No brains are safe as Venom returns to his roots this November

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The last decade has been a bit of an odd one for Venom. Formerly a prime Spider-Man villain when bonded with host Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote has been on a massive journey over the last couple of years. It was attached to former Scorpion Mac Gargan and together the two served as a new Spider-Man for Norman Osborne during the Dark Reign saga. Later on, the symbiote would find a newer worthier host in Flash Thompson.

Peter Parker’s high school bully had matured over the years to become a person who wanted to be a hero like his idol Spider-Man, but a tour of duty in the Middle East resulted in Thompson losing his both his legs in combat. Partnered with the Venom symbiote, Thompson has used him as a forc for justice on Earth and beyond as he joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and eventually struck off on his own to become Venom: Space Knight.

But it looks like the classic Venom is making a return soon. Teeth, fangs and an insatiable hunger for brains as the symbiote is back in black and controlled by a new mystery host it seems. That’s the word according to writer Mike Costa, who’ll be teaming up with artist Gerardo Sandoval to bring the iconic character back to Earth.

“I’ve written Venom only briefly, and that was technically an alternate-universe Venom within the Secret Wars event [in SPIDER-VERSE],” Costa said to Marvel of his previous experiences with the character.

That version was inspired by the “pure villain” version of his first few appearances, and time has been kind to the symbiote; Venom is a much more complex—and in a lot of ways, totally different—character than he was back circa [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300]. It’s been a lot of fun to finally dig into that in this book.

At it’s core, the new Venom series will examine the dichotomy between host and symbiote, as Costa builds on the work started by Robbie Thompson in the Space Knight series. “The biggest challenge is that Venom is technically two characters: the symbiote and the host,” Costa explained.

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Robbie Thompson did such a great job dramatizing that dichotomy in [VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT], and I’m just going to shamelessly make use of the tools he created and accept all the credit. A major part of this new VENOM book will be the evolving relationship between the host and the symbiote. At its core, outside of all the other shenanigans, it’s really a book about a dysfunctional relationship.

There’s definitely action, but the heart of the book is in characters thinking and plotting and talking. It’s almost the direct opposite of the kind of book WEB WARRIORS was; that was all big crazy action and the characters were almost never out of costume. But there’s a gritty crime-drama in the DNA of this VENOM book, and there’s a street-level detail we’re living in.

As for visual inspiration, obviously Gerardo is much more the guy to ask about this than myself; I try to keep the artist as unshackled to any visual dogma as is possible, since I feel like the [freer] they are to follow their own muse, the more likely they can elevate my scripts from “average” to “incredible works of genius that I will get all the credit for.”

But that said, I’m taking a lot of inspiration from the early [Todd] McFarlane/[Erik] Larsen days. The hulking guy in the Spider-Man costume with the impossible jaw and revolting tongue. The Spider-Man with the monster face. That’s the essence of what makes the character powerful for me.

There’s been a running joke in Venom comics over the years that the symbiote was hungry for some grey matter. More a threat than anything else, Venom has never actually eaten a brain. But after three decades, Costa wants to make good on that threat once and for all with the ultimate Easter egg to longtime fans.

“No brains are safe from his endless hunger! Seriously, I’m going to find a way to get him to eat some brains,” Costa said. “I’m finally following up on that 30-year-old promise”.

Last Updated: September 28, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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