The symbiotic alien known as Venom is probably the most recognizable and iconic Spider-Man villains ever, even ousting more classic characters such as the Green Goblin and Vulture. While it’s star had been diminished somewhat by the lackluster portrayal in Spider-Man 3 it has nevertheless remained a steady fixture in the Marvel comic universe. The release of the upcoming Venom movie’s new trailer and the first glimpse of the titular character joined with host Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) now has fans sighing in relief that the character finally looks good (Jenny Slate’s weird pronunciation of ‘symbiote’ notwithstanding). To celebrate and get in the Venom spirit, here are 5 essential facts everyone needs to know about their favorite, if freaky, anti-hero alien monster.
The Venom symbiote is a Klyntar, an alien race originally from the Andromeda galaxy. Originally the Klyntar were a peaceful and benevolent who only created symbiotic bonds with willing hosts of exceptional virtue. A rogue faction started when some of the hosts selected were malignant or unstable, infecting their symbiotes on a mental and genetic level, and soon grew until it vastly outnumbered the good Klyntar. These Klyntar spread across the galaxy, taking up host after host until they were bored enough to suck them dry and move on to the next.
Love/Hate Relationship with Spider-Man
When Peter Parker first discovered the symbiote that would become Venom on another planet he assumed it was just a highly adaptable piece of clothing that could transform into a spider-suit as well as civilian outfits. With the help of the Fantastic Four he eventually realized it was a sentient organic being that had been not only contaminating Peter’s thoughts and emotions but taking control of his body as he slept to fight crime around New York. Horrified, Peter attempted to free himself of the symbiote, who at this point deeply loved and cared about its host and was extremely hurt by the rejection.
When the symbiote finally left Peter for good it encountered Eddie Brock, a former reporter whose career had effectively been destroyed by Spider-Man’s unmasking of a villain Brock had already claimed to know the real identity of. When the two combined, Brock’s anguish and anger at Spider-Man combined with the symbiote’s own bitterness at being rejected and created the monstrous Venom, whose main goal was to destroy the web-slinger. The symbiote still saw Peter as it’s ideal host, almost like a soul mate, and given the chance would have dropped Brock in heartbeat to be with him again.
An Unlikely Anti-Hero
When it was coupled with Eddie Brock, Venom was actually something of an anti-hero. A mixture of Peter Parker’s desire to be a hero and Brock’s own strong moral code managed to overcome the instinctual bloodlust and rage that was a hallmark of corrupted Klyntar’s and became a staunch protector of innocents (a classification that in Venom’s mind entirely excluded Spider-Man). While Venom would kill or allow innocents to die in his ultimate quest to kill the hero, he heavily mourned each and every loss.
While Eddie Brock is the most famous Venom host, he’s far from the only one. The symbiote has temporarily possessed countless characters, from Ms. Marvel and Deadpool to Brock’s own ex-wife Anne Weying. It’s had a number of long-term hosts as well, including Mac Gargan (better known as the Scorpion) and Peter’s former classmate Flash Thompson.
One Big Happy Family
As a Klyntar the Venom symbiote is capable of asexual procreation and has spawned several offspring over the years. The first combined with Eddie Brock’s cellmate, the homicidal Cletus Kasady, to become the bloodthirsty being known as ‘Carnage.’ Carnage would eventually spawn itself, giving birth to the symbiote known as ‘Toxin.’ Later during a period when the Life Foundation had possession of the Venom symbiote, scientists forcefully extracted five spawns from it and attempted to use them to create a super-powered security team. As the Life Foundation seems to be playing a pivotal role in the upcoming Venom (2019) there’s a good chance we may be able to see some of Venom’s children in action.
Venom is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy, Jenny Slate and Riz Ahmed. It hits theaters October 5th, 2018.