Early Life

In order to facilitate his conquest of the universe, Knull manifested a fleet of wyvern-shaped monsters out of the living abyss, using them as mounts or indwelling them and dispatching them to devour entire civilizations.[7][4][8] While the symbiote-dragons themselves did not require hosts, their constituent living abyss could be used to infect others with offshoots, turning them into monsters under Knull's control.[9]

Viking Age

In the sixth century CE, a symbiote-dragon being directly controlled by Knull attacked Earth, devouring several Norse soldiers before being blasted by Thor's divine lightning and trapped inside a glacier,[10][4] forming the basis of the legend of Beowulf slaying a dragon.[11] Ancient carvings indicate that pieces of the Grendel fell to earth after its defeat and bonded to human hosts, founding a secret apocalyptic cult dedicated to the worship of Knull and the symbiotes.[2]

Grendel (Klyntar) (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 4 2 001

The Grendel's dragon form.

Vietnam War

In 1965,[12] the Grendel's frozen body was discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D.,[13] who excavated it and used samples of its living abyss to create the Sym-Soldier Program, a super-soldier program headed by Nick Fury.[7][14] Upon realizing it 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.[13] After its offshoots were subdued, the Grendel was placed into storage in a remote S.H.I.E.L.D. facility alongside them.[7]

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 bioarmor, eventually learning how to sever their connection to the hive-mind.[12]

Following the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D.,[10] 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 started wreaking havoc in New York, reclaiming all but one of its offshoots. It was subdued by Venom and Spider-Man until Knull used its living abyss to manifest an avatar.[15] 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 recovering its missing piece and using it to free himself from Klyntar.[4]

After Venom merged with the Grendel's missing piece, the Tyrannosaurus symbiote called out to Knull, who attacked Rex's base. Despite the Grendel symbiote being 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, 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 -- seemingly killing Knull in the process.[16] However, a 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.[17]

Grendel (Klyntar) (Earth-616), Cletus Kasady (Earth-616), Scorn (Klyntar) (Earth-616), and Tanis Nieves (Earth-616) from Web of Venom - Carnage Born Vol 1 1 001

Bonded to Cletus Kasady and in the thrall of Knull.

The cult's leader, Scorn, bonded the remnants of the Grendel symbiote to Cletus Kasady's corpse in hopes that Knull would be able to use him as an avatar, reanimating the serial killer and causing him to take on an appearance identical to Venom and the Sym-Soldiers' berserk forms. Knull and Cletus struggled for control over the latter's body until the Grendel's connection was severed when it assimilated the codex - trace remnants of symbiote matter left in former hosts - that the Carnage symbiote had left in Scorn; causing it to take on the Carnage symbiote's appearance. Carnage decided to free Knull, and was told that in order to do so he would have to consume the codexes of all the other symbiotes, thereby making the Grendel symbiote complete.[2]

In order to accrue an army of minions, Carnage conquered the Underground City that Venom had once protected, establishing a spire formed of the Grendel symbiote, and began infecting homeless people and animals with pieces of the symbiote. Carnage sent his minions to locate those who had bonded to symbiotes, though this attracted the attention of the Venom symbiote.[18] While harvesting the codexes of Doverton, Carnage bonded offshoots of the Grendel symbiote to Eric Morell and John Jameson, killing the former to harvest its codex and turning the latter into a sleeper agent.[19] By the time Carnage hunted down Andi Benton - former host of the Mania symbiote - the Grendel symbiote had manifested a white version of Knull's spiral emblem on its forehead, and was powerful enough that Carnage could laugh off being blasted by hellfire and easily slaughter the Monsters of Evil, forcing Andi to flee into Hell to escape.[20] Eventually returning to New York, Carnage laid low during the War of the Realms, establishing a symbiote spire in the subway tunnels under Grand Street and continuing to use the Grendel symbiote to assemble an army of infected rats, pigeons, and homeless people;[21] sending them to hunt down former symbiote hosts.[22][23][24] He also used the symbiote to reanimate Emil Gregg, the purportedly fake Sin-Eater who'd ruined Eddie Brock's journalistic career, and sent him after Eddie.[25]

Cletus Kasady (Earth-616), Norman Osborn (Earth-616), and Grendel (Klyntar) (Earth-616) from Absolute Carnage Vol 1 1 002

The Grendel symbiote during Absolute Carnage.

Seeking to get close to Lee Price - the Mania symbiote's then-current host, Cletus used the Grendel symbiote to impersonate Eddie Brock in order to discredit him and allowed himself to be arrested. After assimilating the Mania symbiote, the Grendel symbiote took on a towering skeletal appearance, manifesting a yellow-white dragon/spider emblem on its chest and angular projections on its upper back.[26] When finally ready to move in the open, Kasady transformed the civilians he'd infected with pieces of the Grendel symbiote into four-armed monsters resembling the Doppelganger,[27] and unleashed them to wreak havoc on the city.[28]

The Grendel symbiote's link to its offshoots was diminished when the spires underneath San Francisco and New York were destroyed;[29] but it was able to assimilate the Venom symbiote and fully rejoin Knull's hive mind; undergoing a transformation into a towering figure with horns, retractile bat wings, and black pauldrons and arm-wraps resembling Knull's.[30] After Norman Osborn was knocked out by Spider-Man, his portion of the Grendel symbiote separated from him in order to kill Dylan Brock, but was destroyed when Dylan's symbiote powers activated. Cletus Kasady was subsequently killed by Eddie Brock, who stripped the Grendel and Venom symbiotes from his corpse and bonded to them both, Venom assimilating the Grendel symbiote and the codices.[1]

Like most corrupt symbiotes, the Grendel is a bloodthirsty predator and is responsible for the destruction of entire civilizations.[7][13]


Like other Klyntar, Grendel is capable of manifesting tendrils from its biomass, using them to attack prey.[10] Its constituent living abyss is capable of being separated into individual symbiotes that can be bonded to hosts.[13][19] When bonded to Cletus Kasady, it can bond to the maggots infesting his body to turn them into "brain worms" that Cletus can infect targets to control them or turn them into Carnage Doppelgängers.[18][27] The Grendel symbiote is also capable of reanimating corpses, which it has done to both Cletus Kasady and Emil Gregg.[2][25] Cletus bonded offshoots of the symbiote to inmates at Ravencroft Institute, turning them into a horde of four-armed monsters; and to Norman Osborn, turning him back into Carnage.[27]


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.[5][4]

Sonic and Heat: Like most symbiotes, the Grendel was vulnerable to heat and sound, though to a much lesser degree than most symbiotes.[4] In its dragon form it was capable of withstanding incendiary missiles fired at it by the US army;[5] 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.[13] 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."[16] Additionally, other symbiote-dragons were slain by the Silver Surfer conjuring stars within their bodies.[8][9] After it bonded to Cletus Kasady, the Grendel symbiote became invulnerable to both heat and sonics to the point of being capable of withstanding Hellfire, which Cletus attributed to him being cursed -- referring to both the power of the Darkhold and his increased connection to Knull.[20][31] However, Grendel Doppelgängers still have the weakness.[6][29]


Due to having manifesting a winged draconic shape, the Grendel and its ilk are capable of interstellar flight at hypersonic speeds.[8]


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.[32]
  • When asked why Absolute Carnage referred to the Grendel symbiote as being the "Carnage symbiote" when it was bonded to Cletus Kasady, writer Donny Cates stated that any symbiote that Cletus Kasady bonds to becomes the "Carnage symbiote" due to him having been the one who first came up with the alias.[33]
  • Although it is established by Knull that all symbiotes are vulnerable to heat and sound,[4] Grendel was able to withstand missiles fired by the army.[5] After bonding to Cletus Kasady, it inherited the power of the Darkhold that the original Carnage symbiote had been embued with and became completely immune to both heat and sonics.[34][20][31]
  • The symbol on Dark Carnage's chest is meant to be a white version of Knull's dragon emblem, though numerous artists have mistakenly drawn it as Venom/Mania's spider emblem.[35]
  • The Carnage Doppelgängers seem to have been based on the Outriders and Doppelganger.
  • 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.

Discover and Discuss


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Absolute Carnage #5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1
  3. Cates, Donny (9 July 2019). DONNY CATES on Twitter: "This is actually a REALLY good look at the new design for “Dark Carnage” Complete with carnage face, Cletus face, and corpse face. He’s uh...not a good dude..". Twitter. Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Venom Vol 4 #4
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Venom Vol 4 #3
  6. 6.0 6.1 Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #1
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Venom Vol 4 #2
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Silver Surfer: Black #2
  9. 9.0 9.1 Silver Surfer: Black #5
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Venom Vol 4 #1
  11. 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.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Absolute Carnage: Weapon Plus #1
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Web of Venom: Ve'Nam #1
  14. Wolverine & Captain America: Weapon Plus #1
  15. Venom Vol 4 #2-3
  16. 16.0 16.1 Venom Vol 4 #6
  17. Venom Vol 4 #7
  18. 18.0 18.1 Web of Venom: Unleashed #1
  19. 19.0 19.1 Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
  21. Venom Vol 4 #15
  22. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #24
  23. Fantastic Four Vol 6 #11
  24. Black Cat #2
  25. 25.0 25.1 Venom Vol 4 #16
  26. Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 #Spider-Man/Venom
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Absolute Carnage #1
  28. Absolute Carnage: Scream #1
  29. 29.0 29.1 Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1
  30. Absolute Carnage #4
  31. 31.0 31.1 Bunn, Cullen (11 August 2019). Cullen Bunn on Twitter: "@PolvoAranha1 Maybe... BOTH!?!". Twitter. Retrieved on 11 August 2019.
  32. Silver Surfer: Black #1 Director's Cut
  33. Griffin Sheridan, Ryan Stegman (24 November 2019). ABSCARN BOIZ! w/Donny Cates: “Absolute Carnage” Wrap-Up Retrospective. PodBean. Retrieved on 25 November 2019.
  34. Absolute Carnage #3
  35. Griffin Sheridan, Ryan Stegman (31 August 2019). ABSCARN BOIZ! w/Donny Cates: “Absolute Carnage” #1- Chapter One Director’s Commentary. PodBean. Retrieved on 1 September 2019.

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