Warning: SPOILERS For Venom: First Host #1
Long before Eddie Brock became Venom, the symbiote had a first host: a member of the alien Kree race and a spy, who wielded the suit as a weapon, and a partner in the Kree's war against their mortal enemies, The Skrulls.
Most Marvel Comics fans are familiar with how Venom was created, after Spider-Man rejected the living black costume he had acquired during the Secret Wars storyline. The symbiote then attached itself to Eddie Brock, a disgraced reporter who blamed his poor fortunes on Spider-Man, after he captured a serial killer Brock had misidentified in one of his stories. More recently Marvel has retconned the story to claim Deadpool bonded with the symbiote before Peter Parker ever found it.
Yet little has been said about the symbiote's life before Secret Wars - an oversight that the new mini-series Venom: First Host aims to rectify.
The opening pages of First Host #1 reveal that the symbiote was originally taken by a group of Kree scientists from the planet Klyntar - aka The Planet of The Symbiotes. We then flash-forward to the midst of The Kree-Skull War, where a group of Skrull soldiers are about to start slaughtering a ship full of helpless refugees. Suddenly, one of the Skrulls turns against his own squad, confusing the refugees (and the reader).
Until the Skrull's form shifts to reveal the familiar uniform of The Kree Army rendered in black... and his helmet fades away as he introduces himself as a Kree spy, implanted in deep cover among the Skrulls.
One of the refugees recognizes the spy as Tel-Kar - a soldier who was said to have deserted his unit during the early days of The Kree-Skull War. Tel-Kar reveals that was all a cover story to explain his absence, as he was embedded within a Skrull unit. He does not explain how his "uniform" enables him to disguise himself so flawlessly, but entrusts it (after explaining the need for them to temporarily separate) with escorting the refugee leaders off the ship to safety when it becomes clear that someone must stay behind to cover their escape.
The idea of The Kree tapping the natural camouflage powers of the symbiotes to counter the natural shape-shifting powers of The Skrulls is a brilliant one. Not only does this add an extra level of interest to the noble character of Tel-Kar, but it further establishes the Venom symbiote as something unique and important in the history of the Marvel Universe.
It remains to be seen what else may be revealed about the symbiote's history before Spider-Man discovered it, but it cannot be denied that Venom: First Host has opened its story with some seriously intriguing hooks.
Venom: First Host #1 is now available from Marvel Comics.