Any career can lead to complicated partnerships and the supervillain game proves no exception. Take Venom for example. The Klyntar alien symbiote spent so much time with Spider-Man that, when the two split up—because the creature took Peter Parker on a few patrols while the hero slept—the ditched being felt more than slighted.
Since then, the Venom symbiote has bonded with a variety of characters, many of whom failed to control the creature’s more nefarious nature. With Lee Price becoming the latest cohort in the pages of VENOM by Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval, it’s the right time to look back at some of those less-than-successful partnerships!
Hey, remember that time Deadpool snuck behind the scenes of Secret Wars, tried on what would be known as the Venom symbiote first and then had another run-in with it on Earth? Well, it’s true and can be seen in in the pages of DEADPOOL: BACK IN BLACK. In fact, some say that the reason for the symbiote’s instability could be because of Deadpool’s maddening influence over the creature.
More readers will remember Peter Parker donning the black costume in 1984 between appearances in his own books and the seminal SECRET WARS #8. Instead of just changing looks, though, he soon realized that the black costume actually exhibited a hostile nature that seeped into his own consciousness. They eventually split, leading to an intense resentment from the suit towards its former companion.
In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #299, Eddie Brock revealed himself as Venom, kicking off the symbiote’s longest relationship to date. These two stayed together through a variety of Spider-Man stories plus plenty of limited series in the 90’s. In the next few decades the Brock-Venom combo accidentally created Carnage and played hero from time to time until, disillusioned with one another, Brock sold his longtime partner to Don Fortunato.
The shy, weak and bullied son of Mafioso big wig Don Fortunato, Angelo decided to bond with the symbiote that his pops just paid $100 million for in the pages of MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #7. Ultimately, this coupling didn’t work out when, disgusted by Angelo’s fears, Venom released his new partner while between buildings, letting the young man plummet to his death.
In MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #9, the symbiote presented itself to Mac Gargan, also known as The Scorpion. As Venom, Gargan joined up with the Thunderbolts for a time under the watchful eye of leader Norman Osborn. Thanks to a chemical provided by Osborn, Gargan even took on a more humanoid look, to become the Dark Avengers’ Spider-Man during Dark Reign. However, he didn’t escape the Siege on Asgard and had the symbiote removed while in prison.
With Venom removed from Gargan, it gave the government the opportunity to merge it with Flash Thompson, creating a super-soldier in the process. They also built in safety precautions like a 48-hour time limit and a kill switch if the alien took too much control. Agent Venom joined teams like the Secret Avengers, Red Hulk’s Thunderbolts, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and even the Space Knights. A trip to the symbiote home planet healed Venom and restored some mental stability, but the two split after returning to Earth for Civil War II, in a tale yet to be told!
Separated from Flash, the symbiote wandered looking for a new host in VENOM #1. He latched on to a homeless man who stumbled into a botched deal involving former Army Ranger Lee Price. The creature joined with Price and tried to convince him they could be heroes, but the man’s darker nature took over, negatively influencing Venom anew.
One of the sadder Venom hosts has to be Ann Weying, Eddie Brock’s ex-wife. In VENOM: SINNER TAKES ALL the symbiote bonded with her to save her life after Sin-Eater shot her. Once combined, they killed a group of people which sickened Ann. Brock sent the symbiote to do the same thing in the pages of VENOM: ALONG CAME A SPIDER. Later, in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19, Ann kills herself after seeing Spider-Man swinging around in a black costume. Another woman, Patricia Robertson, became known as She-Venom for a time, but that came as the result of her interactions with a Venom clone.
The continued evolution of the Lee Price-symbiote relationship will be chronicled by Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval in VENOM #3 on February 22!