Meet Anti-Venom, the Venom Symbiote's Polar Opposite
What is Anti-Venom? Learn about the creation of this symbiote, an unholy union between Venom and Mister Negative's Lightforce powers.
Goodbyes are never easy, especially for alien symbiotes like Venom. Although the symbiote has bonded with everyone from Spider-Man and Scorpion to Rocket Raccoon, Venom evolved from a vengeful monster into a lethal protector and a world-saving hero while it was bonded to Eddie Brock. After moving on from Brock, Venom left a little piece of itself behind in its favorite host, and when Brock was at his most desperate, that little piece directly led to the emergence of a new kind of symbiote: Anti-Venom.
Now, let's take a closer look at Anti-Venom and how it gave Eddie Brock a second chance at being a lethal protector. We'll also take a closer look at Flash Thompson's time as Anti-Venom as the symbiote soldier suits up again to take on Carnage in CARNAGE (2023) #1 by Torunn Grønbekk, Pere Pérez, Erick Arciniega, and VC's Joe Sabino.
HOW ANTI-VENOM WAS CREATED
The Anti-Venom symbiote was created when remnants of the Venom symbiote collided with Mister Negative's healing powers. Following his terminal cancer diagnosis, Brock decided to sell the Venom symbiote on the black market and donate the proceeds to charitable causes as a way to atone for his various crimes.
After getting rid of the symbiote, Eddie started volunteering at the F.E.A.S.T. Center, a charity operated by Martin Li, who secretly operated as the criminal mastermind Mister Negative. In addition to his corrupting Darkforce powers, Li has Lightforce-based abilities that grant him considerable healing powers. Li used these healing powers to cure Eddie's cancer, fusing Brock's white blood cells with the trace amounts of Venom still in his body in the process. When the Venom symbiote tried to forcefully bond with Eddie again, Brock's body responded by covering him with the Anti-Venom symbiote in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #569 by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr.
The Anti-Venom symbiote has many of the same powers as the Venom symbiote, including super-strength, shapeshifting abilities, and prehensile tendrils that allow it to web-swing. However, Anti-Venom has several unique abilities, including the power to repel other symbiotes.
Unlike the Venom symbiote, the original Anti-Venom symbiote does not have a mind of its own, but it can detect illnesses or toxins within people and heal them. Ever since Anti-Venom tried to use this power on Peter Parker, the symbiote also interferes with Spider-Man's abilities whenever they're near each other.
Anti-Venom also does not have a symbiote's traditional weaknesses to fire or loud sounds. However, the symbiote can be weakened through overuse or exposure to Mister Negative's Darkforce powers, which Norman Osborn once synthesized into a poison.
EDDIE BROCK AND ANTI-VENOM
After the Anti-Venom symbiote emerged, Brock jumped back into action and continued his mission to protect the innocent. Anti-Venom helped Spider-Man stop Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts from attacking F.E.A.S.T. and even critically injured Venom and its current host, the Scorpion (Mac Gargan). After seeing Spider-Man rescue civilians during that battle, Brock let go of his longtime grudge against Parker, and the pair parted as allies.
Soon after, Anti-Venom healed and befriended a young woman named Jenna Cole in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: EXTRA! (2008) #2 by Dan Slott and Chris Bachalo. Acting on tips from Jenna, Anti-Venom started taking down street-level criminals and gangs around New York City. He even teamed up with the Punisher to take down the Quinta Cartel in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: ANTI-VENOM – NEW WAYS TO LIVE (2009) #1 by Zeb Wells and Paulo Siqueira.
Anti-Venom took a particular interest in Mister Negative's operations, and he teamed up with Spider-Man and Wraith (Yuri Watanabe) to expose Li's identity as Mister Negative to the public in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #664 by Slott, Christos Gage, and Giuseppe Camuncoli.
After briefly joining Wonder Man in a group of disaffected heroes called the Revengers, Brock used his unique Anti-Venom abilities to help Spider-Man end the SPIDER-ISLAND crisis. In that storyline, the people of New York got infected with a virus that gave them Spider-Man's powers before transforming them into monstrous spider-like creatures.
While trying to help numerous individuals by personally healing the infected one by one, Anti-Venom ended up at Horizon Labs, where Spider-Man, the Future Foundation, and their scientific allies were working on a cure for the virus. Brock ultimately sacrificed his Anti-Venom suit so that all of its antibodies could be used to create a serum that would heal everyone in the city in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #671 by Slott and Humberto Ramos.
While Brock went on to merge with other symbiotes, Eugene "Flash" Thompson—a war hero and Peter Parker's old friend—became the host of a new Anti-Venom symbiote. After the Venom symbiote left Brock, it ended up bonding with Flash and turned him into Agent Venom, a government-sponsored hero who joined the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Despite losing the Venom symbiote, Flash became the new Anti-Venom in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: VENOM INC. ALPHA (2017) #1 by Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman. During a confrontation with Spider-Man and Eddie Brock over who would bond with Venom next, Flash was doused in a vat of Anti-Venom chemicals that Alchemax was developing to stop symbiotes. However, the Anti-Venom serum reacted with the trace amounts of the Venom symbiote in Flash's body, turning him into a new Anti-Venom. With a white costume similar to the one he wore as Agent Venom, Agent Anti-Venom was instrumental in taking down the symbiote Maniac and its criminal host, Lee Price.
Following that, Agent Anti-Venom and his suit's anti-symbiote properties played a critical role in stopping an invasion of the Poisons, symbiote-hunting cosmic predators, in VENOMIZED (2018) #5 by Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello. Coerced into guarding Alchemax's most sensitive experiments, Agent Anti-Venom was eventually drawn into a battle against the Red Goblin, the combination of a crazed Norman Osborn and the vicious Carnage symbiote.
When the Red Goblin tore through Spider-Man and his allies with razor-sharp symbiote spikes, Agent Anti-Venom healed them all and almost burned out his suit's powers in the process during AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2015) #799 by Slott and Stuart Immonen. With the last of his symbiote's power, Flash joined Spider-Man, who temporarily bonded to Venom, to confront the Red Goblin in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2015) #800 by Slott and Immonen. After Flash made one final strike against the villain, the Red Goblin killed him and his symbiote with the Green Goblin's electrical gauntlets.
Although Flash Thompson died, part of him lived on within the Symbiote Hive-Mind, which houses the consciousness of former symbiote hosts. When the Venom symbiote absorbed a sample of Flash's blood, Flash could even take some control over the symbiote, which had bonded to Eddie Brock again.
When Knull—the creator of the symbiotes—attacked Earth in KING IN BLACK, Flash's spirit found the recently deceased Eddie and freed several symbiotes that Knull had captured inside the Hive-Mind. After bonding to one of the symbiotes within the Hive, Flash emerged back on Earth as a giant Anti-Venom symbiote dragon in VENOM (2018) #33 by Donny Cates and Iban Coello. At Brock's urging, Flash flew to his gravesite and used the symbiote dragon to reanimate his human body in VENOM (2018) #34 by Cates and Coello.
Now operating as Agent Anti-Venom again, Flash returned to a world where lingering symbiotes were corrupted by a Carnage symbiote still driven by the echoing consciousness of the late Cletus Kasady. Amidst a tide of rising anti-alien sentiment, Agent Anti-Venom tried to stop Carnage's plans to build its symbiote hive starting in EXTREME CARNAGE: ALPHA (2021) #1 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Manuel Garcia.
Despite the best efforts of Agent Anti-Venom, Iron Man, and their symbiote allies, Carnage and its minions assassinated an alien-hating politician and Carnage escaped. As Agent Anti-Venom, Flash went on to join a short-lived Avengers team, and the symbiote served as the partial basis for the new symbiotes Silence and Misery.
After traveling around the Multiverse and amassing god-like power, Carnage is back on Earth in CARNAGE (2023) #1. The Carnage symbiote has used its vast power to create a new Cletus Kasady, who is starting to build a religion through a series of ritual killings. Now, Agent Anti-Venom stands ready to finish the mission he started and stop the serial killer symbiote for good.
Anti-Venom swings back into action for CARNAGE #1, now on sale!
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