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Variant cover of Venom Vol. 4 #5 depicting Knull. (October 2018).
|First appearance||Thor: God of Thunder #6 (May 2013) (unnamed appearance)|
Venom #3 (August 2018) (full appearance)
|Created by||Jason Aaron|
|Place of origin||Primordial void|
|Team affiliations||Symbiote Imperium|
|Notable aliases||God of the Symbiotes, Lord of the Abyss, God-Host, Grendel (avatar), Exolon God, King in Black|
Knull is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with Venom and Carnage. The character is depicted as an evil deity, who created the weapon known as All-Black the Necrosword and the alien races known as the Klyntar and Exolons. The character would go on and have more major role in the Marvel Universe.
The character was first introduced as an nameless being in Thor: God of Thunder #6, before making his full appearance in Venom #3. The character would be mentioned in various issues of Web of Venom, Guardians of the Galaxy and "War of the Realms".
After that, Knull was revealed to be the antagonist in Donny Cates’ Silver Surfer: Black #1.
Fictional character biography
Knull was a primordial deity, who existed before the universe itself and was content to drift through the endless void of space, until the Celestials arrived to "evolve" the universe. Knull, seeing that his endless void was being touched, created All-Black the Necrosword and decapitated one of the Celestials. Seeing this, the other Celestials banished Knull and the severed head deeper into the Void. He then used the head to forge the symbiote and combined it with the cosmic energies of the head, which would eventually become Knowhere. In doing so, he unintentionally gave the symbiote its weaknesses to sonic attacks and fire. He created a symbiote armor and, with All-Black, started killing the other deities, until he crash landed on an unnamed planet where Gorr took All-Black and incapacitated Knull. Knull eventually reawakened and discovered he could bond his living abyss to "lesser creatures" and control their new form as vessels. He created an army of symbiotes with himself in the center of the hive mind and uses them to spread over the universe, establishing the Symbiote Imperium and killing the light and creation in the process.
He continued killing Gods, while also enslaving others whom he spared with the use of his abyss. At some point, he was approached by the time displaced Silver Surfer, who had been weakened after the Surfer had created a little star in order to free a world from Knull's control. After a brief fight, Knull was able to bond a symbiote to the Surfer, but the latter was saved by Ego, the Living Planet.
When one dragon-like symbiote composite arrived on medieval Earth to claim the planet as part of the Symbiote Imperium, Thor arrived in aid of the Viking villagers and defeated the dragon, which the villagers called "Grendel," causing the connection between Knull and the symbiote hivemind to break. The symbiotes over the universe, now free from Knull's control, began bonding to benevolent hosts and learning about the Light. The Symbiotes rebelled against their god and trapped him inside an artificial planet formed of thousands of symbiotes, which they called called Klyntar — "cage" in their language.
After thousands of years, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovered the body of the Grendel and bound the pieces of the dragon to soldiers in order to create Super-Soldiers to fight in the Vietnam War. The procedure was dubbed the Sym-Soldier program. This reawakened Knull, allowing him to take control of the Sym-soldiers who went rogue before being captured by Nick Fury and Logan, except one piece, named Rex, which escaped Knull's control. Years later, Eddie Brock (Venom) unknowingly freed the dragon and, after a battle against Eddie and Spider-Man, the dragon began searching for Rex in order to free Knull. However, Venom merged with Rex and eventually trapped the Grendel in a blast furnace, incinerating it and Rex both. Afterward, the Maker and Project Oversight retrieve the Grendel's codex from the furnace.
In Carnage Born, it is revealed that, when Cletus Kasady died at birth, he came in contact with Knull, who revived Cletus in order to free Knull from the Klyntar. After Scorn formed a cult worshiping Knull, they stole the codices of Grendel and Cletus' damaged body and, after implanting the codices inside Cletus, the Carnage symbiote's codex is absorbed by Grendel, causing Grendel to become god-like. After the contact with Knull, Cletus decided to free Knull by collecting every codex of every host who had at some point bonded to symbiotes in order to overload the symbiote hive mind and scatter the Klyntar.
It's also revealed that Knull had also created the Exolons—parasites that attach to a host, while feeding on their soul. Zak-Del, whose body houses Exolon, plans to find Knull in order for the latter to remove the parasite from him.
After Cletus reunited with Doppelganger and Shriek, they reformed the cult dedicated in worshiping Knull and returned to Doverton, Colorado, where they got the codices from the citizens and animals who were infected by Carnage during Carnage USA.
Powers and abilities
Knull is a primordial deity, having super strength, agility, immortality and healing factor. He possesses Supreme Umbrakinesis, as he can manifest darkness to create weapons and creatures, whom he calls the "Living Abyss", which he can control and also augment their power which allowed Venom to unlock new abilities and also allowed one of Knull's dragon to be unaffected by the symbiotes' classic weaknesses and to be as fast as the Silver Surfer. He also possesses limited shapeshifting ability, including the ability to turn his human-like mouth into fanged jaws with an elongated tongue — this feature was passed on to the symbiotes. He's also an expert combatant, utilizing All-Black to kill Celestials and other gods, while wearing an armor made from symbiote with a red dragon and spiral emblem, which was based on Spiral of Carcosa from the True Detective.
Despite his connection to the symbiotes being severed, his influence can still be seen such when Gorr, Old Galactus, Ego and King Loki, after being infected by All-Black, continued Knull's crusade to annihilate all existence, while Malekith bonded with the Venom symbiote called himself the Butcher of Thor. Venom formed a similar emblem with mixed design of Knull's emblem and Spider-Woman's. Similarly, the Nameless, a group of Kree explorers, after being infected by the Exolons, had their skin slowly fade with their outward appearance now resembling Knull.
In other media
- Knull and Ancient Venom (Venom possessed by Knull) appear in Spider-Man Unlimited.
- Knull is mentioned in Marvel Strike Force.
In his early appearance, the character was received well, with Comic Book Resources drawing comparison with two other Marvel Villains: Morlun and Dracula. Bleeding Cool stated about the history that "It’s an engaging new story, and it redefines the symbiotes for the Marvel Universe." He was ranked at the number one in IGN's list of Marvel's Most Powerful Symbiotes and in WatchMojo's list of Top 10 Strongest Symbiotes.
- Spider-Man/Venom Free Comic Book Day #1. Marvel Comics.
- Cates, Donny (26 July 2018). "Yep! The severed celestial head in VENOM #4 would someday erode and decay and become Knowhere! Good catch!". twitter.com. Twitter. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
- Thor God of Thunder #6. Marvel Comics.
- Silver Surfer: Black #1-2. Marvel Comics
- Venom Vol. 4 #4. Marvel Comics.
- Web of Venom Ve'nam #1. Marvel Comics.
- Venom Vol. 4 #1-3. Marvel Comics.
- Venom Vol. 4 #5-6. Marvel Comics.
- Venom Vol. 4 #7. Marvel Comics.
- Web of Venom Carnage Born #1. Marvel Comics.
- Guardians of Galaxy Vol 5 #3. Marvel Comics.
- Web of Venom Cult of Carnage #1. Marvel Comics.
- @Doncates (21 April 2019). "Nothing can kill Knull" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "VENOM BOIZ! w/Donny Cates: Venom (2018) #1 Director's Commentary". 22 June 2019.
- Thor: God of Thunder #24. Marvel Comics.
- Mighty Thor #700. Marvel Comics.
- Thor Vol 5 #6-12. Marvel Comics.
- War of the Realms #6. Marvel Comics.
- Thor Vol. 5 #14. Marvel Comics.
- Secret Wars #8. Marvel Comics.
- "Venom Writer Confirms Origin of Venom's Iconic White Spider Symbol". Comic Book Resources. 4 January 2019. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
- Annihilation Conquest: Wraith #2. Marvel Comics.
- Ultimate Spider-Man #33. Marvel Comics.
- "Meet Knull, Venom's God of the Symbiotes". CBR. 27 June 2018. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- "Venom #4 Review: The Origins of Knull and the Symbiotes". Bleeding Cool. 28 July 2018. Archived from the original on 12 May 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
- "Marvel's most powerful symbiotes". IGN. 19 October 2018. Archived from the original on 5 November 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
- "Top 10 Strongest Symbiotes". WatchMojo. 27 October 2018. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2018.