Symbiote Codices are trace amounts of living abyss left in the bodies of symbiote hosts, with the greatest concentrations being found in the hosts' spinal cords. Intended to store and convey information about hosts to the Symbiote Hive, absorbing an extracted codex enables a symbiote to temporarily channel the personality, memories, and any unique powers that the codex's former host may have possessed. It was theorized by the Maker that if a symbiote that has been disconnected from the Hive-Mind absorbs enough codices, its connection will be restored; though the only symbiote this is shown to have worked for was the Dark Carnage symbiote - which already possessed a lingering connection to the symbiote god Knull due to being an offshoot of the Grendel symbiote-dragon, which Knull had created and indwelled.
While it generally takes forty-eight hours for a symbiote to fully bond to a host, anyone who bonds fully or partially to a symbiote for any length of time is left with a codex. Supernatural entities like demons can also be imbued with symbiote codices, and can transfer them into people who've never bonded to symbiotes themselves - for example, Alejandra Jones received a codex from her Spirit of Vengeance, from when both it and the Venom symbiote had bonded to Red Hulk.
The consciousnesses of hosts are preserved within the Symbiote Hive-Mind as codices, effectively making it an afterlife of sorts for deceased hosts. Hosts who have been bonded for lengthy periods of time are able to move freely through the Hive Mind, and can even subtly influence the world around them by manipulating ambient living abyss. The Hive-Mind also doubles as an afterlife for deceased symbiotes, with the Tyrannosaurus symbiote being reunited with Rex Strickland after its death. Should a metaphysical codex come into contact with a symbiote that still exists in the world of the living, they can merge with it to become incarnated through it, and they can also indwell symbiotes should their physical codex be consumed; as seen when Flash Thompson's codex temporarily assumed control of the Venom symbiote.
Codices can also affect the behavior and abilities of their hosts in various ways:
- Cletus Kasady's Carnage codex compelled him to travel to the Negative Zone and bond to a symbiote that had been imprisoned there, and he retained a psionic link to it even after they were separated.
- Eddie Brock maintained a psionic link to the Venom symbiote after they were forcibly separated by Flash Thompson's Anti-Venom symbiote.
- Claire Dixon was resurrected and empowered by the eldritch magic of the Darkhold, which her former symbiote - Raze - had been imbued with.
- Andi Benton's Mania codex attempted to warn her that she was in danger when the Cult of Knull began hunting former symbiote hosts.
Additionally, exposure to certain stimuli can cause codices to reconstitute themselves into fully-fledged symbiotes or pseudo-symbiotes, which under some circumstances has enabled deceased symbiotes to be resurrected:
- On multiple occasions, Cletus Kasady was able to regenerate the Carnage symbiote from remnants left in his bloodstream. Even when the symbiote had been seemingly completely extracted from him and eaten by Venom, he was able to reconstitute it by amalgamating the trace remnants of it left in his body with the symbiote he'd found in the Negative Zone. The remnants of the Carnage symbiote in Cletus' body attempted to repel a third symbiote that was being forcibly bonded to him by the Poisons and subsequently consumed to create Poison Carnage, but were suppressed until that Poisoned symbiote's death.
- The original Anti-Venom symbiote was formed when Eddie Brock's Venom codex was infused with Martin Li's Lightforce powers and merged with his white blood cells.
- Trace remnants of the Venom symbiote left in Mac Gargan's body were reactivated when Maniac bonded him to a piece of the Mania symbiote, transforming him into a Venomized version of the Scorpion.
- Eddie Brock amalgamated dozens of extracted codices from numerous symbiotes to form a powerful gestalt symbiote.
- Conan's deceased symbiote was resurrected when living abyss from a symbiote dragon interfaced with the codex it had left in his body.
Artificial symbiotes like Earth-1610's Venom and Carnage symbiotes, Earth-65's Venom symbiote, Earth-12041's symbiotes, and the Venom Virus do not leave codices in their hosts; though they can be amalgamated with codices to augment them.
- Venom Vol 4 #8
- Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1
- Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance #1
- Venom Vol 4 #33
- Venom Vol 4 #4
- Scream: Curse of Carnage #2
- Venom Vol 2 #1
- Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1
- Venom Vol 2 #13.4
- Venom Vol 4 #32
- Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #13-14
- Superior Carnage Annual #1
- Venom #159
- Venom #165
- Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
- Spider-Man Unlimited #1
- Minimum Carnage: Alpha #1
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #10
- Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #14
- Venom Vs. Carnage #1
- Superior Carnage #5
- Venomized #2
- Amazing Spider-Man #792
- Absolute Carnage #5
- Savage Avengers #17
- Venom Vol 4 #20
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