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The Five Symbiotes are a group of people that worked as members of a security force for the Life Foundation, and who later volunteered for an experiment to see if alien symbiotes like Venom could be controlled, which they were led to believe would allow them to do some good in the world. Five potential spawn of Venom were forcibly extracted from the symbiote and artificially aged to maturity, after which they were bonded with the volunteers in an attempt to turn them into The Guardians for the Life Foundation's ambitious plans for a new world order.
The Five Symbiotes were created by David Michelinie, Ron Lim, Sam DeLarosa and Al Milgrom in 1993, and they first appeared in Venom: Lethal Protector #4.
Major Story Arcs
Spider-Man infiltrated the Life Foundation facility where the symbiotes were spawned in order to rescue Venom's host, Eddie Brock, after he'd started turning over a more heroic leaf. In order to test their new symbiote soldiers, Roland Treece unleashed them on the meddlesome Spider-Man. Despite their lack of experience with their symbiotes, the five attackers were a formidable force for Spider-Man to stand alone against. Brock managed to escape from the Life Foundation's grasp however and aided Spider-Man by handing him one of the sonic guns the guards had used against his own symbiote. These slowed the five symbiotes down, but only for a short while. Brock managed to reunite with the Venom symbiote, while Spider-Man accidentally stumbled across the machine that had been used to artificially age the five symbiotes and found that further use of it could age the symbiotes into dust. Spider-Man didn't want to use this device on the symbiotes for fear of what it would do to their hosts, but Brock simply knocked him out and used it anyway. The Five Symbiotes were all aged to dust, although their hosts managed to merely be rendered unconscious. With the symbiotes defeated, Treece had the Life Foundation facility self-destruct, and the symbiotes and their hosts were believed to have perished within it.
The symbiotes' hosts were saved by the Life Foundation however, and their symbiotes were able to be revitalized. The Five Symbiotes soon found out that they were just going to be used as weapons though, which they wanted no part of, and so they abandoned the Life Foundation in hopes that they could learn to control their symbiotes. Later, the Five Symbiotes went to find Eddie Brock as a last resort to control their symbiotes, after they broke Brock out of jail, they tried to make him tell them how to talk to their others. He refused however, his separation from his own symbiote having made him denounce the symbiotes' corrupting influence on him as Venom. Later Leslie Gesneria (Agony) of the Five Symbiotes was killed and Brock was believed to be the culprit, as he had recently managed to escape them. Out of rage, Carl Mach (Phage) went after Brock and vowed to kill him. Carl was later killed too though, dying from a stab wound in Brock's arms. This only added to the suspicions the other symbiotes had of Brock, and Donna Diego (Scream) nearly killed him. They reluctantly let Brock live, and the remaining members of the symbiotes tried to plead with Brock again for his help in controlling their symbiotes. Brock began to come around to helping them, but Donna then revealed in a rage that she was the one who had killed Leslie and Carl, believing that all people with symbiotes were evil and should be killed. She then killed Trevor Cole (Riot) and Ramon Hernandez (Lasher) with the same sonic knife she had used on the others. Donna was about to kill Brock, but he was saved by the timely return of his symbiote, and together as Venom they defeated Donna. She and the remnant of the other symbiotes were apprehended by military forces.
The remaining four symbiotes later fused with Scott Washington to make Hybrid.
Much later after Eddie Brock lost his symbiote, he went on a symbiote hunting spree and killed Hybrid. The symbiotes of Hybrid were then forcibly separated by the U.S. government and used to make Mercury Team:
- Lasher was turned into a tracking dog
- Agony was used to compensate for the weight of a rail gun
- Phage was used to augment a sniper's visual range and stability
- Riot was bonded with a recon spy
The trauma of their separation left the symbiotes largely catatonic, making them easy to use as superhuman enhancements for the soldiers of Mercury Team. According to the symbiote known as Scorn, the five symbiotes now sound like "defective kittens begging for milk."
They were called on as a contingency team when the Avengers failed to free the town of Doverton, Colorado from Carnage's control.
Deadpool vs. Carnage
In Deadpool vs. Carnage, Deadpool stole the symbiotes from a government facility to help him combat Carnage. After defeating Carnage he puts the symbiotes on a dog and instructs it to take them back to the government.
King in Black
The dog that Deadpool left the symbiotes in the care of was distracted by a crying young girl named Sadie. She was having family problems, so the symbiotes bonded to her and her family to keep them together. Piloting their bodies, they make their way to Manhattan to assist in the Knull Invasion.
Under Carnage’s orders, they hunt down Dylan Brock and Normie Osborn. Unfortunately, they were left with The Maker, who was currently inventing ways of ending the symbiote threat. While Dylan and Normie hid, The Maker was able to remove them from their hosts and stick both the hosts and the symbiotes in stasis pods.
Dylan was growing distrustful of Maker and tried shooting his and Normie’s way out. Instead of hitting Maker though, he freed the symbiotes from their stasis pods, allowing them to all bond to Maker. This hybrid chased them into the streets where Spider-Man had led a few Avengers to help. They are eventually chased off by Hawkeye’s multiple anti-symbiote arrows.
Separated, they continued to look for Dylan in New York during Knull’s invasion. They are confronted by their sibling, Scream, who is now bonded to Andi Benton. Scream and Andi were defending the various children the symbiotes were assaulting. The symbiotes combined into Hybrid again to take on Scream, but Andi’s Hell-Mark powers ripped them apart. Wounded they escape through the sewers
After Knull was defeated, Carnage was working on taking his place. He was able to infect symbiotes with his own control, signified through their red faces. He attempts to bring his Life Foundation siblings together to work for him against Peter Krane, a senator who has become anti-extraterrestrial in wake of the symbiote invasion. He succeeds in bringing all of them but Scream together.
Even though she previously betrayed the five, Carnage was still able to sink his claws into her. However, Scream's host, Andi, was able to use her supernatural gifts to burn Scream before she was taken by Carnage.
Scream's siblings were all placed within Krane's campaign, as Carnage was bonded to his son, Arthur. They planned an assassination of Krane during an anti-alien demonstration. The recently resurrected Flash Thompson is hot on their trial along with Toxin (and his new host, Bren), Andi (and her new Anti-Venom/Scream hybrid, Silence), Iron Man (in his symbiote armor), and Sleeper. They attempt to hold off the symbiotes but many die. When the Guardsman got involved with their new anti-symbiote weaponry, they capture Riot, Lasher, and Phage. Agony and Carnage got away, and they had big plans to take advantage of the alien paranoia they cultivated with their attack.
- In Insomniac's Spider-Man 2, the New York City game map is eventually overrun with symbiote faction enemies. Many of them mirror the appearances of the Life Foundation five, including a gray tank enemy type like Riot and a green dog enemy type like Lasher. Scream also appears as an individual symbiote that bonds to Mary Jane.