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Spider-Man Goes Dark Again in Venom Inc. Crossover

By Blair Marnell

Spider-Man Goes Dark Again in Venom Inc. Crossover

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Spider-Man was the original host of the Venom symbiote all the way back in the original Secret Wars. But before 2017 is over, Spidey and Venom will be back together, and it won’t be pretty!

On the latest episode of This Week In Marvel Podcast,  Marvel revealed that the Venom Inc. crossover will run between the Amazing Spider-Man and Venom titles, while bringing back Lee Price, Venom’s psychotic host who actually traumitized the symbiote. Eddie Brook took back the the Venom symbiote earlier this year, but Price will reclaim the power by stealing Mania’s symbiote and he’ll be known as “Maniac.”

The name Venom Inc. is apparently meant to evoke Murder, Inc., the nickname that organized crime earned in the ‘30s and ‘40s. That’s not a coincidence, since Price apparently wants to become the Al Capone of criminal symbiotes. And judging by the preview art from Marvel, it looks like Maniac will have some way to infect other criminals like Black Cat with symbiotes under his control. There’s also a very striking image of Spider-Man with his head covered by a symbiote as well. We bet that J. Jonah Jameson regrets that latest “Spider-Man’s a Menace!” editorial!

It seems like the main goal for this crossover is to reestablish the complicated relationship between Venom and Spider-Man. Eddie Brock has never been “friends” with Peter Parker, but they have had a few instances where they’ve been able to coexist or even work together. Especially during Marvel’s attempt to turn Venom into a “lethal protector” anti-hero in the ‘90s. The problem with that approach is that a softened Venom tends to lose the qualities that made him so appealing. One of the ways that Venom stands apart from Spidey’s other enemies is that he really believes that he’s the hero and Peter Parker is the villain. If Venom really is heroic, then there’s not a huge difference between them.

Although there’s no sign of him in this storyline yet, Venom Inc. seems like a good opportunity to bring Flash Thompson back into Venom’s orbit. Until the launch of the current series, Flash was actually Venom’s most heroic host to date, and even a member of the freakin’ Guardians of the Galaxy. Their time in space was supposed to cure the symbiote’s more violent tendencies, but obviously it didn’t take. Marvel tends to prefer its Venom to be more chaotic than the Space-Knight Venom turned out to be. It’s also possible that Marvel is setting up Maniac to be Venom’s big bad, which could prove to be useful for the Venom movie with Tom Hardy manages to become more than a one-off story. Either way, it seems likely that Maniac could be a major player in Spidey’s neighborhood as well.

The storyline will begin in December with the release of Venom Inc: Alpha #1, which features Dan Slott and Mike Costa co-writing the tale for artist Ryan Stegman. From there, the story will move to Amazing Spider-Man #792, Venom #159, Amazing Spider-Man #793, Venom #160, and a final issue that has yet to be revealed.

Image: Marvel