Symbiote Imperium (Earth-616) from Scream Curse of Carnage Vol 1 2 001

The birth of the Grendel symbiote.


The symbiote dragon that later became known as the Grendel was created billions of years ago by Knull, alongside a crimson symbiote dragon manifested from Knull's blood.[3] Sent out into the cosmos, the two symbiote dragons rampaged across the cosmos for billions of years, slaughtering pantheons of gods and driving the inhabitants of countless civilizations insane before devouring them.[4][1]

Symbiote Dragons (Earth-616) from Scream Curse of Carnage Vol 1 2 002

Attack on the Danes.

Viking Age

In the sixth century CE, the two symbiote dragons arrived on Earth and established a lair in a cave hidden behind a waterfall in Denmark. They embarked on a campaign of slaughter to subjugate the planet, razing entire cities to the ground and ravenously devouring any wildlife and humans they came across.[5] At some point following their arrival on Earth, a cannibalistic cult formed and began worshiping the symbiote dragons, erecting grotesque monuments in reverence of them.[6]

Coming to be known as the Grendel, the black symbiote dragon - which was being remote-piloted by Knull - began laying siege to Heorot Hall. Attacked by the Asgardian storm-god Thor Odinson, the Grendel attempted to kill him but was struck by Thor's divine lightning and trapped inside a glacier;[7][1][8][9] forming the basis of the legend of Beowulf slaying a dragon.[10]

Old Norse carvings depicting this battle were made by the symbiote-worshiping cult and reveal that pieces of the Grendel's living abyss fell to earth after its defeat and bonded to human hosts, bestowing the cult with knowledge of Knull and the symbiotes.[11]

Vietnam War

In 1965,[12] the Grendel's frozen body was discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D.,[8] who excavated it and extracted samples of its living abyss to study. Upon determining that the living abyss could transform living beings into predatory monsters, S.H.I.E.L.D. - under direction from the US government to create a replacement for Captain America - established the Sym-Soldier Program, a super-soldier program headed by Nick Fury.[4][13]

Upon realizing the Grendel was still alive, S.H.I.E.L.D. immediately began searching for a way to kill it, subjecting it to torturous experiments. However, they were unsuccessful and these efforts only sent its enraged offshoots on a killing spree in Vietnam.[8] After its offshoots were subdued, the Sym-Soldier Program was deemed a failure and shut down, with the Grendel being placed into storage in a remote S.H.I.E.L.D. facility alongside them.[4]

Modern Era

Having appropriated the shuttered Sym-Soldier Program's research and personnel, Weapon Plus established the Weapon V supersoldier program and began using samples of the Grendel symbiote to engineer suits of symbiote bio-armor, eventually learning how to sever their connection to the hive-mind.[12]

Following the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D.,[7] the Grendel and its offshoots were being transported to a top-secret location to be disposed of. After Venom interrupted the transport, the Grendel was awakened by Knull and reclaimed all but one of the offshoots extracted by the Sym-Soldier Program.[4] The Grendel began rampaging across Manhattan, withstanding attempts by the NYPD and United States Army to defeat it. Confronted by Venom and Spider-Man, the Grendel attempted to devour them and swallowed Miles, who unleashed his bioelectric Venom Blast from inside it. Destabilized, the Grendel collapsed and Knull used its living abyss to manifest an avatar.[14] Knocking Miles unconscious, Knull reformed the Grendel around himself, Spider-Man, and Eddie Brock - distracting the latter by telling him the history of the symbiotes - and flew into space; intent on locating and recovering its missing pieces and using it to free himself from Klyntar.[1]

After Venom merged with one of the Grendel's missing pieces, the Tyrannosaurus symbiote, it connected to the Hive-Mind and called out to Knull. The Grendel attacked Rex's base and attempted to devour Venom again, but was destabilized using the Jury's sonic grenades. Knull's manifestation managed to rip the Venom and Tyrannosaurus symbiotes from Eddie and tried to assimilate them into the Grendel symbiote, but Eddie detonated all the sonic grenades at once. With Knull's manifestation weakened by the resulting explosion, the Tyrannosaurus symbiote was able to rebel and drag him into the blast furnace; sacrificing itself to immolate the Grendel symbiote and seemingly killing Knull in the process.[15]


A small piece of the Grendel symbiote survived and was harvested by The Maker's organization, Project Oversight, before being stolen from his lab by the symbiote-worshipping cult and being bonded to Cletus Kasady.[16]

Additional samples of the Grendel symbiote remained in the possession of the Weapon V Program, which was attacked by Carnage and shut down during his rampage;[12] later restarted under Dr. Randall Pierce.[17]


Symbiote Physiology: As a symbiote-dragon the Grendel symbiote possessed deific powers owing to it having been directly created by Knull, making it vastly more powerful than lesser symbiotes. It was capable of interstellar flight, enabling it to annihilate entire civilizations across the universe.[18]

  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Stamina
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Superhuman Speed, Agility, and Reflexes
  • Accelerated Healing Factor
  • Camouflage Capabilities
  • Constituent-Matter Generation: Like other Klyntar, Grendel is capable of manifesting tendrils from its biomass, using them to attack prey.[7]
    • Offshoot Generation: Its constituent living abyss is capable of being separated into individual symbiotes that can be bonded to hosts.[8][19] The Grendel symbiote and its offshoots are also capable of reanimating corpses, which they have done to both Cletus Kasady and Emil Gregg.[11][20]
  • Constituent-Matter Manipulation


Electricity: it is particularly vulnerable to high voltages of electricity - being incapacitated by Thor's divine lightning and Miles Morales' bioelectric Venom Blast, which caused it to temporarily destabilize and unravel into an amorphous mass.[2][1]

Sonic and Heat: Like most symbiotes, the Grendel was vulnerable to heat and sound, though to a much lesser degree than most symbiotes.[1] In its dragon form it was capable of withstanding incendiary missiles fired at it by the US army;[2] and the Sym-Soldiers bonded to offshoots of the Grendel symbiote were capable of withstanding napalm flamethrowers, but were incapacitated by the explosion of Nick Fury's LMD during the Vietnam War.[8] Venom was able to use sonic grenades to temporarily incapacitate it, and almost destroyed it using a steel-smelting blast furnace, which Eddie described as "feeling like touching the sun."[15] Additionally, other symbiote-dragons were slain by the Silver Surfer conjuring stars within their bodies.[21][22]


Due to having manifesting a winged draconic shape, the Grendel and its ilk are capable of interstellar flight at hypersonic speeds.[21]


Grendel uses its fanged jaws, talons, wings, and tendrils as weapons.

  • The Grendel is one of many symbiote-dragons created by Knull, though Donny Cates collectively refers to all of them as Grendels in his scripts and interviews.[23]
  • Although it is established by Knull that all symbiotes are vulnerable to heat and sound,[1] Grendel was able to withstand missiles fired by the army.[2]
  • The Grendel in its draconic form and its fellow symbiote-dragons resemble the Black Berserkers created by Gorr using the All-Black symbiote, being hostless entities manifested from living abyss.
  • Despite being referred as Grendel, the character has no similarities to the actual mythological Grendel. It also seems that the character was confused with the Dragon, who is unrelated to Grendel and his mother.

Discover and Discuss


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Venom Vol 4 #4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Venom Vol 4 #3
  3. Scream: Curse of Carnage #2
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Venom Vol 4 #2
  5. Scream: Curse of Carnage #2 - 4
  6. Scream: Curse of Carnage #4
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Venom Vol 4 #1
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Web of Venom: Ve'Nam #1
  9. Scream: Curse of Carnage #3
  10. Cates, Donny (8 November 2018). DONNY CATES on Twitter: "The Grendel is an ancient symbiote dragon that was the basis for the Beowulf legend. Our Venom run is wild as hell man.". Twitter. Retrieved on 8 November 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Absolute Carnage: Weapon Plus #1
  13. Wolverine & Captain America: Weapon Plus #1
  14. Venom Vol 4 #2-3
  15. 15.0 15.1 Venom Vol 4 #6
  16. Venom Vol 4 #7
  17. Weapon Plus: World War IV #1
  18. Venom Vol 4 #2-4
  19. Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1
  20. Venom Vol 4 #16
  21. 21.0 21.1 Silver Surfer: Black #2
  22. Silver Surfer: Black #5
  23. Silver Surfer: Black #1 Director's Cut

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