Thursday 27th November 2014,
Comic Booked

The Many Hosts of Venom

Ortegatron 02/15/2011 Features, Reviews

The new Venom/Flash Thompson made his appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #654. The latest incarnation of the popular character is a far cry from Venom’s beginnings. The suit was not even created by Marvel, but by a fan. Randy Schueller wrote in to Marvel about a new black suit created by Mr. Fantastic as a writing contest entry. Read his story here. Randy’s origin idea was modified and the black suit for Spider-Man was in the Marvel universe (Secret Wars #8). Upon it’s arrival back on Earth a new character (Brock) and a popular artist/writer (McFarlane) would begin the career of a new ionic Marvel villain, Venom. Let’s look back and those that have donned the black alien symbiote that takes a host to become Venom.

Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #252): Spider-Man was the first to come in contact with the alien symbiote. During the Secret Wars he wore the alien suit. Thinking it to be simply an an advanced costume, Peter brought the alien back to Earth where it’s true nature was discovered. Parker’s rejecting the suit is something the symbiote never seems to get over.

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Eddie Brock (Amazing Spider-Man #299): Weight lifter, reporter, and Catholic. All of these (maybe not lifting) led to Eddie getting fired and praying at the Our Lady of Saints church where Spider-Man had forced the symbiote off of himself. Becoming Venom for the first time. After a obsession with Spider-Man and the parenthood of Carnage, Venom would go from cannibal to a warped protector and even Spidey team up partner. Having cancer and trying to atone for all the hurt caused by him, Eddie finds himself the owner of a new symbiote. Anti-Venom.

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Angelo Fortunato (Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #7): Son of a Mafia Don and sick of being a frail weakling, Angelo paid 100 million for the symbiote. A repentant and dying Brock sold the symbiote to raise money for charity. The alien however was not fond of the weak Angelo and left him to die in mid jump between buildings. This was the fist instance of the alien showing a murderous preference for strong willed hosts.

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MacDonald “Mac” Gargan (Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #10): Already known as super villain the Scorpion, Gargan was no stranger to augmentation. When the opportunity to possess even more super powers presented itself in the form of alien symbiote Gargan ran with it. Becoming Venom and then a “Sinister” Spider-Man. With the end of Norman Osborn’s “Dark Reign” as government agent and leader of the Dark Avengers so did Gargan’s tenure end. The symbiote being forcibly removed by the government.

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Eugene “Flash” Thompson(Amazing Spider-Man #654):  Long time bully and always the Spider-man fan Flash has had some ups and downs. Bully to war hero and back Flash has had a lot go wrong. Through it all Flash was always able to come out a good guy in the end. Now after losing his legs and being given the symbiote to wear as a government agent, he will have a whole new set of challenges – from himself, the govenment, and the symbiote.

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These are not the only ones to have this alien all over them. Ann Weying (Eddie Brock’s ex-wife), Patricia Robertson, Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel), and even a quick Fantastic foursome. Temporarily bonding with Franklin Richards, Reed Richards, Susan Richards, and She-Hulk.

As part of a race that uses hosts for food and moves on, the symbiote is a thinking organism. All this body hopping shows a method to the Venom symbiote. Seeking power and vengeance the Venom symbiote is clearly interested in more than just sustenance. Venom fans tend to see Brock as the symbiotes home, but he was a rebound after Spider-Man. Patient and spiteful, time after time again the alien finds a way into Spider-Man’s life. Via friend or foe the alien shows little interest in other super powered beings and gravitates back to Parker. Perhaps all this running around is simply a case of not “getting over your first love”.

Alternate universe examples of  the alien intelligence at work here include  What if…? 44# and What if…? #4. In #44 the Punisher bonds with the alien. Giving the alien an ultimatum of compliance or death, the Punisher becomes the “lethal protector” Brock as Venom never could. In What if…? #4 the alien takes over Parker completely and then goes after Hulk and Thor, until Black Bolt and Black Cat put an end to the Black suit. Both are examples are a reasoning sentient being. In any Marvel universe (Ultimate, MC2, ..etc), the symbiote has proved more than just a suit.

The pattern in this history makes it very clear the new Venom (Flash) will definitely be fighting the symbiote for mental control, then fighting Spider-Man. Still interesting even if formulaic.  The little black alien has come a very long way. From a just a costume change all the way to S.H.I.E.L.D.  listing it one of the greatest threats to the Earth. Up there with classic Marvel threats like Dr. Doom and the Red Skull. The latest incarnation may yet live up to that reputation. We all find out more next month in Venom #1.

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  1. Dustyn Hughes 02/15/2011 at 6:34 am

    I don't know why, but I never was able to get on the Venom band wagon.

    I've been around since before his appearance and through most of his incarnations, but I have never warmed to the character. I never warmed to his "son" Carnage either.

    I know he (it) is very popular and much requested. Even going so far as to be created as a downloadable character in both the Marvel Universe games because of his popularity. I can't deny his popularity, I just can't understand it.

    I have yet to read any of his appearances as Flash. I always liked the Flash character, and have been sorry that he has been absent from the pages of Spider-Man for so long. I think the last time I saw him was way back in the 80's…Maybe early 90's (Didn't he supposedly serve in Desert Storm/Desert Shield? That would have to be the 90's)

    I'll have to take a look at this and see if finally I'll start to actually care about Venom, since lord knows I have no chance of ever seeing the character disappear.

  2. Jason Edwards 02/15/2011 at 10:36 am

    There was another host.

    Between the time the mystery robot (which was NEVER explained) slipped into the Baxter Building and freed the symbiote from the extra-terrestrial contamination containment facility (Fantatic Four #274), and the symbiote sneaking back into Peter Parker's closet (Spectacular Spider-Man #100?), the symbiote possessed a man for a short while.

    The man had no name, but his business suit did mysteriously change from a greenish brown to purple after the symbiote left him.

  3. Ortegatron 02/16/2011 at 2:38 am

    I have to agree this Flash/Venom warrents a look. As for disappearing, I agree as well. Never happen. I am sure we will see Venom(not played by Topher) on the big screen again soon. I really liked Venom. At first. The brain eating thing was never my favorite. I liked the Gargon version even less. I have some suspicions about Flash/Venom. Carnage and Venom have their own strange poularity. Fans love them, but not enough to really support a series.

    Time in comic books is not absolute. Flash left college for Vietnam after all. He went to Iraq after "One More Day", I think.

  4. Ortegatron 02/16/2011 at 11:50 pm

    Jason,I wish Tohper would have played Mr. Changed Suit instead of Venom.

  5. PickleLover 02/17/2011 at 6:22 pm

    Darn the symbiote is harsh. People taking him on and giving him a new home. But nope it's just not content with them and goes flying off in mid air to find someone more fit to it's needs. It could be a little more hospitable don't you think? :P

  6. Jason Edwards 02/17/2011 at 11:07 pm

    I remember the first Venom figure, he had this talking backpack, so I'd go around pressing the button that said "I want to eat your brains!" Haha

  7. Jason Edwards 02/17/2011 at 11:12 pm

    I'm not sure on that, Ort, but yes, Eric Foreman was a poor choice. What were they thinking??? Eddie Brock was a weightlifter and older. Plus, he was dating Gwen?

    Seriously, do these Hollywood people even get input from the fans, or do just glance at some comic their kid is reading without any actual research?

    It's 11 years later, and I'm STILL not over X-Men, either!

  8. henry 02/18/2011 at 1:45 am

    Eric Foreman was a terrible choice for Venom but for this generation, 'it made sense.' It was terrible. I guess for that movie.

    Imo, Eddie Brock was the best Venom.

    Flash has been on the edge of a villain since the Hobgoblin mystery days.

    I personally loved Flash Thompson as a good old, reformed basketball coach.

    Oh well. In a few years Flash will have died and been reincarnated. Such is comic book 'continuity.'

  9. Ortegatron 02/21/2011 at 10:09 pm

    I would have rather Flash been the new Human Torch.

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