Comics

Venom’s Numerous Battles With His Fellow Symbiotes

It’s just family business...

Venom hates Spider-Man. Everyone knows that.

People sometimes forget that Venom also hates his fellow symbiote nearly as much, perhaps even more at times, as Spidey. Venom vs. Spider-Man may be more high-profile, but Venom fighting any random symbiote-bonded human happens nearly as often and often proves significantly more violent.

 

First? The Worst. But Also? The Best!

Venom Spider-Man and Carnage

One never forgets their first time, at least so we have been told. For Venom, that first time began in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #361. After freeing Eddie Brock from prison some 17 issues earlier, the symbiote left a small bit of itself behind; a spawn, if you will. This bit of symbiote bonded with Brock’s cellmate, the serial killer Cletus Kasady, birthing the monster we know as Carnage.

Carnage finally makes it to the Big Apple with murder on his mind, and the Wall-Crawler has no choice but to reach out to the in exile Venom. Together, the otherwise antagonistic duo combine their efforts to take down Carnage before immediately, predictably, turning on each other. Even in victory, however, it seemed clear: Carnage had more tricks, more strength, less weaknesses, and could be a far bigger threat than Venom.

 

To the Maximum

Maximum Carnage

Those hints bore horrifying fruit in the mega-crossover “Maximum Carnage.” Carnage, after organizing a Manson-style family of Super Villains, took Manhattan by vicious, bloody storm, committing more atrocities in a few hours than Venom had ever managed.

While Venom would eventually mercilessly beat Carnage to achieve victory over his “son,” it took an entire team of heroes to “soften up” the serial killer symbiote.

 

A Quintet of Kids

Symbiote children

Lasher, Scream, Riot, Agony, and Phage all sprang from not wholly developed “seeds” within the Venom symbiote. As a result, they presented as similarly “gifted” but easier for humans to control after bonding. They, and the Life Foundation that created them, insisted that this would mean they could use their abilities for good. Brock, however, did not believe them, certain that they would turn disturbed and murderous, following in Carnage’s footsteps.

In this first encounter, Brock rebonded with Venom and reteamed with Spider-Man to stop these “offspring” in VENOM: LETHAL PROTECTOR. The less experienced quintet may have had the advantage of numbers, but experience won out and quite easily.

 

Quite a Scream

Venom Separation Anxiety

Riot would reach out too soon in VENOM: SEPARATION ANXIETY. Despite appearing to have been destroyed at the end of LETHAL PROTECTOR and planning to let Venom continue to think so, Riot exposed the quintet’s survival. Why? Because someone was killing them off and he thought Brock might be the only one who could save them.

It turned out, however, that the threat was not external. Instead, Scream had proven Brock’s theory and her hidden mental illness had allowed the symbiote to twist her mind towards violence. Alas, she had slain all the rest of her “siblings” before Brock rebonded with Venom once more and easily defeated her.

 

A Toxic Trio

Venom v Carnage v Toxin

Carnage, like Venom before him, produced a spawn in VENOM V. CARNAGE #1. This symbiote presented as seemingly more naïve, more talkative, and perhaps more cognitively active. It went on to bond with police officer Patrick Mulligan and dubbed itself Toxin.

Both Carnage and Venom wished to destroy it -- Carnage because he could not stand the very idea of its existence and Venom because he feared how powerful and possibly deranged Toxin might be. However, Mulligan proved mentally strong enough to rein in the symbiote’s dark impulses while putting its power to good use. As a result, Spider-Man interceded and gave Toxin the victory over its “father” and “grandfather.”

 

Antithesis

Venom vs Anti-Venom

After giving up the symbiote, Eddie Brock attempted to live a “normal” and charitable life.

Meanwhile, Mac Gargan -- perhaps best known as Scorpion -- had joined with the symbiote to become the new Venom. Their paths would eventually cross and the symbiote tried to abandon Gargan for his longtime host.

Instead, Mr. Negative’s erasure of Brock’s cancer created a reaction when it met the symbiote and created Anti-Venom. The new color-inverted symbiote burned Venom purely by touch, sending Gargan running.

 

Five Combined Still Died

Venom vs Hybrid

Eddie Brock became more actively aggressive in taking down symbiotes after being cured of his cancer by Mr. Negative and split from Anti-Venom. He began his mission in Washington, DC pursuing Hybrid. Hybrid had resulted from the above mentioned quintet of “seed” symbiotes combining into a single entity and bonding with Scott Washington.

The former Guardsman and the symbiote decided to use their abilities to be a hero in our nation’s capital. By all accounts, they succeeded with the symbiote actually curtailing Washington’s desire for shocking violence instead of vice versa.

All of this proved uninteresting to Brock, however, who successfully split man from alien and executed a Washington who had been too confused by the betrayal to adequately defend himself.

 

Swapped Roles

Venom vs. Agent Venom

Alas, Mulligan’s heroics proved short-lived as the demonic Blackheart eventually killed the former officer to gain control of the symbiote for himself. In time, Crime Master is able to steal a bit of alien away from Blackheart. Then, he turned around and forced Eddie Brock to join with it so as to use him as a tool to further his criminalistics enterprises in VENOM #17 (Volume 2).

Brock somewhat cooperated, attempting to use the bond with Toxin to further his mission to destroy all symbiotes. Brock pursued Agent Venom -- Flash Thompson -- to realize that goal. A discovery of a group attempted to grow and harvest symbiotes for slave labor, however, interrupted their drag-out battle. In the end, the fight perhaps can be best described as a draw as the duo chose to team up against the bigger threat and Brock abandoned his mission to kill the Venom symbiote.

 

VENOM #6, written by Donny Cates with art by Ryan Stegman, is on sale now online and at your local comic shop!