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One of Marvel’s biggest heroes just got a symbiote, and that’s bad news for Carnage

What wine pairs well with human spines?

Captain America, Wolverine, Ben Grimm/The Thing, Bruce Banner, and Spider-Man stand assembled in Absolute Carnage #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman/Marvel Comics

Lately, Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have had a lot of highs and lows in their relationship.

First the symbiote’s sentience was destroyed, leaving it unable to speak to Eddie. Then Eddie found out that nine years ago the alien had erased his memories of having a son. Then the symbiote got ripped off of him in order to make a sword for the mastermind of the War of the Realms. Then it got its mind back and reunited with Eddie, only to be thrown into the current Absolute Carnage arc.

In this week’s issue, Eddie’s and the symbiote were definitely at a low — which coincided with one of the Avengers merging with a symbiote for the first time in Marvel history.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Absolute Carnage #3.]

Eddie Brock attempts to help in a fight, but the Venom symbiote refuses, causing Eddie to run right out of the symbiote’s gooey mass like a Looney Tunes character leaving a cloud of smoke behind them, in Absolute Carnage #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman/Marvel Comics

Absolute Carnage is all about its eponymous villain trying to tear out the spine of every person who has ever been the host of a symbiote, and eat it. See, those spines contain little bits and pieces of the symbiotes who once merged with those people, known as “codices,” and once Carnage gets enough, he’ll be able to awaken Knull, the imprisoned god-tyrant of the symbiotes.

Thanks to previous Marvel events Venomverse and Venomized, the list of people who have merged with a symbiote is quite long, and full of many familiar characters, including, for example, the X-Men, the Avengers, Deadpool, and Doctor Doom. Fortunately, over the past few issues, Eddie Brock has developed a way to remove codices from the spines of former symbiote hosts (with a little help from the superintelligent supervillain the Maker).

And so in Absolute Carnage #3, the Avengers finally show up to get their Carnage cootie shot, before Carnage can either get to them and eat their codices, or turn them into a terrifyingly powerful member of his ever-growing enthralled symbiote/host army.

Got all that?

Adding an extra helping of trouble to the whole thing is that Eddie and his symbiote disagree on how to handle the problem. The Venom symbiote feels responsible for Carnage, whose first symbiote partner was one of its offspring, and feels justified in using deadly force against Carnage’s unwilling army to shut the whole thing down. Eddie is reluctant to kill innocent people, and he’s worried about protecting his offspring, his newly discovered son, Dylan.

Eddie and his symbiote disagree about whether to use deadly force, each using their child as motivation, in Absolute Carnage #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman/Marvel Comics

“If you are not strong enough to end this,” the Venom symbiote promises, “I will find someone who is.” And by the end of Absolute Carnage #3, when Carnage himself attacks the secret lab with the codex-removing machine and Eddie turns to protect Dylan instead of going on the attack, the Venom symbiote leaves him for someone very strong.

The Avengers brought their own expert scientist to inspect the machine — which is fair, given that it was built by a supervillain — Bruce Banner.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk, after merging with the Venom symbiote, in Absolute Carnage #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman/Marvel Comics

The final page of Absolute Carnage #3 marks the first time that the Hulk has ever been the host of a symbiote, much less the Venom symbiote itself — and teases what we can only assume will be a pretty big fight next issue.

It just goes to show: Nobody does a messy breakup like Eddie Brock and his symbiote.

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