WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for recent issues of Thor and Venom.
In the recent issues of Venom (by Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin and Clayton Cowles), we’ve been introduced to the deadly being known as Knull, God of the Symbiotes. He claims to be an ancient entity that not only predates the birth of the universe, but was the creator of the very first symbiote. This revelation obviously ties him directly to the past and immediate future of Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote, but Knull’s backstory also ties him to Thor’s recent past in a fascinating way.
Eddie Brock has recently learned a lot about the history of his symbiote. Not only has he discovered that Spider-Man was not the original being to bond with it (revealed in the pages of Venom: First Host), but he has also come face to face with an ancient evil who claims to be the god of all symbiotes. It happened when a massive Klyntar dragon started attacking New York city, causing Venom and Spider-Man (Miles MOraleS) to team-up for the first time in order to take it down. It was soon revealed that this dragon was being held captive by S.H.I.E.L.D, who used it to experiment with symbiote soldiers during the Vietnam war.
Now that S.H.I.E.L.D is no more, following the events of Secret Empire, the Klyntar dragon escaped, causing Venom to try and take it down. While he succeeded in temporarily defeating it, he discovered that the symbiote controlling the beast was a being called Knull, an entity who claimed to have been alive since before the birth of the universe. We then learned Knull's backstory, where he revealed that he inhabited the darkness before the Big Bang. What's more, when the universe was born, his first act was to kill one of the newly-birthed Celestials.
In the body of this dead Celestial, Knull forged a fire and cast the form of the first symbiote in the shape of a blade called the All-Black. The painful heat of the Celestial flame and the sharp noise of the hammer beating the blade into shape are the reasons why symbiotes today are hurt by fire and sonics. As Knull coated himself in this new symbiote skin and brandished this newly forged blade, he carved his way through the light that had invaded his old, dark universe, and his weapon took on a new name: All-Black the Necrosword, aka the Godslayer.
If Godslayer sounds a little familiar, it might be because you’re familiar with Gorr, the God Butcher, from Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder series -- and the similarity is more than coincidental. The lives of Knull and Gorr have collided in a callback to the 2013 series from Aaron and Esad Ribic, a book that started Aaron’s run on the Asgardian character that continues to this day. In Thor: God of Thunder, Odinson was on the hunt for a being that was traveling the cosmos killing gods. His journey pulled together his past, present and future as he came face to face with the God Butcher himself, Gorr.
As a young, not-yet-worthy Thor, an old King Thor and the present-day Odinson joined forces to thwart Gorr, the God Butcher revealed his origin, as well as just why he was on a quest to slay every deity in existence. He began life as an impoverished child on a desert planet with no name. His race were young, God-fearing beings of hard lives filled with constant fighting, pain and death. As Gorr grew, he lost his father and mother, his children were starved and his wife was murdered, and he himself was beaten and cast out into the desert to die. It’s at this point that Knull, the god of the symbiotes, fell from the sky.
Knull, it is revealed in Venom #4, had “choked a billion stars with the blood of the All-Mighty,” and was in the middle of a battle with a golden god when they both fell from the heavens towards a planet with no name. As Knull and this other god lay dying, Gorr came upon their forms and cursed them both for not being there for him all these years. Mistaking these beings as the gods of his world, he turned his back on all deities at that moment. As Knull lay dying, his symbiote, All-Black the Necrosword, transferred to Gorr, and the God Butcher was born.
It’s taken five years for the true story behind those fallen gods in Thor: God of Thunder #6 to be revealed, but now, in the pages of Venom we know the truth: Knull, the god of the symbiotes and creator of the Klyntar race, fell in battle, and the first symbiote he forged was claimed by Gorr who would go on to use its power as the God Butcher and threaten Thor’s very existence. It’s a fascinating connection that brings together two excellent stories by Jason Aaron and Donny Cates in an unexpected way. Check out Venom #6, out this week, to discover the fate of Knull and the future of the Lethal Protector.