Throughout Marvel comic history, symbiotes have plagued the universe, presenting some of the most powerful and dangerous adversaries and anti-heroes of all time. The danger of a symbiote, an amorphous alien creature who bonds with its host, isn’t just the symbiote’s own powers but the magnification of its hosts darkest qualities and desires. Although some Marvel media has previously touched upon symbiotes, most notably the third and worst installment of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series, this week we’ll get to see an entire film devoted to Venom, one of the most popular symbiotes.
Venom is a powerful entity, a being that reeks of pure id and while we can’t wait to see how Tom Hardy handles the symbiotic relationship between the extraterrestrial and Eddie Brock, its human host, we also know that Venom is only one among many symbiotes over the years. The creatures aren’t even limited to Spider-Man comics, although they do turn up quite a bit in Peter Parker’s world and, while some of them show just how incredibly powerful Venom is, others sort of put the monstrous parasite to shame, depicting how strong a symbiote can often be with the right host or set of abilities. A symbiote’s limitations often predict whether or not the creature will be much of a menace as well.
The host, of course, is another factor that helps determine the level of heat that a symbiote will bring to a fight, so keep that in mind while considering these 16 Symbiotes More Powerful Than Venom (And 9 Weaker).
25 More Powerful: Carnage
There’s a reason Carnage was given a much more hostile name than venom: the symbiote is a bigger concern. An archenemy of Venom, Carnage has been used by both Norman and Normie Osborn, transforming the men into the brutal Red Goblin.
Ranked as IGN’s 90th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time, Carnage is undetectable by Peter Parker’s spider-sense, is essentially Venom’s progeny and is much more powerful than his predecessor. Spider-Man and Venom had to work together to take Carnage down.
24 Weaker: Pork Grind
Yes, this symbiote is as ridiculous as its name sounds. Granted, it went after Spider-Ham, AKA Peter Porker, in the Aniverse, where all of the superheroes turned into animals… which means that the symbiote was doomed to the bottom of the supervillain bin from the start.
A wild boar from Australia, Pork Grind was known to say things like, “Now, you little girly-pig, I turn you into bacon,” which should make us laugh but sort of makes us wince instead. Then again, after that Spidey song-and-dance number from Spider-Man 3, maybe it wasn’t as cringe-worthy as other moments of Spiderhood.
23 More Powerful: Mania
Venom is pretty much the standard symbiote, the one that most of us know best. Given that Mania is a part of Venom, you might have heard of him, as he’s the clone made from Venom’s own tongue in Venom #31. The clone proved to be highly unstable, ending every human it encountered and bonding to Patricia Robertson in order to become the second She-Venom.
Brock did defeat Mania (AKA She-Venom) but given the fact that Maniac eventually was able to bond and unite with other hosts before being taken out by Spiderman, Venom and Agent Anti-Venom together, we think it was more powerful than Venom alone.
22 Weaker: Marcus The Centaur Werewolf
A centaur werewolf sounds like something J.K. Rowling came up with while drinking and giving him the name Marcus really doesn’t improve things much. The symbiote’s story is so ridiculous that it’s hard to repeat: Marcus is actually a cyborg from ancient Greece who was not only bitten by the creature who gave him his werewolf identity, but also possessed by a symbiote.
Perhaps the ludicrousness of this creature is better explained by his first appearance, which was in Deadpool: The Gauntlet. Anybody showing up in a Pool piece, digital or otherwise, is going to fit in a Cabinet of Curiosities.
21 More Powerful: Toxin
Toxin is the wicked stepchild of the symbiotes, the one with Carnage as his father, Venom as his surrogate caregiver and Spider-Man as his defender. He might spawn from the idea that Carnage should make more mini Carnages, but in reality he just presented a complicated situation for his host, Patrick Mulligan, a virtuous cop who tried to do right by his newfound powers.
Toxin proved to be so much more powerful than both Carnage and Venom that the two wanted to take him out together, but Spidey, who saw the good beneath the power, helped Mulligan use his symbiote to fight more nefarious versions of his own kind.
20 Weaker: Riot
As insane as Carnage was, his “brother,” Riot, was one of the most dangerous of the Guardian Symbiotes of the Life Foundation’s creations. Riot, who latched onto a security guard well trained in armed and hand-to-hand combat as his host, made his first appearance in the series Venom: Lethal Protector.
While it might make sense to chalk Riot up as one of the symbiotes more powerful than Venom, especially given its ruthlessness and propensity for physical altercations, ultimately the fusion of Riot, Hybrid, was taken out by Eddie Brock, proving him more powerful.
19 More Powerful: Agony
Agony’s look was not one of fear; in fact, the bright purple, suggestive figure and sharp elbow extensions pretty much gave us agony to look at. The symbiote was another experiment developed from the Life Foundation against Venom’s will and its host, Leslie Gesneria, a willing subject to the evil experiment.
As icky as her purple look is, which we frankly want to chalk up to the desire to make her more “girly,” the symbiote could spit freaking acid, which made her pretty formidable. It would have been interesting to see what Agony could have done with the powers she absorbed before the symbiote Scream took her out.
18 Weaker: Bizarnage
The Marvel vs. DC event may have given fans a few answers to their “what if” questions regarding what might happen if the two worlds clashed for a few issues, but it also gave us some pretty weak versions of our favorite characters. One example is Bizarnage, a combo of DC’s Bizarro and Marvel’s Carnage, who was the product of the Amalgram universe.
Bizarnage talked like Bizarro but acted more like Carnage, which just wasn’t something we could take seriously given how closely he resembled a sleek abominable snowman. Between that and his ridiculous name, Bizarnage just wasn’t the nightmare-inducing villain that is Carnage.
17 More Powerful: Phage
Another one of the Life Foundation’s illicit creations spawned against the will of Venom himself, Phage was a pretty powerful symbiote who considered himself the leader of the five Guardian Symbiotes. Spoiler alert: he wasn’t, which is why Scream got the upper hand on all of them, but the orange and black symbiote was not only a natural mascot for Halloween but also the embodiment of knife mutation, able to make the weapons out of his own body, which was quite formidable.
The only way that Venom could take Phage and company down was with the aid of Spider-Man and some cool gadgetry.
16 Weaker: All-Black The Necrosword
If you’re basically an inanimate object, you can’t be stronger than Venom, right? All-Black The Necrosword was forged from the shadow of an evil god. The symbiote may have technically been a sword in form, but it was still made from living darkness and able to corrupt its bearer to commit dastardly deeds to the point of executing anyone within range.
No, it wasn’t as powerful as Venom, but it shouldn’t be discounted and is much more impressive than some of the more Razzie Award-worthy symbiotes in this list.
15 More Powerful: ZZZXX
ZZZXX might sound like a literal snooze-fest, but the symbiote is actually listed as one of the most dangerous beings in the entire galaxy by the Shi’ar Empire. That’s likely partly because it took on a Shi’ar host, much to the disgust of the Empire, and its ultimate goal was to latch onto Lilandra Neramani herself.
It’s also because unlike other beings from Klyntar, ZZZXX actually feeds off its host’s brain. Yes. ZZZXX is essentially a zombie Venom. That made it a fabulous weapon against the creatures of the Cancerverse, which is where the Starjammers shot the symbiote.
14 More Powerful: Anti-Venom
In many ways, Anti-Venom, which developed after Eddie Brock realized that he had cancer, truly is the opposite of Venom. Anti-Venom’s resistance to fire, sound and heat is the opposite of the weaknesses of other symbiotes from Klyntar.
It’s also got a Jesus complex with the powers to treat and heal illnesses, even severe ones, to the point where Brock continued to work on the side of good in a vigilante lifestyle where he also saved people from poison, radiation and other health afflictions. Anti-Venom didn’t last long for Brock, but eventually became the ward of Flash Thompson.
13 More Powerful: Lasher
He may not sound as intimidating as Venom, but Lasher, one of the Life Foundation’s five Venom seedlings spawned in order to protect its members from chaos at the end of the world, has actual tentacles. We’ve had pig Venom, zombie venom, Bizarro Venom… Lasher made Cthulhu Venom possible.
Even after being defeated as a part of the being Hybrid, Lasher lived on in the form of the War Dog, who worked for the U. S. Army. Making both Doggy Venom AND Cthulhu Venom possible earns Lasher a special place in the symbiote hall of fame.
12 Weaker: Dreadface
Dreadface is a name that sounds less intimidating than Leatherface, but a bit more so than Taserface, and that pretty much sums up this symbiote. Originally latching on to a gorilla, of all things, the Klyntar-based life form was first seen in Fantastic Four #359.
Like many villains before him, Dreadface began to monologue about how he travels the galaxy searching for worthy warriors on which to sink himself into before destroying everything in sight, making him a much more violence-based life form than many of the Klyntar. Its weakest moment? Latching onto the Human Torch when its weakness was yep, you guessed it, fire.
11 More Powerful: Mayhem
Mayhem only exists in a 1998 “What If?” world and it’s one of a preposterous nature in which not only does Norman Osborn clone the baby of MJ and Peter Parker, but he also genetically mutates her into the first human/symbiote hybrid with the powers of both Spider-Girl and the symbiote. Since it’s a hybrid, not a parasite, it also doesn’t carry Venom’s weaknesses, either, making it more indomitable.
Luckily this version of little May Parker isn’t one that’s carried on in other plots or else the universe would become much more complicated. Mayhem has the coolest look of any of the “She-Venoms” as well as the most fun name.
10 Weaker: Krobaa
We really don’t know where Krobaa hails from, though many fans speculate that it’s from Klyntar, the same planet that the Venom symbiote originated from. Goopy and goofy-looking, Krobaa appears to belong in a campy episode of Tales From the Crypt than in our nightmares. Not only was Krobaa not as dangerous as Venom in his original mission, which was to pretty much explore space rather than ebd as many lives as possible, but he also only had once appearance, in Venom: Seed of Darkness, and a weakness to light, of all things.
Krobaa even took himself out upon realizing the inherent flaws in humankind.
9 More Powerful: Scorn
Carnage is known to pop into a host whenever the need calls for it, but he doesn’t always mean to leave a piece of himself behind. He found himself singing “Every Time You Go Away” when he forgot a bit of himself in Dr. Tanis Nieves, which caused the good doctor to remove her arm out of disgust, another villain to usurp the arm and symbiote power before the symbiote would eventually make its way back to its chosen host, Nieves, becoming Scorn.
Scorn is a scarier foe than Venom, complete with Carnage’s powers and a few extra abilities of her own, such as being able to meld with technology.
8 More Powerful: Endo-Sym Armor
If Tony Stark develops a symbitic suit, you had better believe it could take on Venom. In Iron-Man #1 (2015), Tony’s reversed personality came up with The Armor Mark 50, AKA the Endo-Sym Armor, which mimicked Venom without his pesky weaknesses, resulting in manageable Venom abilities without the constant tug of war that the symbiote causes on the psyche.
Though Tony got rid of the armor when he returned to his normal self, the development of the suit proves that harnessing the power of Venom without the symbiote is possible.
7 More Powerful: Kron Stone
Also known as Venom 2099, Kron Stone is something out of your worst nightmares. Even if it took place in Miguel O’Hara’s world, 2099 was a popular storyline for several reasons, one of them being Kron Stone.
The story is one of the most compelling of the symbiotes: Not only is Kron Stone the dark and twisted half-brother to Spidey and the person who took out The Punisher’s family in this world, but he’s also possessed by the symbiote just before taking his own final breath. With poisonous blood and saliva, enhanced shapeshifting abilities and tricks learned after inhabiting more powerful beings, this Venom is among the most powerful in Marvel history.
6 Weaker: Payback
First introduced in 2008’s True Believers, Payback is a symbiote who leads a more functional life as the leader of the True Believers themselves. Payback isn’t as unhinged as many of her symbiotic cousins and as she’s latched onto S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mavis Trent, she uses her more evolved powers for good.
Payback has one of the coolest looks of the symbiotes, transforming into a being with silver skin. Her abilities are also unique in that they manifest during times of sheer happiness, another side effect of her evolution. Despite the fact that she may be a bit cooler than Venom, he could probably take her in a fight.
5 More Powerful: Scream
One of the most powerful and scariest symbiotes in existence, Scream began, as several other symbiotes listed here began, as a project of the Life Foundation. She wasn’t the original leader of the team but her powers, greater than all of the other symbiotes, earned her the top billing spot pretty quickly.
It took a lot for Brock to defeat Scream, who ended up being attached to an insane host, Donna Diego, who decided to take out all symbiotes. Even though he was able to take her down, we think that given her Medusa-like hair and ruthlessness she might have been able to defeat Venom with a stronger host.
4 More Powerful: The Poisons
The Poisons are more powerful than not only Venom but the symbiotes in general, as they are the species natural predator. They’re not very powerful without a host, relying on their powers of persuasion to attract and keep a more powerful body with which to work, but once they take hold, they are malignant tumors beyond measure, causing chaos and destruction in their wake.
Not only do The Poisons take on the powers of their hosts, but they can also transform their hosts into weapons to use and carry out inter-dimensional travel. They are so powerful that Thanos himself was their leader.
3 More Powerful: Raze
The symbiote Raze, who bonded to host Claire Dixon, an FBI special agent, was spawned by Carnage in Carnage #10. Its inception was a part of the Darkhold practice involving the evil Elder God, Chthon, and while it was visually striking, the ritual ultimately proved fruitless, as many plots are wont to do.
The parasite was fearsome enough but it quickly met its own doom when Jubulile van Scotter absorbed it as part of a plan to take out its own creator, Carnage. Once van Scotter banished Chthon, Raze and the rest of the symbiotes she’d absorbed were done for, but Raze demonstrated a level of Carnage’s power that may have been able to defeat Venom.
2 Weaker: Hybrid
While Hybrid might not sound like a terror-inducing name, consider this: the creature is a composition of the four Life Foundation symbiotes Agony, Riot, Phage and Lasher, who all bonded to host Scott Washington. A more apt title might be Symbiotic Amalgamation of Doom. The anti-hero, first appearing in Venom: Along Came A Spider, is composed of all symbiotes who were previously defeated by Scream.
As tough as Hybrid was, Venom, as Eddie Brock, hunted him down and took him out in an attempt to rid the world of nefarious symbiotes.
1 More Powerful: Ultimate Venom
It stands to reason that someone dubbed Ultimate Venom might be a bit more powerful than the original Venom and that’s a big understatement. The Ultimate version isn’t some symbiote who’s been enhanced, however, but a completely different version of Venom who was genetically engineered as a super suit. Created by Peter Parker and Eddie Brock’s father in another reality, this Venom has almost no weaknesses, though his Achilles heel is electricity.
Bonding more permanently to its host by leaving trace amounts of itself into the host’s bloodstream, Ultimate Venom is incredibly hard to take out.
Which symbiote would you want to see next on the big screen?