the two of them battling in midair until Thor electrocuted it with Mjolnir, its unravelling body plummeting to the depths of the North Sea.
Following this, Thor's exploits were attributed to the Geatish prince Beowulf and were recorded by Anglo-Saxon poets in an epic entitled Beowulf - although numerous details were falsified. Grendel's Mother was misidentified as an ogress and the mother of the half-dark elf warrior Grendell - who had also purportedly been slain by Beowulf - and his brother; and the poem also erroneously put forth that she had been slain by Beowulf.
At some point, Grendel's Mother reconstituted itself into a quadrupedal draconic form with feminine attributes, and was somehow sealed away in a floating underground prison that slowly made its way from Scandinavia to the west coast of the United States. Learning of her existence, the evil sorcerer Merlin Demonspawn erroneously deduced that Grendel's Mother had been vanquished using Excalibur, and plotted to free her in order to obtain the goblet belonging to the dragon slain by Beowulf, which he believed was the Holy Grail.
In the early twenty-first century, Merlin Demonspawn unleashed Grendel's Mother from her prison so that she could wreak havoc on the world, but was incredulous when she transformed from a draconic beast into a feminine humanoid form. Before she could devour anyone, Marlo Chandler convinced her not to listen blindly to Merlin, arguing that he wanted something from her in exchange for her freedom. Confronting Merlin, Grendel's Mother demanded to know what he wanted of her, to which he replied that he desired the location of the dragon who had killed Beowulf. Grendel's Mother stated that she remembered the dragon of which Merlin spoke as well as the location of its lair, but refused to take him to it; angry that he thought that she would obey him simply because he had freed her. Their argument was interrupted by the arrival of Captain Marvel, Moondragon, and Al wearing Red Raven's armor.
Simply walking away in the chaos, Grendel's Mother quickly becoming enamored with the modern world and encountered booking agent Mordecai Boggs. Intrigued when he offered to make her a star, she signed a five-year contract to become a pro-wrestler under the gimmick of "Big Mother". However, Big Mother's rage and hatred were eventually rekindled when she learned that Thor was revered as a hero by the humans, and that her and her "son's" defeats had been falsified and glorified into an epic poem.
When Cul Borson was unleashed, Big Mother participated in a debate among powerful demons, elder gods, eldritch entities, and other dark gods held at the Devil's Advocacy over what should be done about the God of Fear, listening to Mephisto's suggestion that they should do nothing except sit back and enjoy the carnage.
Encounter with Scream
In the wake of Carnage's attack on New York City and Knull being unleashed, Big Mother established a lair in a shipwreck off the coast of Manhattan and began assembling an army of monstrosities formed from drowned corpses amalgamated with sea-life and reanimated by offshoot symbiotes, vowing to set right the lies told about her "son" by those who had written Beowulf and prepare the Earth for Knull's arrival.
Drawn to the Scream symbiote and hoping to claim it as a surrogate daughter, she began sending her reanimated monsters after the symbiote's host, Andi Benton. When Scream attempted to take the fight to her, Big Mother separated the Scream symbiote from Andi and left the human girl to drown. The Scream symbiote managed to escape and rebond to Andi, rebuking Big Mother's insistence that they were family. Angered by the Scream symbiote's continued refusal to comply, Big Mother foiled Scream's attempt to escape and ripped the lesser symbiote off its host once again, swallowing Andi whole as she tried to swim to the surface. The Scream symbiote rejected Big Mother again and rebonded to Andi, who as Scream ripped her way out of Big Mother's body.
Frustrated to the point of deciding to just kill Scream, Big Mother chased her to the surface and up the side of an under-construction skyscraper; Scream using a construction crane's cable as a makeshift noose in an attempt to lynch her - though the Scream symbiote noted this wouldn't be enough to kill her. As Big Mother struggled to free herself, she accidentally severed her own head, her last words to Andi being that Knull was coming. After her apparent death, Big Mother's body was claimed by the F.B.I.'s Anti-Symbiote Task Force.
Symbiote Physiology: Big Mother presumably originally possessed the same powers as her sibling/son Grendel and the other symbiote-dragons. However, her defeat at Thor's hands and centuries spent at the bottom of the ocean greatly weakened her and her connection to the Symbiote Hive-Mind.
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Durability: Grendel's Mother's strength is matched only by her durability. She can withstand a high degree of physical force without undue discomfort.
- Superhuman Speed, Agility, and Reflexes
- Accelerated Healing Factor
- Constituent-Matter Generation
- Offshoot Generation: Grendel's Mother's constituent matter is capable of being separated into individual symbiotes that can be bonded to hosts. Through this, she is capable of a form of necromancy - reanimating corpses and turning them into grotesque monsters by infusing them with living abyss.
- Constituent-Matter Manipulation: Grendel's Mother can assume the form of a large wyvern-like dragon, a feminine humanoid form, and an intermediary form combining aspects of both forms. It is believed that she can adapt other forms as well, but this has yet to be revealed.
- Flight: In her dragon form, Big Mother possesses wings capable of interstellar flight. However, her speed and rate of climb while in this form have never been measured, but can be assumed to be comparable to that of other symbiote dragons.
- Fire-Breath: She is capable of shooting powerful torrents of flame from her mouth, and can also shoot blue energy beams described as burning and freezing at the same time.
Magic: Big Mother purportedly possesses the ability to weave a variety of mystical enchantments, although the full range and limits of this power remains unknown. She purportedly once created an enchantment that rendered her son, Grendell, impervious to iron weaponry, forcing Beowulf to face him in hand-to-hand combat. This same enchantment also enabled Grendell to touch iron without being burned.
Although her prodigious size is her greatest asset, Big Mother is also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant.
Big Mother has fangs and claws she can use to attack her enemies, and she can also breathe fire hot enough to burn underwater.
- Her original moniker is given as "Grendel's Mother" in Captain Marvel (Vol. 4) #20-21, but as "Grendell's Mother" in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Horror 2005 #1. Her wrestling gimmick of "Big Mother" is also used as her primary alias in her handbook entries.
- Before her origin as a symbiote-dragon was revealed in Scream: Curse of Carnage #2, Big Mother was stated to have been an ogress allegedly descended from Cain in the Demons' entry of the Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities #1.
- Some of the creatures spawned by Mother resemble Fishmen and Star-Spawn.
- The character bears little resemblance to the actual character from Beowulf, and seems to have been conflated with the Dragon.
- 9 appearance(s) of Big Mother (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 3 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Big Mother (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Big Mother (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 3 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Big Mother (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 13 image(s) of Big Mother (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 5 quotation(s) by or about Big Mother (Symbiote) (Earth-616)