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Quote1 Though we are a benevolent species, there is no literature on my home planet. And though it is our goal to make the universe better, we create no art, no music, no culture. At least, not as other civilizations would understand it. All we have are our hosts -- the beings we join with -- to forge through the cold and unforgiving cosmos with. The bond between a Symbiote and its host is sacred. They give our lives context and our existence meaning. They give us history. All we have are our hosts to tell us who we are. Quote2
Venom Symbiote[src]



Knull (Earth-616) and Symbiotes from Venom Vol 4 4

Knull creating the first of his symbiote-army

The Symbiotes are a species of inorganic,[12] amorphous, symbiotic extraterrestrials created from the "living abyss" at the beginning of the universe by the primordial deity Knull, who manifested a sword of living darkness called All-Black from his shadow to slaughter the Celestials and other deities.[13]

The exact point in time when Knull first began creating amorphous parasites out of the Living Abyss is unclear. While manifested on Earth in the 21st century, Knull stated that he first began experimenting with his powers and discovered he could do so while stranded on a desolate planet following the loss of his All-Black Necrosword to Gorr; bonding them to lesser creatures in order to transform them into predatory monsters. However, the Silver Surfer encountered parasitic symbiotes when sent back in time to before Knull had lost All-Black.[14][15] All-Black, the symbiote-dragons, Mister E, and Void Knight are sometimes categorized as proto-symbiotes - experimental precursors to the parasitic symbiote species - rather than being symbiotes themselves.[16][17] The Exolon are also a byproduct of Knull's experiments with the living abyss, being imperfect symbiotes he discarded in the Exoteric Latitude.[18] A more evolved 'cousin' species known as 'Variants' also came into existence at some point, these Variants fed upon bliss from their host without harming them.[19]

Regardless of exactly when the symbiotes were first created, Knull proceeded to amass a massive army and established himself as the nexus of their hive-mind, using them to conquer countless planets and devour entire civilizations across billions of years. At some point in time, the symbiotes invaded the Microverse, where their very existence proved corrosive and toxic, and attempted to consume the Enigma Force itself, but were repelled.[20] In the sixth century, two of Knull's symbiote dragons arrived on Earth and attacked Scandinavia, becoming known as the Grendel and Grendel's Mother.[21] Knull's connection to the symbiotes was severed when the Grendel was blasted by Thor Odinson's divine lightning. Destabilized, the symbiotes sought out hosts to give their lives context and existence meaning; and the symbiotes who had bonded to benevolent hosts poisoned the hive-mind with traits such as nobility and honor. These symbiotes eventually rebelled against Knull and imprisoned him at the centre of an artificial planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, naming it and themselves "Klyntar" after their word for "cage".[22] On Earth, the symbiotes still loyal to Knull established an apocalyptic cult worshiping him in the hopes of expediting his escape.[23][24]

Ashamed of their dark origins, the symbiotes of Klyntar invented and perpetuated a lie that their species was naturally benevolent.[22] Endeavouring to spread peace throughout the universe, the symbiotes established a hive mind capable of sensing the "voice" of the Cosmos and created an intergalactic peacekeeping society called the Agents of the Cosmos by using the symbiosis they needed to subsist in order to transform "worthy" hosts into the ultimate noble warriors. However, to achieve this "perfect" symbiosis, the host needed to have a perfect blend of moral and physical ideals. If not, the resulting symbiosis would corrupt both the Symbiotes and its host.[7][25] In their desperation to expunge their violent past, the Symbiotes hive-mind cut off corrupted symbiotes from the hive-mind, developing a means of "cleansing" them and executing those who failed the trial or relapsed into violence.[7][26]

The exiled corrupted symbiotes resumed infecting and overtaking entire planets,[27][28] spreading what the Symbiotes claimed was misinformation about their benevolent counterparts.[7] As a result, despite the Agents of the Cosmos' efforts the species as a whole re-developed the reputation of being predatory monsters that dominate their host mentally and physically while parasitically feeding off their emotions and bodies. The corrupted symbiotes tended to force their hosts to perform spectacular and terrifying feats in order to feed off of their adrenaline and other hormones, such as phenethylamine. Eventually, the hosts would be sucked dry of vital fluids,[12] collapse from exhaustion due to the constant stress and exertion, or simply die in a failed stunt;[27] whereupon the symbiote would seek out a new host to repeat the process.[28]

At some point in time, a colony of feral symbiotes encountered the Silver Surfer and the planet they had conquered was devoured by Galactus, intensifying their instinctual fear and hatred of the Surfer via their genetic memory.[29] In their hunt for organic life to feast on, the Epsiloni once attacked Klyntar and fed on countless symbiotes. The Epsiloni would reanimate the symbiotes' deceased hosts to lure them out and feed on their life energy, causing the symbiotes to develop an intense fear of the vampiric race.[30]

Symbiotes on Earth[]

The symbiote that would eventually become Venom was purportedly the 998th generation of a lineage of symbiotes,[31] hatched on the planet Klyntar from an egg.[32] Bred to be an Agent of the Cosmos, it bonded to a Kree soldier named Tel-Kar, who later erased its memories of him when they were forced to separate.[33] The being that the symbiote subsequently recalled as its first host was an inhabitant of an icy planet who proved to be an unworthy host filled with hatred and cruelty. The host used the young symbiote to carry out a genocide against his homeworld, leaving it a barren wasteland and corrupting the symbiote with rage and bloodlust.[34] At some point the symbiote joined a group of corrupted Klyntar who used their hosts as chattel, and was labeled as deranged due to its desire to form a single, strong, symbiotic bond with its host and protect them.[35] The symbiote was placed in a prison canister and supposedly condemned to death by disintegration.[27]

During the Secret Wars, when several of Earth's heroes and villains were transported to Battleworld by the Beyonder, Spider-Man went looking for the alien technology Thor had stumbled upon to repair his tattered costume. Instead, he found the machine holding the symbiote captive. The released symbiote did indeed form a "costume" for him -- as the species naturally covers their entire host -- the symbiote responding to Parker's thoughts by seemingly patterning itself after the new Spider-Woman's black and white costume.[36]

Venom Vol 1 12 Textless


The new "costume" had several useful properties -- the ability to mimic other forms of clothing, a "dimensional aperture" which could store small objects without adding bulk to the costume, and its own source of webbing -- which Spider-Man initially attributed to its alien origins. After returning to Earth, the costume could not stand to be separated from Parker for very long, and it often engulfed the sleeping hero, sending him out to fight crime under its control. The then-villainous Puma -- who was fighting Spider-Man at the time -- was the first to perceive that the costume's webbing was organic, causing the hero to seek the advice of Reed Richards. Richards isolated the living costume, setting into motion a series of events that would lead to the creation of Venom -- the merger of the symbiote and Spider-Man critic Eddie Brock.[37]

Carnage Vol 1 5 Textless


Venom proved to be a particularly malicious foe, and broke several laws in pursuit of revenge against Spider-Man. On one occasion, while Brock was incarcerated for his crimes as Venom -- and while he patiently waited for the escaped symbiote to free him -- he shared a cell with serial killer Cletus Kasady. The symbiote did in fact liberate Brock, but in so doing left behind its spawn. The symbiote spawn bonded with Kasady, turning him into the lethal villain Carnage. Because Kasady bonded with the symbiote on a cellular level (something Brock refused to do),[38][39] Carnage proved more formidable than either Venom or Spider-Man,[40] and the two eventually formed an uneasy alliance to deal with the threat. The Carnage symbiote was capable of greater control of its constituent matter than the Venom symbiote.[41] At one point, it managed to travel by telephone line by thinning itself to a strand of cellular width, though Venom replicated this feat to bond with Anne Weying.[42] It could also transform its host's appendages to a greater degree than the Venom symbiote could, allowing Carnage to form spikes, blades, and axe heads at will. The Carnage symbiote appears to be more dense as well, allowing its host to become more durable and stronger than the Venom symbiote would allow.[43][44]

Howard Ogden (Earth-616) from Carnage, U.S.A


At one point, Venom was captured by the Life Foundation, an organization that made a comfortable living in preparing for the world's nuclear annihilation. Convinced that a nuclear war was inevitable, the Life Foundation's clients payed to assure that the human race (and they in particular) would survive the cataclysm in luxury. The Life Foundation was at one point researching a way to create "super-cops" to police their new Utopia. Towards that end, they probed the Venom symbiote and extracted the last five of its "seeds" -- the basis for later spawn as the symbiotes reproduce asexually. These were cultured and bonded to five of the Life Foundation's best security personnel to form the Guardians. The individuals eventually became known by the codenames Scream, Riot, Phage, Agony, and Lasher. Either due to the extraction process, the effect of the Earth environment on the spawn, or both, these symbiotes proved to be even more mutated than Carnage. They possessed the same ability to manipulate their forms as Carnage, though the five hosts never quite got the hang of actually communicating with the underdeveloped symbiotes.[45]

James Murphy (Earth-616) from Carnage, U.S.A


After several crushing defeats, Scream had a psychotic breakdown (possibly contributed to by her schizophrenia) and determined that all symbiotes were evil. She killed off her former compatriots with a sonic blade, not realizing that the symbiotes themselves had survived. The four symbiotes were kept for a time in the Vault, a high-security prison for super-beings, but were freed from the lab by guardsman Scott Washington, who decided that they were not evil and did not deserve a lifetime of pain and suffering. Washington was fired when it was discovered that he had freed the symbiotes. All four symbiotes were weakened, and survived by merging together to form a single, more powerful symbiote. This symbiote later went on to merge with Washington, who had been crippled after a scuffle with the Eazy X gang following his return to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. After bonding with the hybrid symbiote, he regained use of his legs, and began extracting revenge on the gangs that had destroyed his neighborhood as the crimefighter "Hybrid".[46]

Lasher (War Dog) (Earth-616) and Lasher (Symbiote) (Earth-616) from Carnage, U.S.A


Spider-Man led Brock to doubt the nature of his relationship with his symbiote, suggesting that it had been controlling him. When Brock ordered the symbiote to separate from him so that he could consider the matter, the pained symbiote let out a "psychic scream" of anguish so powerful that it drew others of its kind from space.[47] Using a unwilling innocent as its host, the Venom symbiote and the extraterrestrial symbiotes constructed a portal to an alien world, the native population of which had been enthralled by the symbiotes. The symbiotes then launched a full-scale invasion of Earth, starting in New York.[48] In the ensuing chaos, Carnage found that he could absorb the symbiotes to increase his symbiote's mass and power, and temporarily became monolithic in size by doing so. Brock realized that the creatures were highly sensitive to emotion, and (with his now-penitent symbiote) released a wail of anguish so great that it was able to kill most of the invading symbiotes.[27]

Rico Axelson (Earth-616) and Phage (Symbiote) (Earth-616) from Carnage, U.S.A


Soon after, the presence of the surviving symbiotes attracted their only known predator, the Xenophage. Xenophages are a race of amorphous, shape-shifting aliens whose diets consist mainly of symbiotes, though they are not above eating the occasional humanoid if they get particularly hungry. The Xenophage took a particular interest in Venom, as symbiotes tend to become more "flavorful" after bonding with a host for a long period of time. Venom managed to dispatch the first Xenophage, though more eventually arrived on Earth to seek out their exotic prey.[49] At some point Paibok allied himself with a number of Symbiotes battling both Spider-Man and the Human Torch.[50]

Edward Brock (Earth-616) becomes Toxin in Venom Vol 2 17


During a battle with the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, Venom's tongue was severed.[51] This portion of the symbiote was used to create a duplicate, Mania, which rampaged through an Arctic research facility and military base, pursued by a nanorobotic alien called "the Suit".[52] The clone was revealed to have been programmed by a second nanite alien, Bob, to destroy humanity should it reunite with the original Venom symbiote. The symbiote clone was bonded to Patricia Robertson, and ultimately consumed by the original Venom symbiote. Years later, when Agent Venom attempted to protect his student Andrea "Andi" Benton from Jack O'Lantern using the Venom symbiote, it regurgitated the clone in order to purge itself of a demon.[53] The possessed clone bonded to Andi, who defeated Jack O'Lantern and took to calling herself Mania.[54] Looking to avenge her murdered father, Mania used the symbiote clone to fight crime in Philadelphia, but found herself being targeted by Department of Occult Affairs agents Crossbones and Master Mayhem. With the help of Agent Venom and Mephisto, she was able to defeat them.

Much later, Carnage realized he was also about to spawn. Fearing the spawn would become more powerful than him and disgusted by the notion of reproduction, he resolved to destroy the spawn as soon as it was born. Venom, controlled by the symbiote, also became aware of the spawn and resolved to protect it and culture it as an ally. After the new symbiote was spawned, Carnage was too weak to kill the creature himself, and the symbiote found a human host in officer Patrick Mulligan. Venom had warned Carnage that every thousand generations or so the symbiotes' genetic memory can break down, and the new symbiote must be instructed by its "grandparent" to correct the errors. Since Venom has not been able to do so, this new symbiote bothered the unfortunate cop with the numerous questions, quandaries, and tantrums that normal children experience as they age. The difference, of course, is that normal children tend to have fewer urges toward homicide. For a while, Mulligan did his best in balancing work, his family life, the difficult new symbiote, and his new career as the crimefighter "Toxin";[55] however, he was later murdered by Blackheart, who took the symbiote and bonded samples of it to clones of X-23.[56] The Toxin symbiote was subsequently stolen by the Crime Master and bonded to Eddie Brock. Despite initially seizing control of him in an attempt to kill its grandparent, the Toxin symbiote and Eddie have since worked out a similar relationship to the one Eddie once had with Venom.[57]

Edward Brock (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 569 0001


Eddie Brock, disgusted by the Venom symbiote's growing bloodlust after having a religious awakening and fearing for the fate of his soul, sold the symbiote to Don Fortunato, who gave it to his son Angelo. Disgusted by his cowardice, the symbiote abandoned Angelo of its own accord and later sought out Mac Gargan.[58] Gargan initially feared the symbiote's growing influence over him after it forced him to commit cannibalism to satiate its hunger, but later came to embrace its bloodlust.[59] After the events of Brand New Day, Eddie Brock started working for Martin Li and Aunt May at the F.E.A.S.T. center. Thanks to Mr. Li's "mysterious powers", Eddie was cured of his cancer and the remnants of the symbiote were fused to his white blood cells. Unfortunately, the then-current Venom, Mac Gargan, entered the F.E.A.S.T. center looking for Spider-Man, having sensed one of the symbiote's former hosts. He found Eddie instead, and the symbiote immediately attempted to rebond to its former host. However, the mystically-enhanced fusion between the symbiote's cells and Eddie's lymphocytes emerged, forming Anti-Venom, proving corrosive to the original symbiote.[60] Eddie later sacrificed the Anti-Venom symbiote to create a vaccine for the Spider Flu,[61] but it appears a portion of it was somehow acquired by the Hobgoblin, who enfranchised the identity as one of his "Hob-Heroes" after his Inversion.[62]

Tanis Nieves (Earth-616) and Scorn (Symbiote) (Earth-616) from Carnage, U.S.A


Later, when Carnage was returned to Earth after his apparent death, Hall Industries used the symbiote to produce advanced prostheses. Dr. Tanis Nieves was provided with one after losing one of her arms in an altercation between Hall Industries' Iron Rangers and the Doppelgänger. This biomechanical prosthetic developed into a new machine/symbiote hybrid called Scorn, which Tanis bonded to in order to stop Carnage.[63]

Following its separation from Mac Gargan, the Venom symbiote was given to Eugene "Flash" Thompson by the US military, having been administered a sedative to keep it from seizing control of him.[64] Flash later allowed the symbiote to bond to him, and it expressed a preference for him as a host,[65] despite attempting to return to Eddie Brock and later "Peter Parker".[66][67] When not suppressed, the symbiote tended to rampage and attempt to eat any nearby enemies, and later exhibited a desire to acquire demonic powers, bargaining with Mephisto to receive a Hell Mark and attempting to absorb Zarathos during the Circle of Four. These ambitions were cut short when it was forced to relinquish those powers to its clone, Mania, after a demon that was implanted in it by Daimon Hellstrom began attempting to take it over.[68] During Flash's sojourn into space as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Venom symbiote became increasingly erratic, eventually seizing control of him and rampaging until they were separated, whereupon it took control of numerous members of the Guardians of the Galaxy until it managed to arrive to the destination it was being led to: the original Planet of the Symbiotes.[69] There, the Guardians were met with the benevolent Klyntar, who revealed to them the true origin of the symbiotes. the Symbiotes explained that the reason Venom Symbiote was acting erratically was that as soon as it returned to space, the Symbiotes managed to reconnect it to their hive-mind, and it was initially disconcerted until it was drawn closer and a better connection was established, allowing the Symbiotes to guide it to their homeworld. Now reconnected with the collective, the Venom symbiote's corruption was repaired and it re-bonded with Flash, making him into a stronger and purer Agent Venom.[70] Bonding to Mercurio, a Gramosian space pirate, caused the symbiote to temporarily relapse into its villainous ways, though with Flash's help it was able to suppress its rage and malevolent urges.[71]

At some point following his moral inversion, Tony Stark created the "Endo-Sym" armor, which, similarly to the Iron Ranger armor, was made using "building blocks" taken from a symbiote. After Rescue and the Iron Man A.I. attempted to damage the armor with sonic blasts, Stark revealed he had the foresight to find a way to remove that inherited weakness.[72]

In Other Parts of Space[]

ZZZXX (Symbiote) (Earth-616) from X-Men Kingbreaker Vol 1 2 0001


Another feral symbiote, unrelated to Venom's lineage, was captured by Shi'ar Emperor D'Ken and given the moniker Zzzxx. Classified as one of the most dangerous entities the Empire had encountered, it was recruited by Vulcan to serve as one of his praetorian guards and eventually took Raza Longknife as a host.[73] Zzzxx was later separated from Raza and imprisoned on Ego. It was retrieved and fired at an evil, alternate universe incarnation of Charles Xavier, who had become a giant brain-monster, and was last seen eating him.[74]

A group of evil symbiotes bonded to a swarm of Brood, which they later abandoned and ate, in order to take over the S.W.O.R.D. satellite and everyone aboard it, including Abigail Brand and the pregnant Deathbird. The symbiotes were defeated and jettisoned into space by Spider-Man and the Special Class of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Spider-Man was forced to bond with a symbiote for a power boost, controlling it with the help of the telepathic No-Girl, which caused it to take on an appearance identical to the Venom symbiote. He ultimately lost control of it, but it was subdued and separated from him.[28]

At some point, the Symbiotes established a colony in the Matrix of Mamadou; coming into conflict with the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda as it spread across that galaxy. Thought to have been wiped out, a single symbiote survived and bided its time. This symbiote bonded to N'Jadaka, the greatest warrior in the Empire, after he was betrayed and sent into an ambush. The symbiote and its new host went to the Empire's throneworld, Bast, and committed regicide; usurping the throne and becoming the new emperor.[75] With it N'Jadaka attempted to take revenge on the Gods of Wakanda and later on Black Panther and Wakanda Prime, bonding to the resurrected Erik Killmonger.[76] However, with Bast's help, Black Panther managed to kill Killmonger and the symbiote.[77]

King in Black[]

Knull (Earth-616) and Symbiote Dragons (Earth-616) from Absolute Carnage Vol 1 5 001

Symbiote Dragons

All the symbiotes were taken away from their planet by the Poisons,[78] in order to forcibly bond them with powerful hosts so they could assimilate them. However, they were eventually defeated, and the symbiotes returned to their homeworld.[79] Unfortunately, Knull started to awake,[22] and a cult dedicated to him brought Carnage back from the dead using the Grendel symbiote to use him as his apostle. As a remnant - a codex - is left in a host's body, which serve as a connector to the Symbiotes hivemind, he decided to get as many codices as he could in order to awake Knull.[23] Eventually, the Grendel symbiote and the codices were assimilated by the Venom symbiote, which awakened Knull. His awakening destroyed Klyntar, shattering it into countless individual symbiotes that he merged into a fleet of Symbiote Dragons to resume his conquest and destruction of the universe.[80]

Making his way to Earth, Knull and his symbiote-dragons conquered and destroyed planets belonging to several space-faring civilizations, including the Kree, Skrulls, the Shi'ar Empire, and the Zn'rx.[81][82][83] Upon arriving on Earth, Knull easily killed the Sentry, bonded Earth's heroes to symbiotes, and engulfed the planet in a symbiote dome. After Knull killed Eddie Brock, he constructed a Spire atop the Empire State Building and used it to remote-pilot various symbiotes and take part in various theatres of battle. Eddie's son Dylan, who had symbiote powers similar to Knull's, eventually entered the battlefield to avenge his father. Suffering numerous counterattacks from Earth's heroes, Knull's connection to the Headless Celestial was severed by the Valkyries and so was his control of the heroes he had defeated thanks to Marvel Girl and Dylan. When the Silver Surfer arrived with the God of Light, Knull's opposite, it immediately took possession of Eddie's deceased body, resurrecting and transforming him into Captain Universe. Eddie succeeded in obliterating Knull at the core of the Sun, freeing the symbiotes and making him the new King in Black.[84][85]

Following Knull's defeat, the Symbiote Hive swore fealty to Eddie Brock, enabling him to speak through them, see through their eyes, and remote-pilot them if they chose it.[86] Under Eddie's command, the Symbiote Hive executed Carnage,[87] liberated the homeworld of Gorr the God Butcher from marauding space-pirates, repaired the Fault when it tore open and threatened to unleash the Cancerverse once more, and served as proxies to let Eddie meet with multiple groups of heroes simultaneously. However, this placed an enormous amount of strain on Eddie's body, causing him to age rapidly over the course of several months. Several of the symbiotes chose to stay on Earth and take new hosts, but found themselves feared and hunted by forces such as Alchemax's Guardsmen.[86]

However, Brock's rule was opposed by Carnage who decided to form a rival symbiote hive after surviving his execution at the hands of the symbiotes on the order of the new King in Black.[87] Carnage managed to corrupt several symbiotes that were left on Earth and infiltrate the Friends of Humanity to further spur humanity's fear and hatred of symbiotes,[88] but failed to bring to his side the more heroic symbiotes that went on to partially foil his plan.[89] Instead the Carnage Symbiote decided to become a god in order to dethrone Brock and usurp his title as King in Black.[90] Meanwhile, the Symbiote race would be left without a governor after Eddie's future self Meridius killed his physical body and sent his codex through time to continue the loop of his existence.[91]


The symbiotes are amorphous and multicellular organisms of inorganic composition,[92][12] that can form symbiotic or parasitic bonds with hosts.[93] All symbiotes were telepathically connected to each other through their shared hive-mind which was established by their god Knull and after his disposal it would be affected by the minds of their hosts.[22][94]

While "corrupted" symbiotes are cut off from their species' hive-mind and purportedly unable to access their full potential,[7] it has been noted on several occasions that certain long-lived specimens have become more powerful over time, usually by bonding to multiple successive hosts,[95][67] and can develop increased resistance to heat and sonics with repeated exposure. In some cases, they can undergo spontaneous mutation and develop new abilities, such as the Carnage and Maniac symbiotes developing the ability to infect others with offshoots formed from pieces of their biomass.[96][97][98] The Venom and Carnage symbiotes are able to feed off negative emotions, the latter being able to convert negative emotions into biomass.[99][100] Feral symbiotes are instinctually indifferent or hostile towards their progenitors and progeny.[31] Zzzxz was a unique mutant member of the symbiote race, though how it came to be wasn't fully explained.[101]

Many corrupt symbiotes, such as Venom, Carnage, Toxin, and Zzzxx, possess ravenous predatory appetites for the flesh of other life-forms and will influence or force their hosts to commit cannibalism to satiate this.[102][103][104] It is for this reason that feral symbiotes consider themselves to be the ultimate predators of the universe,[105] and are regarded with revulsion and terror by most other species.[106][107] At least one feral Klyntar, the Carnage symbiote, has demonstrated the ability to convert consumed organic material into additional biomass, using this power to assist in conquering the town of Doverton, Colorado and to regenerate from a small tissue sample after being separated from its host.[99][100] Feral symbiotes are much more effective at bonding to their host if the host has the same feelings and urges as the symbiote. For example, the Venom symbiote bonded successfully with Eddie Brock because they shared anger and desire for revenge towards Spider-Man. In addition to reflecting and reacting to the emotions and desires of their hosts, symbiotes are able to project their own emotions and personal desires to the point of assuming complete control over their host's body if they so choose. For example, Anne Weying was terrified of and revolted by the Venom symbiote, but when bonded to it revelled in the power it gave her and rapidly succumbed to its bloodlust;[108][109] while Mac Gargan and Flash Thompson were frequently overwhelmed by the Venom symbiote's bloodlust. A symbiote's influence over its host can be resisted and suppressed through a number of means, including willpower and chemical sedatives. Symbiotes in general are weak to intense heat and sonics, although successive generations can develop a resistance to these weaknesses, and an individual symbiote can also become more resilient over time. Symbiotes can also amalgamate with one another to become more powerful, as seen with the Hybrid symbiote,[110] the Venom symbiote assimilating its clone,[111] the Venom-Carnage hybrids created by Marquis Radu,[112] and the Venom symbiote merging with the Tyrannosaurus symbiote.[113]

Even if separated from a host, trace remnants of the symbiote's living abyss - called a "codex" - will remain in the host's body,[114] as seen with the Venom symbiote leaving remnants of itself within the bodies of Peter Parker and Eddie Brock.[115][116] The Carnage symbiote has taken this process to an extreme by merging with its host's blood, making separating them very difficult.[38] The purpose of the codex is to share information about the host with the rest of the hive,[114] though it can influence the host, enabling them to track the symbiote if separated from it.[117][118] The remnants a symbiote leaves within its host can also be reactivated if exposed to additional symbiote biomass or another stimulus like Lightforce energy;[119][60][120] though they can also reject and attempt to expel the additional symbiote biomass.[121] Symbiotes can absorb the codices of other symbiotes to become more powerful, temporarily acquiring their traits and whatever unique powers the codex's host may have possessed.[114][122][123]

According to The Maker, when symbiotes are bonded with other lifeforms, the green liquid that "leaks" from their mouths is how the symbiote excrete waste when it dissolves foreign matter that enters the host's body.[124]

Alternate Reality Versions[]

See Alternate Realities Symbiotes History.

Powers and Abilities


Symbiotes can feed on their host's adrenaline, usually released into the bloodstream during the fight-or-flight response. They have also been shown to depend on their hosts for a steady supply of phenethylamine, a chemical found as a neurotransmitter in the human brain. While this has been known to lead some symbiotes to consume the brains of others, the chemical can also be ready found in processed chocolate.[125] Other symbiotes - like the clone of the Venom symbiote - deliberately drain their hosts' vital fluids and/or physically consume them from the inside-out.[126] While the symbiotes are connected to a host, they raise their host's dopamine levels. They can apparently be killed only if they themselves wished,[127] or at least be forced into some sort of death-like state, by an overdose of dopamine-inhibitor.[128] Symbiotes aren't able to bond with hosts who have high levels of vitamin C in their blood streams.[129] There are several levels of biological symbiosis, or "bonding" that can be achieved between a symbiote and its host, each with different biological consequences.

When bonded to a superhuman host, a symbiote can interface with their genomes and physiology to imprint their unique powers and abilities into itself, granting subsequent hosts access to those powers.[130] Symbiotes can also bond to inorganic material, letting them interface with, augment our outright invade machinery as sophisticated as the Ironheart and War Machine Armor's or a Kree Empire battleship.[121][131][132]

Symbiotes have some ability to sense the thoughts and emotions of sentient creatures, though to what extent remains unclear. The Venom symbiote was able to pattern itself after Spider-Man's thought, and respond to his mental commands even without significant bonding.[36] The psychic scream of the Venom symbiote was able to draw the attention of space-faring symbiotes, while powerful feelings of emotional anguish were able to actually kill many symbiotes.[47]

Symbiotes have a genetic memory, allowing them to exploit their parents' knowledge through ancestral recall. On Earth, this allowed Venom's descendants to benefit from the symbiote's former bond with Spider-Man by gaining spider-like powers. Certain memories seem to be more readily accessible than others. For example, the trauma of Galactus devouring a world populated by symbiotes so scarred the surviving members of the species that it still invokes an intense reaction in all symbiotes today.[133]

Symbiotes are genderless, usually reproduce asexually (though some symbiotes are hatched from eggs),[32] and are thought to generally produce only one offspring in a lifetime. According to the Maker, symbiotes reproduce not at random as previously assumed, but to bolster their numbers in response to dire threats to the safety of their species.[134] In the case of Venom, seeds were forcibly extracted to produce more offspring. There is no family structure, and in fact it seems to be common among corrupted symbiotes for parent and offspring to hate each other. However, this observation is taken mostly from the relationship between the symbiote known as Venom and its children.[40] Venom hates Carnage because of its murderous nature (owing to its first host being a nihilistic serial killer who had an antagonistic relationship with the Venom symbiote's preferred hosts). When its other "children" were born Eddie Brock thought that they would end up like Carnage, so he placed his hatred of him on them.[135] However, recently the Venom symbiote was pregnant after absorbing a clone of itself and wanted to rebond with Spider-Man because rebonding with Brock would kill the child because he had cancer.[136] While they have a latent ability to sense the proximity of their progeny, they usually have no interest in them. The one exception comes once every 1,000 generations, when a symbiote is born with a high risk of psychotic breakdown, and must be guided by older symbiotes, or else destroyed.[31]

Their unique properties make the symbiotes immune to most conventional weapons. They are dense enough to absorb the force of powerful blows and stop bullets before they reach the host being.[137] They are able to process breathable gases for the host when it would otherwise be unable (underwater, for example).[138][96] They seem to confer a weak healing factor on strongly-bonded hosts,[139] but that bond can also send host and symbiote alike into shock if they are forcibly separated.[140]

As manifestations of their creators living abyss, Knull imparted a slew of unique abilities upon his later creations in combating the light and its prevalent transcendent beings.[22] They can spread and slaughter the divine in any manner of ways or even outright corrupt them as simply as wearing the host as a viable driver.[141][16] They're main facility is being the antithesis of divinity in all its forms, as such all Klyntar have the underlying capacity for reforging themselves as Necrosword's.[22][80][18] The strongest of Klyntar, such as All-Black; can become world shattering glaives known as Annihilablades. Planet cleavers powerful enough to split the stars & suns in a single stroke.[142] These deadly glaives are capable of murdering any and all divine, even ones begotten from their own blackened mass, as was the case when Venom slew the apostle of Knull; Carnage in battle.[80]

Other facilities of a Symbiote enable them to siphon godhood away, rendering the affected almighty mortal or close to it in the process. This was best shown in the case of Emperor N'Jadaka stealing the godly might of Mother Bast, feeding it into himself through his own symbiote.[75] Another trait of the swirling black masses is the ability to retain a wearers anima, the very characteristics of previous hosts within their genetic codex.[143][142] During such a process, the Symbiotes and their prior host essentially become one, taking on their very soul well after the former, whom they'd previously bonded to, had long since died.[144] The truest power of the Symbiotes however is corruption, the King in Black using the living abyss to dye anything touched by the light of creation with his darkness, making it an extension of his being.[16] The best and by far penultimate extension of such power comes in the form of total universal fusion: Gorr, having been revived by King Loki through All-Black using his intricate connection he had with its portion of the bleak and empty void, completely supplanted and become the dying future universe in its entirety to battle a weary all-father with.[145]

Certain kinds of Klyntar also have the effect of deifying they're hosts depending on the class of which the Symbiote was created to fit. In the case of Gorr the God Butcher, his abyssal partner was the very first and most favored of Knull's creations.[141] Withholding greater attachment to the true power of the living abyss than most any other Klyntar ever created. An effect which greatly extended his lifespan as well as granted him insurmountable power in his own right.[146]

While another higher tier symbiote such as the Grendel bonded to the symbiote traces of Carnage within Kasady's bloodstream.[23] Causing a demi-form of apotheosis of the murderer bonded to it, a process made all the more powerful by assimilating the codices of other Klyntar hosts.[147][6][122]

  • Symbiotes seem to have some latent psychic abilities, allowing them to respond to the thoughts of their hosts,[36] and each other.[148] When Venom's symbiote was in anguish, it let out a psychic scream that affected sensitive humans worldwide, and was received by symbiotes in a nearby star system.[47]
  • The symbiote amplifies the strength of its "wearer", so that a reasonably fit human (such as Brock) can compete and even exceed even Spider-Man's strength. It also confers improved speed and agility on the host.[149]
  • By virtue of having partially bonded with Spider-Man, Venom and its descendants all have spider-like powers, including the ability to cling to surfaces and produce organic webbing.[130] Most can also avoid detection by Spider-Man's "spider sense".[150][151]


  • Symbiotes can control the actions of their hosts to a certain point. Stronger Klyntar having greater influence.[152]
  • Symbiotes that have fully bonded with their hosts have a more biologically complex symbiosis with their hosts,[153] and can share thoughts and memories with them. Carnage has also been known to hide in its host's bloodstream.[154]
  • The symbiotes are said to have 'genetic memory', and can read the memories of others of their kind by absorbing chunks of their material.[114]
  • Symbiotes tend to be dense, and can absorb even the force of bullets before they reach their hosts.[137]
  • All symbiotes have the ability to form tendril-like pseudopods. Venom has used this to great effect by forming weak tendrils and shields from his constituent matter.[155] Carnage discharges tendrils of his constituent matter instead of webbing.[151] Scream has numerous tendrils composing her costume's "hair", which she has used as a powerful whip.[156]
  • Most symbiotes have the power to form solid appendages from their bodies, and have been shown to form spikes, talons, and blades. Carnage was known to throw axes from time to time, but the weapons quickly crumbled when separated from the symbiote.[151] Venom's ability to form webbing is probably a primitive form of this ability.[130] Mac Gargan has been shown to be able to form a scorpion-like tail while hosting the symbiote,[157] and the Venom symbiote of Earth-982 allowed host Norman Osborn to form solid appendages, such as a extra limbs.[158] This shows that any symbiote can gain the ability to form more solid appendages if exposed to the Earth environment for a long enough period of time. That this ability has also been displayed by the symbiotes used by the Agents of the Cosmos indicates this is not unique to Earth-born symbiotes, as was originally theorized.[159]
  • The Life Foundation symbiotes have also been shown to form a powerful acid from their constituent matter. The Venom symbiote of Earth-928 in the year 2099 demonstrated an ability to reduce an engulfed victim to bones within seconds, using the ability to kill New York gang leader Bloodmace.[160] This may suggest that any symbiote exposed to the Earth environment for a long enough time may gain similar powers.[161]
  • Venom and his descendant symbiotes have been shown to be adept at controlling their coloration. This allows them to take on the appearance of normal clothing, to provide highly effective and complex camouflage, and to even disguise their hosts' physical features.[162]
    • In the case of Mayhem, she could do full shapeshifting and change to look like another person complete with clothing entirely.[163]
  • Symbiotes have the ability to process breathable gases when the host normally cannot breathe (for example, in water or space).[96]
  • Symbiotes can expand to considerable limits in order to cover any host or object.[164]
  • Symbiotes seem to have some ability to combine their constituent matter. During Maximum Carnage, the Venom and Carnage symbiotes seemed to mix in an attempt to destroy each other.[165] Later, the Carnage symbiote would absorb other symbiotes during the symbiote invasion of New York.[166] The Venom symbiote absorbed a cloned symbiote worn by Patricia Robertson.[111] The Hybrid symbiote is the merger of four of the Life Foundation symbiotes.[110] This was exploited by Baron Karza, who cloned the Venom and Carnage symbiotes using his Body Banks and merged them together in order to create a symbiote army.[167] This inspired Carnage to attempt to assimilate the Venom symbiote, but he was stopped by Kaine.[168]
  • The Carnage symbiote has shown the ability to somehow convert negative emotions into biomass,[169] enabling it to fully regenerate from a few cells.[100] The Venom symbiote also has the ability to feed off its host's rage,[32] and implies this ability is common to corrupted Klyntar.
  • There is evidence to suggest that the relative power - or at least physical strength when bonded to a host of comparable build and musculature - increases with each generation, given that Toxin is known to be much stronger than its parent, Carnage, who in turn is known to be significantly more powerful than its progenitor, Venom.[170]
  • It is implied that the more successive hosts a symbiote has, the more powerful it becomes. Klaw speculated this to be the reason the Carnage symbiote has abandoned Cletus Kasady for more powerful hosts before returning to him,[95] and Flash Thompson tells "Peter Parker" that the Venom symbiote was far stronger than it had been when it initially bonded to Spider-Man.[116] This is supported by the Venom symbiote being able to form a scorpion-like tail when bonded to Mac Gargan and fully transforming into various forms of weaponry when bonded to Flash Thompson, an ability it was explicitly stated to lack when bonded to Eddie Brock.[157]
  • It was revealed that the window period between the contact and the full bonding between a symbiote and its host are 48 hours. Apparently, this period is reset every time the host and symbiote are separated.[171][172]

Average Strength Level

  • Average strength level unknown, though the larger they expand the more weight they can lift.




Cold and quiet.[10]


Similar to that of Earth's.[22]


Similar to that of Earth's.[22]




Type of Government

Governed by the King in Black who is in charge of the Symbiote Hive-Mind. Knull used to be the Symbiotes' god and king, before his throne was usurped by Eddie Brock.[181]

Level of Technology

Superior to Humans' technology, stolen from other races. One such technology was the stargate which the evil Symbiotes used to move around space.[27]

Cultural Traits

Symbiotes are fully aware and sentient creatures, but in their natural state are vicious predators, compelling their hosts to violence and corrupting them,[34] being addicted to their host's emotions as they themselves didn't naturally have feelings.[27] However, they can be influenced by their hosts,[182] which resulted in them seeking to forsake their dark nature. The symbiotes formerly worshipped the dark god Knull and spoke in a disturbing language, but rebelled against him before imprisoning him. Going to extreme lengths to expunge their origins from their history,[22] the symbiotes of Klyntar had no notable cultural traits, or at least none other civilizations would understand, nor did they express themselves through literature, art, nor music. Outside of a desire to maintain peace across the galaxy via the Agents of the Cosmos,[7] the Symbiotes only gain some form of cultural identity when they are bonded to a host.[182] Malevolent symbiotes who broke away from the Symbiotes hive-mind formed into the intergalactic Symbiote Hive and seek to conquer the universe.[7][27]

The Symbiotes by themselves without hosts don't have actual names and differentiated from each other through the use of emotional patterns that were unpronounceable to humans.[86] When Eddie became their god he began assigning each of them unique names, naming four symbiotes after the Beatles' members.[183][184]


Known Symbiotes from Earth-616 and their hosts:


  • Symbiote can be pronounced two different ways: Sim-Bee-Yote,[140] or Sim-Bye-Ote.[187]
  • The ancient language of the symbiotes is rendered using the same glyphs as the Demonic Script of Limbo.
  • Whilst they are similar to Knull's Symbiotes; Shadow Man, Kaa, Dreadface, Krobaa, and Void have not been confirmed to be a part of this species.


  • The majority of the human hosts to the symbiotes are citizens of New York. It happens because Spider-Man (who brought the first symbiote to Earth) lives there; the symbiote invasion of Earth was also focused on New York.
  • Venom is the oldest of all the introduced symbiotes of the Marvel Universe. This makes him highly-prized to the Xenophage, as symbiotes that have been bonded to hosts for long periods of time are considered a delicacy.[188]
  • Carnage surpassed its "father" Venom by being the first symbiote shown to produce weapons from its limbs. It does not shoot webbing, but strands of tissue. There is some speculation that this is due to the symbiote's gestation on Earth.[40]
  • Toxin was said to be the most powerful symbiote of them all - having the abilities of both Venom and Carnage combined. Again, this may be due to his gestation on Earth.[189]
  • Despite having copied Spider-Man's powers, the Venom Symbiote of Earth-616 and its progeny are not considered Spider-Totems.[190] Whether this holds true for non-extraterrestrial versions of the symbiotes is unknown. Additionally, in spite of this declaration, versions of Venom and Carnage still appeared alongside the various Spider-Men and Women that were depicted in the Web of Life and Destiny in Spider-Woman (Vol. 5) #3. Octavia Otto also recruited a female Venom to help her and the Web-Warriors combat the Electro-Verse.[191]
    • In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, it's mentioned that having been bonded to a Spider Totem made the Symbiote into a weak imitation of a Spider Totem, and not an actual Totem since the Totem essence was essentially borrowed.
  • The symbiotes have undergone a number of retcons, including needing to absorb phenethylamine and/or adrenaline to survive, turning their hosts evil, and being a spacefaring empire. Many of these retcons were aimed at further developing the character of Venom, who went from a villain to an anti-hero. For example, the retcon establishing the symbiotes as a benevolent peacekeeping force was intended to appeal to new fans who did not know that Venom was ever a villain and simply perceived the character as "a hero, a good guy with a super cool costume that can do amazing things" instead of a monster.[192]
  • Symbiotes have been frequently described as smelling terrible, with their stench being compared to slaughterhouse sweat,[129] vomit,[193] boiling tar mixed with wet old laundry,[194] and gasoline and swampwater.[195]

See Also

Links and References


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  73. X-Men: Kingbreaker #23
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  90. Carnage (Vol. 3) #3
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  105. Rune vs. Venom #1
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  122. 122.0 122.1 Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance #1
  123. Absolute Carnage #3
  124. Venom (Vol. 4) #7
  125. Venom: The Hunger #14
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  128. Venom: On Trial #2
  129. 129.0 129.1 Carnage: Mind Bomb #1
  130. 130.0 130.1 130.2 Venom #162
  131. Venom: First Host #3
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  133. Amazing Spider-Man #431
  134. Venom (Vol. 4) #20
  135. Venom: Separation Anxiety #2
  136. Venom #165
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  142. 142.0 142.1 King Thor #2
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  145. King Thor #34
  146. Thor: God of Thunder #11
  147. Absolute Carnage #45
  148. Venom: First Host #4
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  150. Web of Spider-Man #1824
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  152. Amazing Spider-Man Annual (Vol. 4) #1
  153. Venom (Vol. 3) #1
  154. Spider-Man Unlimited #1
  155. Venom: Lethal Protector #1
  156. Venom: Lethal Protector #4
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  159. Venom: Space Knight #210
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  162. Amazing Spider-Man #252
  163. Amazing Spider-Girl #29
  164. Carnage, U.S.A. #15
  165. Maximum Carnage (Event)
  166. Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special #1
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  168. Minimum Carnage: Omega #1
  169. Carnage #2
  170. Venom Vs. Carnage #4
  171. Amazing Spider-Man #654.1
  172. Venom (Vol. 2) #1
  173. Thunderbolts (Vol. 2) #19
  174. Thunderbolts (Vol. 2) #23
  175. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5
  176. Captain America: Sam Wilson #3
  177. Marvel Zombies (Vol. 2) #2
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  180. Venom (Vol. 4) #34
  181. Venom (Vol. 4) #435
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  194. Contest of Champions #3
  195. Daredevil (Vol. 6) #26