Venom started a weird state of affairs with Spider-Man. It introduced an aggressive Sci-Fi element that beget costume changes and forced crossovers. Then, the costume turned into an aggressive alien by way of HR Giger’s 8th grade notebook. But, it all begins before the early 1990s ruined the concept forever. The symbiotes began on a planet that was consumed by Galactus. Unfortunately, some of the symbiotes survived by attaching themselves to hosts that fled the doomed world. When the Beyonder began pulling elements together to make Battleworld for the first Secret Wars, the Venom symbiote was pulled into the planet. Peter Parker discovered and thought it was a cool costume.
Eventually, Parker returned to Earth with the symbiote. He discovered that it was draining his energy and forcing him to fight crime at night. Parker freaked out and dumped the symbiote on Dr. Reed Richards. Unfortunately, the creature broke out and tried to rebond with Parker. Cut to some sonics and an angry Eddie Brock, thus a Spidey trope was born for the next 15 years. Symbiote finds an angry host, consumes them while targeting Spider-Man and then moves on to the next setup. Marvel has been trying to get creative with the symbiote since it became property of the U.S. Government.
The most recent example has to be the government’s work into turning Venom into a symbiote WMD controlled by Flash Thompson. Flash gets his legs back and he forces the symbiote to learn how to work with humanity. Special chemical and mechanical means keeps the symbiote from overtaking him. Plus, Venom’s new captors keep Flash on a time limit to defeat any negative bonding. Rick Remender, Cullen Bunn and Dan Slott have all worked very hard to keep this current setup from heading off path.
There’s something to be said about the nature of the symbiote. As we know it, the creature is a liquid sentient mess that attaches itself to a carefully selected host. Loud sonics, fire, certain mutant elements and alien acids have been show to hurt them. However, Spider-Man has discovered a lot about the symbiotes. Basically, their bodies are a form of mucus from which they make their webbing. Spidey has forced the creature to over-use its webbing to force it to pass out and nearly die. Thus showing that the symbiote is of a finite nature and can be easily manipulated.
The less that can be said about the symbiote offspring, the better. We had a ton of random symbiotes that appeared during the Venom multiple mini-series and the whole Lethal Protector phase. Then, there was Carnage. Basically, it was a symbiote attached to a crazy shit. He died, came back, found a better symbiote in the Negative Zone and then kept sucking. What’s weird is that Carnage is a part of this 90s comic nostalgia that Marvel keeps forcing to return. There are so many people forcing this character back into the mainstream, that it makes me wonder. Who said that symbiotes were important to the Spidey mythos?
There’s something about the sight of the symbiote attaching to its host that finds its roots in the psycho-sexual nature of Parker. It’s a loose goo that goes out of its way to connect to a host at night. Usually while the host is sleeping and it forces the host to act upon its desires. This naturally plays upon the arrested development of the adolescent fantasy that is Spidey. He’s a man now that can shoot goo and overpower his enemies. He’s darker and his attitude has changed; but, that means that he has matured. You don’t understand him! Nobody does! Now, he has to dance like he did in “Spider-Man 3”.
It does make sense when you realize that the major Venom and related symbiote fans are usually young boys that don’t think the other Spidey villains are edgy enough. Plus, it came at a time where heavy macho creations were taking over and much of the focus was placed on the sexually laced Mary Jane storylines. Hell, Venom’s first real appearance was using his big gooey body to intimidate and force himself onto MJ. Peter only beats him by using his direct forceful to overpower the goo that modeled itself upon his hate. There’s even a scene of choking. Freud would’ve had a field day.