Our favorite superheroes don’t need an upgrade - but once in awhile a symbiote comes along and makes them even better. Especially their already-awesome costumes. But what exactly is a symbiote?
Symbiotes are parasitic entities that bond with a host, thereby creating a symbiotic link and acting as one. They grant their host enhanced abilities like superhuman strength and flight, and most of the time even change their host’s behavior, hence why most symbiotic entities are considered villains.
In Marvel Comics the Symbiotes are mostly tied with the extraterrestrial race known as the Klyntar, from which both Venom and Carnage derive from. They were first introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man issue 252 and since then have become key elements of the Spider-Man mythos and the grand Marvel Universe. While Venom and Carnage are the two most famous Symbiotes in all of Marvel, there are others that exist that are just as dangerous. Venom will even have his own movie in 2018 and some of Marvel’s other Symbiotes might even make an appearance.
DC Comics has their own set of symbiotic entities, and like Marvel Comics’ Klyntar symbiotes, DC’s set have infected some of their roster’s most known characters.
Today we’ll be exploring many instances when our favorite heroes from both Marvel and DC wore their respective universe’s famous symbiote suit. Some entries might even surprise you.
Here are 15 Superheroes You Didn't Know Wore Symbiote Suits.
Our favorite Guardian of the Galaxy, Groot, once bonded with the Venom symbiote in the comics and it was the best thing ever.
During Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 issue 21, Flash Thompson lost control of the Venom symbiote in the vicinity of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanks to a device the Guardians received from Tony Stark, Gamora and Star-Lord were able to separate the symbiote from Flash and securely contain it. Then, out of nowhere, it seems the containment unit wasn’t strong enough to hold the symbiote and it breaks out, bonding with Groot.
It is here that we get one of the best comic book panels in recent years as Groot becomes the new host of the Venom symbiote. It’s no longer “I am Groot,” it’s now, “I am Venom!”
While it’s unlikely that this will happen in the MCU, one can’t help but wonder what Adolescent Groot from Avengers: Infinity War would look like if Marvel Studios introduced the symbiote with our favorite talking tree.
14 Rocket Raccoon & Drax The Destroyer
Groot wasn’t the only Guardian of the Galaxy to bond with Venom. Rocket Raccoon and Drax the Destroyer also had a taste of the infamous alien symbiote. In the following issue, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 issue 22, when Venom-Groot lashes out, the Guardians successfully suppress the symbiote. But then it escapes and bonds with Rocket Raccoon.
When Drax and Groot fail to free Rocket from the symbiote, Star-Lord and Gamora try and help as well. While they succeeded, the victory was short-lived as the symbiote then quickly bonded with Drax the Destroyer.
This was definitely one of the strangest and coolest comic book panels in Guardians of the Galaxy. If Marvel Studios does indeed introduce the Venom symbiote in Avengers: Infinity War or after, then hopefully we get to see issue 21 and 22 of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 come to life in the MCU.
13 Captain Marvel
During the Siege comic run, Mac Gargan (Scorpion) was in control of the Venom symbiote. In a fight with Spider-Man, Captain Marvel/Ms. Marvel aided in the battle and was successful in separating the symbiote from Gargan, only for the symbiote to then bond with the Captain herself. In her Venom-like state, Captain Marvel temporarily became She-Venom.
The combined powers of Captain Marvel and the symbiote led to She-Venom to declare that Captain Marvel was her favorite host. Eventually, Captain Marvel was able to separate herself from the symbiote pretty quickly, but it was one of the best versions of Venom and Captain Marvel to ever appear in comic books.
In 2019 Brie Larson as Captain Marvel will fight the Skrulls in the MCU. Let us hope evil symbiotes from Klyntar are among other alien races we’ll also get to see.
12 Red Hulk
The Red Hulk not only bonded with the Venom symbiote - he was also possessed by Ghost Rider’s Spirit of Vengeance at the same time!
In Venom issue 14, when the Circle of Four (Agent Venom, Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and X-23) were sent to Hell, Mephisto offered them their lives back if they killed his son Blackheart. It was here that Agent Venom gave the symbiote to Red Hulk and the Spirit of Vengeance bonded with him as well. After a long fight, the heroes eventually defeated Blackheart and the symbiote and the Spirit of Vengeance were returned to their respective owners.
There is currently no Red Hulk in the MCU - at least not in Hulk form. Thunderbolt Ross is now the Secretary of State of the United States in the MCU, but there has been no sign of Ross going down the path of becoming his Red Hulk persona from the comics.
There are still plenty of future MCU films where this could transpire, though, so the possibility shouldn’t be discarded.
Deadpool is a character beloved by everyone these days, but he's even better when he is bonded with the Venom symbiote. Venompool was born around the time of Secret Wars. It was revealed that before the alien symbiote bonded with Spider-Man, it first bonded with Deadpool - hence the symbiote’s atypical nature once it eventually bonded with Eddie Brock.
In the alternate timeline of Earth-90211, Deadpool also bonds with Venom during a mission to kill the Beyonder. Of course, the Beyonder puts Venompool on some type of mind control and the two party for a considerable amount of time. Yes, this truly happened. After the Beyonder grew tired of partying with Venompool, he sent Venompool back to where he came from.
Then, after some time, Venompool decided to become a superhero as opposed to an antihero, and tried to join the Avengers and the Defenders. He was declined because he had Jheri curls. No kidding.
10 Spider-Gwen (Gwenom)
It seems that many of the Spider-powered people in the Marvel Universe come in contact with the Venom symbiote at least once in their lifetime. This fall in Marvel Legacy we’ll see the debut of Gwenom, the version of Spider-Gwen who’s bonded with the Venom symbiote.
According to Spider-Gwen writer Jason Latour, this version of Spider-Gwen won’t be temporary, so we’re seemingly going to have Gwenom for a long time, which sounds pretty exciting. Hopefully Gwenom will cross over into the main Marvel universe of Earth-616. She will first fight her Earth’s version of Venom once Marvel Legacy comes around this fall, but a fight between her and the main Venom of Earth-616 would undoubtedly be a comic book best-seller.
As for the MCU, there’s no sign of Gwen Stacy or the symbiote at the moment, but while they’re still MIA, there’s a small chance they’ll be around once the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters in 2019.
9 The Punisher
In What If Vol. 2, issue 14, the Punisher becomes infected with the Venom symbiote. At the church where Spider-Man detached himself from the symbiote, instead of falling onto Eddie Brock, the symbiote falls onto the Punisher, as it was he who was at the church instead of Brock. The Punisher didn’t give in to the symbiote easily, so the symbiote used the Punisher’s body while he slept.
Eventually the Punisher was able to separate himself from the Venom symbiote with the help of Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Moon Knight. Before that happened, however, Venom-Punisher was able to kill the Kingpin and Tombstone.
This was definitely one of the Punisher’s best stories but we shouldn’t expect this to be adapted in the upcoming Netflix series. Especially since the symbiote is not in the MCU and there’s little chance of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man appearing in the Netflix world of The Defenders.
8 Silver Surfer (Carnage Cosmic)
The Venom symbiote may be one of the most famous, but the Carnage symbiote is perhaps the most insane of them all. Now, what happens when you put the power of the Silver Surfer with the psychotic nature of the Carnage symbiote? You get one of the best versions of the Silver Surfer ever to be drawn in comic books.
In Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 issue 431, Cletus Kasady is placed in a hospital after the symbiote leaves him. The Silver Surfer intervenes and then fights the symbiote in outer space, only to be infected by the symbiote himself - thereby becoming Cosmic Carnage. What follows is one of Spider-Man's toughest encounters with the Carnage symbiote. Eventually the symbiote bonds back with Cletus Kasady.
The Carnage Cosmic hasn’t appeared much in Marvel Comics after his debut in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 issue 43. Fans still await his return.
7 Wolverine (X-23)
In Edge of Venomverse issue 1, we find ourselves in an alternate timeline in the facility where Laura Kinney, aka X-23, is being kept. It is here that she comes across the symbiote and is bonded with it, eventually forming a mutual connection. Not only does she possess the powers of Wolverine, but also the added abilities of the symbiote, she becomes the ultimate killing machine.
In the story she also has several friends, and each of them are given a small part of the symbiote which they can use whenever they are in danger. Essentially, this version of X-23 grew up with the symbiote. At the end of Edge of Venomverse issue 1, X-23 is met by what looks like a Venom symbiote version of Captain America.
Issue one of Edge of Venomverse is an interesting take on the character of X-23 and with the story still being fleshed out, it’s up in the air what her resolution will be.
6 Plastic Man
If you love Deadpool’s hilarious persona and Spider-Man’s funny jokes, then you’ll no doubt love DC Comics’ Plastic Man. The character was created by Jack Cole in 1941 and first appeared in Police Comics issue 1. After a chemical accident Patrick O'Brian developed elasticity powers and eventually donned the moniker of Plastic Man.
Despite being known mostly for his signature ability to stretch, Plastic Man possesses an incredible amount of superhuman abilities, such as invulnerability, regeneration, immortality, shape-shifting, and telepathic immunity - as stated by Batman.
Plastic Man is one of DC Comics’ most underrated superheroes indeed; so underrated that many forget he was infected by the Blackrock symbiote in Superman/Batman issue 28 to 33.
Sometimes, the Blackrock symbiote is similar to the Venom symbiote from Marvel Comics in the way it gives its host what looks like a gooey black suit of sorts. But unlike the Venom symbiote, Blackrock allows its host to shoot energy blasts and fly.
5 Flash Thompson
Flash Thompson was a hero before he became a superhero. He served in the United States Marines but unfortunately lost his legs during battle. When the opportunity arose for Flash to serve his country on the battlefield again he didn’t hesitate. The U.S. government had contained the Venom symbiote and offered Flash the opportunity to don the suit. He accepted and eventually became the character we know today as Agent Venom.
As Agent Venom, Flash worked for the U.S. military and later for S.H.I.E.L.D. He then became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and led a mission in space to rescue Spider-Man who had been kidnapped by the Skrulls.
The rise in popularity of Agent Venom in the comics led to the character making his small screen debut in Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man. On the big screen, actor Tony Revolori plays Flash Thompson in the MCU.
4 Hal Jordan
In Green Lantern Vol. 3 issue 48 to 50, the Parallax entity forced itself onto Hal Jordan, transforming him into the villain Parallax. As a host of Parallax, Hal was given the powers of reality alteration and even control over time. Among other hosts of the Parallax entity are Sinestro and Kyle Rayner.
Parallax is able to instill fear in its enemies and in the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie, Parallax fed off the fear of people, making him stronger. He is one of the most dangerous villains in DC Comics and perhaps the most iconic of the Green Lantern villains. In DC Rebirth he was shown to be in control of Sinestro, but was seemingly killed after a terrible explosion.
The Green Lanterns are rumored to appear in the upcoming Justice League movie, but it is still unknown if Parallax will also make an appearance in the DCEU.
Galactus didn’t actually get infected by the Venom symbiote, he only appeared so to Spider-Man when the villain Mysterio cast an illusion. In Web of Spider-Man Vol 1 issue 90, Mysterio unleashed perhaps his most perfect illusion of all, giving us the Venom-Galactus we needed to see.
In reality, it’s unlikely that Galactus could get possessed by the Venom symbiote, considering he is one of the most powerful beings in all of Marvel Comics. But the comic book panel of the Venom-infused Galactus has become so popular that toys have even being made of the character.
While the Venom-Galactus only appeared once in Marvel Comics, like Star Wars’ Boba Fett, he’s proven that you only need to make one great first impression to become a fan-favorite. Even though Galactus is immensely powerful and invulnerable to the symbiote, if Marvel really wanted to mix the two together for real, they’d find a way to do it.
Heck, if the Hulk can be killed by a simple nuclear bomb in What If? Planet Hulk, then Galactus can be infected by the Venom symbiote in some kind of What If story.
Perhaps the most famous wearer of a symbiote suit, Spidey’s black suit received its origin story in the Secret Wars arc when the Beyonder debuted in Marvel Comics. The suit augmented Spider-Man’s abilities and gave him an attitude problem. Eventually, the symbiote left Spider-Man and bonded with Eddie Brock, who went on to become the famous Spidey villain Venom.
The black symbiote suit has been portrayed a number of times on the small screen but has appeared once in a feature film, during Tobey Maguire’s run in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. Spider-Man 3 was not a critical hit like the two that came before, but the black symbiote suit was one of the highlights of the movie. It was the first time the suit was portrayed in a live-action film and fans were more than delighted.
Unfortunately, while the suit was cinematically stunning, Topher Grace’s Venom in Spider-Man 3 undermined the entire movie. This has lead to many considering the movie to be one of the worst Spider-Man films.
Like Plastic Man, Batman was also infected by the Blackrock symbiote. In DC Comics’ Superman/Batman issue 28 to 33, Batman was temporarily infected with Blackrock, giving him superhuman abilities like superhuman strength, endurance, energy projection, and flight, as well as the ability to absorb energy. He used the Blackrock symbiote to battle and ultimately defeat Superman, who was also partially possessed by Blackrock.
There was another time when Batman went against a symbiote. In the 1995 Marvel and DC Comics crossover Spider-Man and Batman Vol. 1 issue 1, Batman fought against Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage. While the symbiote wasn't able to bond with Batman, the Dark Knight proved that not even the deranged maniac Carnage can beat him, even when Carnage aligns himself with the Joker.
Both Spider-Man and Batman worked together to keep both New York City and Gotham City save. This was the closest we got to seeing Batman don one of the Marvel symbiotes.
Who is your favorite superhero with a symbiote suit? Let us know in the comments.