The History of Spider-Man and the Symbiote
Prep for 'King in Black' #4 and 'King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes' #2!
ITEM: The strife betwixt Spider-Man and the symbiote known as Venom has been a significant stand-out in the saga of the Marvel Universe, no doubt about that, Bunky! Just look at the mighty mags we have that seem to have sprung from it, such as KING IN BLACK #4 and KING IN BLACK: PLANET OF THE SYMBIOTES #2!
But for a few minutes now, let’s turn back time to a brief moment in our hallowed history when Spidey and symbiote lived in sympatico splendor—for the most part. Yep, we’re talkin’ ‘bout the tumultuous time between the Web-Slinger’s return to Earth with his new black costume in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252 and the monumental moment he discovered it was alive in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #258. Those days weren’t all wine and roses, y’know!
Spidey bested the Blob with a Black Cat!
The wondrous Wallcrawler has gone up against an array of evil arch-fiends, but when it comes down to strange antagonists, look no further than the one, the only…the Blob! Yep, that’s right, Charlie—Puny Parker punched it out with the mashed potato mutant not long after he punched back in for work after receiving his new black costume, in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #91, to be precise!
The ol’ Parker luck was in fine form then, what with Peter’s problems with his aunt—he’d just quit grad school!—his lack of lucre—his lost photo jobs while at the SECRET WARS!—and his then-playdate partner the Black Cat was acting odd—she’d gained powers from the Kingpin! Add to that a Blob rampage in the middle of Manhattan and you either have a world of worries or the makings for a good comic book story!
See, the Blob wanted revenge on society for the supposed demise of his pal Unus the Untouchable and so hoofed it down the avenue making trouble at every turn. Wanting to show off his new duds, Spidey swung in to stop the portly perpetrator, but got stuck in his gut instead! What to do? Step back and let the Black Cat have her chance to roll the dice…and let some bad luck have its way with the Blob! Suffice to say Spider-Man was simply stunned, yessir!
Spidey scared off some super-simians!
Hey, aren’t Super Villains named after animals just the best baddies ever? How about actual animals as Super Villains? How about—wait for it—a combination of the two? Wouldn’t that be the greatest? Well, Effendi, have we got an AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #255 for you! Read on!
It all began when the Red Ghost—remember him?—nabbed the Black Fox to scrounge up funds so the rascally Russian could complete his crazy contraption he called the Cosmicizer! Woo! We don’t name ‘em, we just tell ya about ‘em! Anyway, across town, Peter Parker washed out his new costume and hung it up to dry! Except it was alive, though our boy didn’t know that at the time…and boy did he have a surprise comin’!
Later, Spider-Man spotted the Ghost’s super-apes side-by-side with the Fox knockin’ over a jewelry store, which didn’t seem like a gem of an idea once the webs started flyin’ and the Fox flew the chicken coop! Spidey wrung the deets out of the thief, though, and followed the super-simians back to their lair, and shocked the Red Ghost into a riotous retreat…sans Cosmicizer, natch.
Spidey pasted a punch on the puss of the Puma!
These next issues stand significantly in the Spider-Man saga, and we love that they nestle right into the nook of the Black Suit story! Two things occurred here: an introduction of a towering titan in the Wallcrawler’s rogues gallery…and riotous revelation from a revered redhead.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #256 introduced us to the Puma, AKA Thomas Fireheart, a champion from New Mexico who accepted an assignation of assassination from the crime boss called the Rose to snuff out Spider-Man—and boy did he try! The Puma tracked our hero through the city right up until the end of the issue when he made his move to maul Spidey and…oops! Gotta wait until the next installment! Cue paragraph break!
In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #257, the real rasslin’ match rolled out and the fur flew when Spider-Man tried to reason with his feline foe and the Puma just wanted the dude dead. The Black Cat got involved, of course, but in the end Fireheart weakened the Web-Slinger to the point of unfair advantage and the Puma’s honor couldn’t allow him to continue. But, they met again and again, and the rest, as they say, is history!
And all the while, the symbiote inched closer and closer to becoming a permanent part of Peter Parker…the hard way.
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