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A symbiote, in Marvel Comics' fictional universe, is a living, sentient, extraterrestrial organism that bonds with other living organisms in order to survive. Since it has no classifying name, it is referred to as a symbiote because of its symbiotic relationships. Often symbiotes are called "living costumes" because of the way the amorphous creatures envelop their hosts. They have incredible adaptive attributes and quickly gain similar powers to the superhuman they bond to. They are extremely deadly and have murderous urges on a regular basis. Some symbiotes, like Venom and Carnage, are known to threaten to eat their victims' brains, among other organs (Venom has made regular threats to eat Spider-man's spleen), and Venom has been hinted to have eaten some of the criminals he kills to sate the symbiote's lust for blood.

The symbiote enhances the physical attributes of its host, commonly increasing their strength and speed to superhuman levels as well as granting them a range of other powers such as transformation and mass-alteration.

The first appearance of a symbiote occurs in Amazing Spideman #252 in which Spider-Man brings one home to Earth after the Secret Wars (Secret Wars #8, which was released months later, details his first encounter with it). Eventually the symbiote attempted to permanently bind itself to the character, and had to be forcibly removed, after which time it bonded with Eddie Brock to become Venom. Since then numerous symbiotes have appeared, many of which are the offspring of the original Venom symbiote and possess similar or even greater powers. The second unrelated symbiote was the Carnage symbiote which bonded with Cletus Kasady to form Carnage, who then had its own child, which Venom named Toxin.


Origin of the symbiotes

It is unclear where the symbiotes actually originated, but it is known that their species existed for millions of years prior to the arrival of the Venom symbiote on Earth. It is implied that Galactus, devourer of worlds, consumed a world which they had taken over and where they had thrived, based on Carnage's reaction to the Silver Surfer, former herald of Galactus. It was mistakenly believed that this was their homeworld. It is shown through the Carnage symbiote that this was a world whose dominant life forms had been overrun by the marauding symbiotes.

In Venom: Seed of Darkness #1, it is stated that when Krobaa was brought to Earth it bonded with the professor that had found him to acquire (through the symbiosis) knowledge of humanity to bring the information to a high galactic order that valued "diversity of mind above all else", but Krobaa was infected with the madness of the human mind. Attacking all living things claiming to feed on their fear (much like Dreadface) and only after Eddie Brock's camera flash had weakened him, Krobaa regained control of himself and committed suicide to save other planets from the "plague of madness."
The mini-series Planet of the Symbiotes presents a different story (widely accepted as the canon story). Symbiotes were originally an unfeeling, conquering race, taking over any species they came in contact with to feed off their emotions; this mainly involved adrenaline rushes from death-defying feats and, as a consequence, the hosts tend to be short-lived. This was also evidenced in the Fantastic Four series, when a black cube (imprisoned by Devos the Devastator as a trophy of the most dangerous species he has ever faced) escapes and is revealed to be a sentient extraterrestrial symbiote (called Dreadface in the issue's title) that fuels (and then feeds off) the animosity between the Human Torch and the Thing before apparently being incinerated.The Venom symbiote was different because it desired a strong bond with a single host, and desired to belong rather than to dominate, leading to imprisonment by its own race, at which point it was brought to Battleworld during the first Secret Wars. The Venom symbiote describes itself as a mutation, though it may just as likely be an atavism among its species. The symbiote that temporarily merged with Spider-Man was found in the Secret Wars.


While most symbiotes seen in the Marvel Universe have been shown to be capable of great feats of violence, deception and various criminal acts against humanity, it is notable that their hosts were generally unstable before bonding. In a strange twist of nature versus nurture, it seems that a symbiote's personality may be based on an amalgamation of the memories and thoughts that have been collected from the various hosts and stored within its genetic memory. This explains how a creature like the Venom symbiote, who once valued life to some degree, has mutated into a being who could take the lives of many even without a host to guide its actions.

Additionally, Patrick Mulligan, host to the Toxin symbiote, was a stable and virtuous human who was able to use his symbiote to perform genuinely heroic actions; according to Venom, this could also be because, as the thousandth symbiote of the line, it is subject to a greater chance of psychotic breakdowns. Though the Toxin symbiote has occasionally tried to make Patrick utilize more violent methods in the pursuit of crime, this could be attributed to the genetic memories passed on from Carnage, his father, who relishes use of violence. The Venom symbiote was said to have originally been emotionless but gained human emotion after its time bonded to Peter Parker and even sacrificed itself to pull Peter away from the church bells, even though they were the same bells Peter used to destroy it. Subsequently, it was driven insane by Brock's hatred for Spider-Man. Since bonding to Mac Gargan, the symbiote has become violent and bloodthirsty, completely dominating Gargan when active and showing no regard for any life, whereas with Brock it had had a sense of honor, albeit twisted. In the MC2 universe, the Venom symbiote bonds with the grandson of Norman Osborn, Normie Osborn, but his good-hearted nature influences the suit and causes it to sacrifice itself against a sonic attack to defend Spider-Girl.

It is therefore also possible that the symbiote possesses a complex sentience, and that it obtains some of its opinions on morality from the current host and as such, amplifies the hatred and evil in hosts like Kasady while someone devoid of hatred was capable of influencing the suit to be virtuous. More confused hosts, like Brock, seem to result in different personalities: Venom claimed 'innocence should be cherished' and rescued victims he deemed innocent, including human infants, once even offering a young child a candy bar and reminding him that "only grown-ups should get in fights". However, Brock's poor judgment and mental instability has led to him performing many criminal acts, including the murder of some apparently innocent people.


Originally, Symbiotes were naturally weakened by intense sounds and intense heat - especially large fires. Additionally, in some stories and games, (mostly mentioned in the 2000 Spider-Man game), they are also weakened by magnesium but that is probably because magnesium added to Spider-Man's webbing made it burn. However as each new symbiote has spawned a child, a natural evolution seems to not only increase their strengths, but also reduce their weaknesses. Even already existing symbiotes can mutate and develop these resistances. Still, there has not been an invulnerable symbiote in mainstream continuity, because the newest breeds can be harmed by incredible amounts of sonic waves and heat. Also in the mainstream Marvel Universe, symbiotes are vulnerable to the heat produced by high voltage electricity.

There are other weaknesses as well. Iron Man managed to create an antidote formula that could destroy a 'symbiote' (it should be noted that these were actually just a virus-like biological organisms created by Doctor Doom originally based on the 'Venom' symbiote and were specially made as a Bio-weapon). With Venom and Carnage, authorities have been able to keep the symbiotes in check with a chemical inhibitor. The criminal Styx nearly killed the Venom symbiote with his lethal touch. Whether a symbiote can mutate and reduce the effect of these weaknesses is unknown, although Carnage claimed to have developed invulnerability to sonics. Also, when a symbiote bonded with Wolverine, it was pushed out by his advanced healing factor, although Wolverine's healing factor had no use when he was bonded to a clone of the Venom symbiote.

In some incarnations, the symbiote is depicted as requiring a certain chemical (most likely phenethylamine) to stay sane and healthy, which has been said to be found abundantly in two sources: chocolate and human brain tissue. Thus, the host is forced to steal/buy large amounts of chocolate or become an unwilling cannibal who devours the brains of those he kills. This peculiar trait has only been witnessed in the Venom symbiote. However, both Carnage and Toxin have threatened their enemies with aspirations to "eating their brains", as well as various other body parts.

Special abilities

Symbiotes empower the natural abilities of a host to the point where they far exceed that of normal members of the hosts' species. These abilities include the following:
  • Superhuman strength.
  • Superior speed and agility, enhances other physical attributes as well.
  • Enhanced durability and resistance to damage.
  • Genetic memory, recalling information from previous hosts.
  • Enhanced healing ability.
  • Can expand to any size as long as they have something to grow on such as a host or an object. Symbiotes can get inside of small areas such as electric wires and the insides of cars and completely disable them.
  • The symbiote also reacts to the thoughts and will of the host. When Spider-Man was originally selected, he had been thinking about Spider-Woman's costume in the Secret Wars. The symbiote acted on this and formed a similar costume, the one seen on him and Venom.

The following are functions that have been demonstrated from various hosts' wills (but are not limited to):
  • The ability to form fangs or simple bladed weapons out of their limbs.
  • The ability to form tendrils from their body
  • The ability to shape-shift, from mimicking clothing up to and including complete change of appearance and stature.
  • The ability to stick to walls (adapted from Spider-Man).
  • The ability to produce webbing from its own mass (adapted from Spider-Man).
  • The Venom symbiote also has empathic abilities, and is able to project desires and needs into the thoughts of its host or potential hosts.

This ability can also aid Venom in detecting the truth from those he interrogates.
  • Can sense the presence of other beings within a certain distance.
  • Symbiote bonding protects the host from Ghost Rider's penance stare.
  • Venom and its descendants all possess the ability to bypass the Spider-Sense (because the original symbiote was attached to Peter first, it took his genetic information and spider-powers. This means that the symbiote attacking Peter would essentially be Peter attacking himself, which wouldn't set off his Spider-Sense; during the Clone Saga, this became complicated, as Venom did set off Ben Reilly's Spider-Sense, but Carnage apparently did not).
  • The ability to create storage portals inside of them (this created easy access to Peter's camera).
  • Each symbiote has their own unique ability, such as Carnage being able to see from every direction of his body (this is similar to Spider-Man's spider sense).

Well-known symbiotes and hosts

The following is a complete list of existing symbiotes who have/had human hosts


  • Venom
    • First worn by Spider-Man
    • Eddie Brock
    • She-Venom
    • Angelo Fortunato - He appeared in two issues. On the first he buys the symbiote for $100 million, and on the second issue he dies when the Symbiote abandons him.
    • Mac Gargan (Scorpion) - Current wearer of the Venom symbiote. Sometimes referred to as Scorpion-Venom. Now impersonating Spider-Man.
      Mac Gargan as the third and current Venom.
    • Wolverine Wolverine faced a clone of the Venom symbiote, which briefly merged with him during the "Venom: Run" arc of the 2003 series.
    • Kulan Gath - Took the symbiote from Eddie Brock and was referred to as Kulan Venom.

Other versions of Venom

* Normie Osborn - The grandson of the original Green Goblin and friend of Spider-Girl, was the longest-term host of the Venom Symbiote in the MC2 Universe (this character is sometimes referred to as "Goblin-Venom" but also called themselves "Dusk"). In Spider-Girl #100, he gave up the Venom symbiote to Spider-Girl in order to save her life. These events are part of the MC2 continuity and not the regular continuity.
* Spider-Girl (May "Mayday" Parker) - She briefly bonds with the Venom symbiote in Spider-Girl #100. In the same issue, the symbiote separates from May and attacks the Hobgoblin which ends with the symbiote's death. These events are part of the MC2 continuity and not the regular continuity.
* Spider-Venom (Peter Parker) (Spider-Man of the MC2 universe) - He briefly wore the Venom costume again in "Spider-Girl" #5. This is of note however because Spider-Venom's (as he called himself) costume is almost exactly the costume of Venom in the movie Spider-Man 3 except that the spider symbol was Venom's spider symbol and not the original Spider-Man's spider symbol.
* Kron Stone - In the year 2099, Kron Stone is the half-brother to that era's Spider-Man. He bonded with the symbiote to become the Venom of 2099. The symbiote was described as having mutated over the years, and displayed new abilities in this timeline, including acidic blood and saliva. It was revealed that the symbiote bonded with Kron on a molecular level, giving Kron an amorphous physiology that allowed his body to take on the properties of the symbiote itself. These events are part of the Marvel 2099 continuity, which is a possible future of the current Marvel Universe.
* Roman the Sub-Mariner - He became a brief host to the symbiote in the year 2099 after Stone was apprehended by Spider-Man of 2099 in Spider-Man 2099 #44.
* The Punisher - He wore the Venom symbiote in What If (vol. 2) #44, which is outside regular continuity.
* The Hulk in What If... (vol. 2) #4; - In an alternate storyline where Spider-Man never spoke to Reed Richards about it. Having drained Peter of the adrenaline it requires, it takes control of the out-of-control and mentally weak Hulk until it is cornered by Thor.
* Thor in What If... (vol. 2) #4; alternate storyline (Same as above), with the symbiote jumping to Thor after he confronts the Hulk, only to be driven out of Thor thanks to the intervention of Black Bolt and subsequently killed by Black Cat.
Peter Parker, as Poison, approaches Aunt May
* Peter Parker in What If... the Other. Alternate events of the Other storyline lead Peter to reject the Spider and stay dead. The symbiote senses this, leaving Gargan, and bonds with Peter's broken mind to become the persona known as Poison.
* Pike in Backlash/Spider-Man #2 - After a piece of Venom's symbiote was let loose and bonded with him. This combination lasted very briefly, as Spider-Man almost immediately started ringing a church bell, and the symbiote peeled right off Pike and back onto Venom (oddly enough, Venom didn't seem to be affected by the church bell). It is unclear if this transfer of Venom took place in Earth-616 or was outside the regular continuity.
* Katie Power in Spider-Man and Power Pack - In the Marvel Adventures universe, the Venom symbiote is separated from Eddie Brock. A fashion designer finds and duplicates the symbiote for use in his show. The symbiotes take over the models (one being Mary Jane Watson) before being forced off of them, one by an energy blast from Katie and the others by a sonic boom produced by Julie Power's super human speed, and then crippled by sound waves courtesy of Jack Power using a sound equipment set-up and captured, but not before one "infects" Katie Power's Kymellian costume. The costume-turned-symbiote possess the young Power and uses her to bait Spider-Man into a Sinister Six ambush. Eventually with the help of huge discharge of electricity from Electro, the symbiote "infection" is expelled, and her costume restored to normal.
* Pork Grind is the version of Venom from Spider-ham's universe. He appeared in What The!? #20.
* An unnamed Venom analogue (with full spider legs) appeared in Squadron Supreme II issues 9 and 10 but was killed (along with the Loki analogue) by Hyperion.
* Human Torch in the Marvel Adventure universe wore the Venom symbiote in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #24. After the Fantastic Four managed to remove the symbiote from Spider-Man, Johnny decided to borrow it briefly, not knowing its true nature. While he wore it, the symbiote became a black and white version of his usual costume, but fled when he activated his flame powers (due to its weakness to extreme heat), eventually finding and attempting to rebond with Spider-Man, whose subsequent second rejection led it to seek out Eddie Brock and become Venom.
* Galactus in a Mysterio-induced hallucination.
* Multiple clones of Venom appeared in Spider-Man: Reign, What If? Age of Apocalypse, and Spider-Man and Power Pack (see Katie Power).


Other versions of Carnage

* The Silver Surfer stayed "Carnage Cosmic" (an alternate reality "What If" story expanded this, exploring "What if Carnage had stayed bonded to the Silver Surfer?" in What If? #108).
* In the series Exiles (which involves inter-dimensional travel) there is an alternate-universe version of Peter Parker merged with an alternate-universe version of the Carnage-symbiote. This symbiote is known as The Spider. They are a psychotic killer that "likes hurting people" and they have a sense of humor akin to Deadpool. They had been sentenced to death in their home reality, but were displaced in time before the sentence could be carried out. They originate from Earth-15 and are members of the Weapon X team.
* Moose Mansfield: A friend of Spider-Girl (a.k.a. May "Mayday" Parker"), briefly bonds with Carnage in the MC2 universe and even reproduces a mini version that bonds with May's baby brother, Benjamin Parker. Eventually, they were both separated and destroyed from their hosts after May uses ultra sound.
* Ultimate Gwen Stacy was apparently killed by Ultimate Carnage. This Carnage was killed by Peter when he dropped it into a smokestack. What is presumed to be Gwen Stacy's clone is the host of the new Carnage symbiote. She was in stasis and entirely inactive under Nick Fury's watch until she managed to escape and went looking for Peter to help her. Carnage appeared to drain Gwen of all her bodily fluids, but there is no evidence yet to clearly state that she is a clone, as she may well be the original Gwen Stacy. This creature was contained in the same building as the various clones of Spider-Man in the Ultimate Marvel version of the Spider-Man Clone Saga. Nick Fury ordered something as yet unknown to be done to this version of Carnage, but the symbiote was consumed by the Ultimate version of Venom.

Other Symbiotes

  • Scream (worn by Donna Diego) A life foundation symbiote
  • Toxin (worn by Patrick Mulligan) Spawn of Carnage
  • The Life Foundation symbiotes worn by Carl Mach, Trevor Cole, Ramon Hernandez and Leslie Gesneria.
  • Hybrid (worn by Scott Washington) 4 of the life foundation symbiotes merged to form Hybrid. He is the first good symbiote.
  • She-Venom II (worn by Communications Specialist Patricia Robertson.) Clone of the Venom symbiote.
  • Krobaa in "Venom: Seed of Darkness" Minus 1, a younger Eddie Brock fights a man wearing a symbiote calling himself Krobaa, whom Eddie defeats using the flash on his camera.
  • Dreadface (worn at times by Thing, Human Torch, and Psi-Lord ) was an alien symbiote of the same race as the Venom symbiote that appeared in two issues of the Fantastic Four volume one. It was imprisoned upon the warship of Devos the Destroyer and accidentally set free by the Fantastic Four when they crash-landed the ship on a remote island. While Reed and Sue take off in a jet to find help, Ben and Johnny are attacked by Dreadface. Ben sets off an explosion, destroying the symbiote. Of interest is the fact that while Dreadface showed a weakness to Johny's flames, when he had taken Johny as a host he gained the Torch's immunity to his own fire. This appeared to occur due to Dreadface pulling the symbiote back from the parts of Torch's body that were aflame, while retaining control over his mind. Dreadface's appearance is very similar to that of Venom's incarnation in the year 2099, though lacking the spider symbol and the monstrous tongue.
  • Anti-Venom - Created and worn by Eddie Brock after the remnants of the Venom symbiote in his blood bonded with his white blood cells.
  • Payback - Bonded to a more evolved cousin of normal race of symbiotes. Is currently a vigilante and head of the True Believers.
  • An as of yet unnamed symbiote is part of Vulcan's team of convicts sent to track down the Starjammers in X-Men: Kingbreaker.
  • The clone of Spider-Girl in the MC2 universe named April Parker is a hybrid symbiote/human.

Well-known hosts of other symbiotes

  • Vance Astro in the Guardians of the Galaxy alternate future (Earth-691), gains a black symbiote (in "GOTG" # 46) which he continues to wear (at least as of his last appearance in New Warriors).
  • Rune In Rune vs. Venom #1, Rune wears a symbiote for much of the story and then after separating from it, eats the symbiote and changes his appearance (losing hair and becoming apparently stronger).
  • Captain America in one panel of the Planet of the Symbiotes storyline, in his armored costume, appears on a TV wearing a symbiote.
  • The New Avengers (Echo, Doctor Strange, Ronin, Iron Fist, Wolverine, and Spider-Man himself) and some Mighty Avengers (Wasp, Spider-Woman, Black Widow) get symbiotes when they visit Stark Towers during a symbiote invasion.
  • Scorpion II (Carmilla Black) used her powers to absorb Venom's webbing and become a 'neo-symbiote' (Spider-Man Family #3).
  • Deadpool was momentarily taken over by multiple symbiotes (much like Hybrid), but shakes the alien off first freeing his mind through sheer force of will, then his body using Cable's scimitar in the Dinosaur Symbiotes arc Cable and Deadpool #50.

Non-human species hosts

  • Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) by the Venom clone
  • Common Raven (Corvus corax) by the Venom clone
  • Dog (Canis lupus familiaris) during Planet of the Symbiotes and again (a cocker spaniel) in the Venom Virus story in Mighty Avengers #8
  • Unknown species of bird(s) in the Venom Virus story in Mighty Avengers #8, probably Rock Dove (Columba livia)
  • Gorilla (Gorilla sp.) by Dreadface and also Venom is a 'gorilla' in the variant Marvel Apes cover of Amazing Spiderman #570
  • Several species of dinosaurs during the recent symbiote invasion of New York (Cable & Deadpool #49-50) including Pteranodon, Amargasaurus, Triceratops and several dromeosaurids ("Velociraptor"). Also, a Tyrannosaurus rex in the Old Man Logan alternate future
  • A Cybertronian robot, Optimus Prime, had a symbiote attempt to bond with him In Transformers Generation 2 #3, but it failed. It took on a spider-like form, perhaps a hint that it is a homage to the infamous Venom Symbiote. After Optimus Prime rejects the 'parasite' by sheer force of will, he claims that it has no physical substance, but rather is some sort of psychic-energy life-form. Its ability to infect the Transformers while they are still in orbit above the parasites' planet in the K'Toro Nebula may support this conclusion. The fact that it appears as a black fluid, clearly manifests as the shadow of a spider, feeds on rage, and appears to increase the durability of its hosts can't be ignored however. At the very least, the organism is an homage to the traditional Marvel symbiotes.
  • Unnamed six-armed alien species during Planet of the Symbiotes
  • Unnamed alien species with trumpet-like head projections during flashback in Planet of the Symbiotes
  • Unnamed humanoid alien species that were destroyed by Galactus in a flashback in Amazing Spider-Man #431
  • Unnamed rodent-like alien species in "Venom: Dark Origin" during a flashback that may (or may not) have been the symbiotes' home planet
  • A symbiote in X-Men Kingbreaker has an unwilling Shi'ar as a host and then Raza of the Starjammers (whose species is unknown).
  • Skrulls in an alternate universe in Dark Reign: FF #4. Also, a Skrull with a symbiote (or faux-symbiote) was in Secret Invasion 4 & 6 and another skrull had symbiote powers (in addition to other powers) in Secret Invasion: Spider-Man.

Active and inactive symbiotes

The activity of the symbiotes and their hosts vary.

  • Venom: The Venom symbiote's host is currently The Scorpion (Mac Gargan), member of the Dark Avengers. Roman in Marvel 2099, somewhere in the oceans, possibly New Atlantis.
  • Carnage: Unknown; the Sentry ripped the Carnage symbiote in two, but Cletus Kasady may not have been wearing the suit. Since Kassidy has been known to be able to regenerate the symbiote, he still may be able to return if in fact he is still alive.
  • Scream: Active but unknown location
  • Hybrid: Active but unknown location
  • She Venom II: Unknown, Venom absorbed Patricia's symbiote and it is likely she is deceased.
  • Toxin: Active but unknown location; member of the Initiative.
  • Dreadface: Believed deceased but appeared in cameo in Fantastic Four Foes #1.
  • Iron Man's Battleworld Suit: Deceased. It is unknown whether this alien being was of the same species as the Spider-Man symbiotes (not likely but possible). During the Secret Wars, Iron Man also received part of an alien suit on the Battleworld. After it began to malfunction, he discarded it on the moon. The alien survived, but it was later killed by Quasar
  • Anti-Venom: Even though Eddie Brock shed the symbiote Venom suit, cells of the alien still reside in his blood stream. Mister Negative's energy bonds these particles to Eddie's white blood cells, creating an "Anti-Venom" suit. This new "symbiote" is toxic to the original Venom parasite.
  • Unnamed Symbiote Part of the team of convicts assembled by the Shi'ar at Emperor Vulcan's behest and tasked to hunt down the Starjammers. This symbiote is unique in that it seems to totally consume the mind of its host.

Mighty Avengers

Angel Medina claims he was reluctant to start work on Mighty Avengers because he was working on a Venom project, only to be told he would be drawing a story with "the Avengers vs. an alien invasion - by the Venoms."

This Arc was later confirmed to be drawn by Mark Bagley, as Medina would be unavailable. Solicitations state that the New Avengers will also be part of this Arc, themselves becoming infested by Symbiotes. New Avengers #34 revealed that Doctor Doom is responsible for dropping a "chemical bomb" on New York that unleashes the Symbiotes. The story was completed in Mighty Avengers #8.

Other versions

Ultimate symbiotes

In the Ultimate Spider-Man universe, the symbiote has vastly changed. The fathers of Peter Parker and Eddie Brock Jr. had created the suit as a protoplasmic cure for cancer. The first stage would be to cover the host's body and eliminate a disease in the patient's body. Stage Two would involve the suit enhancing the wearer's strength and natural abilities. The suit was unfinished as Bolivar Trask stole the project from the scientists, but Eddie Brock Sr. saved a small sample for his son to find. Peter Parker first tries the suit on and ends up with the well-known black suit, which vastly increases his strength and agility, allowed him to heal from gunshot wounds, and use part of the protoplasm to make "webs". Though Peter could easily create 'webs' from both his hands and fingers, Eddie has only been shown to shoot webs in the comics, while in the games, Venom was shown to be restricted to creating protoplasmic tentacles. It seems as if the only weakness of the suit is extreme voltage of electricity, as it absorbed the Shocker's vibrations with no trouble; indeed, Peter found them relaxing. When the suit becan to influence him mentally, making him hallucinate, Peter used electricity to get the suit off him before it merged with him permanently. It almost killed him, which goes to show the strength and attachment between the two. When "worn" by a being other than Peter Parker, such as Eddie Brock, the host is compelled to seek out and devour other human beings or else be consumed by the suit itself, presumably due to the suit breaking down on the genetic level due to incompatible DNA patterns between itself and the host. After the suit absorbed the revived "Carnage" symbiote, presumably a trace-element of itself left behind after Peter Parker escaped it, this need to feed apparently vanished.

In the Ultimate Universe, there have been only two symbiotes: Venom, and the Carnage that Peter becomes in the Ultimate Spider-Man Game. The Carnage which appears in the Ultimate Comics is an artificially created organism partly based on the Venom Project.

In other media


  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Venom symbiote is brought to earth by John Jameson. In this continuity, bonding with the Symbiote makes Spider-Man more powerful and aggressive then usual (an effect that is later displayed in the third film and the Spectacular Spider-Man series). Both Venom and Carnage appear in the series.

  • In Spider-Man Unlimited, Venom and Carnage journey to Counter Earth, making contact with "The Synoptic", a group of Symbiotes who had bonded with the dinosaurs of Counter Earth prior to their extinction, and were forced underground until the present day. The Synoptic Symbiotes are depicted as small yellow creatures that attach themselves to their victims upper body, not covering them completely, as Venom and Carnage's do.

  • The black suit appears in the final arc of season one of The Spectacular Spider-Man. The black symbiote suit resembles the movie version down to the webbing and spider symbol in its initial appearance, but eventually resembled the comic-book "all black" look. Peter wore the suit for multiple episodes. The symbiote enhanced Spider-Man's original abilities as well as making organic webbing out of its own mass. However, when Spider-Man tried to tell Captain Stacy that the symbiote had attached itself to his costume, the symbiote convinced him to keep the costume so they could "help people." Its major effect on Peter in was observed when Peter fell asleep and the symbiote actually took over his body and fought the Sinister Six in Central Park. The symbiote is also somewhat responsible for Peter not realizing his Aunt May had had a heart attack in the episode. Peter realized the symbiote had fought the Six when he saw the newspaper on his front porch, but addressed the situation good as long as the money was good. He also realized that the life form was in fact a symbiote. This was the first time the symbiote was addressed as such. At this same point, he addressed himself as "we", under the influence of the symbiote. In the episode "Intervention", Peter realizes that the symbiote is affecting his personality (signified by Peter wearing a black T-shirt and referring to himself as "we" instead of "I") when Flash Thompson actually informs him of how poorly he was acting around his friends when they tried to help him. The symbiote is detached from Peter when he drew strength from his memories of Uncle Ben, placing the symbiote back in its holding cell at the university to freeze it to death as Eddie Brock arrived, his life in ruins since the symbiote was taken from the University Lab, horrified to see the one thing that could ensure he would keep his job die. However, the Symbiote survived and after revealing to Brock Peter's identity as Spider-Man, bonded onto him to become Venom, setting the stage for the season finale, "Nature Vs. Nurture" though this was mainly so it could rebond with Spiderman a "reunion with its first love" as Spiderman puts its. Spider-Man eventually defeats the Symbiote by tricking it into leaving Eddie by pretending to want to rejoin with it. After successfully deflecting the Symbiote's assimilation assault, Spider-Man captures it and dumps it in cement at a local construction site. Still bitter and craving the power the Symbiote gave him, Eddie stalks Peter for some time and eventually tricks him into believing he'd re-bonded with the Symbiote. This leads Spider-Man to returning to the construction site to make sure the life form is still buried there, unwittingly leading Eddie "back to the one [he loves]." Upon returning, Venom proceeds to frame Spider-Man of various crimes, eventually attacking Colonel John Jameson, who had become the hero Colonel Jupiter at the time under the influence of mass-increasing spores that came to Earth along with the Symbiote. Venom then attempted to expose Peter as Spider-Man, which was quick to grab media attention, and stole a vial of gene cleanser from the Connors' lab to force Peter to take it and remove his powers. Thanks to a timely distraction by Flash Thompson, Spider-Man was able to avoid taking the cleanser and shoved it down Venom's throat. When the gene cleanser began destroying the Symbiote, it detached itself from Eddie to survive and slipped down into the sewers.


The Symbiote appears as the main antagonist in Spider-Man 3. As in the comics, the symbiote attaches itself to Spider-Man first, but instead of giving him his classic black costume (like in the comics), it gives his red & blue costume a new, black color, with his usual webbing pattern on it and a slightly different spider symbol. After Spider-Man discovers the symbiote's true nature and realizes that it seeks to bond with him completely and take over his life, he separates himself from the symbiote by tearing off his black costume in an active church bell-tower. The symbiote then moves to Eddie Brock, Jr., and the merger becomes Venom. The symbiote is revealed to have crashed down to Earth via a meteorite and clung onto the back of Peter's moped at the very start of the film, before their bonding.
Venom appears similar to the comic book version, but with a disorganized web-pattern on his costume. He is also not as buff as his comic counterpart, he is almost as thin as Spider-Man. He fires webbing from the top of his hands, as in the comics, but his webbing is black in color and resembles barbed wire. The Symbiote is also seen crawling across the ground, rather than flowing like liquid as its comic counterpart does. In the Spider-Man 3 novelization by Peter David, the symbiote forms into a large and hostless Venom-like creature that grows from Eddie's remains and grows around the construction site pulling itself upwards. Here it attempts to rebond itself to Spider-Man. In the film, Dr. Curtis Connors analyzes a small sample of the symbiote at Peter's request. While he has no idea precisely what it is, he notes that it is similar to a symbiote and upon further testing, later reveals to Peter that the substance amplifies the darker qualities of its host (specifically aggression).

Video games

  • In the arcade title Spider-Man: The Video Game, after the defeat of Dr. Doom, the final boss fight consists of a battle against an infinite number of Doom-created symbiote clones (leading to speculation that this was the source of the Mighty Avengers storyline). All the clones can be killed, but there is one "prime clone" with much more life. Defeating this clone is the only way to win.
  • In the first Playstation Spider-Man game, Doc Ock and Carnage team up to try and unleash a symbiote army onto the whole city. The spawned symbiotes are host-less clones of the Carnage symbiote and pink in color, and serve as the strongest non-boss enemies. Venom also appears in a supporting role, and his symbiote is an unlockable costume for Spider-Man. The final segment of the game features Spider-Man escaping from "Monster Ock"; the result of the Carnage symbiote melding with Doctor Octopus. The symbiote is apparently killed when engulfed in an explosion.
  • In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, the black suit appears as an unlockable alternate costume for Spider-Man along with Scarlet Spider and Tony Stark's "Iron-Spider" costume from the Civil War storyline.
  • In the Spider-Man 3 video game, along with Venom, Shriek and Morbius appear. Shriek's powers come from a symbiote in this game which is also black in color. However the symbiote only covers half of her body. She apparently had an attraction to Spider-Man in his black suit, most likely due to her being affected with another symbiote. This is only found on the Wii/PS2 versions of the game.
  • In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Venom returns to New York to send and unleash an invasion of cloned symbiotes to rule the city. During a fight with Venom, the symbiote suddenly reproduces and the spawn bonds with Spider-Man creating a replica of the Black Suit, but with considerably more Carnage-like abilities such as projecting bladed tentacles. Over the course of the game, Venom creates symbiote 'seed-pods' in various locations around the city which absorb passing civilians and infect them with various types of symbiote ranging from Snatcher Symbiotes (the small black Symbiotes that drag unsuspecting victims to the 'seed-pods'), Zombie Symbiotes (the weak white Symbiotes), Berserker Symbiotes (the red shiny Symbiotes), Gripper Symbiotes (black and red versions of the Berserkers), and Slasher Symbiotes (the white and pink Symbiotes). The Symbiotes even manage to infect Electro, Vulture, Black Cat and Wolverine. Symbiote-Electro and Symbiote-Vulture go on to spawn other symbiotes with powers similar to their hosts resulting in Electrolings and Vulturelings. All are eventually defeated by Spider-Man and the symbiotes are separated from them.


See also

  • Black oil: Creation of the TV series The X-Files that represents an alien entity/life force/virus. It appears as a liquid with the consistency of crude oil, can move on its own, and is sentient.
  • Spawn, wears a symbiotic costume.
  • Zato-1 from the Guilty Gear series, is in a symbiotic relationship with a black, sentient, creature with a liquid-like consistency. In Zato's (uncanonical) ending of the original entry in the series, the entity takes control of him.
  • Alex Mercer displays symbiotic powers in the video game Prototype.


  1. The suit tried to connect with Franklin Richards to free it from the Baxter Building, but sensed the boy's unlimited power and was scared of the boy.
  2. Phoenix Cactus Comic-Con: Angel Medina on Mighty Avengers
  3. Mark Bagley to become Mark Mighty

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