Since Todd McFarlane and Dave Michelinie first introduced us to Venom back in 1988 in “Amazing Spider-Man” #300, the character has generated a massive following. Marvel has attempted various renditions of Venom in his 29 years in comics, but nothing tops the original.
Coinciding with the news that Sony would be making a solo Venom feature film (I stand by my numerous comments that this movie, since it won’t have Spider-Man, will be a flop, but I digress), Marvel has given the symbiote back to fan-favorite Eddie Brock. The return of the “Lethal Protector” Venom has spurred comic sales and is pleasing longtime fans.
In honor of this occasion, let’s examine some of his other incarnations.
Ann Weying did not possess the symbiote long enough to become a card-carrying villain in the Marvel Universe, but she will forever be in our hearts.
Back in 1995, after Eddie Brock had been cruising around as Venom for seven years, his ex-wife was injected with the symbiote and transformed into She-Venom in “Venom: Sinner Takes All” #2. Her first full appearance as She-Venom was one issue later in “Venom: Sinner Takes All” #3. She would possess the suit a second time, but the guilt and horror of bonding to the symbiote would later drive her to suicide.
As a side note, Weying was not the last She-Venom. In the 2004 “Venom” #10, the symbiote possessed Patricia Robertson, an U.S. Army lieutenant and communications specialist.
If you’re like me, you might be asking yourself, “Who’s Angelo Fortunato?” Although he only lasted a couple of issues, he is technically the second true Venom.
Looking to make Venom a full-fledged villain again in 2004, Marvel hatched a storyline in which Eddie Brock decided it was time to get his life in order…without the alien symbiote. In “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #7, Brock auctioned off the symbiote (What are the eBay fees for that?) to mafia nobody Angelo for some insane amount of money. Maybe Eddie did sell what is basically a monster-making superweapon to a criminal, but, hey, he gave the money to charity. That balances out, right?
By the next month, Angelo died in the pages of “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #8 when the symbiote abandoned him in mid-jump between buildings. Moral of the story: Avoid Eddie Brock’s eBay listings.
Mac Gargan has a longer comic history than Venom. He made his debut way back in “Amazing Spider-Man” #19 and first appeared as the Scorpion in “ASM” #20 in 1965. For 40 years, he masqueraded as the Scorpion, terrorizing Spider-Man both in comics and in various cartoons. He even made his MCU debut in a couple of cameo appearances in this summer’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
Like many of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery, Scorpion was just another bad guy and far from a viable threat to Spidey. That was until Gargan partnered with the resurrected Norman Osborn and joined with the alien symbiote in “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #10. The second Venom became more of a monster than before as he eventually became consumed by the symbiote and went so far as to turn cannibalistic.
Eventually, Gargan would join the Dark Avengers in the “Dark Reign” storyline. After the fall of Asgard at the hands of the Dark Avengers, Gargan was imprisoned and the symbiote was ripped away from him by the U.S. government. And if movies and comics have taught us anything, it’s that shady government entities cannot be trusted with superweapons.
Continuing our look at the other versions of Venom, we have a popular – though not canonical – vision of the character as well as a very sore spot for longtime fans. I’m talking about Venompool and Venom: Space Knight.
It’s not hard to figure out that Deadpool has been Marvel’s cash cow for years now. If you want to argue that point, look at the sheer volume of guest appearances Deadpool has in other series, not to mention the number of titles featuring the “Merc with a Mouth.”
Back in 2011, Marvel decided to mashup Deadpool with Venom, giving us Venompool in “What If Venom Possessed Deadpool?” #1. The merging was so popular that it spawned such stories as “Deadpool’s Secret Wars” #3 in which Venom’s history was retconned to blame Deadpool for ruining what was originally a nice, well-meaning alien symbiote before the events of “Secret Wars” #8.
Most of the hardcore Venom fans reject this as Venom cannon, but it’s a fun and popular story all the same.
Venom has undergone quite the changes over the years, and there was none more polarizing than when Marvel introduced us to Agent Venom.
In the pages of “Amazing Spider-Man” #654, the United States government had its collective hands on the symbiote after removing it from Mac Gargan. Like all “shadowy government figures” storyline, the military wanted to turn the symbiote into a weapon by having it bond with a soldier.
Who did they choose for this mission? Peter Parker’s longtime nemesis and mega Spider-Man fanboy, Flash Thompson. When the two came together, they formed Agent Venom. On a side note, with the look of the costume and the addition of the machine guns, Agent Venom was reminiscent of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn when he went into battle sans magic.
Although Agent Venom is in the Marvel history books, both the first and second printings are sought after comics, but it’s the second printing that gets the higher dollars. Back in May, a CBCS 9.6 sold for just shy of $350.
VENOM SPACE KNIGHT
This may be the least popular version of Venom.
While Flash Thompson was bound to the alien symbiote, Venom journeyed into the far reaches of space and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. During this time, the alien race known as the Klyntar anointed Flash a Space Knight. Marvel gave this vision of the Flash Venom his own series, “Venom: Space Knight,” which was not one of the better sellers as it was a far departure from the character’s original traits. The series has since been mercifully cancelled.
LEE PRICE AND THE RETURN OF EDDIE BROCK
In 2016, Marvel restarted the “Venom” comic series (again) and debuted a new host in “Venom” #1. This time, the symbiote bonded with another soldier, Lee Price. However, the pairing lasted only five issues.
Although this version of Venom brought him out of space and back to his villainous roots, fans still longed for the definitive Venom. They were granted their wish when earlier this year, Eddie Brock teamed with Spider-Man to take the symbiote away from Price in “Venom” #6. This resulted in the symbiote returning to Brock and boosting sales.