Every Marvel Symbiote, from Venom to Knull
From Venom and Carnage to Toxin, Misery, and Rascal, here are all the symbiotes of the Marvel Universe!
Symbiotes—a powerful alien species that forges a bond with a host, granting them incredible abilities—have been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe for decades. Since their introduction to the Marvel Universe, these creatures and their hosts have run the gamut from hero, to villain, to antihero, and back again, playing key roles in such events as KING IN BLACK (2020). With the SUMMER OF SYMBIOTES now underway, enjoy this list of all the symbiotes we know and love from Earth-616.
All-Black and Other Early Symbiotes
Debuting in THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (2012) #2, All-Black the Necrosword is the first symbiote. In the Marvel Universe’s distant past, the ancient god Knull created All-Black from the darkness of the Abyss. All-Black took the shape of a sword, and Knull used the weapon to kill some of the most powerful forces in creation, including Celestials. Later, Gorr the God Butcher used the weapon to terrorize the Marvel Universe’s various gods.
During those early days of creating symbiotes, Knull experimented with a few different versions of the species, leading to such beings as Mister E and Void Knight. Although these characters are symbiotes, they are relatively different from the ones that have come to dominate the Marvel Universe. Knull also created and disregarded a species of symbiote that later came to be known as the Exolon.
Grendel and Grendel’s Mother
During his experiments with symbiotes, Knull began creating dragons from the darkness. Many of those dragons have appeared in such series as KING IN BLACK, but very few are named. Among that class of symbiote is Grendel, whose name is inspired by the Old English poem Beowulf.
This symbiote dragon ended up fighting Thor Odinson during the Viking Age, long before its official debut as a villain in VENOM (2018) #1. In keeping with Beowulf, another symbiote around that time earned the name Grendel’s Mother.
Due to their biology, many symbiotes can spawn offshoots of themselves that act independently. The Tyrannosaurus symbiote, which debuted in VENOM (2018) #1, is one of the earlier examples of this biological function.
Following Grendel’s confrontation with Thor, the symbiote ended up frozen in ice. S.H.I.E.L.D. recovered the symbiote and experimented with it for the Sym-Soldier Program, which was an attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. Several offshoots came about because of that experiment and one, which earned the code name “Tyrannosaurus,” bonded with a soldier named Rex Strickland during the Vietnam War.
In terms of publication history, Venom is the original symbiote. The character debuted in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #252 as a new costume that Peter Parker received during SECRET WARS (1984). However, Parker eventually learned his suit was an alien that had bonded with him. In the wake of this revelation, the hero rejected the symbiote, who then bonded to his rival, Eddie Brock. Venom and Brock served as Spider-Man villains for several years before becoming antiheroes.
As one of the Marvel Universe’s most important symbiotes, several iterations of Venom have played a key role in the comics. While some have their own entries on this list, others include Mania, a clone created by the Ararat Corporation, and Sleeper, one of Venom’s spawn that ended up under the care of Alchemax.
Perhaps the Marvel Universe’s deadliest symbiote, Carnage debuted in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #345. Shortly after spawning from Venom, the Carnage symbiote bonded to a serial killer named Cletus Kasady. Together, Carnage and Kasady wreaked havoc on the Marvel Universe and have served as the villains of several major events since their debut.
Carnage has created numerous offshoots off itself and spawned on numerous occasions. Many of those other symbiotes haven’t been named, but Carnage has used them to control such heroes as Miles Morales, AKA Spider-Man. Additionally, Raze, another spawn of the titular symbiote, played a key role in CARNAGE (2015).
Introduced in KING IN BLACK (2020) #2, the Extrembiote is a particularly odd symbiote. During Knull’s invasion of New York, Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, used a version of the Extremis virus on a symbiote dragon, rewriting its DNA in the process.
In the aftermath, the symbiote fused with Iron Man’s armor before later making Kasady its host. In addition to the standard powers of a symbiote, the Extrembiote has given Kasady the ability to manipulate reality on a small scale and create incredibly realistic illusions.
Rascal debuted in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022: SPIDER-MAN/VENOM #1 and is currently bonded to Normie Osborn, the grandson of Norman Osborn. The symbiote, which is quite young and immature, was given to Normie by Dylan Brock during an effort to help Eddie Brock. While using the Rascal symbiote, Normie has taken on the mantle of the Red Goblin again, as a nod to his time bonded with the Carnage symbiote.
Debuting in VENOM VS. CARNAGE (2004) #2, Toxin is potentially one of the strongest symbiotes in the Marvel Universe. Another child of Carnage, Toxin bonded with police officer Pat Mulligan shortly after its birth and has since proven capable of standing toe-to-toe with both its progenitor and Venom. Later, Toxin changed hosts to a teenager named Bren Waters.
In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #569, Martin Li, AKA Mister Negative, used his powers on Brock to cure his cancer. This resulted in the creation of Anti-Venom, a hybrid symbiote with new abilities not possessed by other symbiotes, including healing powers. Brock later sacrificed Anti-Venom to cure the Spider-Virus during SPIDER-ISLAND (2011).
While the original Anti-Venom is gone, Flash Thompson—who previously served as a host for Venom—gained a new version of the symbiote in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: VENOM INC. ALPHA (2017) #1. This new symbiote was born when Thompson was exposed to the Anti-Venom Serum.
Introduced in CULT OF CARNAGE: MISERY (2023) #1, Misery is the Marvel Universe’s newest symbiote. That story revealed Alchemax has been studying various offshoots of the Carnage symbiote and exposing it to Anti-Venom. During an attack on Alchemax, the company’s CEO, Liz Allan, ended up exposed to a hybrid of Carnage and Anti-Venom, which turned her into Misery.
The Life Foundation’s Symbiotes
During VENOM: LETHAL PROTECTOR (1993), the titular symbiote headed to the West Coast to turn over a new leaf. During that time, the Life Foundation captured Venom and forcibly spawned five symbiotes. These symbiotes were Scream, Agony, Phage, Riot, and Lasher. To defeat the deadly group, Venom had to team up with Spider-Man. Later, VENOM: ALONG CAME A SPIDER (1995) #1 introduced a new symbiote named Hybrid, who was a combination of those five spawn.
Another hybrid, Silence debuted in EXTREME CARNAGE: PHAGE (2021) #1 and was created using the Anti-Venom Serum and biological data from Scream. Like that symbiote, Silence bonded with Andi Benton during a battle with Phage. With Silence’s power, Benton was able to successfully stop Phage.
Introduced in VENOM (2021) #13, Serpent is another odd symbiote. In the fallout from DARK WEB (2022), Brock ended up in a fight with the King of Limbo. In the aftermath, a new symbiote known as Serpent came into existence. Since its creation, Serpent has bonded with such characters as Donald Blake and Desmond Pitt, AKA Darkoth.
Minor and Unnamed Symbiotes
While not every symbiote is named, there are some minor symbiotes who have indeed been given an identification, though there isn’t much we know about them overall. For instance, VENOM (2021) #8 introduced Warstar, a symbiote created by Kang the Conqueror in the future. Additionally, X-MEN: KINGBREAKER (2008) #2 featured Zzzxx, a symbiote that served in the Shi’ar’s Imperial Guard. Finally, DAMAGE CONTROL (2022) #2 debuted Urinal Cake, a hilarious twist on the symbiote that mostly just wants to relax.
In addition to those mentioned above, many symbiotes haven’t ever been officially named. These symbiotes, often introduced during such events as VENOMIZED (2018), have infected heroes such as Thing, Storm, and Colossus. Outside of those events, BLACK PANTHER (2018) #2 introduced a symbiote worn by N’Jadaka, leader of the Intergalactic Wakandan Empire.
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