WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Venom #18 by Donny Cates, Iban Coello, Rain Beredo and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
While Absolute Carnage is tearing the Marvel Universe apart, Venom #18 sees the meeting of its protagonists' offspring. Dylan, the supposed son of Eddie Brock and his ex-wife Anne Weying, is saved from rogue symbiotes by the timely intervention of Sleeper, the seventh offspring of the Venom symbiote, introduced by Mike Cost and Mark Bagley in 2018's Venom #165.
Since Carnage and his forces are hunting down anyone who's ever bonded with a symbiote, Sleeper's arrival comes with the offer of potentially bonding with Dylan, which could give him a major leg up against the other symbiotes. In doing so, however, Sleeper revealed his current host, the long-dead Kree soldier Tel-Kar.
Who Is Tel-Kar?
Introduced by Costa and Bagley in Venom: First Host #1, Tel-Kar was the first being to bond with the Venom symbiote, even before Peter Parker. The story takes place during the Kree-Skrull War, with the Kree trying to gain an advantage over their shape shifting enemies. Accordingly, they capture the newborn Venom, who had been exiled from the symbiote world. Tel-Kar is a Kree warrior who is genetically engineered to bond and have complete control over the symbiote. This included the ability to erase the symbiote's memories. After Tel-Kar successfully rescues Kree captives, he severs his bond with Venom, who goes on to unite with Peter Parker during the original Secret Wars.
Tel-Kar would eventually come to Earth to reunite with the Venom symbiote. He forces it to leave Eddie Brock and bond with him. Meanwhile, Brock combines with the recently born Sleeper symbiote. Eventually, however, he claims to no longer need Venom, forcibly splitting himself from it. After his betrayal at the hands of his own empire, Tel-Kar attempts to use a Kree superweapon to destroy humanity. Sleeper, furious at Tel-Kar's treatment of Venom and Eddie, stops him by forcibly combining with him, lobotomizing him in the process. Sleeper then departs Earth, flying off to explore the reaches of space.
The Sleeper Has Awakened
By the time that Sleeper returns to Earth, Tel-Kar's body is a rotting corpse. Though he was lobotomized by Sleeper previously, he wasn't shown to have been killed by him. However, it's not clear if his death was natural, caused by external forces, or if Sleeper simply went a step further to guarantee control. Another possibility would involve Tel-Kar's Kree physiology, which may have begun shutting down after the lobotomy. Symbiotes can feed also off of the psychic, emotional energy of their host. Given Tel-Kar's catatonic at best state, this may have caused Sleeper to simply drain his host for nutrients. This could especially be the case since it's doubtful that Sleeper ever "turned back" into Tel-Kar for him to get sustenance.
This also brings up numerous questions about symbiote biology, especially in relation to their hosts. Tel-Kar's corpse still has hair, so his death probably wasn't too long ago, and the symbiote should've grown significantly weaker since Tel-Kar's death.
However, Sleeper was able to fight off a number of Life Foundation symbiotes by himself. This would suggest that his being in at least decent health. This may be down to Sleeper not wanting to forcibly unite with anything, separating himself from Tel-Kar's mentality. In this way, hauling around Tel-Kar's decrepit body is a continual poetic justice, given how he violated the Venom symbiote. Fans will have to pick up the latest issue to see if the offspring of Venom and Eddie Brock will unite. Let's just hope things go better for Dylan than they did for a certain Kree warrior.