Art by Simon Bisley.
|First appearance||as Patrick Mulligan Venom/Carnage #1 (September 2004)
as Toxin Venom/Carnage #2 (October 2004)
|Created by||Peter Milligan
|Alter ego||Patrick Mulligan
|Team affiliations||as Patrick Mulligan: NYPD
as Eddie Brock: Savage Six
|Notable aliases||Son of Carnage|
Toxin or the Toxin symbiote is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. He is the third major symbiote of the Spider-Man series, the ninth known to have appeared in the comics outside of the Planet of the Symbiotes storyline, and the first symbiote that Spider-Man considers an ally, despite temporary alliances with Venom on numerous occasions. The first host of the Toxin symbiote is former NYPD police officer Patrick Mulligan. Toxin later bonded to Eddie Brock as his second host after Patrick Mulligan was killed.
Fictional character biography
Much like their "father" Venom, Carnage produced offspring: a third symbiote. Carnage felt only dislike and hatred towards his new spawn, even before he "gave birth" to it, both fearing that it could become much stronger than himself, and being generally disgusted at the thought of giving birth (due to Carnage's host, Cletus Kasady, being male). At the same time, Carnage's rival and "father" Venom became aware that Carnage was "pregnant" and sought out Carnage to talk about this new symbiote. Carnage had resolved to kill his spawn as soon as it was born. Venom was doing his best to protect the new symbiote, with the intention of raising it to become his new partner. Venom was also concerned that, as the 1,000th symbiote of their line, the new symbiote could potentially become psychotic and violent because of genetic breakdown.
After the birth of his "son", Carnage felt too weak to kill his newborn (due in no small part to his attempt to repress the birth after burying himself). Since he could not kill his newborn, he implanted it into Patrick Mulligan and fled, intending to kill him later and destroy the new symbiote when he was up to strength.
Prior to being implanted with the alien symbiote, Mulligan was one of New York City's finest cops, yet troubled with various personal problems. His stressful job, along with the strain of his new family (his wife, Gina, was pregnant with their first son, Edward) were taking their toll. One night while on duty, he came across the site where Carnage was giving birth to the new symbiote. Carnage, needing a host to hide the symbiote to keep it from Venom, bonded it to Mulligan. Carnage resolved to kill both Mulligan and the symbiote since they were not yet strong enough to manifest a super-powered costume like the Venom and Carnage symbiotes. Venom still hoped to use this new symbiote as a partner, and fought Carnage to a standstill to protect Mulligan and the symbiote, whom he christened Toxin, after himself.
At first, Mulligan didn't realize what had happened to him. Before long, the Toxin symbiote had matured enough to gain both conscious thought and the strength to form a symbiote costume on Mulligan's body. After Carnage attacked Gina and Edward at their home, Mulligan realized the symbiote was a danger to both himself and his family. During a subsequent confrontation between Venom, Carnage, and Toxin, Venom realized Mulligan was dedicated to a life of virtue, or as close as he could come under the symbiote's influence. When it became clear that Toxin was easily as strong as either of his predecessors, and was still growing, Venom and Carnage formed a temporary pact to destroy him.
Spider-Man stumbled into the final confrontation among the symbiote trio, and helped Toxin. After they fended off Venom and Carnage, Toxin had a conversation with Spider-Man, filling him in on what had happened to him. Spider-Man encouraged him, and Toxin resigned himself to a life of battling his base symbiote urges while trying to harness his power for good. He left his wife and child, and the police force, to try to come to terms with his new life.
In 2005, after Spider-Man joined the New Avengers, Marvel introduced a six-issue Toxin limited series, which followed Toxin's battles with various supervillains escaped from the Raft as a result of events at the beginning of The New Avengers series. The series also portrayed his constant battle to keep the symbiote under control; unlike Venom and Carnage, the host and symbiote minds stayed separate in Toxin, and even had conversations and arguments with each other. Throughout the miniseries, he battled King Cobra, the Wrecker, Piledriver, and Razor Fist.
At one point, trying to live with Toxin became too much for Mulligan, who attempted suicide by throwing himself in front of a train. The Toxin symbiote intervened at the last moment, saving Mulligan and claiming that Mulligan didn't really want to die. When Mulligan pressed the issue, it became clear that, unlike the Venom and Carnage symbiotes, Toxin is not sure it could survive on its own and find a new host.
In the limited series, Razor Fist murdered Mulligan's father, but Toxin begins to show signs of a heroic behavior; he tracked Razor Fist down, but rather than slaughtering him (as both the symbiote and Razor Fist himself urge), Toxin controls himself and turns Razor Fist over to the police. Mulligan reconciled with his estranged wife Gina by 'introducing' her to the Toxin symbiote as a way of explaining why he walked out on his family.
Mulligan and the symbiote co-operate peacefully with an agreement: Mulligan will be in complete control of the symbiote, if he allows Toxin two hours of "playtime" each night. However, in those two hours, Toxin is not allowed to commit any acts of grand theft, arson, rape, or homicide.
Civil War/The Initiative
The Toxin symbiote later appears in an underground lab in Las Vegas, having been taken and its host, Pat Mulligan, killed by Blackheart, who is secretly in charge of the operation to duplicate the Toxin symbiote and bond it to clones of X-23 as part of a soul-stealing plot. The Crime Master sends his underling Jack O'Lantern and blackmails his enemy Venom into retrieving the symbiote. A fight with security personnel results in Jack O'Lantern taking the symbiote and fleeing.
Along with Venom, Anti-Venom, Hybrid and his sister Scorn, Toxin is mentioned as being the next option to stop Carnage's rampage in the Midwest after the Avengers are defeated. However, the US military is unable to find Toxin, leaving it up to the hybrid symbiotes and Scorn to stop Carnage.
After killing Hybrid and Scream, Eddie Brock follows Venom into Crime Master's headquarters as part of his plan to destroy all symbiotes. During the ensuing fight between Venom and Crime Master's underlings, Crime Master locks Brock up and forcibly bonds him to the symbiote, making him the new Toxin. Brock joins the Savage Six to fight Venom, but is severely burned in the fight.
Eddie and the Toxin symbiote eventually track down Venom and discover a group of creatures called the "symbiote slayers" that are determined to destroy the symbiotes. Venom and Toxin have to team up to fight the "slayers". After this, Toxin agrees to leave Venom alone, and Eddie Brock as Toxin reclaims his title as the "lethal protector".
Powers and abilities
Toxin possesses the special abilities of his two symbiote predecessors: he can stick to walls (which originally came from when Spider-Man was a host of the Venom symbiote), can change his identity to that of a completely different person, and also has unlimited webbing. Patrick Mulligan's suit is red from the abdomen up and blue from the abdomen down. Eddie Brock's suit resembles a combination of Venom and Carnage but with the entire body red and has the Venom symbol on his chest which is black. Toxin can also blend in with his surroundings and become undetectable, an ability he gained from his grandfather, and he can form solid weapons from his limbs, an ability first seen in his father. Toxin also seems to have some sort of quick-healing ability like his predecessors, as his wounds from his first battle with Razor Fist healed remarkably quickly. Unlike the others, Toxin can track anyone — not just other symbiotes or symbiote hosts — within the entire city of New York and possibly farther, as long as he has something to begin from.
Unlike many of the other symbiotes, Toxin does not try to take over the mind of his human host. Instead, the symbiote actually thinks and voices its opinions to the human host (as evidenced in Toxin's Cut to the Chase storyline). The symbiote usually speaks when the host is in his "human form", and acts very immature and childlike because of its nascent existence, once refusing to aid Pat in battle until he apologized for an earlier argument. In addition, he seems to have a stronger resistance to sonics and intense heat compared to Carnage, though this does not mean that Toxin is more resistant to violent urges: it can get carried away with violence and fighting crime, even if it's a petty crime. When he's not angry or fighting, Toxin is slim and smooth-lined, although still well muscled, closely resembling Carnage or Spider-Man in his symbiote costume. When he becomes upset or aggressive, he grows into his much bigger and stronger form (like Venom), with vicious fangs and long curving claws.
The symbiote recently developed a venomous bite after bonding to Eddie Brock.
In other media
- One action figure of Toxin has been produced in the Amazing Spider-Man series, depicting him in his muscular, mouthed form.
- A second action figure of Toxin was produced in the 2014 Spider-Man Legends series, depicting him in his smoother, streamlined form.
- Peter Milligan (w), Clayton Crain (a). Venom vs. Carnage 1 of 4 (September 2004), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Venom vs. Carnage #2-3
- Venom vs. Carnage #4
- Toxin #1-3
- Toxin #6
- Toxin #2
- Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
- Anthony Flamini & Ronald Byrd (w), Scott Kolins (p), Scott Kolins (i). Civil War: Battle Damage Report 1 (March 2007), Marvel Comics
- Venom vol. 2 #11 (Dec. 2011)
- Carnage U.S.A. #1 (Dec. 2011)
- Carnage U.S.A. #2 (Jan. 2012)
- Venom vol. 2 #17 (May 2012)
- Venom vol. 2 #18 (May 2012)
- Venom vol. 2 #21 (July 2012)
- Toxin at the Marvel Universe wiki
- Toxin's profile at Spiderfan.org
- Toxin's comics at TheVenomSite.com