The different symbiotes

The different symbiotes DEFAULT

Venom: Marvel's Most Powerful Symbiotes Ranked

Venom may be one of Spider-Man's stronger foes, but he's not the only symbiote character on the block. This villain's breakout popularity in the late '80s and early '90s inspired a new wave of symbiote characters, from villains like Carnage to heroes like Scorn and Toxin. And some of these characters have proven to be stronger and more capable than Venom himself.And now Venom and his ilk are back in the conversation with the arrival of the Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer. So if you want to know how the major symbiote characters in the Marvel Universe measure up, we've put together a helpful guide. Read on -- or watch the video above -- to see where characters like Peter Parker and Eddie Brock fall on the list of the most powerful symbiotes.

And when you're done here, be sure to check out our Let There Be Carnage exclusive trailer breakdown with director Andy Serkis, explore whether or not the Venom movies take place in the MCU (and whether or not Tom Holland's Spider-Man could show up in them), learn why Venom doesn’t need Spider-Man, and dig in on Carnage's new powers in the movie.

Have you read The Amazing Spider-Man [1963 - 2012]?

Venom: Symbiote Names and Hosts

These are the symbiotes/symbiote hosts included in this list:
  • Spider-Man
  • The Life Foundation Symbiotes
  • Scream
  • Venom
  • Mania
  • Space Knight Venom
  • Carnage
  • Scorn
  • Toxin
  • Anti-Venom
  • The Symbiote Super-Soldiers
  • Red Goblin
  • Knull


Peter Parker was the first person to bond with the Venom symbiote, which also puts him on the low end of the symbiote totem pole. It's not that Spider-Man didn't receive a significant power boost while wearing the costume. Bonding with Venom amped up his already impressive strength and granted him unlimited webbing (which is a huge help to any struggling superhero's budget). However, the symbiote has only grown stronger since moving on to other hosts.

Plus, Peter never fully bonded with the symbiote in the way other hosts like Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson have. No sooner did he discover that the helpful black costume he stumbled across on an alien planet was actually a living, parasitic being than he discarded it and went back to the old spandex.

The Life Foundation Symbiotes

Early on in his career as a "lethal protector," Venom was captured by Carlton Drake's Life Foundation and had five samples of his costume taken and turned into new symbiotes. Four of those symbiotes - Riot, Lasher, Phage and Agony - are grouped together here. Because they only appeared in a handful of Venom stories and never had much of a chance to stand out as individuals, it's tough to really rank one above another.

Theoretically, as offspring of Venom, these Life Foundation symbiotes should be stronger than their parent. But these characters never showed much skill in controlling their powers, and it wasn't long before the human hosts were killed off and the Life Foundation symbiotes were sent adrift. They later returned as a fused symbiote named Hybrid, but even that new form wasn't powerful enough to prevent Venom from killing their shared human host, Scott Washington.


Scream is the one Life Foundation Symbiote who did stand apart from her brethren. The 1994 series Venom: Separation Anxiety revealed that Scream was trying to murder her compatriots and frame Eddie Brock for their deaths. The simple fact that she was able to overpower and kill Agony shows that Scream was more in tune with her symbiote than the rest. Even so, she was no match for Venom in the end.


Venom made his reputation by serving as a bigger, meaner version of Spider-Man. When the symbiote passed from Peter Parker to Eddie Brock, it retained most of Spider-Man's abilities - strength, speed, agility, etc. At the same time, finding a new host amplified the symbiote's power and granted it several new abilities, including razor-sharp fangs and the ability to block Peter's Spider-Sense.

In short, while Venom isn't as strong as some of the more recent symbiotes that have sprung up in his wake, he's certainly more than a match for Spider-Man. The symbiote's power levels have also stayed fairly consistent as its switched among several new hosts (Mac Gargan, Flash Thompson, Lee Price) before finally returning to Brock.


The Mania symbiote is another offshoot of Venom, and one that's shown a much greater degree of bloodlust and rage than its parent. That's in part because one of its wearers, Andi Benton, was also cursed by a supernatural brand called the Hell-Mark. More recently, the Mania symbiote has passed to a criminal named Lee Price. Lee has shown the ability to enslave others by infecting them with pieces of his symbiote, making him more than a match for the combined might of Venom and Spider-Man.

Space Knight Venom

To date, the Venom symbiote has never been stronger than when bonded to Flash Thompson. That's right, Peter Parker's former high school bully became one of several hosts for the Venom symbiote. Luckily, Flash helped steer the symbiote down a better road. During this period, Venom even joined the Guardians of the Galaxy and traveled to its home planet, where its warped mind was cured and he developed an even closer bond with Flash.

It was during this time that Venom became a cosmic superhero known as a Space Knight and tapped into greater levels of strength than ever before. Unfortunately, this bond didn't last, and it wasn't long before Flash and Venom were separated and left to fend for themselves again back on Earth.


For a while, Carnage was basically top dog in the symbiote pecking order. Just as Venom is a step beyond Spider-Man in terms of strength, Carnage surpasses Venom in terms of both power and potential for destruction.

Carnage was created when Eddie Brock and psychopathic murderer Cletus Kasady were cellmates. When Eddie escaped and left a trace of his symbiote behind, it fused with Kasady. The symbiote's own emotional detachment pairs a little too well with Kasady's insatiable bloodlust, resulting in a super-powered villain who loves murder and is capable of taking on both Spider-Man and Venom at the same time.


Carnage finally gained an enemy who could operate on his level when he accidentally spawned a new symbiote named Scorn. Scorn is bonded to a woman named Tanis Nieves. Because of its unusual origin, the Scorn symbiote is a fusion of biological and technological life. That means that not only does Tanis have strength to match Carnage, but her suit can bond and interface with various machines. Where sonic weapons are one of the few weaknesses most symbiotes share, for Scorn they can become a useful tool in battle.


What threat could possibly make Venom and Carnage put aside their differences and work together? That would be Toxin, the first symbiote to spawn from Carnage. Carnage immediately recognized Toxin as a serious threat, as it basically wields the combined might of Venom and Carnage together. The fact that Toxin has an unusually developed personality and strong bond with its original host, Patrick Mulligan, only adds to its strength. Fortunately, despite Venom and Carnage's shared fear of Toxin's destructive potential, this symbiote has shown a tendency to fight on the side of good.


Anti-Venom was born when trace remnants of the venom symbiote within Eddie Brock's body were charged up by Mister Negative, creating a new, artificial symbiote in the process.

In terms of raw strength, Anti-Venom may not be the most powerful symbiote. Its strength is more or less on par with the regular Venom symbiote. But this hero is perfectly equipped to battle and defeat other symbiotes. Anti-Venom's cleansing touch can literally burn other symbiotes, causing extreme pain and even death. In other words, it's a very useful ally to have in any fight involving enemies like Venom or Carnage.

The Symbiote Super-Soldiers

The newest Venom series revealed that the US government once created a batch of super-soldiers empowered by samples of the Grendel, a primordial symbiote in the shape of a massive dragon. Given their direct link to the progenitor of the entire symbiote race, these super-soldiers proved both incredibly strong and very difficult to control. One flashback story showed them handily defeating both Nick Fury and Wolverine in the Vietnam jungle, with the latter only surviving because he showed the symbiotes compassion.

Red Goblin

In terms of bloodlust and sheer body count, Spider-Man villains don't come any worse than Green Goblin and Carnage. And when you combine the two of them together, you have all the makings of one horrible, unstoppable villain.

That was the case in "Go Down Swinging," a recent Amazing Spider-Man storyline where Norman Osborn willingly bonded with the Carnage symbiote. A new hybrid villain named Red Goblin was created as a result. Red Goblin compounds Osborn's already considerable strength with that of Carnage, along with the ability to throw destructive "Carnage bombs." Even traditional symbiote weaknesses like sound and fire are only minor nuisances to Red Goblin.


The current Venom series has dramatically changed the origin and back-story of Marvel's symbiote characters. It turns out that all symbiotes are spawns of an ancient god named Knull. Knull has existed since the earliest days of the universe, where he's been waging a war against the Celestials for bringing light into his dark, lifeless realm. He sometimes takes the form of the Grendel, a giant dragon who inspired the creature in the epic poem Beowulf.

Needless to say, any character who can murder Celestials ranks among the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. Venom and Carnage are just drops in the bucket compared to this guy.Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.

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Every Member Of Venom's Symbiote Family, Ranked By Power

When Spider-Man revealed his black suit to the comic book world in Amazing Spider-Man #252, no one knew how much trouble it would cause. Though seemingly benign, the suit turned out to be an alien symbiote with its own thought processes. When Spidey got rid of the outfit/alien, it found another host in Eddie Brock. He ended up becoming the villain/anti-hero known as Venom.

RELATED: 5 Alternate Universe Versions Of Venom Better Than The Original (& 5 That Are Worse)

That was in 1984. Over 30 years later, a whole slew of symbiotes exist in the Marvel Universe. Some are "siblings" to the original. Others were manipulated by science. In the end, they constitute a family of sorts. To find out more, here is every member of Venom's symbiote family, ranked by power.

10 Agent Venom

Flash Thompson, known in his hero form as Agent Venom, is certainly not the weakest member of the symbiote family. He still had spider-like powers that allowed him to crawl walls and lift heavy objects. Once he merged with the Anti-Venom symbiote, he could heal himself as well as others.

However, unlike his friend Spider-Man, Flash doesn't have inherent meta-powers. His military and boxing training give him advantages in some areas. Yet, most of his abilities come from the symbiote.

9 Symbiote Guardians

Early in his "career," Venom was captured by the Life Foundation and forced to provide five samples of the symbiote. A quartet of these "seeds" bonded to a group of individuals. Eventually, Riot, Lasher, Phage, and Agony became a group called the Guardians.

The four had the same powers as the symbiote and little else. A few adventures in revealed the Guardians' lack of skills. In the end, the human hosts were killed and the symbiotes went their own way.

8 Hybrid

Soon enough, the former Guardian symbiotes fused and bonded with Scott Washington, a crippled guard who released them from a lab. Together, they became the anti-hero known as Hybrid. He decided the first task was to eliminate the gang that had ruined his legs. Not long after he became Hybrid, Venom killed him to eliminate all "evil" forms of the symbiote.

RELATED: Spider-Man: The 10 Most Shocking Moments From The Maximum Carnage Storyline

Hybrid has the same spider-like powers as Venom and Carnage. The four unique symbiotes that bonded with him also provided Scott with the ability to camouflage himself, sense other symbiotes, and transform to give him the power to fly.

7 Eddie Brock

After Spider-Man, one would probably think Eddie Brock is the most powerful owner of the symbiote. Though it's true he's a match for the original Wall-Crawler, he isn't as strong as the other symbiotes who came after him.

Nevertheless, what he does have is fairly significant. Since the symbiote retained Spider-Man's powers, Eddie has superhuman strength, speed, and stamina. He can adhere to vertical & horizontal surfaces and shoot living "webs" from his hands. Venom's greatest tool against Spider-Man is his invisibility to his Spider-Sense.

6 Sleeper

Sleeper is a unique symbiote "born" in Alchemax's astrobiology lab. It remained there until it began to mature and officials of the giant chemical conglomerate could market its chemokinetic powers. It escaped into space to find its original host, the Kree soldier Tel-Kar. Sleeper lobotomized the alien to take complete control and explore the cosmos. That was the start of its adventures.

On top of the base Venom powers, Sleeper has the ability to create numerous liquid and aerosol chemicals. Some of these act as pheromone agents while others are corrosive materials used in battle. The emotional agents allow Sleeper to use a form of pheromone telepathy to hypnotize its victims.

5 Anti-Venom

The hero known as Anti-Venom was created from symbiote remnants within Eddie Brock's body. Rather than forming into a twin "sibling," they were charged by the villain Mister Negative. As a result, an artificial being was created that worked for good.

RELATED: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Venom

Besides the normal Venom traits, Anti-Venom's greatest ability is its cleansing touch. It's something that can cause extreme pain or death in another symbiote. With so many of these beings occupying Earth-616 as well as the solar system, the power comes in handy on a regular basis.

4 Spider-Man

The Venom symbiote would have remained a glob of inanimate matter if it weren't for Peter Parker. His costume in tatters after the events in Secret Wars, he went in search of the machine that produced outfits for the other heroes. What he found was a costume that changed his life.

Under Peter's control, the symbiote was able to form the black Spider-Man costume with a thought. In addition, it boosted his already impressive powers and provided him with unlimited webbing. When Peter disposed of it, the symbiote retained most of Spider-Man's powers.

3 Bizarnage

In the ancient days known as the 1990s, Marvel and DC got together and created a series of one-shot comics. These combined heroes and villains of both companies into one personality. For instance, Carnage was merged with Bizzaro to create the villain Bizarnage.

On top of the symbiote's ruthlessness, Bizarnage has the superhuman abilities of Superman's maligned opposite. Overall, the villain was not to be reckoned with by anyone else than the Superboy/Spider-Man hybrid known as Spider-Boy.

2 Carnage

Take Spider-Man's powers, combine them with the insanity of a killer, and you have Carnage. The next generation of symbiotes was generated from a remnant of Venom left in a jail cell with the psychopathic murderer Cletus Kasady. The symbiote's detachment and Kasady's love of killing resulted in one of the top villains for both Spider-Man and Venom.

RELATED: Venom: 10 Marvel Heroes We Can’t Believe He Hasn’t Fought Yet

The reason Carnage is listed as one of the most powerful symbiote is the host has a lot of control. Thus, he can camouflage himself from other symbiotes and shield his presence from Venom. Furthermore, his lust for blood enhances the symbiote's natural powers so they surpass the original host.

1 Knull

The origin of the alien symbiotes has changed. The most recent one has given them a father of sorts in the form of Knull. Born in the earliest days of the universe, the god-like figure has waged a constant battle with the Celestials for bringing light into the star-filled vastness.

Knull's greatest power is the ability to spawn symbiotes. Using his vast knowledge, he is able to infuse them with a part of his meta-capabilities. These abilities have allowed him to live several billion years.

NEXT: Spider-Man: 5 Best Versions Of Carnage (& 5 Worst)


NextThe 10 Smartest Humans In DC Comics, Ranked

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Marvel Comics: 10 Most Powerful Symbiotes

When comics fan Randy Schueller wrote Marvel Comics in 1982 to suggest that Spider-Man adopt a new stealth black costume, he couldn't possibly have imagined what would come of it.

RELATED: Venom, 10 Things The Movie Left Out From The Comics

After the concept was adopted into the comic, this most drastic change to Spidey's appearance in 20 years would eventually evolve into the now infamous alien suit that eventually became Venom, and subsequently snowballed into an entire species of symbiotic creatures. Since these humble beginnings, the alien symbiotes, officially known as the "Klyntar," have multiplied over the years, becoming a unique corner of the Marvel Universe unto themselves.

10 Sleeper

The newest symbiote to debut in Marvel Comics, Sleeper is the seventh spawn of Venom and possesses many of the abilities of its progenitor, including webbing generation and camouflage. Concerned that bonding with a host while still in its infancy would corrupt it, the Venom Symbiote kept its pregnancy a secret from host Eddie Brock, and after spawning, insisted that Sleeper be kept securely under watch at the research facility Alchemax.

While under observation, it would be revealed that the Sleeper Symbiote possessed its own unique abilities of chemokinesis, allowing it to generate liquids and gasses to a variety of effects, including psychologically influencing those in its proximity, altering their emotional state. After the events leading to Sleeper's escape from containment, the symbiote would become determined to remain close to its parent, where it assimilated into Eddie Brock's civilian life, taking the form of a housecat.

9 Mania

Technically not a symbiote entity unto itself, Mania originated as a piece of the Venom Symbiote, severed in battle. Collected by the mysterious Ararat Corporation, this fragment was then used to create a clone of the original. After terrorizing the corporation's facility and eliminating the scientists within, the Venom clone was eventually reabsorbed by the original.

When the Venom Symbiote was bonded to Flash Thompson in order to create the covert operative Agent Venom, the clone separated once again, bonding to high schooler Andi Benton, one of Flash's students in his civilian identity as a gym teacher at Midtown High School. As a clone of the original, the subsequently named Mania Symbiote possesses all of the abilities of Venom, albeit to a lesser degree, while also being much harder for its hosts to control.

8 Scorn

The second spawn of Carnage, Scorn was left bonded to Dr. Tanis Nieves as a horrific parting gift following a harrowing ordeal with its parent. When the Carnage Symbiote was separated from its longtime host, serial killer Cletus Kasady, it was chemically lobotomized and harvested in an attempt to create an advanced line of prosthetics.

RELATED: Venom 2, 10 Best Comic Symbiote Characters That Could Appear

Attached to Dr. Nieves in place of her missing arm, the symbiote would regain consciousness and eventually abandon her, leaving Scorn bonded to Nieves in its place. As a symbiote born from an experimental union of alien biology and Earth technology, the Scorn Symbiote possesses the ability to interface with computer systems, as well as absorb and adapt all forms of cybernetic enhancements and weaponry.

7 Life Foundation Symbiotes/Hybrid

When Eddie Brock was captured by the doomsday obsessed Life Foundation and separated from his symbiote, the group forcibly removed five gestating spawns from the alien entity. These would then become the symbiotes Riot, Phage, Lasher, Agony, and Scream. Although Scream would escape with its host Donna Diego, the remaining four would eventually be merged into the gestalt entity Hybrid.

A composite being with four distinct consciousnesses, things would only become more complicated when it then bonded to prison guard Scott Washington, whose own identity struggled for control amongst the amalgamation.

6 Scream

One of the five Life Foundation Symbiotes, Scream was the only one in the group to not be absorbed into the composite entity, Hybrid. Instead, it and the host Donna Diego set out upon their own. Over time, Donna's psyche combined with the inexperience and immaturity of the symbiote slowly transformed Scream into an unpredictable and erratic entity.

After Donna was killed by Eddie Brock, the symbiote continued to operate as Scream for a time, in possession of Donna's animated corpse. When it was eventually separated from her skeleton, the Scream Symbiote went on to bond with Andi Benton, the former host of Mania.

5 Anti-Venom

After being separated from the Venom Symbiote, Eddie Brock would eventually come into contact with the criminal gang leader Mr. Negative, who activated the remnants of the alien in Eddie's bloodstream, creating a "negative symbiote" which came to be known as Anti-Venom. As Anti-Venom, Brock demonstrated a series of new abilities, vastly different from those he had possessed as Venom, including healing wounds and curing diseases.

RELATED: 10 Most Powerful Hosts Of The Venom Symbiote, Ranked

Additionally, this new symbiote possessed no consciousness of its own, allowing Brock to retain full control while wielding it. The Anti-Venom Symbiote would later be destroyed when it was used to cure The Jackal's epidemic mutant virus during the "Spider-Island" event. When Flash Thompson, the former Agent Venom, encountered a newly reunited Brock, bonded to the Venom Symbiote once more, the alien was torn between its two former hosts. Attempting to split itself between them, a recent procedure that Thompson had been subjected to involving remnants of the negative symbiote instead metamorphosed the portion exposed to him into a replica of the white symbiote, transforming him into Agent Anti-Venom.

4 Toxin

The first spawn of the Carnage Symbiote, Toxin was immediately thrust into the long-standing rivalry between its parent and grandparent. Carnage, afraid of the existence of another symbiote potentially stronger than him, wanted to destroy Toxin, while Venom sought to mentor and train the new addition to their lineage, hoping to create another alien empowered hero.

When it bonded to its first host, NYPD officer Patrick Mulligan, his sudden and unexpected involvement in the ongoing alien feud completely upended his life, resulting in Mulligan's abandonment of his wife and infant child. As the 1000th of their line, Toxin was expected to develop abilities greater than either Venom or Carnage, but the inexperience of both the symbiote and its host prevented it from ever reaching this potential.

3 Carnage

Easily the most ruthless and dangerous of all of Marvel's Earth-based symbiotes, Carnage has been plagued since its inception by the evil of its first host, notorious serial killer Cletus Kasady. Because of this initial union, the Carnage Symbiote has carried this destructive streak throughout each of its various hosts, corrupting and infecting them with Kasady's love for chaos.

RELATED: 10 Most Powerful Hosts Of The Carnage Symbiote, Ranked

Technically stronger than Venom, as each generation of symbiotes genetically improves upon the previous, this volatility is unfortunately also Carnage's greatest weakness, allowing it to be outsmarted and manipulated frequently. It has, however, displayed some abilities not common of its species, including condensing itself into a subatomic state and expanding to infect multiple hosts at a time, once simultaneously absorbing and possessing the citizens of an entire town.

2 Venom

The original and most famous symbiote of all, Venom has been a hero, a villain, and everything in between. The most emotionally and mentally well-rounded of its brethren, the Venom Symbiote has evolved over time from a terrifying alien parasite into a sympathetic character who seeks only acceptance and partnership. To this end, it has willingly performed both altruistic and heinous acts in its efforts to appease the whims of its partners.

As the only Earth-based symbiote not born of this world, the Venom Symbiote is intelligent, mature, and more experienced than its counterparts, drawing upon its years of exposure to a multitude of hosts to regularly modify its tactics and abilities for continuously greater results.

1 Knull

An ancient and powerful entity, Knull is the "God Of Symbiotes" and the creator of their species. Inextricably linked to the cosmic void beyond dimensions, Knull is able to summon and manipulate this primordial darkness, utilizing it as though it were a vast symbiotic being itself, or forging fragments of it into incredibly powerful cosmic weapons.

As the originator of their entire alien lineage, Knull is capable of controlling and commanding all currently existing symbiotes, as well as creating new ones at his whim from the void which empowers him. Further empowered by the cosmic energies of a slain Celestial, Knull represents a massive scale threat to all life in the universe as he seeks to return existence to the oblivion from which he came.

NEXT: Venom, Let There Be Carnage - 10 Subtle Details You Might Have Missed In The Trailer


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Marvel Universe: Venom Symbiotes Lineage [Superheroes World]


Special Adaptations

As a race, the symbiotes are fairly unique in the universe.

Unusual Features

The symbiotes usually appear to have no solid form when they are without a host, and they usually have elongated jaws, fangs, and tongues.


Alien parasites created by a dark elder god


Andromeda (M31 Galaxy)

Base of Operations



Amazing Spider-Man #252
(January, 1984)
Venom (Vol. 4) #4
(July, 2018)

The Klyntar, originally and better known as the Symbiotes, are a species of inorganic,[7] 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.[8]

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 All-Black 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 the Necrosword.


Different symbiotes the


Marvel Comics: All Symbiotes Explained - Comics Explained


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