Through the years, there’ve been many who held the mantle of Venom, but Eddie Brock has long remained the fan favorite. A counterpoint to Peter’s innocence, naïveté, and strong moral compass, Brock’s Venom is the notorious antagonist that Spidey fans love to hate. With the summer event Venomverse, Brock is back in black (and white!) thanks to writer Cullen Bunn and editor Devin Lewis in what they call “the biggest Venom story of all time!”
Returning Eddie Brock to the center of the Marvel Universe has been an exciting prospect for Cullen Bunn, one of today’s most prolific writers at the House of Ideas. It’s a chance to prove why Eddie is still the best fit for the symbiote suit in this action-packed summer event. “If Spider-Verse was Saving Private Ryan,” said Devin Lewis, referencing Dan Slott’s team-up book, which featured a collection of alternate universe Spideys, “then Venomverse is Die Hard.”
Though he may have been symbiote-less, Eddie Brock has been back in the vicinity of Venom for a while now. A recurring character in 2012’s Venom: The Savage Six storyline, which starred Flash Thompson as the titular terror, he returned in 2015’s Carnage, a blood-soaked cross country road trip starring Marvel’s second symbiotic psychopath. With the end of Venom: Space Knight, the editorial team saw an exciting moment to bring Venom back down to earth. Literally. “There was an opportunity we saw, not only to put Venom back on Earth, but also to re-centralize him as a Spider-Man villain,” explained Devin Lewis.
As our exclusive artwork by Clayton Crain shows (click the image to see a larger version), the character roster for this miniseries is a deep dive into all things Venom. The epic image will actually make up five interlocking covers featuring venomized versions of beloved characters both new and old, from fresh additions like Laura Kinney’s All-New Wolverine to deep cut classics like the Venomsaurus Rex from Old Man Logan. Venomverse is throwing fans headfirst into a whole world of symbiote-suited superheroes, led by none other than Eddie Brock himself.
With a huge cast of characters and a figure as notorious as Venom smack bang in the middle, a lot of thought went into exactly who would be bonding with the infamous alien parasites. “Part of picking this cast was definitely thinking about who readers would be most excited to see,” said Cullen Bunn, “but another part of it–something that I’ve always found important–is how the Venom symbiote interacts with other hosts. What’s really exciting is that we get to see this with characters you’d never expect, like Black Panther, Mary Jane, and Old Man Logan.”
When your protagonist is an anti-hero with a powerset that makes him almost invincible, you have create some pretty atrocious antagonists. With the Poisons, Marvel has gone full dark, no stars. Devin Lewis explained that “the Poisons will present a unique challenge for these Venoms, who’re some of the strongest and most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. They’re nature’s answer to the symbiotes.” A completely new addition to Marvel canon and based on character designs by Ed McGuinness, the Poisons are set to be an integral part of Venomverse, one that could have a potentially harrowing impact on the symbiote super team.
What can fans expect from Venomverse? “There are definitely some horrific moments in this series, not just the gross-out or the jump scare. I think there’s some real emotional horror aspects to this story. The threat they’re dealing with has some pretty strong horror chops,” elaborated Bunn. He’s no stranger to horror comics, with his popular Southern Gothic witch comic, Harrow County, and his new book, Regression. Bunn plans to return Eddie Brock to his horror roots whilst also exploring the sci-fi origin of the symbiote itself. “For me, just because we’re dealing with the symbiotes in general, there’s a heavy science fiction element to this story,” Bunn explained. “It’s heavily rooted in some sci-fi horror inspiration.”
Though Venomverse will have its darker influences, the inclusion of characters like the Venom from Spider-Ham’s universe, Pork Grind, and everyone’s favorite wisecracking Merc With a Mouth, Deadpool, hint that the event will also be one that’s fun. It harkens back to the ’90s era of extreme comics, placing these classic characters on one wild ride. “Cullen has done an incredible job of lacing every script with fun, bombastic energy. Deadpool is one of our main venomized protagonists. He’s got so much heart and he’s also a source of unpredictability, insanity, and goofiness,” said Lewis.
The story will put a number of unexpected characters into symbiote suits, including Guardians of the Galaxy’s very own Rocket Raccoon and the Spirit of Vengeance himself, Ghost Rider. “I think Ghost Rider is a great representation of where this series can go,” said Bunn. “I don’t know that anyone would ever expect to see Ghost Rider in a symbiote suit, so I think he’s the perfect example of how this series will go into some real unexpected territory.”
The main Venomverse book is a complete story but there’s also Edge of Venomverse, which will see more of Marvel’s most famous characters getting venomized. With a roster of exciting creators including Si Spurrier, Tigh Walker, Clay McLeod Chapman, James Stokoe, and Ryan Key of Yellowcard, Edge of Venomverse tie-ins are bound to get fans pumped. Alongside the release of Venomverse #1, there’ll also be an anthology comic called Venomverse: War Stories, including a venomized Punisher issue written and drawn by Declan Shalvey.
The creative team believes this is a story bigger than just Brock’s past. “Eddie’s not a hero, but he is the Venom that’s most needed at this moment. This story will show why he’s the best Venom that there is,” Bunn said. With an event book, it’s easy to imagine that it’ll all be about the action. But Devin Lewis assured us that Venomverse is so much more. “The story that Cullen’s managed to craft here is absolutely terrific. As much as it’s about the symbiotes and the Poisons, it’s also about identity and trust. Cullen’s managed to make this an epic story in scope and an intimate story in regards to character.”
Venomverse #1 hits stores the first week of September, but you can pick up Edge of Venomverse #1 in your local comic shop on June 28th. It’s clear that for Bunn and Lewis, this is one of the most exciting books they’ve ever worked on. “To be involved in something so epic in scale, it’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have passed up in a million years,” Bunn said. Lewis implored that “Venomverse really is one of the most rewarding stories I’ve ever read as a Venom fan.”
So will you be adding Venomverse to your pull list? Are you excited to see Eddie back in the symbiote suit? Swing into the comments and let us know.
Images: Marvel Comics