Warning: SPOILERS for Venom: First Host
The Venom movie let the world know about the borderline romance between Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote - but in the comics, their child just became the most dangerous symbiote in Marvel's Universe.
Being dangerous means more than just how deadly a given symbiote can be, with most able to form their bodies into weapons, or swallow their enemies whole. But with the first true child of Venom, naming itself "Sleeper," the practicality and flexible morals of its father Eddie Brock, and the dedication of its other parent, the symbiote, have made for a deadly combination. The threat isn't just who the Sleeper symbiote has taken as its host... but the lines it's already crossed without flinching.
There's reason to believe Sleeper will return later to change the face of the Marvel Universe, but for now, let's start where plenty of Venom fans will be thrown completely off: the moment Eddie and Venom became parents.
Yes, Venom & Eddie Had a Symbiote Baby Together
The Venom movie may have been deemed "weird" in its portrayal of Eddie and the symbiote's attraction, but only by those unfamiliar with the modern comics, where the symbiote has openly professed its love for Eddie, and Eddie fearing nothing more than being separated from his "Other." So when the recent Venom comics saw the symbiote keeping its pregnancy a secret from Eddie, the step into marital turbulence wasn't a big one at all.
The difference was that the symbiote wasn't afraid to tell Eddie they were going to be parents (again), but of what would happen to the child. To keep it from being turned into a weapon, the symbiote pleaded with Eddie to protect and guide it... basically, raise it as a father. Eddie agreed, and as he fought off threats, the symbiote delivered its young into captivity. The agreement was that those studying the symbiote wouldn't allow it a Host until both parents agreed on a candidate.
But when the Venom symbiote was kidnapped by a former Host, Eddie made the call: he and the symbiote joined, and set off to make their family whole again.
Venom's Child 'Sleeper' Seeks Its First Host
If the sheer weirdness of this symbiote family drama hasn't lost you yet, then we strongly recommend reading this tale for yourself in Mike Costa and Mark Bagley's Venom: First Host miniseries. Because Eddie Brock is the first humanoid to give Venom's child a physical form - and a name, Sleeper - but he's not the last. And neither is the Skrull warbride who pursued the Venom symbiote's kidnapper to Earth in the first place. So with Eddie and Sleeper wanting their family back, and the Skrull wanting to track down and kill the Kree who split them up to begin with, a truce is called.
Along with the truce comes the setup for Sleeper's first female Host, as well. When the trio manage to actually rescue the Venom symbiote, it returns to Eddie, leaving Sleeper to protect their Skrull ally. But believe it or not, even THAT combination isn't what makes Sleeper the single most dangerous symbiote in Marvel's Universe.
No, that only comes when Sleeper takes revenge for its parents by claiming their would-be Kree murderer as its final Host... in the most twisted way possible.
Sleeper Selects Its True Host... Against Its Will
If you've made it this far, then we'll lift the final mystery: the man who kidnapped the Venom symbiote is Tel-Kar, a legendary Kree soldier who was genetically trained and modified to wield a symbiote like a weapon. Tel-Kar was Venom's true first host, before he sent it away to begin its trek to Earth, erased of all memory. And since Tel-Kar sees the Venom symbiote as merely a thing to be owned, Sleeper sees no reason to hold back. After Tel-Kar launches his surprise attack, threatening to kill Eddie and BOTH his symbiote partner and child, it's Sleeper who drops to the rescue - directly onto Tel-Kar's head.
While the Kree super-soldier was designed to overpower the Venom symbiote, it's offspring is made of different stuff altogether. While merged with Eddie, Sleeper showed its abilities to defy, seduce, and overpower based on chemical and pheromone production. Able to change appearance and even become invisible through the power of suggestion, it's more than equipped to work its way into Tel-Kar's mind. Specifically, to the parts of his brain and psyche that were augmented by the Kree to dominate a symbiote.
And as Tel-Kar's screams at being forcefully taken by a symbiote suddenly stop, Eddie asks what his child has done to their would-be killer. Sleeper states it plainly: "I lobotomized him."
Sleeper Now Knows The Kree's Greatest Secrets
Nobody is saying that Sleeper's approach wasn't an efficient, even suitable punishment for a Kree intent on committing genocide. But Eddie is nevertheless disappointed that the child Venom asked him to help save from evil-- the child he himself hoped to raise as a hero, could take a symbiote scalpel to its Host's brain and "ride his body around like a mindless husk." Sleeper points out that is exactly what Tel-Kar intended to do to its parent, and if we're all being honest, there's no question Eddie would do the unthinkable out of love for his own symbiote.
Still, no sooner does Sleeper take total, un-symbiotic control of Tel-Kar does it begin to comment on the vast treasure troves of wisdom and knowledge contained in his brain. As one of the most famed warriors of the Kree Empire, Tel-Kar possesses knowledge of even military weapons and failsafes that the rest of the Kree have forgotten. And adding in his years spent camouflaged by the Venom symbiote, acting as a spy inside the Skrull military, and Tel-Kar heard and saw enough to make him one of the most dangerous men in the Marv Universe.
And all of that knowledge was just placed into the possession of Sleeper, a symbiote of uncertain morality, able to become invisible to the naked eye, and manipulate almost anyone, or anything without them ever sensing it. The final pages of Venom: First Host see Eddie and his symbiote reunited, and reassuring themselves that their child is free. It means their job is done... but when and where Sleeper will pop up next is anyone's guess.
Venom: First Host is available now from Marvel Comics.