Eddie Brock

Edward Charles Allan Brock is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, and his earliest appearance was a cameo in Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986),[4] before making his first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)[1] as the original and most well-known host of the Venom symbiote. The character has since appeared in many Marvel Comics publications, including his own series Venom. Introduced as a villain of the superhero Spider-Man, the character has been featured as one of his most recurring foes, earning him a position as one of Spider-Man's archenemies, with many regarding him as a dark reflection of Spider-Man. He later became an anti-hero, working both with and against superheroes.

Eddie Brock
EddieBrock.jpg
Eddie Brock as Venom in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988). Art by Todd McFarlane.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceHand that pushes Peter Parker onto train tracks:
Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986)
As Eddie Brock:
The Amazing Spider-Man #298 (March 1988)
As Venom:
(cameo appearance)
The Amazing Spider-Man #299 (April 1988)
(full appearance)
The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)[1]
As Anti-Venom:
The Amazing Spider-Man #569 (October 2008)
As Toxin:
Venom #17 (May 2012)
As Sleeper:
Venom First Host #3 (August 2018)
Created byDavid Michelinie
Todd McFarlane
In-story information
Full nameEdward Charles Allan Brock
Place of originNew York City
Team affiliationsSinister Six
Revengers[2]
Savage Six
Symbiote Task Force
FBI
Venom-Army
X-Men Blue [3]
Savage Avengers
PartnershipsSpider-Man
Vengeance
Notable aliasesVenom, Anti-Venom, Toxin, Sleeper
AbilitiesAlien symbiote grants:
  • Superhuman strength, speed, agility, and durability
  • Ability to cling to most surfaces
  • Organic webbing
  • Limited shapeshifting and camouflage
  • Symbiote's autonomous defense capabilities
  • Undetectable by Spider-Man's "Spider-sense"

In the original version of the story, Eddie Brock is a journalist who publicly exposes the identity of a man he believes is a serial killer, only to find his reputation ruined when Spider-Man captures the real killer. Disgraced and suicidal, he comes into contact with an alien symbiote, rejected by Peter Parker. The Symbiote bonds with him and they become Venom, together seeking out revenge against their mutual enemy. Though he repeatedly comes into conflict with Spider-Man, he also attempts to operate as a hero, albeit a violent one, seeking to save those he deems "innocent" and avoid any collateral damage in his clashes with Spider-Man. In 2008, after being separated from the Venom Symbiote, he serves as an anti-hero as host of the Anti-Venom symbiote which is sacrificed to help cure the "Spider-Island" epidemic during the 2011 storyline. In 2012, he was bonded to the Toxin symbiote. Though he is a human with no powers, the Venom Symbiote suit bestows upon him a range of abilities including many of Spider-Man's powers.

Debuting in the Modern Age of Comic Books, the character has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated television series; video games; merchandise such as action figures, and trading cards; and feature films in which he was played by Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3 (2007) and by Tom Hardy in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters films Venom (2018) and the upcoming Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021). The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom was rated 33rd on Empire's 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters,[5] and was the 22nd Greatest Villain on IGN's 100 Greatest Comic Villains of All Time.[6] Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares".[7]

Publication historyEdit

Creation and conceptionEdit

Writer David Michelinie and artist Todd McFarlane are generally credited with the character's creation, based on a number of plot ideas and concepts from various other creators. The question of who created the character of Venom became an issue of contention in 1993 when Michelinie wrote to the comic book industry magazine Wizard, which had referred to Michelinie in issue #17 as "co-creator" of Venom. In his letter, printed in issue #21 (May 1993), Michelinie wrote that he was the character's sole creator, while acknowledging that without McFarlane the character would not have attained the popularity it did.[8]

Writer Peter David corroborated Michelinie's view in his "But I Digress" column in the June 4, 1993 Comics Buyer's Guide, in which he stated that Michelinie discussed the ideas behind the character with him at the time of its creation. At that time, David was the writer on The Spectacular Spider-Man and wrote the "Sin Eater" storyline from which Eddie Brock's backstory would be derived, well before McFarlane was assigned to the art duties on Amazing. Because the artist who illustrates a character's first published appearance is generally credited as its co-creator (especially if that artist is the one who designs the character's visual appearance),[9] Venom represents a complex situation, because the costume from which Venom's appearance is derived was not designed by McFarlane.[10]

Erik Larsen responded to Michelinie's letter with one of his own that was printed in Wizard #23 (July 1993), in which he dismissed Michelinie's contributions to the character, arguing that Michelinie merely "swiped" the preexisting symbiote and its powers to place it on a character whose motivations were poorly conceived, one-dimensional, unbelievable, and clichéd. Larsen also argued that it was McFarlane's rendition of the character that made it commercial.[11]

The preexisting elements that dealt with the symbiote costume itself—to which Michelinie did not contribute—have also been noted. The original idea of a new costume for Spider-Man that would later become the character Venom was conceived of by a Marvel Comics reader from Norridge, Illinois named Randy Schueller.[12] Marvel purchased the idea for $220.00 after the editor-in-chief at the time, Jim Shooter, sent Schueller a letter acknowledging Marvel's desire to acquire the idea from him, in 1982. Schueller's design was then modified by Mike Zeck, becoming the Symbiote costume.[13] For example, Shooter came up with the idea of switching Spider-Man to a black-and-white costume, possibly influenced by the intended costume design for the new Spider-Woman, with artists Mike Zeck and Rick Leonardi, as well as others, designing the black-and-white costume.[10]

Writer/artist John Byrne asserts on his website that the idea for a costume made of self-healing biological material was one he originated when he was the artist on Iron Fist to explain how that character's costume was constantly being torn and then apparently repaired by the next issue, explaining that he ended up not using the idea on that title, but that Roger Stern later asked him if he could use the idea for Spider-Man's alien costume. Stern in turn plotted the issue in which the costume first appeared but then left the title. It was writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz who had established that the costume was a sentient alien being, and that it was vulnerable to high sonic energy during their run on The Amazing Spider-Man that preceded Michelinie's.[14] Regardless, Peter David's position is that Michelinie is the sole creator, since the idea of creating a separate character using the alien symbiote was Michelinie's, as was Eddie Brock's backstory, and that without the idea to create such a character, the character would not have existed.[10]

In an interview with Tom DeFalco, McFarlane states that Michelinie did indeed come up with the idea of Venom and the character's basic design ("a big guy in the black costume"). However, he contends that it was he (McFarlane) who gave Venom his monster-like features. He claims; "I just wanted to make him kooky and creepy, and not just some guy in a black suit".[15]

This dispute arose at a time when the merits of artists as collaborators and writers were being debated in the industry, a discussion prompted by the popularity of artists such as McFarlane, Larsen, and other founders of Image Comics.[16][17]

Venom's existence was first indicated in Web of Spider-Man #18 (Sept. 1986), when he shoves Peter Parker in front of a subway train without Parker's spider-sense warning him, though only Brock's hand is seen on-panel. The next indication of Venom's existence was in Web of Spider-Man #24 (March 1987), when Parker has climbed out of a high story window to change into Spider-Man, but finds a black arm coming through the window and grabbing him, again without being warned by his spider-sense.

The character would remain unseen and inactive until Amazing Spider-Man editor Jim Salicrup required a villain for that book's 300th issue, and Michelinie suggested a villain consisting of the alien symbiote grafted onto the body of a human female; seeking revenge for the deaths of her husband and miscarried baby who would accidentally die as the unfortunate result of Spider-man battling another supervillain. Due to cultural sensibilities at the time and issues with the character's back story potentially angering the moral majority, Salicrup forced Michelinie to create a male character instead. Michelinie then devised the Eddie Brock identity. Michelinie contends that the plots for issues #298–299, as well as the visual descriptions of the character, were written and bought by Salicrup before McFarlane was ever assigned to the book.[18] In a 2014 interview with the YouTube channel ComicPop, Michelinie said he was disappointed that the female character arc was never explored, but felt that changing the character to male ultimately had minimal effect on his vision for the character. In the same interview, Michelinie remarked that he was largely happy with the treatment Eddie Brock had received by successive Marvel writers.[18]

Fictional character biographyEdit

BackstoryEdit

The 1993 limited series Venom: Lethal Protector describes Brock's history before bonding with the symbiote. As a child, Edward Charles Allan Brock[19] is raised in a Roman Catholic household in San Francisco. Eddie's mother dies from complications during his birth and as a result his father Carl Brock is cold and unaffectionate towards him. Eddie excels in academics and sports in an attempt to earn his father's approval but does not succeed. In college, Brock switches his major to journalism after reading an article on the Watergate scandal. At one point, after he getting drunk, he accidentally hit and killed a child with Carl's car. Eddie wanted to get what he deserved, but his father did not let him to go to prison much to Eddie's dismay.[20] After graduating, he moves to New York City and obtains a job as a journalist for the Daily Globe. Though he proves himself to be a highly talented journalist, his father still only treats him with indifference.[21]

As a reporter, Brock investigates the serial killer Sin-Eater and is contacted by Emil Gregg, who claims to be the killer.[22] Pressured by the authorities to reveal the killer's identity, Brock writes an exposé announcing Gregg as the Sin-Eater. However, the real Sin-Eater is caught by Spider-Man and Brock is revealed to have been interviewing a compulsive confessor. Brock is fired from his job in disgrace and divorced from his wife. Unable to find reputable work, he is forced to work for tabloid magazines[22] and his father ceases communication with him entirely.[21] Brock becomes obsessed with gaining revenge against Spider-Man, blaming him for catching the real Sin-Eater. Brock takes up bodybuilding to reduce stress but his anger and depression remain.[22] Meanwhile, Spider-Man uses the sound of bells at a church to remove his symbiote costume after realizing it is attempting to permanently bond with him.[23] His professional and personal life shattered, Brock contemplates suicide and goes to the same church, where he prays to God for forgiveness.[22] The Symbiote, having waited in the rafters of the church since leaving Spider-Man, senses Brock[24] and bonds with him, granting him powers equal and greater to those of Spider-Man, and imparting knowledge of Spider-Man's secret identity.[22]

VenomEdit

Venom begins a campaign of torment against Peter, who is still unaware of his existence. He first pushes Peter in front of a moving subway without activating his spider-sense,[25] and later terrorizes Spider-Man's wife Mary Jane.[26] Venom baits Spider-Man to his apartment for their first confrontation, where Venom reveals his true identity to Spider-Man, claiming "You may call me Venom, for that's what I'm paid to spew out these days!" Spider-Man discovers that the Symbiote has completely bonded with Brock and cannot be killed without also killing Brock. Eventually Venom is tricked into weakening himself by expending too much webbing until the suit lacks enough material to produce more.[22] Venom is incarcerated in the Vault, from which he makes repeated escapes and escape attempts, only to suffer defeats and returns to the Vault.[27][28][29]

Brock eventually fakes suicide and escapes after being taken to the morgue.[30] During a battle with Spider-Man, the Symbiote is seemingly killed by the plague-inducing villain Styx, giving its life to protect Brock. Brock is incarcerated and Spider-Man disposes of the Symbiote's remains.[31] The Symbiote survives by entering a comatose state to fight off the illness[32] and it returns to Brock, enabling him to again escape from jail. During the escape, the symbiote asexually reproduces and leaves behind its spawn.[33] The offspring quickly bonds to Brock's cell mate, Cletus Kasady, creating Carnage.[33][34] Venom abducts Spider-Man and transports him to a remote island to do battle. Spider-Man fakes his own death to convince Venom that his vendetta is over. Venom, content with the outcome, resigns himself to life on the island.[35] Spider-Man eventually faces Carnage but is unable to defeat him. Spider-Man is forced to ask Venom for help, promising him freedom in exchange.[36] However, after they defeat Carnage, Spider-Man betrays Venom (who had also resumed his plan of revenge and tried to throttle the arachnoid hero to death) by summoning the Fantastic Four and sending him back to prison.[37]

Anti-heroEdit

After seeing a photo of Spider-Man's recently returned parents, Brock escapes from prison,[38] and kidnaps them.[39] During the resulting fight, Brock's ex-wife Anne Weying is nearly crushed under a falling ferris wheel, but Spider-Man saves her. Seeing this act, Venom makes peace with Spider-Man.[40] In Venom: Lethal Protector (1993), Venom moves to San Francisco and acts as the protector of an underground society of homeless people.[24] He is later taken prisoner by the Life Foundation who harvest the last five spawn within the symbiote to create super-powered policemen and Brock is forcibly separated from the symbiote.[41] With Spider-Man's help, Brock is reunited with the symbiote and they seemingly destroy his spawn, Phage, Lasher, Riot, Scream and Agony, before escaping.[42] After saving the homeless people, Venom is accepted into their society and remains their protector.[43]

In the 1993 crossover Maximum Carnage, Carnage reemerges and begins a massacre in New York City, and Brock returns to help, feeling responsible. Venom finds he is no match for Carnage, and seeks help from Spider-Man, but Spider-Man refuses to work with Venom's violent methods.[44] Venom, accompanied by Black Cat, Cloak, Morbius and eventually a desperate Spider-Man,[45] repeatedly confront Carnage and his allies.[46][47][48][49] Venom ultimately tackles Carnage into high-voltage generators, rendering Carnage unconscious and allowing his capture by the Avengers. Brock goes into hiding.[50]

Brock returns in the 1994 limited series Separation Anxiety, in which he is captured and separated from the symbiote for a government research project. Venom's spawn: Phage, Lasher, Scream, Riot, and Agony are revealed to still be alive and arrive to free Brock,[51] seeking his help to gain control over their symbiotes.[52][53] Brock is ultimately reunited with the symbiote, but the experience forces him to evaluate his relationship with the costume.[54] The 1995 "Planet of the Symbiotes" event continued the narrative from Separation Anxiety, with Brock forcing the symbiote to leave him, concerned about how much influence it may be having on him.[19] The symbiote unleashes a telepathic scream of sorrow and pain that attracts the other members of its species to Earth.[19] The story follows the efforts of Brock, Spider-Man, and Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) to stop the invasion and defeat an escaped and empowered Carnage.[55][56][57] Brock is forced to bond completely and irrevocably with the symbiote in order to inflict psychic trauma on the symbiotes, causing them to commit suicide.[58]

Return to villainyEdit

When Anne is shot by a new Sin-Eater, Brock forces the Symbiote to bond with her to heal her injuries.[59] In the process she temporarily becomes She-Venom but Brock demands the Symbiote return after Ann loses control and kills a pair of muggers, leaving Ann traumatized.[60] Brock helps kill the new Sin-Eater.[61] Ann is taken into custody by the police as they try to hunt Venom and Brock sends her his Symbiote so she can escape.[62][63] As She-Venom she again struggles to control herself, with Brock, Weying and current Spider-Man Ben Reilly becoming caught in the middle of a joint DEA/FBI operation against a major drug smuggler when Weying and Brock rendezvous at the same location where the drug group are meeting.[64] When Brock takes back the Symbiote, Anne tells him to keep himself and the Symbiote away from her after witnessing his brutality against the criminals.[65]

Brock is captured in his sewer hideout and put on trial, with Matt Murdock acting in his defense, his symbiote held in check by a chemical inhibitor.[66] Cletus Kassady is called as a witness, but when the case becomes heated both Kassady and Brock overcome their inhibitors.[67] Venom, Spider-Man, and Daredevil team up and subdue Carnage. However, before the trial can continue Venom is unexpectedly taken into custody by a secret government organization offering him amnesty in exchange for him becoming their agent.[68] Though Venom at first enjoyed his newfound immunities, he left after being abandoned during a dangerous mission.[69] After receiving a head wound, Eddie suffers amnesia. He is later separated from the symbiote, which is presumed killed by the government Overreach Committee.[70]

The symbiote survives and tracks down the amnesiac Brock, turning him into Venom again. Venom infiltrates Ravencroft prison seeking Carnage and absorbs the Carnage Symbiote.[71] Brock temporarily joins the Sinister Six to get Spider-Man but after being betrayed by them,[72] he begins hunting down the members for revenge. He ultimately cripples Sandman by biting him and taking out a chunk of his mass, leading to Sandman's apparent death.[73] He also causes serious wounds to Electro and Kraven the Hunter.[volume & issue needed]

Venom's rivalry with Spider-Man is renewed when Ann, who lives in fear since bonding with the Symbiote, commits suicide after seeing Brock become Venom. Venom however, believes Spider-Man swinging by Ann's window in his black costume to be the cause.[74] Before he can take revenge however, the Symbiote is forcefully removed from him by the human/alien hybrid Senator Ward to learn more about symbiosis.[75] An alien race, secretly operating within the United States government, clones the Venom symbiote. Venom absorbs the clone, gains its knowledge, and decides to carry out the aliens' orders.[76]

Cancer and post-VenomEdit

 
Eddie Brock, separated from the symbiote, dying from cancer in Sensational Spider-Man vol. 2 #39 (August 2007).

The 2003 story "The Hunger" introduced new elements to Brock's origin, revealing that Brock had cancer before joining with the symbiote, and that it chose to bond with Brock not only for his hatred towards Spider-Man, but also because the cancer causes the release of adrenaline, which feeds the symbiote. Brock is left reliant on the suit to live, and pursues Spider-Man out of fear that he will take the symbiote back, rather than for revenge over his lost career.[77] Brock dies after the symbiote leaves him for Spider-Man, not wanting a diseased host. Spider-Man tricks the symbiote into again bonding with Brock, reviving him.[77]

When Carnage gives birth to a new symbiote, Venom names it Toxin and hopes to turn it into an ally.[78] When Toxin shows compassion, Venom tries to kill him.[79] Toxin is rescued by Spider-Man and Black Cat.[80]

In the 2004 story "Venomous", Brock experiences a crisis of faith and decides to sell the symbiote, knowing he will rapidly die from his cancer without it, intending to donate the $100 million received from the sale to charity on the grounds that the symbiote would find another host once he dies anyway.[81] The symbiote is purchased by crime boss Don Fortunato for his son Angelo Fortunato.[82] Angelo briefly becomes the second Venom but proves an unworthy host, and the symbiote abandons him mid-jump allowing him to fall to his death. Upon learning of Angelo's death, Brock feels responsible and attempts suicide by slitting his wrists.[83] Brock next appeared in the 2007 story "The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock", where he is rapidly succumbing to cancer, and experiencing hallucinations of "Venom". Finding a comatose Aunt May in the same hospital, dying from a gunshot, the Venom hallucination persuades him to kill her. Brock, dressed in a novelty replica of Spider-Man's black costume at the demand of "Venom",[84] murders a nurse to test if he can still kill, but ultimately refuses to kill May because she is innocent. When Peter visits May, he finds Eddie, who has repeatedly cut his own wrists to get rid of "Venom". Eddie asks for Peter's forgiveness before jumping out of a window, but Peter manages to catch him. Awakening chained to his bed, Brock finds he can still see "Venom" but tells him that he accepts its presence as long as it knows that Brock is in control.[85]

Anti-VenomEdit

 
Eddie Brock's first appearance as Anti-Venom

The 2008 story New Ways to Die features the return of Brock. Matt Murdock convinces a court of law that Brock is not responsible for his actions while bonded to the symbiote and has criminal charges against him dropped.[86] Brock gets a job at a soup kitchen under Martin Li. Brock is unknowingly cured of his cancer by Li, who possesses special abilities, and Brock believes it to be a miracle.[86] After Brock is attacked by the new Venom, Mac Gargan, the symbiote attempts to reunite with Brock. Brock's skin becomes caustic to the symbiote, and he is enveloped in a new white symbiote forged from the remnants of the Venom symbiote in his body bonding with his white blood cells charged with Li's healing energy,[86] becoming Anti-Venom. Brock defeats Gargan and nearly kills the Venom symbiote. When Brock detects remnants of the symbiote inside Spider-Man, he attempts to "cure" him, draining radiation from his body and nearly de-powering him.[87] While later saving Spider-Man from Norman Osborn, Brock again fights a battle-suit enhanced Gargan and the recovering symbiote.[88][89] Gargan hits Anti-Venom with his stinger, injecting a poisonous formula that seemingly destroys Brock's suit. When Gargan attempts to kill Brock, the Venom symbiote stops him. Brock's Anti-Venom suit later reforms.[89]

Brock later faces the villain Mister Negative and discovers that he and Li are the same person. Learning that the man he idolized is a supervillain causes a breakdown for Brock, making him question his faith, referring to himself as a monster.[90] After this revelation he becomes increasingly unstable mentally, murdering small-time criminals as he did during his "lethal protector" days. He briefly and reluctantly teams up with the Punisher to stop a drug cartel that kidnapped a friend of Brock's.[91] In "The Return of Anti-Venom" (2011), Brock is unable to expose Negative's true identity, believing no one will trust him. Anti-Venom starts a crusade against Negative, attacking his criminal operations.[92] When Anti-Venom realizes that May Parker also knows Negative's identity, he decides to attack Negative directly before Negative can silence her.[92] Brock teams up with Spider-Man and the new Wraith to fight Negative. Wraith uses her technology to publicly reveal Mister Negative is Martin Li, sending him into hiding. Spider-Man and Anti-Venom call a truce to their rivalry.[93]

In a 2011 New Avengers storyline, Brock joins Wonder Man's Revengers to destroy the New Avengers.[94] During the 2011 "Spider-Island" storyline in which 99% of New York City's population are transformed into mind-controlled spiders, Brock is forced to sacrifice the symbiote—and being Anti-Venom—so that it can be converted into a powerful curative capable of healing the infected millions.[95][96][97]

Bonded to ToxinEdit

A powerless Brock returns in Venom vol. 2 #15 (2012), where he kills the symbiotes Hybrid and Scream as part of a crusade to destroy the aliens entirely, believing them to be evil.[98] After failing to kill the newest Venom, Brock is captured by the villain Crime Master and forcibly bonded with the Toxin symbiote.[99] Brock (who is being controlled by the Toxin symbiote) then tracks down Venom and attempts to kill him, but is defeated.[100] Eddie and Agent Venom face off once more at Crime Master's HQ, and Flash is able to subdue Toxin and separate Eddie from the symbiote using a flamethrower. Just before Flash can get Eddie out, the Toxin symbiote grabs hold of him and drags him into the flames.[101] Eddie and the Toxin symbiote both survive the flames and track Flash to Philadelphia.[102] Now in control of the Toxin symbiote, he confronts Flash in the high school where he works as a gym teacher.[103] After helping Flash defend the students from a group of cybernetic parasites, Eddie forms a truce with him, promising to leave Flash alone as long as he has the Venom symbiote under control (similar to the truce he had with Spider-Man). Eddie subsequently leaves Philadelphia to resume his vigilante activities.[104]

While fighting a drug cartel, Brock is approached by FBI agent Claire Dixon and invited to join the team she has assembled in order to hunt down and capture Cletus Kasady, which also includes John Jameson, and Manuela Calderon, a survivor of one of Kasady's massacres, although Brock secretly plans to kill Kasady.[105] After Kasady's defeat, Brock gives up the Toxin symbiote.[106]

Return as VenomEdit

Eddie Brock decides to help the FBI against the new villainous Venom. With the FBI and Spider-Man, Brock is able to separate the symbiote from its new host, Lee Price. In the process, Spider-Man's actions cause the symbiote to rekindle its previous hatred for him. Brock then breaks the symbiote out of custody and bonds with it again.[107] After stopping a robbery, Brock encounters Scorpion and manages to defeat him, until the symbiote takes him to a church and reveals that it attacked the priest. After finding out about a monster attack, Brock encounters a dinosaur at the church and discovers it belongs to Alchemax. While talking to Alchemax's CEO Liz Allan, he learns that the mastermind is Stegron the Dinosaur Man. Brock then finds his lair, but is spotted and captured by Stegron's dinosaurs.[108] Venom found that remnants of Stegron's Dinosaur People experiments were living in the sewers, and he had to defend them from Kraven the Hunter, Shriek, and the NYPD. With help from Tana of the Dinosaur People, Venom states to the NYPD that the Dinosaur People were surviving in the sewers and that they were not killing anyone. Upon hearing this, the NYPD arrest Kraven the Hunter and Shriek with the police captain stating that he will have a lot of paperwork to file on this.[109]

During the Venom Inc. storyline, Eddie helps Spider-Man, Black Cat, and Flash Thompson (now under the guise of Agent Anti-Venom) take down Lee Price again, who had bonded himself with Venom's clone Mania and was using it to take over the New York criminal underground. Eddie then tells Black Cat to give up her criminal empire, telling her that New York City always needs more heroes.[110][111]

In the "Go Down Swinging" storyline, Eddie is blackmailed by J. Jonah Jameson into helping defend Spider-Man's inner circle against Norman Osborn, who has bonded himself with the Carnage symbiote to become the Red Goblin. Jameson sends Eddie to defend Mary Jane Watson at the Stark Tower Complex and while she does not trust him, Mary Jane disables Stark Tower's anti symbiote defenses to allow Eddie to fight Norman. Spider-Man arrives and teams up again with Eddie to stop Red Goblin, but the villain overpowers them both. With nothing left to offer in the fight against Osborn and Carnage, Eddie allows Peter to take the Venom symbiote for himself to even the odds against his foe. Because of his offering and valiant defense of Mary Jane, Spider-Man forgives Eddie for everything he had done to him in the past.[112]

In Venom First Host, Venom after gave birth to its last offspring, Eddie gets attacked by a Warbride Skrull until a Kree intervened and started battling the Skrull. Eddie got convinced by the symbiote to save the "blue skin", so he stopped the Skrull and saved the Kree. At Alchemax, the Kree revealed to Eddie that his name is Tel-Kar and that he was Venom's first host. When the symbiote refused to go back to Tel-Kar, infuriated Tel-Kar threatened them that he would bond to the offspring and transform it into a monster, if he did not get "his" symbiote back. Venom who loved its child got back with Tel-Kar and then he went to his spaceship. Then Eddie confronted the Skrull who had attacked them and she introduced herself as M'Lanz and tells him that she was tasked to stop Tel-Kar. She reveals to Eddie that Tel-Kar's body was biologically altered so he would have full control over Venom's mind. Then the offspring bonded to Eddie calling itself Sleeper and him with M'Lanz went after Tel-Kar. They went to a Skrull research lab which contained a deadly bioweapon that Tel-Kar had planned to use on the Skrulls. When battling Tel-Kar, he separates himself from Venom because he did not need it anymore allowing Eddie to re-bond with Venom and Sleeper bonding to M'Lanz leaving Tel-Kar to explode with the lab by the Kree Empire. After M'Lanz leaves Eddie with the symbiotes on Earth, Eddie cuts every connection to Alchemax and after that him and Harry Osborn talk for a little bit. Then Tel-Kar shows up in Eddie's apartment and threatens to kill him and the humanity using the bioweapon but Sleeper steals the weapon and Tel-Kar tried to kill Sleeper, but Venom intervened and got injured. Eddie rushes to Tel-Kar throwing both of them out in the street. Suddenly Sleeper bonds to Tel-Kar lobotomizing him as a punishment for what he did to them. Then Sleeper with Tel-Kar's body bids Eddie farewell and leaves Earth to explore the cosmos.[113]

In the Venom ongoing series, Eddie is seen struggling with the symbiote, which has returned to its violent ways. Using anti-depressants, Eddie is able to calm the symbiote and reassert control over it. While working as a freelance photographer he stumbles upon an arms deal between a gang of criminals and the mercenary Jack O'Lantern. The deal turns violent and Eddie uses the symbiote to take down Jack. The symbiote then completely overtakes Eddie, compelled by a mysterious external influence, nearly killing Jack in the process before being subdued and captured by a man named Rex Strickland. Strickland tells Eddie that despite what was previously thought, the Venom symbiote was not the first to arrive on Earth. Strickland explains that the US Government bonded special forces operatives to symbiotes during the Vietnam War. These soldiers later went rogue, and Eddie is tasked with rescuing them and defeating their symbiotes. Though Eddie is able to locate Strickland's men, his symbiote is again taken over by the mysterious outside influence and briefly separates from him. The symbiote again bonds with Eddie and tells him that “God is coming”.[114]

Soon afterward, a massive dragon made up of thousands of symbiotes attacks New York City. Eddie resolves to stop the monster before it destroys the city. Before he can intervene he is attacked by Miles Morales, who uses his “Venom Blast” ability to break Venom out of the symbiote “god's” influence. Miles and Eddie form a temporary truce, and the two manage to temporarily stop the symbiote god's rampage. The symbiote god then reveals itself as a being named Knull. Knull separates Eddie from his symbiote, promising to purge the influence of humanity from it.[115] But then Miles attacked Knull and both Eddie with Venom and Miles started falling until Venom grew a pair of wings and saved Eddie and Miles. After leaving Miles behind, Eddie went to Rex and put a hole in his head revealing that Rex was actually the symbiote which was bonded to the original Rex Strickland. After that they tricked the dragon to come to them and started attacking it with sonic based weapons which weaken it. Then Eddie puts the dragon with Rex in the furnace and incinerated it to death, while Eddie and Venom got wounded in the process.[116]

Eddie Brock after getting recovered, he's interrogated by the Maker about the incident revolving around the Grendel symbiote and Knull while stating that he is not the Mister Fantastic that he is familiar with. In addition, he also talked about how the Venom symbiote was in a feral state and has been deleting Eddie's bad memories like when he found out that his father had remarried and has a child named Dylan. When Maker throws a scalpel at Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote emerges from his shirt and catches it. Though the Venom symbiote is currently brain dread. When Eddie asks Maker if he would be able to restore it, Maker states that the only way to do that is to connect it to the Symbiote hive mind and the last person to do that was the late Flash Thompson. As Maker comments that he has ways of extracting the information he needs, Eddie asks in a distraught voice if Flash is really dead.[117] Some time after, Maker reveals to Eddie that he got hold of Venom's remnants left in Flash's body prior to becoming Anti-Venom, which contained his genetic memory and tells Eddie that it can help restore the symbiote. Maker also tells to Eddie that he's planning to get more samples from Flash's dead body, but Eddie who now considers Flash as a brother, unleashes the symbiote to Maker and gets the sample. Afterwards, he tries to escape the facility, but the sample goes to his symbiote taking the form of Flash's version of the suit. Now the symbiote with the mind of Flash Thompson helps Eddie to escape and then Eddie goes to Flash's grave to admit that Flash was a better host than him.[118]

After a failed attempt to win his father's affection, he gets to know Dylan, until he got seriously sick. Then Dylan takes Eddie to a hospital, where Maker found him again. After a confrontation with the symbiote, he recovers the memories that the symbiote had erased finds out that Dylan is actually his own son with Anne Weying.[119]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Brock is a human and has no superhuman powers without the Symbiote. Prior to joining with the Symbiote, he possesses olympic-level strength from engaging in repeated, significant weight-training exercise.[22][41]

After separating from the Symbiote and suffering from cancer, Brock loses much of his physical muscle and possesses the strength of an average human.[2][84] Brock's cancer is cured in the 2008 story "New Ways to Die", and he is later shown with a restored large physique.[120] He is also shown to be proficient in combat and capable of using specialized weaponry to defeat symbiote-empowered enemies.[121]

In an interview, David Michelinie stated that the reason Brock was written to be at the peak of human physical condition in the Marvel Universe was because editor Jim Salicrup felt that having an average human with no super powers becoming stronger than Spider-Man by simply bonding with the Symbiote did not seem believable. Michelinie later clarified in the interview that a healthy Eddie Brock is stronger without super powers than Peter Parker is without his super powers, which explains how the Symbiote is able to make him stronger than Spider-Man.[18] Michelinie later toyed with this concept in early Venom stories in The Amazing Spider-Man such as Venom vs. Spider-Man Round 2 and Venom Returns.[citation needed] In both of these stories Eddie is seen lifting weights and training himself without the help of the symbiote, remarking that making himself inherently stronger and more fit will enable the symbiote to grant him even greater super strength, speed, and agility.[volume & issue needed]

As VenomEdit

As Venom, Brock gains several abilities similar to those of Spider-Man, the Symbiote's former host, including superhuman strength, speed, agility and reflexes as well as the ability to adhere to most surfaces with his hands and feet. The Symbiote is also able to project a web-like substance from its body, similar to Spider-Man's. However, this webbing is produced organically by the Symbiote from its own mass, which means that overuse can weaken the alien until it is able to regenerate.[22] The Symbiote can also send out tendrils which can be used to grab or manipulate items from a distance.[31] When bonded with the host, the Symbiote allows the host to bypass Spider-Man's spider-sense, preventing the hero from sensing attacks. The Symbiote is susceptible to harm from high-pitched sonic frequencies which can cause it to be severely weakened or killed. The bond between the Symbiote and Brock was strong enough that using sonics against the Symbiote could also stun and kill Brock.[22]

Venom's body is highly resistant to injury, capable of outright stopping bladed weapons,[122] bullets,[31] and it can help its host survive in hostile environments by filtering air, allowing survival underwater[35] and in toxic environments. Venom can also morph his appearance, to create disguises at will,[22][31] and camouflage itself,[21] even emulating water.[35] It is also capable of psychically detecting its offspring; however, this ability can be blocked.[36] This sense can be used by Brock even when separated from the suit, allowing him to detect and be detected by the Symbiote and its children.[52][53] The Symbiote is capable of healing any injury and illness at an increased rate, allowing the host to survive otherwise-mortal damage.[59] The Symbiote and host are capable of sharing knowledge, the Symbiote being able to pass on information from previous hosts to future ones.[82]

As Anti-VenomEdit

Anti-Venom is created when the healing energies of Martin Li cause Brock's white-blood cells and traces of the Venom Symbiote still within his body to combine into a new suit composed of human/alien hybrid antibodies possessing powerful restorative abilities.[86][88] Brock is capable of rapidly healing significant injury as Anti-Venom, recovering almost instantly after being shot in the head and suffering damage to his brain.[93][123] However, this healing ability can be negated by the energy of Mr. Negative, counteracting the energy of Martin Li.[93] Anti-Venom is able to detect when others are ill[120] and "cure" or "cleanse" them. He is able to cure ailments from hepatitis to removing narcotics and even radiation from a person's body.[120][124] Following a failed attempt to "cure" Spider-Man by removing the radiation in his body, Anti-Venom now automatically cancels out Spider-Man's powers whenever the two are in close proximity to one another.[92][124]

As Anti-Venom, Brock's suit is corrosive to the Venom symbiote, inflicting pain and damage on the suit to the point of causing it to dissolve.[87][125] He displays similar abilities to Venom, possessing super strength, speed,[126] negating Spider-Man's spider-sense,[125] and being able to block damage entirely from some guns and knives.[123][126] He is also capable of extending and morphing the suit to create disguises,[124] form items such as shields,[120] extend his reach,[92] attack from a distance,[126] and create tendrils.[120] Anti-Venom is also immune to the weaknesses of the Venom Symbiote, showing no damage or effect from direct blasts of fire, heat and sound.[123][124] The only shown weaknesses of the Symbiote are a highly toxic "super venom" created as a direct countermeasure using remnants of Anti-Venom's suit, and Mr. Negative's energy.[88] The "super venom" causes the suit to immediately dissolve.[89] Mr. Negative is shown capable of using his energy to weaken or nullify the healing abilities of the suit.[93]

Other versionsEdit

The character appears in several alternate universe titles in which the character's history, circumstances and behavior may vary slightly or extensively from the mainstream setting.

In other mediaEdit

TelevisionEdit

  • Eddie Brock appears in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Hank Azaria.[127] Eddie was a journalist working for the Daily Bugle until he is fired by J. Jonah Jameson for his actions. He bonded with the Venom symbiote, seeking revenge against Spider-Man under the belief that he ruined his journalism career, but was ultimately defeated and separated. Brock last appeared in season three after joining forces with Spider-Man and Iron Man to defeat Carnage, Baron Mordo, and Dormammu; during which he sacrificed himself to ensure their defeat.
  • Eddie Brock appeared in the Spider-Man Unlimited animated series, voiced by Brian Drummond.[127] In this version, the Venom symbiote is in complete control. They and Carnage traveled to Counter-Earth to join the Synoptic, a hive mind of symbiotes, and ally themselves with the High Evolutionary while secretly helping the Synoptic grow more powerful in order to infect the planet's population with symbiotes. In the episode "One is the Loneliest Number", Brock is briefly separated from the Venom symbiote and is shown to have become dependent on it for survival. In the series finale, the High Evolutionary separates Venom and Carnage from their respective hosts, but the two symbiotes manage to unleash the Synoptic on Counter-Earth regardless.
  • Eddie Brock appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Benjamin Diskin.[128] This version is a childhood friend of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy's who attended Midtown High. While initially close friends with Peter and Gwen, a series of misunderstandings causes Brock to eventually resent Peter. Brock loses his research job studying an alien symbiote after it bonded with Spider-Man, causing Brock to later hate Spider-Man as well. Spider-Man attempts to destroy the alien organism, but Brock frees it, turning himself into Venom to destroy Spider-Man. In "Identity Crisis", Eddie is separated from the Venom symbiote and taken into custody for treatment.
  • Eddie Brock appears in the 2017 Spider-Man animated series,[129] voiced by Ben Pronsky.[130] Debuting in the episode "How I Thwipped My Summer Vacation", he works under J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle and slowly grows envious of Spider-Man. In the episode "Dead Man's Party", Eddie is assigned to take pictures of the V-252 symbiote before merging with the organism. Eddie's jealousy of Peter revises the organism's memories of the previous bond with Spider-Man. Dubbing himself Venom, he battles Spider-Man, only to be driven back by air horns. In the episode "Venom Returns", Eddie takes Peter's friends and acquaintances hostage and exposes his secret identity, but Miles Morales dons Spider-Man's spare costume to refute the claim. Spider-Man defeats Venom using a sonic device to destabilize the symbiote, which also leaves Eddie in a coma. In the episode "Superior", the symbiote abandons the comatose Eddie after it mutates to the point where it no longer needs a host.

FilmEdit

Spider-Man

R.C. Everbeck portrayed Eddie Brock in a deleted scene from the 2002 Spider-Man film. However, an "Eddie" is referenced as a photographer employed by the Daily Bugle who was unable to obtain pictures of Spider-Man, much to Jameson's disdain.[131]

Spider-Man 3

Eddie Brock / Venom appears in Spider-Man 3 (2007) portrayed by Topher Grace.[132] In the film's version, Edward "Eddie" Brock Jr. is a freelance photographer and Peter's counterpart rival, while dating Gwen Stacy. Later, after Peter, corrupted by the Symbiote's influence, exposes Eddie for falsifying a photograph to incriminate Spider-Man and starts dating Stacy, the latter loses both his job and girlfriend respectively. Heading to a church, a jealous Eddie prays for God to kill Peter when he bonds with the symbiote Peter rejected and becomes Venom. Learning Parker is Spider-Man, Venom finds and allies with Sandman to kill the web-slinger. Eddie kidnaps Mary Jane Watson to lure Spider-Man into a trap at a construction site. However, after a lengthy battle, Peter realizes the symbiote's weakness to high-pitched soundwaves and after weakening it, is able to separate it from Eddie. When attempting to destroy it with a Goblin bomb, Eddie rejoins with the symbiote before it detonates, resulting in both of them dying in the explosion.

Venom

In July 2007, a spin-off of Spider-Man 3 following Eddie Brock was being developed.[133] In September 2008, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese signed on to write.[134] Marvel Entertainment would have produced the film,[135] but the project was ultimately cancelled. In March 2012, plans for a new solo film emerged. Josh Trank was in talks to direct after Gary Ross left the project.[136] In March 2016, Sony hired Dante Harper to write the script with Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach producing. At the time, the film was not planned to have any connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Spider-Man.[137][138][139] A year later, following the success of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and the expected success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony announced Venom would be released on October 5, 2018. Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinker were hired to write the script and make the film the first in a series of Spider-Man character-related spin-off films called "Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters".[140][141][142] In May 2017, Tom Hardy signed on to play Eddie Brock and Ruben Fleischer was set to direct.[143] Amy Pascal claimed in June 2017 that the film would be "adjunct" to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[144]

A sequel to Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, was originally scheduled for release in the United States on October 2, 2020.[145] The release date was later changed to June 25, 2021.[146]

Video gamesEdit

The Eddie Brock version of Venom served as a boss and a playable character in multiple Spider-Man and non-Spider-Man related video games over the years. In some, his other alter egos, such as Anti-Venom and Toxin, also made appearances.

Spider-Man gamesEdit

  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom first appears as a boss character in the 1993 Mega-CD/Sega CD version of The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin.[147]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears as a playable character in Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage and Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety.[148][149]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears as a boss character in The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes.[150]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears as the final boss of the 1995 Spider-Man video game.[151]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears as a boss and later a supporting character in the 2000 Spider-Man video game, voiced by Daran Norris.[152] This version of Venom is dark blue rather than black and has the ability to turn invisible. After learning Spider-Man attacked Otto Octavius' science exposition, Venom attempted to exact revenge by kidnapping his wife Mary Jane Watson and luring Spider-Man into the sewers. After defeating Venom, Spider-Man reveals he was framed, and the two join forces to figure out who did it. Venom later helps Spider-Man fight Carnage, though he is defeated, and rescues him alongside Captain America and Black Cat from Doctor Octopus' self-destructing base at the end of the game.
  • The Ultimate Marvel iteration of Venom is a playable character and the final boss in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by Daniel Capallaro (Eddie Brock) and by Arthur Burghardt (Venom).[153] In his own storyline that crosses over with Spider-Man's, Venom is hunted by Bolivar Trask, who wants his symbiote for experimentation. After being captured by Silver Sable following a battle with Spider-Man, Eddie is forced to test the symbiote for Trask by fighting Electro and track down Peter, whose DNA will supposedly improve Eddie's control over it, but Venom escapes. He later defeats the Beetle and interferes in a fight between Peter and Sable, which leads to him being defeated and captured by Trask again. After escaping and defeating Peter after he was merged with the Carnage symbiote, Venom absorbs it from him, gaining complete control over his own symbiote in the process. Though Spider-Man stops him from killing Trask, Venom later escapes from prison and does so anyway.
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom is the final boss in all versions of the Spider-Man 3 video game, with Topher Grace reprising his role from the film.[154] Similarly to the film, Eddie is initially Peter Parker's rival at the Daily Bugle and competes against him when they are both given the same assignment. After being humiliated by Spider-Man and losing a promotion to Peter, he vows revenge against both and becomes Venom after Peter rejects the symbiote and it attaches to him. Eddie blackmails the Sandman into helping him kill Spider-Man, but meets his demise during the final battle.
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears as a playable character in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Quinton Flynn.[citation needed] In the opening cutscene, he is seen fighting Spider-Man alongside other villains until they are all attacked by P.H.A.N.T.O.M.s under Mysterio's command. Venom is captured along with the other villains, placed under mind control, and sent to Transylvania to retrieve a meteor shard located there. Spider-Man defeats Venom and destroys the mind-control device before the latter joins forces with the web-slinger to exact revenge on Mysterio; becoming a playable character.[155]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears as the main antagonist and the final boss of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Keith Szarabajka. He attacks Manhattan with an army of symbiotes, forcing Spider-Man to join forces with S.H.I.E.L.D., the Kingpin, and many others to defeat him.[156] Following several encounters, Spider-Man confronts Venom on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier after the latter takes on a giant, five-headed form. Despite destroying four of the heads, he fails to kill Venom, so he appeals to Brock's better nature. Once he emerges, Spider-Man can choose to kill Venom himself or allow Brock to sacrifice himself to kill Venom. In either case, Venom dies, allowing Spider-Man to stop the invasion or take control of the symbiotes himself.
    • In the PS2 and PSP versions of the game, Venom is captured and brainwashed by the Tinkerer after he attacks Manhattan with his symbiote army and the final boss is a giant symbiote with seven heads that contain Venom's consciousness.
    • In the Nintendo DS version, Venom is not the cause of the invasion. Instead, he is trying to stop it as well, and becomes an ally of Spider-Man after he defeats him.
  • The Eddie Brock version of Anti-Venom appears in Spider-Man: Edge of Time, voiced by Steven Blum.[157] This version of the character is a reformed anti-hero who is brainwashed by several mind control devices implanted by Alchemax scientist Walker Sloan, who intends to change history. After witnessing Anti-Venom kill Spider-Man via Sloan's time portal, Spider-Man 2099 works to prevent this from happening as well as stop Sloan. Though he warns his predecessor about his impending death, the present day Spider-Man ignores him to save others from Anti-Venom's rampage. Just before he dies however, the future Spider-Man rescues Spider-Man and takes his place in the fight against Anti-Venom; removing his mind control implants in the process. Enraged, Anti-Venom attacks Sloan and inadvertently knocks them and Otto Octavius into Sloan's time portal; fusing them all into the monstrous Atrocity (voiced by Fred Tatasciore),[citation needed] equipped with Doctor Octopus's tentacles and Anti-Venom's ability to negate Spider-Man's powers. Once the two Spider-Men defeat Atrocity and the mastermind behind Sloan's plot, they successfully undo all of the scientist's changes to history.
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears in the mobile version of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game, voiced by Benjamin Diskin.[158] Originally a photographer who tricks Spider-Man into fighting crooks, allowing Eddie to take pictures of him in action, he later investigates Oscorp but gets caught, forcing Spider-Man to save him. However, upon investigating a second time, Eddie discovers their illegal activities and is transformed into Venom, who goes on a rampage throughout the city until Spider-Man defeats him and removes the symbiote. Eddie explains what happened before passing out before Spider-Man takes him to the hospital.
  • Eddie Brock's various aliases (Venom, Anti-Venom, and Toxin) are all playable characters in the Spider-Man Unlimited mobile game.[159] Venom also served as a boss in the "Symbiote Dimension" limited time event.

Other gamesEdit

NovelsEdit

  • A wrestling fan in Spider-Man (2002) played by R.C. Everbeck is identified as Eddie Brock in the film's novelization.[178]

Short storiesEdit

Brock is featured in the 1994 short story "An Evening in the Bronx with Venom" by Keith R.A. DeCandido from The Ultimate Spider-Man short story collection book.[179][180]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit