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Rider Paladin

Named after an arc going through the Super Specials attached to Spider-Man's various titles in 1995 that purported to explain the origins of the Venom symbiote, I feel it's important to take it from the top when it comes to discussing these alien foes of Spider-Man. It all started with a new black costume in the 1980s Spider-Man comics that could morph at a thought into whatever Spider-Man desired, civilian clothes included. This costume was found in the Secret Wars 12-issue miniseries, where a piece of what Spider-Man assumed to be alien cloth wrapped itself around him to not only repair his damaged costume but give it a new, sleeker form inspired by the new Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter. Bringing it back with him from the Battleworld construct where he and other superheroes did battle with various Marvel villains at the behest of a godlike being called the Beyonder, Spider-Man was thrilled with the utility of his new suit, until he started getting more tired and irritable than usual, even though he was still getting his sleep. Turned out the suit had its own consciousness and was taking him swinging at night while his body was supposed to be sleeping. Even more horrifyingly, the suit wanted to bond with him on a more permanent basis, forcing Spider-Man to separate from it in an attempt to retain his individual identity. Heartbroken at the rejection, the symbiotic suit found another wearer in Eddie Brock, a disgraced journalist who blamed Spider-Man for his fall on account of Spider-Man inadvertently exposing his expose of the serial killer known as the Sin-Eater as a fraud. United in their hatred for Spider-Man, the composite being named "themself" Venom and dedicated their life to stalking and bedeviling Spider-Man for his scorning of them, using the knowledge of his secret identity and their immunity to his spider-sense to facilitate their torment of him . . .

. . . at least until Eddie Brock got religion and realized that the symbiote had done nothing but ruin his life. Remorseful of all the killing he'd done in the name of his vendetta against Spider-Man and at the urging of the alien being fused to him as a living costume, Brock separated himself from the symbiote, and it would find a host in Angelo Fortunato, the young son of a notorious crime boss who'd actually bought the alien for him off an underworld auction in the hopes of making his son "grow a pair." Angelo took to being Venom like a duck to water, at least until he realized how badly outmatched he was against an enraged Spider-Man, indignant at Angelo's murder of a bystander that taunted him while dressed as Spider-Man. Disgusted that Angelo was as weak as ever in spite of his new power, the symbiote abandoned him as he was fleeing for his life, leaving him to fall to his death despite Spider-Man's best efforts to save him, and found a new host in MacDonald Gargan, a.k.a. the Scorpion. Gargan also took to being Venom like a duck to water, but was in time repressed by the symbiote's homicidal tendencies and cannibalistic impulses, to the point that as Venom, he was more monster than man, and ultimately separated from the symbiote once finally apprehended by the U.S. military, who appropriated the symbiote for use in "Project Rebirth 2.0," which was designed to create black-ops super-soldiers for them by bonding the symbiote to a specially trained and treated soldier who would be able to overpower the alien and use it to fight for the United States of America.

The soldier in question turned out to be none other than Flash Thompson, Peter Parker's erstwhile high school bully, who had matured over the years due to his time in the military, a time that also saw him sacrifice his legs in the name of saving his comrades on the battlefield. Project Rebirth 2.0 not only gave him the ability to walk again, but the chance to be a hero just like his idol Spider-Man, so long as Flash maintained rigid self-discipline, lest the symbiote take over and go on a killing spree. Currently, "Agent Venom" is not only a black-ops agent for the U.S. military, he is now a member of Steve Rogers' Secret Avengers division.

And that's just the circuitous story of Venom. As some may know, Venom spawned other symbiotes, the first being the bloodthirsty Carnage symbiote which fused itself into the bloodstream of the equally bloodthirsty serial killer Cletus Kasady, creating a truly monstrous combination of symbiote-and-host that forced Venom to team up with Spider-Man to stop him despite Venom's own antipathy for Spider-Man. There were five others, created by a secretive organization known as the Life Foundation from the "seeds" of the Venom symbiote to serve as guardians for a cadre of wealthy elite in the wake of an oncoming apocalypse and possibly enforce whatever new order said cadre wished to impose on the world. These five symbiotes served as antagonists to Eddie Brock, only to be killed off one at a time by one of their own, a host who had gone insane and come to believe that all symbiotes were inherently evil and needed to be wiped out. The four symbiotes' remains merged into a singular "Hybrid" that later bonded with a paralyzed former Guardsman named Scott Washington, empowering him to take vengeance upon the criminals that had killed his brother and left him a paraplegic, though in an ironic twist, it was the "Hybrid" that kept Scott from striking the killing blow, and he later remade himself into a vigilante hero.

Carnage would eventually spawn as well, with the offspring bonding to an honest New York cop and becoming Toxin. While Toxin's murderous impulses caused great pain for the cop in question, Pat Mulligan, it was Pat's honor and integrity that also made Toxin into a better person and even an ally to Spider-Man and thus an enemy of both Venom and Carnage. Later on, Carnage would seemingly die at the hands of the godlike superhero known as the Sentry, only to be recovered by Hall Industries, symbiote and host separated so that the symbiote's cells could be used to synthesize incredibly advanced prosthetic limbs and armor, armor that Hall Industries used to create a five-person team of elite guards for the corporation. Unfortunately, this backfired, giving Carnage the ability to control the prosthetics derived from his symbiote, an ability he used to murder the "Iron Ranger" Corps and fuse their suits to himself to become even stronger, only for him to be stopped by his second offspring, a techno-organic symbiote created from one of the symbiote-derived prosthetics and bonded to a Ravencroft doctor named Tanis Nieves, who dubbed herself Scorn and as of Carnage U.S.A. is set to fight Carnage once again.

For those wondering whatever became of Eddie Brock, he was healed of his cancer by a man named Martin Li, who invited him to work at his FEAST charity. Unbeknownst to him, Martin Li was also the criminal mastermind Mister Negative, whose touch could "invert" a person's nature, making good people turn to evil, and the healing touch bestowed upon Brock by Li had also fused the remaining symbiote cells inside him with his white blood cells, creating an antibiotic symbiote with the ability to cure any infection or disease . . . including Spider-Man's powers, which were sourced from a radioactive spider bite. It also worked quite well on Venom, separating the symbiote from Gargan by way of treating it as an abnormal bio-graft. Eventually, Brock ended up sacrificing his abilities as Anti-Venom, burning out the antibodies comprising his symbiote in order to create a cure for the Spider-Island infection that was turning New Yorkers into monstrous spider-mutants under the control of an insect-/arachnid-controlling psychic mutant calling herself the Queen, although that wouldn't stop Brock from embarking on a vigilante campaign against all symbiotes, seeing them as tools of the Devil and bringers of corruption to whomever was foolish enough to bond with one.

That is the storied history of the symbiotes in Spider-Man. The origin of Venom has been adapted across animated media, the third Spider-Man film, and even Ultimate Spider-Man, set in an alternate imprint retelling the stories of many Marvel heroes as they would have been conceived in the 21st century as opposed to the 1960s. In Ultimate Spider-Man, the Venom symbiote is actually a bio-graft created by Richard Parker and Eddie Brock, Sr. as a cure for cancer, only to be perverted into a bioweapon that nearly drove Spider-Man insane before he was able to separate from it and then mutated Eddie Brock, Jr. into a cannibalistic monster called Venom. The bio-graft would also be merged with a sample of Spider-Man's DNA to create a parasitic entity called Carnage that drained the life from its victims, including one Gwen Stacy . . . before it turned out that Carnage had so thoroughly absorbed Gwen that it actually recreated her within itself, and once Venom returned to absorb Carnage into itself, a fully healed Gwen Stacy was left behind with almost no memory of what had happened in the intervening time between her "death" and her revival.

About all there is to it, and if you wanna discuss the symbiotes some more, you're free to do it here, so long as you remember to be civil to one another even if you disagree on something.

3/13/2012 #1
Mulunia
I like Venom from the Ultimate Cartoon. That was some good, and original, stuff! :)
4/30/2012 #2
O.N 4

Yeah that was i did not believe how connected that Venom is to Peter Parker.

4/30/2012 #3
Rider Paladin

It was a pretty good twist, synthesizing the symbiote from Spider-Man's blood and "distilled aggression" is a good explanation for why its hosts end up going around the bend.

4/30/2012 #4
O.N 4

Yeah...You know i always wish they did this for a Spider-Man show...That he keeps the Symbiote for a whole season.

4/30/2012 #5
KKD Silver

I like that concept. Heck, I'd even like the concept of Pete finding a way to bond to the symbiote without turning into a mindless husk controlled by the symbiote.

4/30/2012 #6
O.N 4

Yeah cause he defintinly has the smarts to do it.

4/30/2012 #7
KKD Silver

Yea... he freaked out too much when he found out. I'd even like it if any Symbiote that landed on Earth merged with a hero and became one in the process. But... I suppose there could be some black sheep in the process somewhere. ...Maybe that's going too far, huh?

4/30/2012 #8
O.N 4

A little but you have good points.

4/30/2012 #9
KKD Silver

Yea? What're the good points?

4/30/2012 #10
O.N 4

mostly the black sheep statement.

4/30/2012 #11
KKD Silver

So you like the idea of every symbiote merging with a hero and eventually turning good?

4/30/2012 #12
Rider Paladin

Well, Venom was originally treated as a "freak" by the rest of its species because it wanted to form lifetime bonds with one host as opposed to just using up many hosts. Sounds like a guy whose buddies hook up with girls just to "score" with them and then dump them the next day, but he wants to find that one special girl that he really loves and be with her forever . . . and when he finds her, she's scared by the intensity of his feelings and unready to commit herself fully to him, so they break up very painfully, but he never gets over her.

4/30/2012 #13
O.N 4

Yeah i do symbiote have shown to be extremely helpful its who has them that people should be afraid of.

4/30/2012 #14
Rider Paladin

While symbiotes can amplify and reinforce negative impulses and emotions already present within their hosts, Hybrid and Toxin have shown that with significant willpower, a host can reject those impulses and emotions and focus on using the power to help people instead of hurting them. Agent Venom, a.k.a. Flash Thompson, is a third such example, but with chemical assistance due to how volatile the symbiote has become in its time on Earth.

4/30/2012 #15
KKD Silver

Officially, but what if the symbiotes DON'T reinforce the negative impulses, and it all depends on the host?

4/30/2012 #16
O.N 4

That's a good question right there.

4/30/2012 #17
Rider Paladin

Uh-huh. It was originally implied in the earlier comics that it was Eddie Brock that had corrupted the symbiote with his own feelings of rage and hate, hence the suit's metamorphosis into a much more outwardly malevolent form. And the writer of the recent Carnage mini went with the interpretation that that symbiote was only the equivalent of an infant when it bonded with Cletus Kasady out of instinct and Kasady's sheer hatred and contempt for life, society, and morality tainted it to the point that even when separated, it would carry Kasady's hate into other hosts --- like the Silver Surfer and Ben Reilly at one point during his tenure as Spider-Man. The other symbiotes spawned from Venom went to generally screwed-up people, so it's not so clear there whether or not the symbiotes had anything to do with their personalities post-bonding, either, and at least one of them was already insane before bonding.

4/30/2012 #18
O.N 4

Yeah that's something to debate.

4/30/2012 #19
KKD Silver

I think Scream was one of the obvious ones.

4/30/2012 #20
Mulunia
Who know that black jelly blobs were sentiant? :) (Going to bed now.)
4/30/2012 #21
Rider Paladin

Yeah, she was the one I was referring to as already insane before bonding. And she's dead now. Eddie killed her. Her and Hybrid. Venom #15. Incendiary rounds and sonic weapons to utilize the symbiotes' two biggest weaknesses against them.

(Sleep well, Mulunia.)

4/30/2012 . Edited 4/30/2012 #22
KKD Silver

Sad... :( I would've liked to see if they'd somehow reform.

4/30/2012 #23
O.N 4

I hear that Carnage U.S.A was the starting point to a big symbiote event happing in the summer.

4/30/2012 #24
Rider Paladin

So far, they've nicknamed it "Minimum Carnage" and it seems to be a team-up between Agent Venom and Scarlet Spider. Perhaps these two will do what Peter Parker could not bring himself to do . . .

4/30/2012 #25
O.N 4

I'll be looking forward to that...Also i'm glad Venom has become an Avenger its was the biggest shock to me.

4/30/2012 #26
Rider Paladin

A Secret Avenger, yes, but still an Avenger. And Hybrid didn't need to reform because he was already acting as a vigilante hero in his neighborhood. Eddie even admitted that Scott, the host's name, was a better person than he'd ever been, but that he still had to kill him because he couldn't take the chance of the symbiote(s) eventually corrupting him. And Scream (Donna) had shown signs of reforming in her final appearances before Venom #15, but Eddie had even less reason to regret killing her than he did Scott/Hybrid given that this was the same woman who'd slaughtered her own partners and tried to make him take the fall for their murders. Plus, him finishing her with a sonic vibratory knife . . . karma in light of what she did to Leslie/Agony.

4/30/2012 #27
KKD Silver

Well my interest in Scream being the most well-known symbiote with a female host, aside from maybe She-Venom (Venom using Brock's ex-girlfriend as a host), that I made her reappear in my X-Over RP involving Kamen Riders.

4/30/2012 #28
Rider Paladin

Sounds awesome. And they do currently have a new female symbiote host, Dr. Tanis Nieves, a.k.a. Scorn, who was bonded to a symbiote incubated within a biotech prosthesis used as a replacement for her severed arm. As a result of the unique circumstances of the symbiote's birth, Scorn has the ability to manipulate technological devices.

4/30/2012 #29
O.N 4

Oh yeah i joined his RP to get some practice in with Sho and he had Sho's venom give birth to Scream.

4/30/2012 #30
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