Warning: SPOILERS for Venom #4
This week's Venom #4 finally reveals the secret history of the symbiotes. According to the God of the Symbiotes, they were originally created to be living weapons - and the first of the symbiotes was forced to act as a weapon against the Celestials themselves.
Donny Cates's Venom run is rewriting the origin of the symbiotes. He's introduced Eddie Brock and Miles Morales to the monstrous God of the Symbiotes, whose corrupting presence is twisting even Eddie's "Other" to its cause. The last issue ended with Eddie captured, along with Miles Morales, who had simply been caught in the crossfire.
Now, finally, the God of the Symbiotes reveals the forgotten origin story of the symbiote race.
According to the God of the Symbiotes, he was a being who inhabited the darkness before creation itself. Shaken by the Big Bang, he was furious when he saw the Celestials attempt to raze his kingdom, bringing life to the depths of his void. The God of the Symbiotes killed one Celestial, beheading it, but was banished into the depths of space for his action.
Furious, he used the fire of the dead Celestial to forge the first symbiote, All-Black the Necrosword, a powerful weapon with which he could kill Celestials and battle against life.
After millennia of war against the light, the God of the Symbiotes was defeated, and All-Black was taken from him. He discovered that he could shape the darkness into other forms, bonding it with what he considered "lesser creatures" and taking control of them. So the next generation of symbiotes were born, with their god becoming the center of the hive mind. An encounter with Thor himself changed everything, with the God of the Symbiotes crippled by the Odinson's lightning. The symbiotes were freed from their god's control, and began to create their own civilization on the world they called Klyntar, a prison in which they held their evil god captive. Now, at long last, it seems the God of the Symbiotes is breaking free once again.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this origin story is how carefully Cates has woven it into the overarching history of the Marvel Universe. He's tied the symbiotes in to ideas developed during Jason Aaron's early Thor run, which featured All-Black the Necrosword as a powerful, corrupting influence. There were indeed similarities between Aaron's design of the Necrosword, which could bond with other entities and twist them towards evil, and the concept of the symbiotes; they'd been noted by readers at the time, and Cates's careful integration of this idea with the history of the symbiote race is admirable.
Meanwhile, Cates's script also offers a subtle explanation for the creation of Knowhere, a mining installation created from the head of a dead Celestial. It seems this Celestial was the being beheaded by the God of the Symbiotes in his first encounter with these powerful alien beings.
Cates's story also offers an explanation for why the symbiotes react to heat and sound - and even why that reaction has been inconsistent in the comics, which some affected more than others. According to the God of the Symbiotes, the weaker of his creations "carry the scars of their progenitor's birth inside of them. They still fear the fire of the forge, and the discordant and incessant noise of a Celestial hammer beating their will into something... deadly."
The danger with retcons like this is that it's easy to contradict established canon, and that doing so will be glaringly obvious to every reader. In this case, though, Cates has created a stunning retcon that ties the symbiotes in to the wider history of the Marvel Comics universe. He's established the symbiotes as more than something cosmic - they're now officially something truly mythic, rooted in the darkness that predated the Big Bang itself.
The question facing Eddie Brock, of course, is how Venom can defeat its own god.
Venom#4 is available now from Marvel Comics.