Venom #4

Marvel writers can’t seem to decide if Venom should be a villain, hero, or anti-hero. I suppose if there was such thing as an anti-villain, they’d try that too. Comics Alliance brings you a brief history of the symbiote and the people they’ve bonded with.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

2 responses »

  1. Warren B says:

    Unfortunately it sums up some of the problem of a conveyor belt of comic writers, all itching to do their own take on an ambiguous or grey-morality character, and Venom in particular.

    Before the symbiote’s even discovered to be alive, it provides Spidey with an instant costume and webbing – it’s good.
    It’s discovered to be a symbiote feeding on Pete, and won’t let him go – it’s bad.
    It’s freed from the Baxter Building and goes after Peter – it’s bad.
    It sacrifices itself to save Peter from the bells after he uses them to free himself – it’s good.
    It survives and bonds with Brock, and they use their mutual grudge to terrorise Peter and his family – it’s bad.
    They help Spidey against Carnage, and go on their way to become a ‘lethal protector’ – they’re good. (Well, 90’s ‘good’)
    In the Planet of the Symbiotes story, turns out the symbiote is considered aberrant because it wants to bond and communicate, rather than use up it’s hosts like the rest of it’s race (in contradiction to it’s earliest exposure) – it’s good.
    After a period of separation, it rebonds with Brock against his will and goes after Spidey again – it’s bad.

    Then there was the issue of Brock’s cancer and his giving up the symbiote for good, which was a confused, contradictory cluster-whatsit in itself. Brock’s dying and the symbiote’s used him up. It wants to permanently bond with Peter. The next time it bonds with someone will be permanent. Pete tricks it into rebonding with Brock against the will of both. The bond is permanent and both swear revenge against Peter. (It’s bad, BTW)

    Next thing you know, Eddie is auctioning off the symbiote.

    It eventually comes to Mac Gargan, and they indulge their appetite for mayhem as Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers. It starts to turn Gargan into a hulking, man-eating monster – it’s bad.
    Flash gets it. He has to use drugs and sheer willpower to control it’s worst impulses – it’s bad.
    Flash comes to an agreement with it – it’s good – sort of.
    Flash finds what apparently turns out as a whole different planet of symbiotes, where it turns out they’re organic space knight costumes or something, not selfish parasites, and ‘our’ symbiote was made to do bad things by Brock. (something I’d heard before, despite it sucking Pete dry and all the previous times Brock wanted nothing to do with it) Flash gets it ‘fixed’ – it’s good.
    And now, despite being hyper-vulnerable to being corrupted by bad people, it’s attached to a criminal and tries to make him do good.

    I dunno…

    I’m fond of a good heel-face turn, but I’m frustrated that they can’t seem to stick from one writer to the next. Whereas some ‘faces’ are so set in stone, they become less characters and more myths or legends to gush about. It feels as if the characters, while fictional, aren’t allowed to grow organically and come to their ‘own’ decision that all this crime and destruction isn’t doing them any good. The writers are like some petty pantheon, slapping them back down to their one-dimensional ‘destiny’ as cackling, irredeemable villains – which, sadly, a lot of comic readers seem to agree with.

    Even Eddie Brock, without the Venom symbiote, can’t catch a break. Not very long after the short-lived stint working in a soup kitchen with Aunt May and trying to do good as Anti-Venom (most notably the self-sacrifice in curing the victims of Spider Island), he’s forcibly bonded with the Toxin symbiote (which, last I’d seen, was doing good while bonded to a police officer) – boom. Instant villain. Instant brutal, cackling, monstrous villain…

    Not just Brock. Look at the Sandman, the Juggernaught, early Norman Osborn, later General Ross (that one really sticks in my craw, after Jeff Parker’s fantastic Red Hulk run)… anyone else?


    • This is a topic that comes up now and then at BW. It seems some writers want to write the character as they first met them and shuns the way they are now, more interested in their own stories than respecting the writers before them. Geoff Johns did that with the clone Superboy and the Flash, while Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch started out being the kids of Whizzer and Ms. America, only later retconned into Magneto’s kids…which they just had to undo so Marvel Studios could use them in The Avengers.


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