This year has marked a huge amount of (what seem to be) long-lasting changes by #Marvel to the status quo of many of their core superheroes. From an evil Captain America to several new replacement characters for Iron Man, not all fans have responded positively to these often drastic changes (although this is the internet so it is to be expected).
With so many new characters being introduced and old characters being re-branded, it might come as a relief to some fans that the longtime nemesis of #SpiderMan, #Venom, was reverted to his old status quo as a villain. The Venom character has seen many changes since its creation, with Marvel regularly switching the character from antihero to hero. So, with Venom now sitting firmly at the "bad guy" end of the spectrum, let’s take a look as to how exactly the newest Venom might be the evilest one yet.
Venom Through The Ages
Before we get deep into the new Venom let's get a quick rundown of the most recent changes to Venom's character. Outside of Spider-Man's infamous run-in with Venom, the character Eddie Brock (above: played by actor Topher Grace, in Spider-Man 3), would be for many the most familiar face behind the mask.
It was during the Eddie Brock/Venom comics that #Marvel transitioned the character from a villain into a antihero dubbed the "Lethal Protector." There have since been two other characters of significance to have bonded with the alien symbiote — Mac Gargan (The Scorpion) and Flash Thompson (Peter Parker's former high school bully turned soldier).
As Brock's run with the suit was more of a balancing act between being bad and being really, really bad, Marvel would take things down a darker path by having the former Spider-Man villain the Scorpion play host to the Venom symbiote next. Venom's hulking size was due to Gargan's unease and fear of the symbiote, giving in to the symbiote's animalistic instincts, ones that caused Venom to occasionally partake in cannibalism.
This new, more carnivorous (and downright disturbing) version of Venom steered the character back towards its villainous routes. However, once Gargan lost his hold on the Venom symbiote, it would end up in the hands of the US government. From there, Venom would start its more heroic career after bonding to the soldier Flash Thompson.
Gone were the fangs and long tongue, the third Venom had a more tactile look and fondness for conventional firearms. Flash-Venom's appearance would change once more during the character's tenure in space alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy. This version of Venom, minus a few incidents, was firmly a "good guy," something that would have lasting effects on the symbiote.
The New Kid On The Block
For mysterious (and likely Civil War II comic-related) reasons, Venom has found itself separated from Thompson and dying in an alleyway in New York. In a last-ditch attempt to save itself, Venom bonds with Lee Price, a former soldier, and current trench coat wearer. Price, prior to his bonding, was hired by the former host of Venom, Mac Gargan, as an enforcer for a shady deal with a gang.
The deal goes south (as they tend to do) and Venom inadvertently saves Price and himself in the process. It is here that Marvel reveals its new twist to the Venom status quo. The symbiote still desires to continue its former heroic career, unfortunately for the symbiote, it's new host has other ideas.
Price takes control and proceeds to slaughter the gang members against the symbiote's will. Afterwards — and in a bid to keep his new found power a secret — Price kills his accomplice (and childhood friend), as well as an elderly homeless man who witnessed the incident.
Yep, it seems that Venom is back on the path to villainy, only this time (and unlike the previous versions), it's the host that is the bad influence. It is an interesting dynamic, one that opens some new doors, as we rarely get glimpses into the psyche of the Venom symbiote itself or when it thinks independently.
Reverting Venom back to a villain is certainly a refreshing change. Especially with the surplus of new heroes emerging from every nook and cranny, it's good to see that the villains are getting some attention too. Although, there is one question that fans are going to want an answer for: Where is Flash Thompson?
If you want to see more of this new Venom, Venom #1 is in available now.
What do you think of the all-new, all-evil version of Venom? Sound off in the comments below.