As Venom's popularity continues to grow thanks to the release of the first live-action Venom movie, Marvel Comics is making a major change to the character, which is sure to have fans heavily debating whether it's a turn for the better, or worse (SPOILERS FOLLOW).
According to the findings of The Maker in Venom #8, the symbiotes have been planting little souveiers in every host they bond with: trace samples of the symbiote left as a "codex" in the DNA of every host the symbiote has bonded with!
As The Maker explains it:
"You see we've discovered that the symbiote never truly leaves a host. A cellular imprint, a codex as we've been calling it, is always left behind as a way for their kind to share information about hosts with the rest of the hive. Your symbiote has not been connected to its hive in some time, however. So this codex, and the others it's left behind, has more or less gone unused.
But they are there. Wrapped around the host's DNA structure like a great black serpent. Always... waiting."
Eddie Brock gets to experience this power of the symbiote first-hand, when the seemingly deceased Flash Thompson takes over as 'driver' of Venom's body, via the symbiote. The details of this big reveal are still waiting to be revealed (like can former hosts communicate or sense one another via the symbiote codex in their DNA? Can that codex manifest a full symbiote suit of activated? Etc.
There is one ominous indicator of where this power is headed, as Venom #8 ends: some acolytes steal a sample of symbiote codex and bring it to a lair where we find none other than Cletus Kasady's body stored in some kind of stasis pod, with the indication that this could be a new avenue by which to bring back Carnage!
Already, word of this change to the Venom symbiote lore is inviting jokes from fans, who are going so far as to liken the symbiote codex system to a STI. It's an interesting path for writer Donny Cates to be going down, as it now makes the symbiote hosts part of hive-mind structure, just like the symbiotes themselves. It also creates space for Marvel to do anything from DID-style stories, to Body Snatcher-style tales about various Marvel characters who now have a genetic time bomb in their DNA (including Peter Parker, Mac Gargan, Deadpool, Ben Reilly, Carol Danvers, General Ross, Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn, to name a few).2comments
In short, it's something that could start a bold new era for Venom and the symbiotes - or possibly become a played-out gimmick if overused.
Venom #8 is now on sale. It's written by Bonny Cates, with art by Iban Coello and cover art by Ryan Stegman.